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    Old 08-10-2010, 06:25 PM   #1
    Setheran's Avatar
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    Anxiety worsening/creating symptoms

    I was wondering if anyone has had experience with fear and anxiousness over illness actually creating persistent, severely painful symptoms, while doctors are unable to find anything physically wrong.

    Three months ago I was diagnosed with Epididymitis, despite not being sexually active and missing some of the symptoms - all I had was the pain, and what seemed like a brief fever. I was put on antibiotics, things improved, and then after finishing the antibiotics the infection seemed to come back, bringing a very nasty fever with it that lasted several days. This also triggered some horrible panic attacks, which at the time I mistook for symptoms of a fever getting out of control. I live alone, far away from my family, so suffering like that in solitude was a very frightening experience and no doubt left some emotional scars.

    Between then and now, that cycle has repeated two or three more times. I take antibiotics for a week or two, things improve, and then a few days after the last pill the pain returns in full force and I start having panic attacks and feeling all sorts of nausea, light-headedness and weakness. Other symptoms have cropped up too - there was some kind of muscle spasm in my neck that lasted a week, a burning pain on the surface of my stomach that also lasted a week, and a lot of dizziness and foggy light-headedness. Some of these I'm sure are symptoms of anxiety or near-panic attacks, while others might just be side effects of the medication. Either way, it's just been one misery after another.

    I'm posting this in the anxiety board because recently my urologist essentially told me that since this had gone on so long without any physical evidence that he could find (urine and ultrasound tests were normal), he was convinced there was nothing he could do about whatever has been wrong with me, and said goodbye. So now I'm on my own, with only my most recent prescription of antibiotics to rely on.

    I'm seeing a great therapist now and taking some medication to help with the emotional distress and panic attacks, and I guess those things are improving. But the pain is still here, and I just can't figure out whether to treat it as a genuine threat to my health, or try to convince myself that it's all in my head and nothing is physically damaged.

    Can anyone relate to this or give me some advice?

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    Old 08-11-2010, 05:26 AM   #2
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    Re: Anxiety worsening/creating symptoms

    I'm so sorry to hear you are having such problems right now. It can be very difficult to determine if symptoms are anxiety related or an actual health problem. In my opinion, I would find another urologist for a second opinion, just to make sure. Doctors are just offering you their opinion and they are humans, so some make mistakes and some are just jerks. Some doctors like to blame everything on anxiety because they can't figure out what is going on. So, I would start with a new urologist then if you get the same answer, I would just continue with the therapist and meds. I wish you the best!

    Old 08-29-2010, 07:08 PM   #3
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    Re: Anxiety worsening/creating symptoms

    Your story seems very similar to mine Setheran. I just posted my story on the urology board at ymitis

    To summarize, I had chemical epididymitis occur from an unfortunate bladder-holding episode on December 28th, 2005. This chronic, dull ache in my right testicle caused me a lot of mental stress and anguish, since I thought that I had just ended my possibility of procreating or even enjoying sex. On March 6, 2006, I consulted a urologist, who said the issue was a painfully common one, and to keep taking anti-inflammatories and the problem should eventually go away. I left his office feeling quite hopeful back then, and that I'd have nothing to worry about anymore.

    Unfortunately, all that mental stress and uncertainty must have eventually caused something to snap; it just hadn't caught up with me yet. On March 12th, 2006, I woke up on a random Sunday morning feeling extremely foggy-brained, spaced-out, and out-of-it. I had done nothing out of the ordinary the night before, and was just playing video games. However, it felt like I was hung over or something, with that still-a-little-bit-drunk feeling. I remember telling family members how weird I felt, and that I might have a weird flu bug of some sort.

    A few days later with the symptoms not subsiding, I developed painful tension headaches. It felt like my head was being squeezed in a vice or that I was wearing a very tight ballcap. My temples and sides of my head were super tense and it felt like my head was full of pressure. This caused that "foggy" feeling to increase in severity by multiples. I was extremely worried at this point. After seeing my doctor about it, I was even ordered a CAT scan to check for a brain tumor. Thankfully it was negative.

    After the negative scan, I was sent to a neurologist, and had an EEG performed. Those tests were also negative. My doctor also had me take multiple blood tests, which all came back normal as well.

    My doctor then referred me for some massage therapy to help with stress and relieving tense muscles. I did an assortment of other therapies over the last 4 1/2 years as well, including chiropractic care, acupuncture, and I even saw a naturopath. All of these therapies I thought were slightly helpful in their own way, but I still never obtained complete relief. Thankfully, the problem just sort of slowly got better over time (albeit very gradually), however, I still do not have complete cessation of symptoms.

    At present day, I'm starting to suspect what others have suspected all along, that "It's all in your head". I had a few people suggest this and found it very insensitive at the time, since they had no idea what I was experiencing and how much effort I took to fix the problem. However, when I look at the big picture, and how close this problem occurred to my chemical epididymitis problem, it is definitely possible. By the way, that epididymitis problem has not been successfully cured, and I've had to deal with that as well over the past 4 1/2 years. Perhaps the fear of that aching pain all the time is what causes my whole body to stay in a state of tension.

    If you check out medically and medical professionals that do this for a living can't find anything wrong with you, it is entirely possible that your problems could be psychosomatic. I guess there is always the possibility that you might have something super rare or that the doctors missed something or misdiagnosed you, but that's probably your anxiety talking!

    Be well!

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