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Old 09-08-2011, 05:17 PM   #1
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Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

I have my blood results back since today and under the Lupus (SLE) Panel it says: ANA IFA Screen Reflex with Titer Anti-Nuclear AB Positive (Out of range) What does that mean? Is it Lupus, could it be Lupus, could it be something else? I am trying to find out what is wrong with me since 2 and a half years...down below is the original post I posted on this website. I know it is long. You don't have to read it, but please let me know what that result means!?

Hi, to everyone here on the HealthBoard! I am a 37 year old female and very healthy up to two years ago. Numerous Doctors can't figure out what is wrong with me. I received so many diagnoses and prescriptions and the problem is getting worse. I feel like I have reached the end of my rope. Maybe one of you can help. Here is my Story:

I am a waitress . It started, that every once in a while I felt pain in my right shoulder, which would subside after a few weeks. My eyes would get dry and feel like something is irritating them. The first Doctor I went to, blamed it on my job and Allergies. Which, with time, seemed to get more and more. That was about 21/2 years ago. I started getting lightheaded and felt like I have hot flashes, which came and went. My skin was flushing and burning at times, so I stopped taking my favorite skin lotion. Then a few months later I had the H1N1 which completely swiped me off my feet for 4 weeks with High fever.

A whole bunch of ibuprofen later I started getting better and then i started the following symptoms: muscle weekness, chest pain, cough, hot feeling but only light or no fever, runny nose, congested nose and I had a hoarse voice for almost 6 months. It felt like a Sinusitis or a very bad Virus infection. I felt tired and week all the time and most of the time I felt nausea, but I would not vomit. This condition stayed for about 5-6 months. I lost 14 lb due to not much appetite. Different Doctors told me different things from Allergies to Sinusitis to Bronchitis. I took Zitromax, Allegra D, Cephalexin, nasonex, loratadin, doxycycline, and Valium for pain. Not all at the same time, but over some months. Nothing seemed to improve my condition. Then a doctor diagnosed me with Asthma and gave me Advair, Qvar and Levaquin. It never felt like Asthma and it didn't have the wheezing either. Then one morning joints started hurting in my knees and I had this crackeling sensation all over my body. My left arm went numb and tingelt and I had this incruciating chest pain. At the same time my abdominal area was hurting too. Stinging pains on my right side in hip area and stinging pain in ovary area both sides.

Time for the hospital. They checked my Vitals, took my blood, thyroid test, EKG and an MRI for my appendix. Everything was negative! They discharged me with viral illness, bedrest recommended and sent me on my way with Proventil. After another view weeks my cough was getting less and less and all symptoms but the flushing skin, hot flashes and occational chest pain subsided. Then the Doctors told me it might be pre menopause, since I was on birthcontrol for 17 years and stopped taking it 5 years ago. But all that for pre menopause...?? The worst was yet to come. The months went by with me sneezing and feeling good one day and a little sick the other. A cold here a rah there, food allergies came and went and then one month ago I had a weired, abnormal taste in my mouth for 4 days, gum sores, a pimpel invasion on my behind and terrible stomack pains. My joints did the cracking and crackeling again. I was itchy all over my body. My arms were week, tingeling or numb or both. My eyes were burning, dry and on fire. My teeth hurt so bad, then my jaw. I started getting soft stool, then watery diarrea for 3 days. Stinging pain in my left arm, stinging random pains all over my body and then just when I felt a little better, my legs felt heavy and I had this burning pain all over my body. I was in agony. Went to the hospital. Blood test, Vitals, thyroid, Ct Brain scan, everything negative. Diagnose chronic pain and a recommendation for an MRI which my insurance doesn't want to pay for.

Yes, I have a job but the insurance is still terrible. The next morning I couldn't walk my legs were so numb and week, I had tremors and my vision was blurred and almost double. I am far sided anyways and everything just seemed further away. The days went by and my legs felt better and my tremors became shaking and a feeling of weekness in my body. A few itchy spots showed up on my legs, which look like spider bites, but itch way worse than that. My legs are cramping a lot, despite the fact I try to eat more vegetables and fruit and I eat vitamins. I keep having stinging pains in my right side above the hip. Stinging pains between my shoulder blades. My chest hurts badly and stings at times and sometimes looks swollen. I feel dizzy and light headed and tired a lot. No appetite. Sometimes my legs, ankles and knees look swollen. I have a hard time falling asleep and i wake up at night and can't go back to sleep due to uncomfort. I either sweat at night or I feel very cold. My body is achy. My eyes are very dry, itchy and my vision is different than it was 2 years ago.

