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Willapp 03-07-2006 09:17 AM

Does my girlfriend have an illness?
We've been together for nearly 10 months now, and for most of this time she is always complaining about the things that are wrong with her. I don't mind this at all (complaining isn't the right word really), but I wonder if there is actually a 'root cause' of the problems, like a condition or disease but I don't really want to bring it up with her as it's not much of a nice topic! Sometimes she says people must think her a hypochondriac but she genuinely believes all her problems are real and I've no reason to doubt she's telling the truth.

The symptoms, as far as I can tell, go like this:

1) Fatigue. She's always tired, seemingly regardless of how much sleep she has had. Although she does a physical job working at her family's steel fabrication company, I'm not convinced it explains being so tired all the time, though she seems to think it does.

It isn't so bad that she can't do anything in the evenings, but more about her always 'feeling tired'. We do generally go to bed early (10-11pm) and get up around 7am, so I wouldn't think it's a lack of sleep (though point 2 might suggest it could be a combination).

2) Being uncomfortable in bed. She does find it hard to sleep sometimes, though mainly it's waking up early in the morning and being uncomfortable. She finds it impossible to lay in at the weekends, as once she's awake she feels so uncomfortable in bed that she has to get up.

3) Headaches and/or neck pain. She has been to the doctor/chiropracters about this. The headaches are apparently 'tension headaches' probably caused by the neck pain. The chiro does say she has a lot of tension in her neck/shoulders, but this doesn't seem to get much easier even after her chiro sessions.

4) Feeling sick/stomach pains. She has been diagnosed with IBS, but has tablets (colofac?) for this, and she tried to steer clear of anything with lactose in it, as she's pretty sure that she has a lactose intolerance (stomach pains much worse after drinking milk, even just in a cup of tea). These precautions don't make the sickness/stomach pains go away completely though.

5) Frequent toilet trips. We joke about it, but she seems to spend half the evening going to the toilet (urinating) - sometimes as regularly as every 20 or 30 minutes for 2 or 3 hours at a time (or even more). She does drink a lot of tea (maybe 6-8 cups a day) but otherwise doesn't have that much fluid intake. I drink 4 or 5 cups of tea a day, and a LOT of water but don't need the toilet half as often as her.

6) Aching pains in her arms/legs. About a month ago she started getting a bad pain in her knee, saying it felt like it was "insider her knee cap" when I asked exactly where it hurt. She visited the doctor after it failed to get any better within about 7 days (remember she needs to be mobile for her work), and he prescribed anti-inflammatories but they had no effect.

After about 10 more days the pain did go away, but more recently she started getting pain in her upper left arm. She said it didn't hurt any more/less if I pressed or rubbed it, but it hurt lifting her arm up and particularly performing activities like taking her top off (not that I minded helping here there... ;) )

She was convinced that it hadn't started hurting as a direct result of anything she'd done at work, and we swapped sides in bed so she could sleep facing the other way, so as to be more comfortable with her arm, but all this seems to have achieved is now both her arms hurt! Her sleeping positions haven't changed recently, so I wouldn't expect either arm to be hurting as a direct result of her sleeping on them badly, though I might not be helping things.

Inflammation isn't likely as she was still taking the anti-inflammatories for her knee when the arm pain started, and surely this would suggest it's something else. Also she again has some pain in her knee, though this time it's the other one, and also we both noticed a small-ish red mark on her knee cap right in the middle (about the size of thumb print so not that small). This could be something entirely random, or is it?

Last update is she went to the doctor yesterday and explained about the arm pains (but didn't mention my points 1 - 5 above as she doesn't think they're relevant, much as I did suggest she mention them). The doctor took some blood samples to "rule out inflammation and 'other things'", but wouldn't elaborate on what these 'other things' were.

