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  1. #1
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Question What could cause these symptoms?

    My daughter is having some symptoms that, despite a thorough checking-out by our doctor, including a pretty broad range of blood work, we have been unable to identify the cause of or treat effectively.

    The symptoms are:
    • stomach pain- this includes, but is not limited to, lactose intolerance and is sometimes accompanied by excessive and unusually foul gas. Diet changes reduce, but do not eliminate the pain.
    • joint pain- frequent pain in ankles and wrists and general complaints of pain throughout the body sometimes with or without apparent cause
    • irritability/social anxiety


    The only thing that showed up on the tests we did about a year ago was an elevated white cell count that could indicate gluten intolerance, but that was eliminated by further testing.

    Since a physical cause was not apparent, our doctor prescribed her a low dose of Lexapro and referred us to a therapist based on the assumption that the physical symptoms were a result of the social anxiety. When this did not help, I negotiated with the school for her to attend half-days and this year, we have been home schooling.

    The reduction of school-related stressors has decreased the irritability and removing dairy and reducing wheat containing foods has resulted in fewer stomach complaints, but nothing has been eliminated.

    I know that it could have an emotional/psychological cause, but my gut is that there is some kind of underlying physical cause for these symptoms and I'd almost guess it is somehow related to an allergy or auto-immune disorder, but I just don't know.

    I hate seeing my girl in pain and I feel so helpless and in the dark. I feel that whatever this is is having a negative impact on her life, because she just doesn't feel good a lot of the time, which makes her not up to things I think she would enjoy if she felt better.

    Anyone have ideas about what it could be or where I would start with further attempts at a diagnosis?
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  2. #2
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    My daughter is having some symptoms that, despite a thorough checking-out by our doctor, including a pretty broad range of blood work, we have been unable to identify the cause of or treat effectively.

    The symptoms are:
    • stomach pain- this includes, but is not limited to, lactose intolerance and is sometimes accompanied by excessive and unusually foul gas. Diet changes reduce, but do not eliminate the pain.
    • joint pain- frequent pain in ankles and wrists and general complaints of pain throughout the body sometimes with or without apparent cause
    • irritability/social anxiety


    The only thing that showed up on the tests we did about a year ago was an elevated white cell count that could indicate gluten intolerance, but that was eliminated by further testing.

    Since a physical cause was not apparent, our doctor prescribed her a low dose of Lexapro and referred us to a therapist based on the assumption that the physical symptoms were a result of the social anxiety. When this did not help, I negotiated with the school for her to attend half-days and this year, we have been home schooling.

    The reduction of school-related stressors has decreased the irritability and removing dairy and reducing wheat containing foods has resulted in fewer stomach complaints, but nothing has been eliminated.

    I know that it could have an emotional/psychological cause, but my gut is that there is some kind of underlying physical cause for these symptoms and I'd almost guess it is somehow related to an allergy or auto-immune disorder, but I just don't know.

    I hate seeing my girl in pain and I feel so helpless and in the dark. I feel that whatever this is is having a negative impact on her life, because she just doesn't feel good a lot of the time, which makes her not up to things I think she would enjoy if she felt better.

    Anyone have ideas about what it could be or where I would start with further attempts at a diagnosis?
    The elevated white cell count is not dangerous.
    Many doctors mistakenly think it is.

    There are two kinds of glutein intolerance. The other kind is not found by testing.

    The latter kind combines with lactose only. An example: Cheese Hamburger.

    Try rye (whole corn) combined with lactose-free cheese.

  3. #3
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    The symptoms are:
    • stomach pain- this includes, but is not limited to, lactose intolerance and is sometimes accompanied by excessive and unusually foul gas. Diet changes reduce, but do not eliminate the pain.
    • joint pain- frequent pain in ankles and wrists and general complaints of pain throughout the body sometimes with or without apparent cause
    • irritability/social anxiety
    I'll think more on this, but the first thing that sprang to mind was that I read somewhere that aspartame (one of the artificial sweeteners) has been claimed to cause all of these for some people.

    Hm... that said, the symptoms don't have to be connected at all, and all symptoms are rather common:

    • A sensitive stomach is very common (iow it doesn't have to be outright intolerance) and often hereditary. Are there any uncles, aunts or grandparents who has something similar? First thing I'd try eliminating after dairy is pork. A lot of people handle pork poorly, get extremely gassy, get a lot of stomach pain from it, and even the healthiest digestive systems can't make pork smell anything but foul on the way out. The less healthy systems... (I believe there's a reason why the Jews and Arabs decided to put a ban on pork in the first place.)
      Less fat, more fiber is another advice.
      If these don't improve things, I'd start looking for less obvious things she might be intolerant to.
    • joint pains could be a result of growth. (if she's still growing) In periods where I grew a lot I had lots of problems with this, ankles I couldn't really walk on for days etc. Varying hormone levels could also be doing this I think.
    • irritability/social anxiety is a very common thing and can be caused by both physical and psychological factors. Unless you find a physical cause I'd put it down to raging hormones and a difficult period of life and focus on ways to help her control it more and work around it.
    I have arms for a fucking reaosn, so come hold me. Then we'll fuvk! Whoooooh! - GZA

  4. #4
    Oberon
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    cafe, does your family get out hiking or doing other outdoor stuff much?