Sometimes I wake up and my mouth is so dry my tongue is sticking to the back of my throat. A lot of times after I eat I get hot flashes. I lost 17 lb in one Month. There is no diabetes in my family. If anything, Arthritis (grandma), allergies (mother) and my grandpa died of a heart condition in his 50's.

I was a very healthy child, always playing outside without any allergies to anything. I had Chickenpox when I was 19, but got vaccinated again because of USA immigration laws. Every once in a while I see some chickenpox looking pimples on my skin, but they disappear again. Oh, and I have neckpain. My neck is stiff quite a bit and I used to have a dermatofibroma on my shoulder which was removed. I have one on my left leg as well. And 5 years ago they detected two cysts on my ovaries, but told me they are nothing to worry about. I hope I have everything. This is the situation I am in right now and the numerous Doctors so far have no idea.

They almost act like I am crazy or some kind of hypochondriac. The worst thing is the fact of not knowing. My insurance doesn't pay for all the fancy tests and with all the symptoms involved there would be a lot of testing which had to be done. So please, if anybody had any idea or recommendation......I will answer all your additional questions

 
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:58 AM   #2
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

Valleycat, in the presence of symptoms, a positive ANA indicates that further tests are warranted. The reason is that ANA is positive in many conditions, not just lupus. In your shoes, I'd try to see a rheumatologist.

I'm only a patient, but some of your symptoms are eye-catching. For example, tongue sticking to roof of mouth, with dry eyes: makes me think of Sjogren's syndrome. (Sjogren's can exist by itself, or with lupus. Maybe you saw in the news that a famous tennis player was just dx'ed with it?)

BUT I imagine you could have these same things in other conditions. For example, I had chronic, episodic GI malabsorption for 20+ years, with dry mouth & scratchy eyes. Also, prolonged periods, urinary misery & stones, B-12 anemia, joint & long bone pain (like shins), fatigue, hair & weight loss, depressed WBC, elevated ESR, and (last) photosensitive rashes on upper arms/back. I finally tested positive for anti-Ro, seen in both lupus & Sjogren's, but my dx was just subacute SLE, not including Sjogren's. Meaning---there are fine distinctions among the "close cousin" conditions that only specialists can draw, based on symptoms & test results.

Interesting, too, that you had a virus-like episode at the point you worsened. One August I got up feeling flu-like, and a day later, discovered the first mature lupus skin lesion on my back, which was mis-diagnosed as Lyme... Anyway, I read much later that many people with lupus felt virus-like as they crossed the line into more acute symptoms. Your episode probably wouldn't "prove" anything... but may be interesting to a specialist?

I want to add something about RASHES in lupus. Have you read the diagnostc criteria (etc.) in the sticky posts (permanent info posts) at the top of the thread list? (Read ALL those stickies, as they're a great beginner's course.) Anyway, from the stickies, it would seem that there are only two lupus-specific rashes, malar and discoid. But actually, there are quite a few more! (That's where I missed the boat, by having a one called subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus, which my local drs. didn't recognize.)

I'll stop for now, to let you read & ponder. Then post more, OK? Sending you best wishes. Bye for now, Vee

 
Old 09-09-2011, 07:06 PM   #3
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

Thank you VeeJ that was very helpful . After I read your post I was going over the test results a little more thouroughly and noticed that the SM and RNP antibodies both should be positive too to be more of a diagnosis? On my bloodtest they are both negative. The Sjoegren's antibodies (SS-A and SS-B) were both negative. SCL Antibody also negative. Which puts me back at square one right? They did more bloodtests. One for Lyme and one for Hiv ( I have no clue why this one. I was married for 11 years, divorced, now I have a boyfriend since 4 years, same one LOL) I was reading though, that there is a possibility that tests like that can come back false positive if you have Lupus. Wonder how high that chance is? I don't know, it is just so tough to not know what is going on with my body and I am not sure what I should eat, could eat, shouldn't eat and in the end I have diarrhea or constipation anyway Not being on any medication doesnt help either, because I feel crappy one day and the next better and then awful again. And it seems like I am allergic and sneezy all the time too. Well, I will at least try to have a good weekend....

