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    Old 05-10-2004, 10:14 AM   #1
    twanger
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    Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Has anyone developed a health anxiety while going through perimenopause. It seems that every ache, or new set of problems, I have puts me into a "tailspin" and I come to the conclusion that I am dying, immediately. I have had irritable bladder and bowel, TMJ ( thought was cancer of the brain), palpatations with joint pain around the ribs on the left side. You guessed it, I was dying of a heart attack. Now I have hip and knee pain which is naturally bone cancer. I joke now, but most of the time these feelings make me miserable. Just wondering if others are in the same place that I am. I hope these thoughts dissappear soon because I would like to be peaceful again.

     
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    Old 05-10-2004, 11:18 AM   #2
    rmc12
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Hi Twanger,

    I can totally relate and I know that others will soon echo this feeling in posts to you. Anxiety is a huge symptom for me and others in perimenopause it seems. I fret over every little twinge just like you said. And I jump to the worst of conclusions about them all. Of course it is always best to consult your doctor and/or gyn about any concerns you have but even though I have done that and my guess is you have too, the anxiety still lingers. I try to be rational about it and do a lot of "self talk" as a remedy repeating to myself what the gyn has told me and how I did check things out and my bloodwork is fine, and other tests are fine, etc. etc. and yet when I am in irrational mode, the anxiety does take over. I have found thru reading this board that there are a great many women going thru the same health anxieties.

    I have hip and back problems due to osteoartritis and that is more flared up during my cycle and in general during this "lovely" perimenopause stage. Even intestinal stuff can be more emphasized, such as gas, etc and I have found that to be so as have others. But as much as I have read it and know that this is all perimenopause I still experience anxiety over things , sometimes more so than others. RIght now my period is due (it is day 27) and so anxiety is high for me. Seems the week after my period and the next week too I am better and then midcyle comes earlier and the whole scenario of twinges and anxiety creeps back. I was really more stressed in March and then I started reading this board and other things and it helped to know others are experiencing the same thing.

    I take Xanax for anxiety as I know others do. This was originally given me as I am a nervous flyer so I only took it once or twice a year when we traveled. But it was recently suggested to me by both my gyn and doctor for perimenopausal anxiety but not to take it more than two times a week. So I can take that if need be.

    Also there are others who I am sure may post you that are taking other drugs or antidepressants and have been helped with that.

    Then there are a whole regime of natural vitamins and supplements that one can take. There is a book that a lot of people talk of that I am going to get called Before the Change: Taking Charge of your Perimenopause by Anne Louise Gittleman. I have not read it yet but I know there are many on this board who swear by vitamins that are mentioned in the book and supplements that are for different symtpoms and one being anxiety. I am going to check it out as I have been very impressed with what I have read on this board which everyone's success with it. I am sure others who are already taking supplements ,etc will soon be by to answer your post too. Right now I take a multi vitamin and Vitamin B and Calcium. But I know I could be doing more to help with symptoms and need to be.

    A birth control pill , low dose, was also suggested by my gyn but I have not taken it yet. SOme say that helps too with balancing the hormones and that is what the cause of the anxiety is the hormones bouncing all over and getting us all out of whack as far as symtpoms physically and emotionally.

    I try to remember this when I am in the midst of these anxieties over my health ...that my hormones are doing this to me and I also try to breathe deeply and slowly and calm myself. Just knowing too that others are going thru the same thing does help.

    This is a long post but I just wanted you to know you are not alone and I too share your feelings very strongly!! As I said, sometimes I can quell my fears and anxiety better than others and it does fluctuate as our hormones do!!

    rmc

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 11:30 AM   #3
    kc1216
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Oh Gawd I'm so P'd I could spit! I had this whole thing typed out and I lost it somehow. Anyway, your life mirrors mine to the "t" and probably many more women on this board.

    I have the anxiety as well - this is the one thing I cannot COMPLETELY get rid of. This is how it all started:

    February 14, 2004 (perfect day for this, huh)?

    Dr. Visit #1: Felt I was getting a UTI and went to the Urologist. He gave me some sulpha tabs and pyridium and told me to come back in a week. It never really came to a full infection - just had to urinate ALOT, even after I would finish urinating. Plus I had all sorts of "pressure" down there. I still get this but not as often. Plus my period was due and it never really came. Before this started, I bled heavily with MAJOR cramps and clots.

    Dr. Visit #2: Back to the urologist. Still having symptoms. He couldn't find anything wrong with me. Said I have Cystitus and was having a "flare". Stay on the pyridium.

