I originally posted this on the Women's Health Board, but it was suggested that I post here so here it is.......
I don't know what to do anymore. I am constantly stressing out about having either colon or ovarian cancer!
A little background info.......I am pretty sure that the last year or so I have been going through perimenopause.......although it is self diagnosed because the doc says that my hormones are normal levels (I beg to differ). Anyway, I have experienced many different aches and pains over the last little while that always send my health anxiety right through the roof. I have had many blood tests done and everything was fine except for being slightly anemic but after three months on iron pills, my levels are great. The anemia was attributed to my heavy, clotting periods which brings me to the next issue.
I had a pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound that came back completely normal. the following month, I had a ct scan to check for kidney stones due to a dull achy left flank pain for a few days. the results showed no kidney stones, but a cyst on my left ovary (only 1 cm), a bulky uterus and possible multiple fibroids. I just had my appointment with my gyno this week for my annual pap and everything was fine there. He is sending me for another pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound next week to see about the cyst/fibroid situation. I still get achy pains throughout my back, hips and upper abdomen. Nothing too severe, just uncomfortable. To add to the matter, I work in an accounting firm and it is extremely busy. I am completely stressed to the max and my mid back aches from sitting at the desk all day. By the time I leave work, my back has a tingly, burning feeling. I walk an hour everyother night and do not have pain when I walk. I do not have any pain when I sleep. It is mostly when I sit at my desk at work or my desk at home. I have been taking b50 complex for about six months and just last week, I started taking a calcium/magnesium supplement that also contains zinc and vitamin d. I have always had slight constipation off and on but since the beginning of the week, I have a bowel movement every morning after my coffee that has been thinner than usual. If I happen to go again in the afternoon, it is a little bigger. I am so scared that I have colon cancer! I am 38 years old, and there is no history of it in my family. I have never had any visible blood with my bowel movements. I do have a couple of external hemmeroids that aggrivate me off and on. I need some advice from all of you knowledgable people! Can I be causing the thin stools by obsessing over it? I never used to pay attention to them and now I do. Before I even have a bowel movement, I wonder if they will be thin again or not. Is this just stress or do you think I have reasonable cause for concern? Can the new supplements be affecting me somehow? I am so sorry that this post is long, but I need some answers. Thank you.
You sound normal and healthy to me
1cm cysts are functional and you are SUPPOSED to have them...it's called ovulation
As for the backache; I think it is probably the fibroids and PMS (which can get worse during this time).
I hear you about the anxiety...specifically the ovarian cancer worry...it nags me needlessly as well.
As for the tingling in your back...I bet it is from sitting all day. I notice that when I sit even for 1/2 an hour at the computer, my left leg and lower back can tingle easily.
Sounds like the ultrasound should relieve your anxiety (as well as these things can be alleviated).
Good luck....and you're just as normal as can be!
I can totally totally relate to your anxiety and feel for you as it is really hard to not be anxious at this time with all the twinges, etc. that come with perimenopause.
Health anxiety is a big issue for A LOT of us and I know those exact words were a thread on this board if not this year last year and many people responded to how much anxiety they were feeling about their health. I am one of them and some time I feel I am the Queen of Anxiety!! : ) I can tell you that it only makes matters worse and seems to make the symptoms worse as it aggravates them, but having said that it is hard to stop from being anxious when one is doing so. The doctor has told me our anxiety effects our intestinal system too making more acid in our systems.
I am 50 and started with peri symtpoms a couple years ago in the way of periods coming closer. My PMS has always been bad and in peri it is worse. The gastro stuff you are mentioning is very common at this time and many people on here I know will echo that. There is a good book called The Pause that goes into each symtpom that a woman can have at this time and it even talks about gastrointestinal symtpoms , why they happen and suggestions about what to do. Anxiety is discussed too.
I am current with my blood tests too and had my yearly Pap etc and also had the transvaginal and pelvic ultrasound you mentioned and everything was fine. (the ultrasound was given to me as when my Pap came back this last time it showed the endometrium layer was thicker which it can be in peri, so she just wanted to check things out; it also gets that way right before our periods and I did get my period right after the exam so that was the explanation).
The different aches and pains are also very common and many people on here have talked about it in various areas. For me I get them mainly on the right side, but the hip area you described and pelvic area and back too. sometimes it feels like it is an ovulation pressure feeling that radiates but other times it really feels more joint and muscular and sometimes it feels like a gassy type thing where it might be trapped gas (some thing others have talked about it too on here and I am sure will echo this). I too rarely have this when I am sleeping and it is also not all the time. Yesterday had none of that feeling at all and was so so pleased. Today have it a little but I am also on day 22 so for me I could be getting my period any day. (lately they are a bit all over the place got it at day 27 last time, day 49 the time for that, but I can have symtpoms in between even when it comes later which is frustrating).
You mentioned the mid back and I too am at my desk a lot at work and do feel this does not help. I do have back issues quite separate from peri ( I go to a chiropractor) and I was told by the doctor and gyn that at this time if one has back issues they are worse, and also it is all so closely aligned with our intestines (the pelvic wall muscles are and hip area) that it all can affect the other.