 
Old 09-10-2011, 07:34 AM   #4
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

Hi, again. The lupus criteria are confusing! For example, anti-Sm is only one of a dozen or more antibodies seen in lupus; it "makes" the list because it's considered pretty much "diagnostic", but a person can easily have lupus without anti-Sm. Another example is anti-RNP, seen in lupus *and* in MCTD (mixed connective tissue disease), AND maybe other things, too (not sure).

In the autoimmunes, many autoantibodies the tests look for actually COME & GO as flares rise & recede, so TIMING of bloodwork is important. Also, not all labs are good at performing these tricky tests, so specialists typically use labs known to excel in these tests.

The KIND of doctors you see is important. What kind of dr. ran your bloodwork where ANA was positive, a GP or a specialist? Have you had a follow-up? Did this dr. recommend that you see other specialists?

Have you put your symptoms, meds, etc. into a chronological timeline? (I'd keep it short as possible, in sentence fragments.)

Have you reviewed the many meds taken in last few years? We all know many have side-effects (doxycycline triggers total GI misery in me, some antibiotics can cause skin eruptions, steroids can affect eyes, etc.) Weirdly, there's a form of lupus called DILE = drug-induced lupus erythematosus, which is diagnosed thru a different set of criteria than SLE. Also, certain drugs can induce or worsen flares in people who already have SLE.

Are you a sun-lover? Have you noticed any post-exposure oddities?

I'm only a dumb patient, so I can't know if this could be lupus or some "close cousin". If I were you, I'd first catch up on my basic annual checkups, like GYN & eyes. Take your chronology along. Talk freely but succinctly while there (maybe drs. will have suggestions).

See what your GYN & eye dr. say. (Seeing a rheumatologist makes sense to me---positive ANA, plus this all started with pain & dry eyes---but I'm not a doctor.) Also, if GI problems are also chronic & long-standing, consider gastroenterology. (In other words, ANA is positive in conditions OUTSIDE of rheumatology, so don't limit thinking to just lupus & its close cousins.)

Odds & ends. Testing for HIV is standard prodecure. Also for syphilis, because a false-positive syphilis can be seen in "antiphospholipid syndrome" (APS), which is a blood clotting disoder seen in conjunction with lupus, but also seen standalone. (There's a sticky post on APS at the top of the thread list.) So I'm sure no insults were intended!

I just re-read above & found it a mess! I hope you can find something in it that helps you review your thoughts & put together a game plan. Post more when you can, OK? Sending you a huge hug, sympathetically, Vee

 
Old 09-12-2011, 05:08 PM   #5
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

Vee,
your message was perfectly readable The bloodtests were performed by my GP. She also referred me to a Neurologist, who gave me a pet on the back and told me (pretty much exact words): "I am supposed to do a whole bunch of testing with you, but not today, CUTIE. We will do another brain MRI first and we will call you. Don't worry, we'll figure out what is wrong with you, HUN." Well, that was two weeks ago and I have not heard from him eversince then. Surprise!

I have been to my GP to 3 follow up appointments so far. Last time I think she was so fed up with me seeing her every week that she told me to schedule the next follow up in two months and she said she will refer me to a rheumatologist. So they sent me a letter in the mail with an appointment with a (good reputation) Rheumatologist in 4 MONTHS (mid December) Seriously!!!

I am writing a diary, some sort of Illness Diary. How I felt that day, what I ate that day and which Symptoms appeared. Lately I am getting lots of little "sunspots" Everywhere. They start like little pimples, but are itchy and then they turn into little brown lasting spots on my skin. Everytime I feel worse I get more. Also worse when I am in the sun. My Urinary tract is going nuts. I need to go pee, but then the stream is very week and it feels like my bladder doesn't empty completely, almost like something is blocking it. And the most annoying thing is this off and on "chest pain" in the same spot. Left of my Sternum. And of course the "usual" hot flashes, sweating, dizzyness eye irritation, a few itchy spots like chickenpox, "yeast attacks", vision change and NEVER fever.