  5. #5
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    cafe, does your family get out hiking or doing other outdoor stuff much?
    Not really.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  6. #6
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Not really.
    Back in the summer or fall, did y'all get out in the woods even once?

    Reason I ask is that the joint pain and about a hundred other nebulous symptoms (that mask other ailments) can be caused by Lyme disease, the agent of which is a tick-borne spirochete. It can be knocked out with a stiff course of antibiotics.

  7. #7
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Back in the summer or fall, did y'all get out in the woods even once?

    Reason I ask is that the joint pain and about a hundred other nebulous symptoms (that mask other ailments) can be caused by Lyme disease, the agent of which is a tick-borne spirochete. It can be knocked out with a stiff course of antibiotics.
    This and other areas we've lived in in the past have a lot of trees and I've picked ticks off of kids more than once. We do walk trails at the park several times a year (she's my nature buddy) and usually camp once a summer at a wooded camp site. I'll look into Lyme disease.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  8. #8
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carebear View Post
    First thing I'd try eliminating after dairy is pork.
    I'll add beans and lentils and all that kind of foods to the list. It's horrible what they do to me (pain, stinky gas, and so on), and I don't even have such a sensitive digestive system otherwise.

  9. #9
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Yes, definitely check for Lyme disease. It's not likely, but if it is Lyme, it's imperative that you check it quickly. Fibromyalgia is another possible but unlikely culprit, and if she has interrupted sleep patterns it might be worth looking into.

    To me the most likely explanation is Irritable Bowel Syndrome however. It doesn't cover the joint pains, but it's very common in women and can to some degree explain both the stomach pains and the anxiety:

    Symptoms include

    *

    Abdominal pain or discomfort for at least 12 weeks out of the previous 12 months. These 12 weeks do not have to be consecutive.
    *

    The abdominal pain or discomfort has two of the following three features:
    o It is relieved by having a bowel movement.
    o When it starts, there is a change in how often you have a bowel movement.
    o When it starts, there is a change in the form of the stool or the way it looks.

    *

    Certain symptoms must also be present, such as
    o a change in frequency of bowel movements
    o a change in appearance of bowel movements
    o feelings of uncontrollable urgency to have a bowel movement
    o difficulty or inability to pass stool
    o mucus in the stool
    o bloating

    *

    Bleeding, fever, weight loss, and persistent severe pain are not symptoms of IBS and may indicate other problems such as inflammation, or rarely, cancer.

    The following have been associated with a worsening of IBS symptoms

    * large meals
    * bloating from gas in the colon
    * medicines
    * wheat, rye, barley, chocolate, milk products, or alcohol
    * drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, or colas
    * stress, conflict, or emotional upsets

    Researchers have found that women with IBS may have more symptoms during their menstrual periods, suggesting that reproductive hormones can worsen IBS problems.

    In addition, people with IBS frequently suffer from depression and anxiety, which can worsen symptoms. Similarly, the symptoms associated with IBS can cause a person to feel depressed and anxious.
    How does stress affect IBS?

    Stress—feeling mentally or emotionally tense, troubled, angry, or overwhelmed—can stimulate colon spasms in people with IBS. The colon has many nerves that connect it to the brain. Like the heart and the lungs, the colon is partly controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which responds to stress. These nerves control the normal contractions of the colon and cause abdominal discomfort at stressful times. People often experience cramps or “butterflies” when they are nervous or upset. In people with IBS, the colon can be overly responsive to even slight conflict or stress. Stress makes the mind more aware of the sensations that arise in the colon, making the person perceive these sensations as unpleasant.

    Some evidence suggests that IBS is affected by the immune system, which fights infection in the body. The immune system is affected by stress. For all these reasons, stress management is an important part of treatment for IBS. Stress management options include

    * stress reduction (relaxation) training and relaxation therapies such as meditation
    * counseling and support
    * regular exercise such as walking or yoga
    * changes to the stressful situations in your life
    * adequate sleep
    It may explain why some of the steps you have taken seem to have temporarily diminished the symptoms.
    I have arms for a fucking reaosn, so come hold me. Then we'll fuvk! Whoooooh! - GZA

  10. #10
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Inflammatory bowel disease seems a bit outlandish, but I figured I'd mention it anyway, because you never know, you know? And also because they mention that pain in the joints does happen with it sometimes. But they don't mention gases: instead they mention diarrhea.

    Edit: ah, I see that Carebear posted something along the same lines, though I went for the more "catastrophic" of the two syndromes.

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