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  • I have MONO!! But could it be more?

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    Old 03-11-2010, 12:38 PM   #1
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    I have MONO!! But could it be more?

    Hey all--

    Within the past few months, I dealt with a very slight congestion in my nose. Nothing serious. As the months went on, it got slightly worse, but not too bad. My doc said i could have sinus/allergy problems due to the winter. About a week or two ago, a cold entered my house and my congestion got 10x worse. I also got headaches, and sneezing fits. As the days progressed, I grew increasingly fatigued, increasingly more congested, and more sinus pressure. It got to the point where my taste/smell was being manipulated severely. I figured it was a sinus infection, and tried a sinus rinse(which didnt work! I was too plugged up) , aswell as literally any other natural remedy. Around this time, ontop of all the congestion,fatigue, and head pressure..I began to have trouble throat tonsils burned and felt very swollen. My neck was EXTREMELY sore and all my lymph nodes and glandes were popping out of my neck. Frustrated, I went to an ENT(ear,nose &throat doctor)about 4 days ago. He said he thought I had mono. I was so confused, I thought I had a sinus infection! My congestion had gotten to the point where I cannot breathe through my nose, let alone smell or taste AT ALL. The bloodwork came back as positive for mono. Now, granted Im happy that it is mono, so now im not confused at to what I have, and all the symptoms matched up to be mono. except for nasal congestion. Is it common to have this bad of nasal congestion with mono? Its been about 7 days today that I havent tasted or smelt anything properly. Is this normal? My doctor said it was, due to everything in my throat being swollen from the mono, but I didnt feel reassured! Anyone have the same problems?! I just wanna know Ill taste/smell again someday, Ive read some terrible horror stories online!

    Please help, and any other advice on mono is well appreciated!

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    Old 03-17-2010, 09:28 AM   #2
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    Re: I have MONO!! But could it be more?

    Hi Jared,

    One thing I always try to explain to patients is something called "specificity" of symptoms. A specific symptom is one where, if you have the symptom, it points towards a diagnosis. So to give you an example: if someone comes in with a fever, headache and stiff neck, well, those things together are very SPECIFIC for meningitis. When doctors ask you questions, they are always looking for specific symptoms which can help point towards a diagnosis.

    However, most symptoms patients report are non-specific. In other words, they don't really help point towards a diagnosis. Common non-specific symptoms include: fatigue, dizziness, diffuse weakness, etc. etc. It's not to say these symptoms aren't important and/or distressing to the patient, they just don't aid in a diagnosis.

    To give an example of non-specificity: 3 patients can present with the following:
    Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting....these are VERY non-specific. One patient may have gastroenteritis (stomach flu), one could have pancreatic cancer, one could have a brain tumour. So again, those three symptoms are very non-specific, and to help with a diagnosis, the doctor must ask further questions.

    Mononucleosis is the immune system's reaction to certain viruses (usually Epstein-Barr virus) which causes many "flu-like" symptoms in people, but symptoms that are non-specific. Runny nose, fatigue, muscle pains etc. etc. HOWEVER, one thing that is SOMEWHAT specific to mono is the lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph glands) you get. So what I mean to say is that, one can't really say your runny nose is not consistent with mono because it's a non-specific symptom which can be seen in many viral infections including EBV.

    That said, you DO have a very specific bloodtest (i.e. the monospot) which DOES help us with the diagnosis. Maybe runny nose is not seen 100% of the time with mono, it's defiinitely not unheard of.

    I hope you start feeling better soon! Does my mention of "specificity" make sense?

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