I have all meds and all Doctor visits in chronological order with all the symptoms I had and which medicine I was prescribed and wheather I had an allergic reaction or not (definately to prednisone and a few others) and with the diagnosis I received. Sometimes I wonder if an arterie Disease could cause all this, because my dad just recently had an operation on his aortic valve and he had blood circulation problems all his life. Something with the intestines would sound likely too. The problem is I have so many symptoms that I can't pinpoint the actual reason for all those. Whatever causes me to feel like this causes all those symptoms around it which appear and subside again. But it always starts with flu-like symptoms. That is why I was diagnosed with a viral illness quite a few times. Bedrest and back to work. Which reminds me I am scheduled to go back to work in 4 days and am not sure how I will pull this off

I also changed my diet a little and I try to eat healthier (more fruit and vegetables), no red meat, no carbohydrates from bread. No diarrhea for 2 days now and I hope it stays this way. Hugs to you to

 
Old 09-13-2011, 08:09 AM   #6
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

ValleyCat (a/k/a HUN or CUTIE ), doctors can amaze, yes?

How much did you want to slap that doctor? Logging symptoms, setting up rheumatology appt., and healthy diet all make sense to me.

About your "skin spots", I couldn't guess what these are, but I'd hate to think sun is permanently damaging your skin. Since you already have brown spots to show the specialist in December, maybe you should guard against more? And especially guard your scalp & face?

In my umpteenth year of searching for answers, a gastro told me that when doctors see varied problems in a patient, they should first look for a "single bullet theory", so I'm glad you have that rheumatology appt. set up. Keep us posted, OK? Sending my best to you, hugs, Vee

 
Old 09-15-2011, 05:15 PM   #7
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

Well I just got back from the doctor and my Hiv and Lyme test came back negative too. That wasn't a surprise to me...back to sqare one, again. Now dealing with bad urination problems (very slow stream and blood in my urin) pain on the right side between my ribs and hips. She said I might have Kidney stones.

Have a bad yeast infection and headaches. It almost seems like one thing is getting better and another one shows up. They gave me an antibiotic shot and send me on the road to get a pelvic X Ray. Follow up in one week. If only this odd feeling would go away. My whole body doesn't feel like my body and I all I want is to feel normal!!!! Yesterday, I remembered the reason why I changed my skin lotion in the first place. About 3 years ago I had somesort of red cheeks with uneven, crater looking skin and I put lotion in it because I thought it was very dry, red skin. The lotion burnt very badly on my skin. Now after reading a lot I wish I would have made a photo of it, because now I wonder if this was a Lupus rash or not

 
Old 09-16-2011, 04:21 AM   #8
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

ValleyCat, when do you get pelvic x-ray results? If no problem is detected but urine stream continues to seem blocked, in your shoes I'd ask for the other diagnostic tests done, when stones are suspected, like CAT scan or ultrasound, and to include bladder, too. If there are stones there, I think they have to go, by one means or another! i.e., your body passes them, they're broken up by non-surgical means, or surgery is needed.

I had one total blockage from urinary stones. (Ugh!) I was lucky: my stones were tiny, like grit; and putting me on an IV enabled them to pass.

Were you told to drink a lot of water?

Let us know how you're doing. I hope you get this resolved fast. Sending all my best, Vee

Last edited by VeeJ; 09-16-2011 at 04:33 AM. Reason: spelling

 
Old 09-18-2011, 01:58 PM   #9
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Unhappy Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

Well, yesterday I couldn't take it anymore. I was so achy and tired and my abdomen hurt so bad that I went to the emergency room. They gave me a little pill for nausea and vomitting (even though I never vomit just feel naucious). My bladder was hurting and burning sooo bad, but somehow, I can't explain it, it doesn't feel like a UTI because the burning sensation isn't there while going??? My right side is killing me it hurts and it feels ichy inside. I drink so much water every day it is unbelievable that it is not much coming out on the other side. They put me through the donut. They told me they check the bladder, kidneys, gallbladder, appendix and look for stones and found.....absolutely nothing! The only thing found was blood in my urin, again. Bloodtests negative. Everything supposedly working fine. This is unbelievable. How can this all malfunction and hurt so bad and no one finds anything but Anti-nuclear AB's and blood in my urine? I still can't eat, still no appetite. I went from 169lb to 146lb in 6 weeks. (5ft8) They didn't even prescribe anything, because of my allergies. Wasn't sleeping well last night at all and don't feel much better today. Oh, and that Antibiotic shot I got on Thursday from my GP didn't do a thing it seems

 
Old 09-18-2011, 06:29 PM   #10
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

ValleyCat, maybe you should discuss with your GP booking with a urologist?

My urologist considered testing for Interstitial Cystitis, an autoimmune inflammatory bladder condition. (BTW, IC can cause ANA to elevate. It's seen "standalone" but also can co-exit with lupus.) I think it's worth looking into, along with other bladder conditions that present with such symptoms.

