Yesterday was my long-awaited visit with my doctor to discuss my ongoing tummy issues. The other purpose of the visit was to get her opinion on the possible cause of my constant fatigue, extreme sensitivity to cold, dry skin, hair loss, and inability to lose weight (in spite of working out and cleaning up my diet).
The visit began with the general check of my weight, blood pressure, temp, and questions regarding my lifestyle habits. All factors measure in the normal range. Then the nurse asked me why I was visiting the office. Mid-way thru my litany of complaints, I stopped and said “I am sure you think I’m crazy.”
Her reply surprised me “No, I don’t. You are someone who lives a healthy lifestyle. If you are in here, then the issues must be real and serious.”
My doctor agreed. She patiently listened as I listed my complaints and together we came up with an action plan.
Bloating of stomach, pain in lower abdomen– My doctor immediately suspected some type of infection, most likely, H. plyori. H. plyori, or Helicobacter pylori is a type of bacteria that is a major cause of stomach (gastric) and upper small intestine (duodenal) ulcers. A simple blood test which looks to see if my body has produced antibodies to the H. Plyori bacteria was performed, and I tested positive. That result earned me a 2 week prescription for antibiotics.
Pain in the upper right quadrant of my abdomen – My doctor pressed on several areas of my abdomen without issue. However, when she applied pressure to the upper right quadrant, I immediately felt pain. This is the area where my gallbladder is located. Given the pain there, plus my complain that fried/fatty/or heavy meals make the pain worse, prompted her to order a blood test to measure my amylase and lipase levels. These tests often indicate acute pancreatitis, which goes hand in hand with gallbladder disease. If the levels are abnormal, the next diagnostic test will be an ultrasound to determine if the gallbladder has stones or is diseased.
Constant fatigue,sensitivity to cold, dry skin, hair loss – I told my doctor that I had done research and that my symptoms where similar to those of someone with a low functioning thyroid. However, her more immediate concern is that I am anemic – and I may be losing blood in my stools (sorry if this is TMI) due to the infection. Therefore, she order a CBC and CMP. If I am anemic, then I am likely to be started on an iron supplement. If this is not the case, we will move forward with additional thyroid function tests.
If you’ve read all that then you deserve a gold star! In short, I am taking antibiotics for two weeks, waiting on test results, and then determining what my next steps will be. While I do not have all the answers, I do feel as though I have more clarity regarding what is happening with my body. And that is a very good thing.