Is it possible to detect inflammation in blood tests? Does anyone know what else he could be testing for? I've not discussed my concerns that she might be suffering with something to her, but now she is a bit worried about what the doctor meant with his 'other things'. She has another appointment in a week, but if anyone can suggest what the problem might be, it would be good to know.

Basically she is happy to think that most of the problems are unrelated, or fairly trivial when considered individually. Whenever she's been to the doctor she has never mentioned all of the above problems in one go, and this is why I wonder if they are related but she can't see it, and obviously the doctor is none the wiser if she won't tell all her problems together. Should I try and perusade her that something might be wrong, and that it can only benefit her to tell the doctor everything? I know she is fed up "feeling ill all the time".


Misty800 03-07-2006 10:46 AM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
There are two possibilities I might suggest. She may be diabetic and needs to be checked for that. Frequent urinating is a symptom.

The aching, hurting, etc. could be "fibromyalgia", in other words something women are more suspectable to getting and little is known about it and no cure. It is thought to be a disease caused by the autoimmune system. It is not necessarily inflammation. Actually doctors do not know the cause either.

I have fibromyalgia and regardless of how many hours sleep I get I wake up tired, aching. I too have hurting muscles in upper arms, many other places. The aching, hurting, fatigue is more intense at times than others. Weather change really does a number on me.

I live with aches, pains, etc., life goes on. I now have a 3" foam mattress plus 2 of the 2" memory foam pads on my bed. This helps to relieve pressure on my body, otherwise I hurt all night long.

She should be seen by a rheumatologist and definitely checked for diabetes.

Believe me, no one understands what living with pain, fatigue is until they personally experience it. A person with fibromyalgia will look like a picture of health regardless of the misery they suffer. I do not take fibro meds (usually depression type meds are given), just live with it and when it gets too rough take Tylenol. A person's positive attitude will go a long ways to helping cope with the misery. If a person moans and groans, most likely they are too focused on their misery. I am not saying your girlfriend should not mention how she feels to you, but putting on a poor me show should not be either. A spouse or partner should be considerate and supporting, but, not pacifying.

Her physical work load should be reduced to what she is able to handle at this time.

Until she is checked out by a rheumatologist and checked for diabetes, she most likely will not feel better. Just finding out what the problem really is will relieve some of the worry and stress.

Sunlover 03-07-2006 11:49 AM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
This all could be stress and anxiety - is she a hyper person? High strung? Just worrying about health all the time will create symptoms. ALL those are symptoms of anxiety disorder - except knee pain and arm pain, but if she's all stressed out over health and is concentrating let's say on the knee, it will hurt and will continue to hurt until she stops obsessing. I can't tell you all I did to myself from anxiety!! I messed up my stomach so bad from worrying about it, I finally had to get an endoscopy, and when I found out there was nothing wrong, in 1 week all my symptoms disappeared after being there for over a year! And the problems ARE real, she is experiencing these things physically. Just because something is from anxiety doesn't mean the problems are IMAGINED.
The other things he could be testing for are anemia for one, a bladder infection possibly and diabetes. A strain in the arm could hurt for a LONG time - possibly a year or more! And it could be something she didn't even remember doing.

morrisun 03-07-2006 12:18 PM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
Has she been tested for Celiac Disease? I was misdiagnosed for over 10 years and I had a lot of the same symptoms she had. Good luck!

Willapp 03-08-2006 03:43 AM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
Misty, thanks for the reply.

I think Fibromyalgia is a possibility, and it's actually something I've looked into before. I might mention it to her once the results are back from the latest blood tests and we've found out what the doctor has to say.

The difficulty is that the symptoms, particulary the pain, could I'm sure be down to the work she does - lifting fairly heavy bits of steel, welding, cutting, drilling etc - all fairly intense on the body.

However, in the past couple of years she has cut down her working hours from 7am-5pm to 8am-5pm, but I don't think there has been a noticeable improvement which in some respects does suggest to me that the work might not be the direct cause.