I sure hope your doctors find some new lines of inquiry PDQ. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. Let us know what happens next. Sending you my best wishes, sympathetically, Vee

 
Old 10-06-2011, 06:18 PM   #11
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

Alrighty, here is the update...after I picked up the written results from my abdominal cat scan there was absolutely nothing except a 6mm low-attenuation lesionin the midpole of the right kidney. I asked my doctor about it and she said that it is most likely an incidental renal cyst. I also had a second pelvic exam done and they told me everything is fine, everything in place. I was wondering about an ultrasound, but they told me they would have found everything with the cat scan. Then last week we had the brain MRI and the spine with and without contrast. And they found..absolutely nothing. wow....you already knew that, didn't you? The worst part was the second I walked out of the room where the MRI was, my eysight changed. It was more blurry. I went to get an eye exam 3 days later and sure enough my eyesight changed for the worse

Tomorrow I will have an appointment with the Neurologist and on Monday I will go to the GI. I went to get an EBV test done and am waiting if this comes back positiv, since I just can't seem to battle those "chickenpox" in my face, which constantly randomly show up. I am still dizzy, lightheaded, had a few very,very bad Headaches (Migranes) I never had bad headaches before until recently, my joints hurt and my nerves, diarrhea and my bladder just works when it feels like it. I did some research work myself and I think I suffered some sort of Neuropathy. My GP told me she has absolutely no idea what I have and prescribed me Zoloft (antidepressent). GP says it helps everything, because she can detect my anxiety Sounds like the "American" way of solving any problem. So, I am debating with myself ..should I start taking those or not? I dont feel depressed or anxious, just frustrated that nobody seems to know what is going on with me. What do you think? Could that help my bladder too? Geez, whatever that is I just want it in remission!!

 
Old 10-07-2011, 04:22 AM   #12
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

ValleyCat, many of my tests were unrevealing, too, because they weren't tests that can identify systemic inflammatory conditions.

My symptoms were similar ---GI, urinary, migraines, rashes, anemia, pain, frequent infections, etc.---but no blood in urine and a different rash. My most useful consults were dermatology (8th one) and rheumatology (2nd one). My other "ologists" did rule many things out (good) but failed to recognize that my symptoms are common in lupus (bad).

In addition to neurologist & gastroenterologist, are you slated to see a urologist and a dermatologist? And are you still scheduled to see that rheumatologist toward year-end? I know it's a slow & frustrating process. Hang in there & keep at it, OK? Very sympathetically, hugs, Vee

 
Old 10-07-2011, 05:47 PM   #13
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

Thank you Vee. You know, in a way it is good to know not to be alone with all the struggeling. As bad as it is, there are people like you, who understand what one is going through .

I had the Neurologist appointment today and he diagnosed me with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome...and he was the first doctor who mentioned the L word (Lupus). He told me that Carpal is very common for Lupus and I should go and see a Lupus Doctor or Rheumatologist. Which gets us to your question....Yes, I still have the Rheumatologist appointment, unfortunately not until mid-December. It is a Rheumatologist for Arthritis and Osteoporosis. Can they diagnose Lupus too? I just feel like I have to get on Meds quicker, because I still haven't given up the hope that it might get better with medicine. Unfortunately as of right now it feels like it is getting worse. I am not on any meds yet. Any recommendations of what can help to ease the symptoms with the urinary tract and the pain in my back?

I do not have an appointment with a Dermatologist yet, my GP didn't think it was necessary. Only the Gastroenterologist appointment on Monday. Does the GI also know about the Urinary tract?

 
Old 10-07-2011, 07:43 PM   #14
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