    Dr. visit #3: Now I'm at the walk in with chest pains. Thought it could have had something to do with the use of Pyrdium. Doctor did EKG, and other stuff - checked out fine. Gave me Paxil to relax. Also put me on Nexium - said I had acid reflux.

    Nexium helped for about a week. Also changed my diet - cut out all caffeine - which helped. Taking B, Calcium, Zinc & Magnesium - all helping but still feel the chest pain - this sometimes shoots into my arms, making my fingers numb. Also get leg cramps and dull back aches as well. I'VE NEVER BEEN THIS SICK IN MY LIFE - HECK, I NEVER WENT TO A DOCTOR UNLESS IT WAS FOR MY ANNUAL.

    Dr. Visit #4 - Back to the walk in for a follow up. Told him the Paxil didn't do anything for me - made me feel more nervous if anything. Took me off of that, gave me Xanax. THAT WORKED. Only took 1/2 pill a day but I swear it took away EVERYTHING - but I know it's only a mask, not a solution but what do I care anyway - I'm sick of this and if it helps, I'll take it.

    Dr. Visit #5 - starting to forget how many visits I've had already. Back to the walk in - follow up again with another EKG. Checked out fine. Dr. won't give me any more Xanax because of addiction problems with it. He only gave me 12 in the first place. So I went online and bought them. Did a thyroid test - came back negative.

    Dr. Visit #6 - STILL anxiety to the max. Was on the phone with my mother - she started "her change" at 37. I am 39. Asked the doctor for a hormone test - he agreed after telling him about my mom.

    Dr. called - test came back - hormone levels weren't right. We called the gyno and he faxed my results to him.

    Dr. Visit #7 - at the gyno now - put me on low bc pills (yasmin 24). Still taking an occasional xanax. Feeling better but not great - not only do I have the anxiety (heart palps, nervousness, numbness, dizziness) but I am now CONSTIPATED - I mean doubled over in pain if I go out to eat or eat something fatty. Plus I bloat so bad I can't fit into my clothes and those aren't tight to begin with!

    Dr. Visit #8 - last week - Gastro. Real nice guy. Gave me Zelnorm - it is helping but at first it felt like I gave myself an enema - but now I am almost going on a daily basis. Because of that, the gas went away, the bloating is gone, the chest pain isn't as much as it was. So now I'm on my bc pill and zelnorm - plus vitamins when I remember to take them.

    Believe me, I thought I was going to die - I've never been sick in my life. This was all at once which the doctor said it could happen this way. so many of us are having problems all at once. I guess our bodies don't react so well with hormonal changes. I am reading From Panic to Power and it's helping to explain what I feel and how to deal with it. I've read most books that were recommended to me on this board. If it wasn't for this place, I'd be insane. Drs. are great but they aren't going through it - everyone here is.

    So sorry to ramble, but it felt good to get it all out. I am due for my period next week - breasts real real sore but who knows if I'll get it. Getting lighter in amount but darker in color.

    What are you experiencing w/ your bladder - same thing I had? My joint pain goes into my fingers and feet. If I lay on the couch too long, it kills to get up. Feel like an 80 year old.

    Just know you are not alone. I hope you feel better soon.

    KC

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 11:58 AM   #4
    Gatormom
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Hi all, I'm 53 and postmenopausal; just had to comment on the whole anxiety thing - - from heart palpitations to joint pains, I have been convinced I'm seriously ill so many times this last 5 years, I can't count them! Someone I work with tells me "it's not a tumor!" every time I come up with a new thing. Of course sleep disturbances fit right in the picture, since you can then lie awake and worry and imagine and spiral right into pure fear....
    I do think hormones raging up and down cause so much of this stuff. Plus we are bombarded with tv and magazines, etc, with bits and pieces of studies, that may or may not apply to us. Too much information! I take a number of vitamins, walk for exercise, and try to relax when I notice a symptom. I do take hormones as well, and for me they prevent hot flashes and I sleep so much better. We all have to find what works and a doctor who works with us, too. Just wanted to tell the original poster that I'm sympathizing with her!
    Cheers, Gatormom

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 12:01 PM   #5
    Lilly1
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    I don't get too anxious (at least more than is normal for me) but do have a UTI story. About 10 years ago, when I was in my late 30's, I had all the symtoms but no obvious reason. I was referred to a urologist. I told him I believed I needed to see a gyn, as I believed it was related to the female plumbing. My GP had already sent me for several other tests, with no results. After the urologist put me through even more, and a few more months went by, he finally came to the conclusion that I needed to see a gyn.
    The pyridium helped. I was going through some hormonal changes as well as watching my marriage fall apart. I never did find out what caused it but it went away on it's own.
    I am taking many of the supplements recommended by the book. I can see a real improvement in just a week. My outlook is better and I can think again. I just about wore out my poor boyfriend last weekend.
    Everyone keeps telling me to hang in there and it will get better. I guess I don't have another choice do I?
    Lilly

