Frustrated with her health
Wife and mother, KBB, 28, is frustrated with her health issues. She has been visiting her doctor regularly and has used the medications prescribed. They helped for a time, but now she figures she is back to square one! She experiences severe pain to her lower back and bleeding when she passes her stools, even when she doesn’t strain. Her doctor has told her, she says, that she is too young for a colonoscopy.
She is also experiencing severe chest pain associated with shortness of breath and is being treated for asthma. She experiences a tingling in her ankles and then a few minutes later they are swollen.
She has recurring white, odourless and watery vaginal discharge. She is experiencing poor digestion. After her meals, no matter how small, she has to throw up in order to feel “at ease”. She urinates every 15 minutes, no matter how small the amount, and this is often associated with a burning feeling in her belly.
KBB has a multitude of health issues and it is difficult to know whether they are separate or related in some way. It is very possible that some of these symptoms could be related and caused by a single disorder in the body. You need to be investigated properly and if you don’t have the funds to do this privately, then you will need to visit a government clinic/hospital for help to enable proper diagnosis and treatment.
Certainly, persistent rectal bleeding is a very good reason to have a colonoscopy performed no matter the age of the person involved. Piles and haemorrhoids commonly occur, but they are not the only causes of rectal bleeding and some of the other causes can have serious consequences if neglected!
Other causes include:
- Anal fissure (tear in the edge of the anus)
- Chronic constipation
- Hard stools
- Colon polyps
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Anal cancer/colon cancer
Asthma is associated with some shortness of breath and chest pain, but severe chest pain all the time is suspect and requires investigation. A regular chest X-Ray or even a CT lung scan would not be amiss. While even emotional disorders such as anxiety can be associated with shortness of breath and chest pain, the problem may well require further investigation. Common causes of chest pain associated with shortness of breath include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Panic disorder
- Heart disease
- Lung cancer
- Pulmonary embolism
Tingling in the ankles followed with swelling could be an allergic response to shoes made of certain materials or related to poor circulation. Proper examination of the feet, when they are swollen, is necessary to determine the cause. Some other causes of ankle swelling with tingling sensation include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Flat feet
As the causes are diverse, treatment will depend on the cause. A white and watery vaginal discharge is a fairly common complaint among women and can be normal for some women or can be commonly occurring vaginal infections, either bacterial vaginosis and/or yeast vaginitis. These are innocuous but can be irritating and in some women, especially when they are immune compromised, can recur often. Treatment involves not just medication but often healthy lifestyle changes to remain healthy and free from discharges. The organisms also favour heat, sweat, sweets and blood which is why the discharges often occur near menstruation and often during the hottest months of the year!
KBB’s inability to eat properly and digest meals, which is associated with throwing up, also needs investigation. These symptoms occur with acid reflux as well as with obstruction of the esophagus or a neurological disorder of the lining of the esophagus. A Barium swallow and follow through is needed as a basis for further management. Other causes of throwing up meals include:
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Pyloric stenosis
- Milk allergy
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- General anxiety disorder
- Disease of thyroid or parathyroid glands
- Crohn’s disease
Finally, urinating every 15 minutes is due to acute cystitis or chronic cystitis, a bladder infection which can also be associated with loin pain in the back. Some of the organisms causing these infections are resistant to many of the antibiotics used and urine should be sent off to the lab for culture to determine which antibiotic to use. Urinary frequency can also occur in very anxious women and also where bladder injury has occurred during childbearing. Other causes of urinary frequency include:
- Bladder polyp/bladder stones
- Excessive body weight which presses on bladder
- Excessive intake of caffeine or cola beverages
- Excessive cigarette smoking, as nicotine irritates the bladder wall
- Overactive bladder
- Anterior bladder wall prolapse (can occur during childbirth)
- Pelvic injury
While Check Up has discussed possible causes of KBB’s symptoms in an effort to help emphasise the need for further assessment without delay, no medication or treatment is suggested here. KBB needs a thorough examination and investigations performed before treatments can be proposed, and this should be done as soon as possible. Possibly, she should seek a second opinion from another doctor as she remains concerned about her unresolved health issues.
PO Box 1731,