The problem is that, with it being a family business, her Dad who is in charge - whilst being understanding of her often feeling ill/tired/in pain - doesn't like her working shorter hours or being off sick too much because they are a small company and it puts them behind with their workload. She knows that her health is the primary concern though, but at the same time doesn't like letting her Dad down at work so probably still works harder than she ought to.

I'm going to speak to her once the doctor has had his say, and see if we can take it from there - my only concern is that, if she really does have a problem, that it gets diagnosed as soon as possible so it can be treated and hopefully she won't feel so bad about it. I think part of her annoyance at always being ill is purely down to not knowing why - she sometimes says she's cursed, but I don't think that's true!

Misty800 03-08-2006 02:36 PM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
Do not be surprised if the doctor finds nothing wrong with her blood work. Fibromyalgia does not show up in tests, x-rays or anything. Tests are done to rule out other possible causes. For years it was considered all in a woman's head, but, since 1984 doctors have come to realize it is much more than that even tho they have no clue what causes it and have no cure. You see, some men doctors got the problem and then things began to change, they did not accept it being in "their heads". More women than men get fibro.

It is possible she has arthritis brewing in her body. Inflammation in the body can be very miserable/painful.

Willapp 03-09-2006 03:28 AM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
Arthritis is a possibility I guess, I know her Mum suffers a bit with it even though she's relatively (?) young (late 40's).

However, I thought arthritis was mainly stiff/sore joints? This doesn't seem to be the same thing as she says the pain feels more 'in the muscles' or possibly the tendons. She says it hurts more, or is more noticeable, when resting or doing a specific activity - like undressing - than when she is at work using her body generally.

I'm just concerned that she doesn't think, or want to believe, that there could be something behind all the symptoms, but I know she'll be better off finding out one way or the other. We'll see what the doctor comes back with - he took 4 samples of blood and we don't know what other tests he was planning - then take things from there.

Thanks for your input.

shinetype2 04-02-2006 05:01 PM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
I would suggest 2 things get here iron checked for enemia it can cause all sorts of complants and also if she is drinking alot and peeing alot get her sugar tested ASAP. Diabeties can strick at any age I was diagnosed at 33. I was tired all the time no matter how much I slept thirsty all the time and I was peeing all the time. A person should be able to sleep all night most nights with out getting up to pee. good luk

twizliz 04-03-2006 09:06 PM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
Has she been checked for mono? And also how old is she?

Willapp 04-04-2006 02:06 AM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
What is mono? She's only 23.

Misty800 04-04-2006 10:02 AM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
Mono, short for Mononucleosis is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Symptoms of mono are fever, sore throat, headaches, white patches on the back of your throat, swollen glands in your neck, feeling tired and not feeling hungry.

Mono is sometimes referred to as the "kissing disease" and is transferred like colds, etc.

twizliz 04-04-2006 03:37 PM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
Over in the UK I believe it is called "Glandular Fever"

MadelynsMom 04-06-2006 07:40 AM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
She could be depressed, or she could have diabetes or fybromialga (sp?) The other things that the doctor mentioned could be thousands of possibilities. He may check her thyroid *also would make her tired if something is wrong* he will probably do a CBC, which will check her red/white count. If she has inflamation, her white cells will be elevated. My aunt has fybromialga, and her white count runs 7-8,ooo. The stomache problems could be many things as well, but stress/anxiety/depression can cause all the symptoms you mentioned. *Except the peeing*. How long has this been going on? Well, hope I could help.

alltaurus 04-20-2006 08:22 AM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
Sounds to my like symptoms of stress. She may be getting to bed early, but not sleeping well. It will also cause nervousness (going to the bathroom alot) stomach ailments etc.

kerri0500 04-20-2006 08:58 AM

Re: Does my girlfriend have an illness?
Let us know what the bllod tests say! She needs to tell the doc about ALL the symptoms. The stomach thing could easily be acid reflux. Also check the meds because sometimes they can cause frequent urination.

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