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 12:02 PM   #6
    twanger
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! You both sound so much like me. Yes, my UTI symptoms sound just like you. I tried the pyridium and most of the time that worked. However, I still get real worried and start on an antibiotic which leads to a yeast infection. I have found, that the cystitis sometimes occurs with certain foods I eat but maybe that's just my imagination ( I have a powerful one). I have been having the UTI (?) problem for about a year. The jaw pain comes and goes and all the other pains come and go but only after I fret about them and use up most of my energy trying to convince myself that I am not dying. Then, the next "horrifying" symptom shows up. I have read "Panic to Power" and it helped somewhat, however, it did not help enough. Keep on posting, it helped me alot.

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 12:06 PM   #7
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Hello. And so here is the 3rd in line in which I am basically going through everything everyone else is on this subject. Mine started at the end of February, a week before my period was due. I ended up in ER, thought I was having a heart attack. I was so thirsty too that there wasn't enough water for me. It was anxiety. My period came the next day. It was light as it has been light for quite sometime. Then came more anxiety and another period two weeks later, then spotting on and off with hot flashes, etc. I was in and out of doctors offices, thought for sure it was the thyroid. Thyroid was checked 3 times, and normal. So here I am with IBS, nervousness to where my hands tremble, muscle cramps and charlie horses in my calves and buttocks, nice, ehh? I took the generic to Prozac this morning, just half to see how it would react on me. That only amounted to 5 mg. I felt okay, just still with the nervousness. It did help with the anxiety a bit, spoke to gyne who said it was all related to change and hypothalmus gland that pretty much controls the body temperature, adrenaline, etc. I told her I thought I was on cortisol overdose, LOL That's how it feels! Like a drank a pot of coffee. Now my hot flashes began on Sunday and they're here real strong. Heck, it's only my midcycle, but here they come again. I'm taking so many pills, I just can't take another one. I'm not a pill taker as is, maybe a multi-vitamin, but now I'm taking mag, calcium, multi, prozac, have Xanax if needed and antibiotic (almost done, thank God!) for UTI. I too have pain everywhere, muscle cramps and feel like I'm visiting Hell! My gyne is great, and I told her that I know I sound obsessive right now, but I just can't get a grip on the body deal! I use to be fine and now I'm just riding a rollercoaster that I want off, calmly! I have no clue when these tremors and nervousness will stop, but I can't blame it on Prozac cause I had it before I took it (just started this morning). It hasn't made it worse, so I don't know. The IBS, pains in chest, arms, legs, ovaries, bladder, lower back....is just plaine ole hell! I have no clue why our hormones have to reak havac on us but this seems to be where many of us are right now. Yes, I have jumped from doc to doc, and now I'm at the last doc, my gyne. She ran hormones on me too, but they were done on day 6 and my FSH was almost 13 when it should have been 5 or less. So this is where I'm at. I have one good week, still with the jitters though, and that's when my period starts after I get over the most horrible cramps ever! Then it all starts again. Oh, I forgot, I'm also using the progesterone creme. But when anxiety sets in, I don't think anything works it's max until we rid the anxiety. And that doesn't seem to be easy. So I'm with KC, RMC and our newcomer. from hormones!

    Andrea

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 12:29 PM   #8
    Elrich
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Add me to the list. I have seen more doctors in the past year and half than I think I have in my entire life. My anxiety started a little over a year ago. Doc couldn't figure out why I was having anxiety attacks so late in life (just turned 50) and he finally concluded that it was peri.

    I've had every ache and pain known to womankind and of course always thought it was something else. The gastro woes are the worst and I added a gastroenterologist to my list of docs. I even had a colonoscopy on Friday to rule anything out (I'm sure I had it sooner rather than a little bit later this year). I even had myself believing the gas,etc. was due to ovarian cancer.

    Let's face it, the internet while our friend during most times, can be an enemy at others. Too much information, not to mention being bombarded w/tv ads for every known malady with of course, all sypmtoms sounding alike.

    While I'm sorry that we are all going through this, it's nice to know that we're each not going through this alone.

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 12:48 PM   #9
    kc1216
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    I really wish they had instant messaging on here - when I'm in a rage or have any type of peri-related anything, I can hop on and get live support.

