So I'm prepping for some more doctor appointments this week, and I was hoping to get some input from all of you.
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroid disorder in January, and my endocrinologist looked at a long white stripe that had mysteriously appeared on my arm in the last couple of months and said it could well be the first appearance of vitiligo (great).
I found out about Hashimoto's as I have been trying to get to the bottom of my GI tract issues. Ongoing for the last 4 years: bad GERD, loose stools, gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, etc... So far nothing has come up positive in terms of diagnosis. I'm meeting with a gastro to maybe schedule a colonoscopy, but I'm not very excited about that, as you can imagine. I had blood work done yesterday and found that my thyroid is now working normally again, my inflammation levels are down, but my Anti-nuclear Antibodies are still high, and sadly fixing my thyroid had no effect on my GI symptoms. My PCP suggested I see a rheumatologist to rule some things out.
I do get abnormally irritable and lightheaded when hungry, but other than that and the GI symptoms and my autoimmune background, I don't have too many of the other classic Addison's symptoms. Do you think Addison's could still be a possibility?
I would definitely ask to be tested for celiac disease and consider gluten intolerance a possible cause for your GI issues. There seems to be an association between gluten intolerance and autoimmune disease, including Hashi's. Addison's usually causes severe fatigue, low BP, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, darkening skin, low blood sugar, dizziness when upright, intolerance to stress. You may have low blood sugar (the irritability & lightheadedness when hungry). You definitely are urinating too often, so the cause of that should be explored, esp to rule out infection or inflammation of bladder (can happen in autoimmune diseases). A rheum consult is appropriate with the high ANA as well. Addison's wouldn't be out of question, but probably not at top of list unless you have those additional symptoms.
Last edited by ladybud; 03-03-2013 at 03:51 AM.
Reason: added symptoms
I have had the blood test for celiac, which came back negative (both in 2009 and 2013), so that's probably not it. I may try a gluten free diet at some point anyway just to experiment. I keep hoping someone will find something to pull it all together so I know what I'm fighting... Maybe this year will be the year I figure it out.
I would absolutely avoid all gluten and dairy for awhile and see how you feel. They are two of the most common food sensitivities, and most people with digestive complaints feel much better, and symptoms resolve or improve once the offending foods are removed. You absolutely do NOT have to have Celiac to have gluten sensitivity. I've been tested for Celiac 3 times and results are always negative, yet when I remove it from my diet (along with dairy), I do not experience any of the uncomfortable digestive symptoms. The frequent urination you're experiencing could be caused by many things; food intolerances being one of them. If your body is trying to rid itself of the toxic byproducts its having from particular foods, this will increase urine output.. nature's way of expelling toxic waste. Or the urination (as pertaining to GI issues) may also be the result of an ongoing gastrointestinal infection. Again, the same idea. Your body's way of ridding itself of toxic waste. Perhaps you ought to be tested for bacterial infection, parasites, etc.
Those are just a couple of my thoughts, but please look beyond the traditional doctors and gastro docs as they can often be very "in the box" on these issues, and many digestive disturbances/imbalances often go undiagnosed if left in the hands of traditional medicine. Atleast this has been my personal experience. In fact, I think I ended up with Addison's Disease after many years of my body battling undiagnosed and untreated digestives issues. When your body (GI Tract) is under any ongoing stress (or inflammation), it demands constant cortisol from your adrenal glands, and after awhile they exhaust and the well runs dry. Then you end up exhausted with burned out adrenal glands... meaning that you are then dependent on cortisone replacement (steroids) for life. Had I gotten to the GI issues sooner, perhaps I could've avoided Adrenal Insufficiency. At this point, it's irrelevant, but I urge you to keep your body and your mind as stress free as possible because your adrenal glands are truly your "life force"... treat them like gold. Once they go, everything changes.
Thanks again to those who've offered advice. I'm going off gluten and dairy for a while to test digestive sensitivities and to see if that makes a difference. The colonoscopy did not show any abnormalities, so that's a good thing.
Two things have changed for me recently, though, and I was hoping to get some input from you again. I'd been blowing off the occasional joint pain in my hands, but over the last month it's pretty clear that something's up with that-- my finger joints twinge, and it's worse some days than others. The second is that both of my knees have started to darken in a strange way that looks like an elliptical bruise, darker in the middle (the skin is not dry or rough) even though I moisturize and haven't been wearing shorts.
Does anyone else have joint pain in their hands and dark patches on their knees? I'm not feeling overly fatigued, but I wonder if that's a universal symptom?
Sorry to bother everyone again, but I don't feel I can talk to anyone else in my life about this...
One more thing-- I've had 8 confirmed vaginal yeast infections in the last year... I keep treating it with diflucan and it keeps coming right back (I'm HIV negative). I don't know if that could be connected, but I thought I'd toss it out there.
Hm just thought i'd reply found it interesting that you mentioned yeast infections. I am T1 diabetic and get them all the time, despite having the sugars of a normal person. I think it might have something to do with endocrine autoimmunity and impaired immune system. I am on vitamin D, maybe try this? It helps to get immune system back into shape. It doesn't sound like Addison's from what you have said. I too am being tested for this.
The dark areas on your knees, if intermittent, may be associated with autoimmune disease. It is caused by spasm in the arterioles of skin, and is like Raynaud's that happens in hands and feet but can be seen in knees. It is a bluish discoloration that is most intense when cold or after showering. It is another sign of autoimmune disease, as well as the joint pains. I would take a picture of the knees to show rheum unless the discoloration is there all the time. As far as the yeast infections, you may have yeast overgrowth in the GI tract, which can happen with food intolerances. Some people are actually allergic to yeast, like Brewer's yeast used in baking, breads, etc., and GI yeast overgrowth can infect the vagina.