I've been following your thread, and feel for you. I know how frustrated you are. I can't believe how long it is taking to get into a Rheumatologist!
Have you ever considered that you may have a chronic yeast/candida issue? Your antibiotic use along with the yeast infection warrants taking a pro-biotic, found in a health food store. Candida can cause all kinds of symptoms including the gastro symptoms. Candida can be tough to get rid of and a lot of Dr's turn their nose up at it.
I'm certainly not saying this answers all of your symptoms, but maybe a few. It certainly can't hurt to take it. The Pro-biotic replaces the friendly bacteria in your digestive system killed off by the antibiotics and keeps the yeast in check. Candid can cause all kinds of allergy symptoms as well. You may want to check out the board on Candida.
When you do get to see your Rheumatologist ask for a DHEA test. I haven't seen any conversations about it here, but it is commonly low in Lupus and other rheumatologic diseases. DHEA is the "mother" hormone in our body, and back in the 90's extensive research and studies were performed on the effects on SLE, with positive results. I had mine tested and it was just about non-existent. DHEA is easily available in both drug stores and health food stores, but I get mine from a compounding pharmacy to make sure the dosing is accurate. It would be interesting to see what your levels are. One of the symptoms it seems to address is the hot flashes which are absolutely miserable.
Most Dr's will not run the test unless you request it. When I took it initially in 1996 I went into remission. Weather or not that was the direct cause will never be known. Unfortunately it hasn't done the trick for me this time, but without it things may be worse.
DHEA does come with it's own side effects because it is a hormone, but adjusting the dose reverses them. I would only take it if the levels come out low. My Dr. said the recommended dose according to all of the studies was 200 mg which I found way too high for me.
I have been going through so many of the same symptoms you describe. I had to go to a gastroenterologist for the severe stomach and abdominal pain, a Neurologist for the bizarre numbness, light headedness, severe migraines, and weakness. I too get the severe skin burning. It feels like a sunburn but it has no redness. Any contact with the skin is very painful. It moves from area to area. One thing I found that makes it feel better is HOT water. You would think taking a hot shower would hurt it, but it actually interrupts the nerve pain process. Unfortunately it only lasts as long as the bath or shower.
Your symptoms may or may not all be interconnected which makes diagnosing that much more difficult, siince any responsible physician will want to address every system seperately to rule out anything else. I go to so many specialists, and at the end of the day it is always chalked up to yet another symptom of Lupus.
I can hardly wait for you to get some appropriate treatment whatever the diagnosis may be.

 
Old 10-07-2011, 07:59 PM   #15
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Re: Positive Lupus Anti-Nuclear AB (IFA) ?!?

I've been following your thread, and feel for you. I know how frustrated you are. I can't believe how long it is taking to get into a Rheumatologist!
Have you ever considered that you may have a chronic yeast/candida issue? Your antibiotic use along with the yeast infection warrants taking a pro-biotic, found in a health food store. Candida can cause all kinds of symptoms including the gastro symptoms. Candida can be tough to get rid of and a lot of Dr's turn their nose up at it.
I'm certainly not saying this answers all of your symptoms, but maybe a few. It certainly can't hurt to take it. The Pro-biotic replaces the friendly bacteria in your digestive system killed off by the antibiotics and keeps the yeast in check. Candid can cause all kinds of allergy symptoms as well. You may want to check out the board on Candida.
When you do get to see your Rheumatologist ask for a DHEA test. I haven't seen any conversations about it here, but it is commonly low in Lupus and other rheumatologic diseases. DHEA is the "mother" hormone in our body, and back in the 90's extensive research and studies were performed on the effects on SLE, with positive results. I had mine tested and it was just about non-existent. DHEA is easily available in both drug stores and health food stores, but I get mine from a compounding pharmacy to make sure the dosing is accurate. It would be interesting to see what your levels are. One of the symptoms it seems to address is the hot flashes which are absolutely miserable.
Most Dr's will not run the test unless you request it. When I took it initially in 1996 I went into remission. Weather or not that was the direct cause will never be known. Unfortunately it hasn't done the trick for me this time, but without it things may be worse.
DHEA does come with it's own side effects because it is a hormone, but adjusting the dose reverses them. I would only take it if the levels come out low. My Dr. said the recommended dose according to all of the studies was 200 mg which I found way too high for me.
I have been going through so many of the same symptoms you describe. I had to go to a gastroenterologist for the severe stomach and abdominal pain, a Neurologist for the bizarre numbness, light headedness, severe migraines, and weakness. I too get the severe skin burning. It feels like a sunburn but it has no redness. Any contact with the skin is very painful. It moves from area to area. One thing I found that makes it feel better is HOT water. You would think taking a hot shower would hurt it, but it actually interrupts the nerve pain process. Unfortunately it only lasts as long as the bath or shower.
Your symptoms may or may not all be interconnected which makes diagnosing that much more difficult, siince any responsible physician will want to address every system seperately to rule out anything else. I go to so many specialists, and at the end of the day it is always chalked up to yet another symptom of Lupus.
I can hardly wait for you to get some appropriate treatment whatever the diagnosis may be.

 
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