    It's amazing how we deal with these symptoms and like it was said - the internet can be a little dangerous. Up until this board, I was diagnosing myself with everything - from ready scarey articles and looking up too much stuff on cancer. But at the same time, it's like non of us ever got ALL of these symptoms at once so what else are we gonna do?

    This is the only board I'll read and post on. I feel comfortable here and have learned alot from what everyone else has said. I look forward to jumping on here every day - was tough yesterday - I was so mad - our internet was down. It really calms me down.

    As for the bladder thing - it went away and I have no idea how or why. I've taken so many pills I cannot keep track. Not sure if it was the vitamins, pyridum, xanax or what. I do know that you can by the Uristat at a regular pharmacy - it works the same magic as Pyridium. I was on the Pyridium Plus - had some sort of bartitol in it which made me jumpy so I stopped and just bought the Uristat.

    And once my period gets here - everything goes away and then slowly creeps back once my period ends. I also got the spotting like Andrea - haven't gotten it at all this month since I've been on the low dose bc.

    Twanger - can you tell me what foods cause your bladder to act up?

    Andrea - I pay particular attention to your posts because you explain everything so well - black and white - your doctor sounds great. I learn alot from what she tells you and you share with us.

    RMC - when are you leaving for vacation?

    Elrich - Did your gastro give you Zelnorm or anything? So far it is working with me but I still need to get a colonoscopy done.

    KC

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 12:56 PM   #10
    rmc12
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Hi again,

    I just thought I'd jump in here again after reading ELRICH's post...
    she said " The gastro woes are the worst " and that is me all over the place. I just fret over every little gas twinge which I know comes very much as a part of my cycle now but I still fret. And ELRICH is so right, although the internet at its best can be a good source...like right now...talking to all of you...it can also be at its worst a hindrance as it gives us so much info on things we look up and it may not at all have anything to do with what we are giong thru. Then we start to worry when we read the symptoms of this or that and suddenly : Anxiety to the max!!

    I again was helped by this board though in reading Elrich's post and how she mentioned the gastro stuff and worrying about it. I have a first colonscopy coming up next year and I know I will fret over that one too!!

    As Ainfante said ". The IBS, pains in chest, arms, legs, ovaries, bladder, lower back....is just plaine ole hell! " AMEN!! and it is true that it is a rollercoaster it seems of how we are feeing depending on where our hormones are that day. My gyn said that a FSH test would not be reliable right now (I just turned 50) as the hormones are so all over the place. She said by the fact that I am 50 of course I am in perimenopause and each one of us is very unique with what symtpoms they have. She also said if one had bad PMS then their PMS will be way worse and prolonged now and earlier. I can attest to that wholeheartedly unfortunately. That is my biggest complaint. This includes the anxiety with it. She also said that irritated bowel, and that kind of thing will be worse also at this time. So I try to keep thinking of all that and realizing it is all coming from that. But it is hard.

    I am hoping the book will help. I have heard such glowing things on this board from everyone who has followed it. I am not a good pill taker so I always hesitate but I have to do something.

    The birth control pills if I take them are taken the Sunday after I get my next period or the Sun after which ever period I decide to start with (I may wait till next month as we are going away soon on vacation so do not want to start while on vacation). I know KC has said the Yasmin low dose birth control pill has helped her. Someone in this thread said that everyone has to find what is good for them and that is true. I am willing to give the vitamins and supplements a try and also if I need to the birth control pills as all these symptoms do affect our daily life and I just want to feel like ME again!! There are times I really do...Saturday was mostly a really good day and then who knows what the hormones did on Sunday but something went haywire!! Of course my period is due and so I know this is part of the up and down quality to things. It is like this is the new reality of how it is right now and we have to cope with it the best we can in any way that helps.

    rmc

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 01:00 PM   #11
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    My God, I wish I'd discovered this board when I was peri. It's like reading my life. I've said the exact same words as others: "I've never seen so many doctors in my entire life as I had in that one year and a half." I had the chest pain too, was given Nexium which didn't do anything because I didn't HAVE acid reflux! I too had the bladder troubles - I was convinced it was bladder cancer. Along with gastro troubles (bloat, funny noises, churning) I honestly didn't know whether it was gastro, uro, or gyno! I remember I was scheduled for an abdominal ultrasound where you have to drink the 32 ounces of water and I did a rehearsal the day before and it was just too painful to hold even 8 ounces. I had to cancel the ultra - I knew I wouldn't make it through. I recall trimming the tree that Christmas with tears streaming down my face - I just had this overwhelming feeling of doom - like I was just not going to make it, even though I wasn't in extreme pain or tired or anything. Just depression I guess. I also had a colonoscopy - when that came back normal I guess it relieved most of my anxiety and I started feeling better. The bladder pressure went away too. But then it came back a few weeks later - not as bad as before so I was able to make it thru the ultrasound, which also came out fine. The bladder thing eventually went away on its own - I guess from reading all this I can now conclude it was due to hormone effects on the muscles maybe. But it was all just so awful and I honestly had no clue it was peri till I discovered this board, much later. I had thought peri was just irregular periods and hot flashes - had no idea it affected absolutely everything!