I do not have constipation much but I know there are those on here that do and as far as wondering about what your stool should look like believe me I have been there. It is nothing different than it has ever looked like but I seem to obsess more about it at this time. I went thru this last year with this kind of anxiety for about 4 months or so on and off and then everything stabilized until this late Feb when I started to get more anxious again and things started to flare up.
You mentioned your worry over colon cancer. Being 50 of course in the media right now there is a lot about colon cancer awareness and getting tested when one is 50 and over. I have not gone yet and there are a lot of others I know who have not. For me it is not covered fully at this time insurance wise and I had been last month stressing big time about the exam and worry over the issue as I was reading so much about it I think. It is not at all healthy to do no matter what we are obsessing about and when I stopped doing so (or tried to!!) I feel it did help ith the way I was feeling. Since you have no history and no blood , etc. (and I do not either), try not to worry which I know is a difficult task at this time!! I do think sometimes too when we are introducing new supplements it can cause things to look different or for us to have different patterns. But it is always good to bring it up to your doctor which you have been doing.
I can tell you from personal experience unfortunately that anxiety in my opinion is the biggest problem at this time. I am taking xanax which the doctor and gyn recommended as an anti-anxiety med when I need to. I know others on here are also and also take more long term meds for anxiety issues. The thing is our hormones are fluctuating so and that accounts for our emotions fluctuating too and getting obsessed about our health. It is very much a part of all this so do not feel you are alone as we are all in the same "peri boat" where the anxiety is concerned!!
I too take the vitamin b supplement, calcium, a multi vitamin and also am taking acidolphillus (don't know if I spelled that right!!) which helps our intestinal situation and can also be found in yogurt (but I have taken that for a long time, not just now). I also take Estroven which is an over the counter herbal/vitamin supplent for peri that the gyn suggseted. But I don't know if that really has helped much. I do think exercising more has and I have been trying to do something every day. Also reading these boards , current posts and past will help to alleviate some of the stress as you will see when you read them that many people are experiencing the same thing and that can be a HUGE comfort. I know it has to me. Some on here who have been thru this say that they had a real rough time and they are now feeling better as they are further along or into menopause now. That is also very helpful to hear and I keep telling myself, it is all a natural process and I will get thru it.
The anxiety as i said is very difficult and it does I think make matters worse. I am trying to keep it at bay as best I can and when I am successful, I feel more like myself. Unfortunately, sometimes I am more successful than other times!!
This is a long post but I just wanted you to know that I so relate to your issues and that you are certainly not alone.
I know two people going thru colon cancer and one of the things they both said was that it started with them feeling like they have to go to the bathroom all the time but nothing happens. In other words, they can't go. I don't think you should be worrying yourself nor do I think you have colon cancer. Keep in mind, anxiety makes your digestive system upset too and sometimes taking the magnesium does it too. If you had blood in your stools, it would be charcoal black. Put flaxseed (grounded) in your food everyday and I bet it'll help with any constipation.
Stress can also cause lots of back pain esp. sitting and working at a busy time as now in an accounting firm. A lot of tension can cause you to have backaches. Try and relax, take a hot bath, do stretches. You have gone thru many tests and all things have checked out!! Kittenlover posted that the cyst is normal!!
I positively agree with all those others that have replied to your post jana66. It is such a stressful time for us to go through no wonder we get anxious about our health. Heed their advice and try not to stress about it. Stress causes a vicious cycle that we need to break out of (not only for our health but our sanity!). Good luck to you.
I wanted to thank everyone for taking the time and responding to me. I cannot explain how much your answers calm me. I do have supportive family and friends, but I always feel that I come across as complaining all the time about everything that I go through. It is wonderful knowing that I can turn to all of you for support without feeling guilty about it. Thank you all so much and I will definately try to remember all of the advice given whenever my anxiety kicks in.
If money is not an issue, you can put your mind at ease about colon cancer by requesting a colonoscophy. At your age, without any symptoms, your insurance would probably not cover the procedure which is rather expensive, but at least you would have peace of mind.
Your bowel habits most likely have changed because of your anxiety.
I am also health anxious like crazy. I have had all of the symptoms you mentioned, and more. I started with a 10 lb wt loss in about 2 weeks, so they did a colonoscopy. If your insurance will pay and it will give you peace of mind, I would say go for it. I'm sure you're fine, but if you are like me, reassurance at this time is huge! Also, I've read that magnesium can cause diarrhea, so if you just started it, that could be the reason you're "going " so often. Hope you're better soon!
I know exactly how you feel. I worry all the time about whether or not I have breast cancer, cervical cancer, you name it. I have dealt with anxiety throughout my adult life, I'm now 49. Just yesterday I went to my doctor (couldn't see my regular dr. - he was out- so I had to see one of the young interns) for a sinus infection. She gave me the results of blood work I had done and told me that I was mildly anemic and suggested blood work to test my iron levels. (I just now came back from the lab). She also said to have a colonoscopy done. This really scared me. She didn't ask if I had heavy periods (I do/I'm going through perimenopause and my periods have gotten heavier), just talked about colon cancer. Now I'm really scared. I plan to talk to my regular doctor about this when he returns in two week. I guess I'll just be a nervous wreck until I talk to him. I have never heard of doing this for mild anemia. I just assumed that if my iron levels were low that I would have to take an iron supplement and keep checking my blood for my iron levels. Well, this is just one more thing I will worry about. Again, I know exactly how you feel!!