    Nornie

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 01:30 PM   #12
    kc1216
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Goes to show you where my hormones are at - one minute fine, the next wanting to cry. Just read Nornie's post about the part where she was trimming her Christmas tree in tears - that is SO SAD.

    When I was at the urologist, they asked me to empty my bladder which I did. Then they did some ultrasound thing on me (small machine that made clicking noises) and the nurse kept insisting that I didn't empty my bladder properly because it was still full. Now I thought I was good at it - been potty trained since I was 3.

    Gyno told me that it's all a part of hormones. Now I don't feel so bad.

    Doctors are great ..... if you get a good one.


     
    Old 05-10-2004, 01:51 PM   #13
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Hi again...

    Nornie : you said you wished you had found the board when you went thru perienopause. When did you go thru it? So are you in menopause now? I just turned 50 and hope these symptoms subside soon!! I know how you felt , feeling you were just not going to get thru it all. The hormones really make one feel so helpless. I am so disappointed that here I am ready to go on a vacation I have so looked forward to and am not feeling like myself and so want to be. I do have some days where I do but not as many as I'd like.

    I have a cousin who is 57 and went had her last period at 53 and I remember her talking in her 40s about a lot of the things that we all are going thru. She says NOW after getting to Menopause that it is all "an amazing and beautiful thing"!! LOL!! I told her to tell me when I get to the amazing and beautiful part!! I think she is NUTS!! LOL!!

    Used to be in the good old days (just a year ago) I got some general PMS symptoms and then a sinus headache before my period, then cramps with diarrhea. I thought that was bad at the time!! Still have the last two and now the PMS is LOOOONNNNG and comes earlier as I get my period earlier (25 days, usually, but today is day 27 and not here yet, although I have had some brownish discharge almost tan really last week,does anyone get that. The doctor said it is old blood). The twinges I get also are complicated due to osteoarthritis in my back which is worse now they say too. and since it is in the hip lower back that is connected to the pelvis and so makes things more pronounced. I really have to self talk and tell myself : no it is not your appendix, gall bladder, intestines, etc. etc. et . as i certainly would not be able to eat or tolerate things. But when the pMS hits and keeps going all these little symptoms do creep up. I also know that anxiety makes it all worse.

    KC : In answer to your question, we leave for our vacation May 16th and return on the 31st. As I said I am disappointed I do not feel more like me but hopefully my period will come beforehand and I will have a good week during it or all of it would be nice!!
    I am with you about these boards...it is helpful to know that others are going thru things and I some time will find myself using some self talk with your words or Ainfante's that will calm me... so thanks to you both and all of you!! Did have to take a Xanax yesterday and was wondering how often you take it? I feel if it is going to help me I have to do something. Have you read the Gittleman book by the way? and are you following anything from it? I am going to the bookstore after work today. The people that talk about it on this board sound so much into it and very much helped by it.

    Thanks again to all of you again and for listening and this post "Health Anxiety" sure fits me to a tee and I could not believe it came up today when I am in that mode it seems!!

    rmc

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 01:52 PM   #14
    Elrich
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    My internist told me to add Benefiber to my daily diet (I'm not sure that's working) and prescribed Zelnorm and I took it for a while but it didn't do anything for me. I take a lot of Gas-X and a friend just told me to take Oatbran (850mg). That's supposed to be very high fiber.

    Although I still have gastro distress, the fact that I know what it's not and that my GYN suggested it was hormonal AND it's all corroborated by what you all have to say, I think I am prepared to try to just live w/it until it passes (no pun intended

    I think that there are many questions that we have that will remain unanswered for who knows how long.
    Have a great night.

     
    Old 05-10-2004, 01:57 PM   #15
    kc1216
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    Re: Health Anxiety Anyone?

    Elrich,

    How much Zelnorm were you told to take a day?

    I was supposed to take 2 6mg tabs a day - one in the morning and one at night. I've only been taking 1 at night. The first time I had major "D" but now I seem to be a bit better - not great but no more "D". I might try one in the morning as well.

    KC

     
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