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Avatar universal

Should I ask for more tests? Should I change my GP?

Hello all!

Over the past 8 years I have been dealing with MS phobia (or MS itself, I don't know for sure). My first "flare-up" happened 8 years ago with my right foot feeling heavy (it started right after my mom's friend got MS!). Brain and cervical spine MRI came back normal. The second flare-up however, was far more serious. It happened after a friend of mine got a MS diagnosis. She described her symptoms, and I started to find them in myself. I kept nodding to see if I got LHermite's sign, I kept moving my eyes side to side rapidly to see if I got flashes of light, etc.... Surprisingly enough, 5 months later, I started getting pins and needles in my left thumb when I bent my neck. A few months later I saw a neurologist and he ordered brain and cervical spine MRI again. This time, the radiologist reported a normal MRI but the neurologist said he is seeing "something" in my spine,  though he was not sure what it was. Anyway he later ignored that "something" and told me that my neurological exam is totally normal and that I am a hypochondriac.
It's been 4 years now that I am dealing with neurological symptoms including:
Occasional LHermite's sign which includes feeling pins and needles on small areas of my skin, mostly in my right hand. Sometimes it feels like a tiny spams in my stomach or back of my leg.
Seeing a big star-like green spot in the corner of my left eye, if I look far far to the left and keep my eye in that situation.
Seeing spots pulsating with my heart beat when I am in well-lit environments.
Occasional tremor
Feeling dizzy if I stare at patterned objects
Feeling cold water running through my legs when I go from a cold place to a hot place. It lasts a few minutes and goes away after my body temperature goes up.
Occasional frequent urination in the evening (it does not wake me up if I go to sleep)
Muscle twitches
And recently a shaky left leg after a heavy workout. My right leg does not feel shaky that much after a yoga class but my left leg, especially my left hip shakes so bad that it really freaks me out. I am pretty sure that my left leg was NOT like that 4 months ago, when I quit working out!
I saw my GP today and she said it's nothing but hypochondria. She only ordered blood work to see if I have a thyroid problem.
Do you think I should ask for more tests? Like a new set of MRI, VEP, lumbar puncture? She said MS is not like that, but I saw a lot of people on this forum who got a diagnosis after years of dealing with strange problems. Since I have severe hypochondria it is really hard for me to distinguish between a real symptom and an imaginary one! What should I do? :(
I would be glad to hear your opinion
Thanks and sorry for this long post!

7 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi and welcome. People you know have been diagnosed with MS, and immediately thereafter you come down with their symptoms. You acknowledge that you are a hypochondriac, so I'm assuming this is not your first go-round with this sort of thing. All your testing has come out normal. Are you aware that mental health issues can cause real physical symptoms?

I'm not suggesting you don't really experience these things; what I'm questioning is their cause. I don't know the answer, but I do know you can find out. I strongly urge you to put the issue you do have front and center in terms of priority. Health anxiety is treatable, often without medication. See a therapist with a good deal of experience in this area and have yourself comprehensively evaluated. You may be a candidate for cognitive behavior therapy, which can help immensely with the way you think. Imagine how freeing it would be to not be always worrying over your health, but instead enjoying the day, the month and the year.

This of course is not to suggest you should not pursue wellness of body too, and that means seeing doctors when you need to, taking care of yourself via diet and exercise, good habits, regular check-ups and so on. If something goes wrong then, you can attend to it prudently.

Good luck to you.

Avatar universal
Hi Ess,

Thanks so much for your response. In fact, my GP urged me to see a therapist immediately. My appointment with her (my GP) was reassuring for a few minutes and then the placebo quickly faded away, and I started wondering if she is wrong or something! I see my hypochondria does not allow me to think clearly. I will book an appointment with a therapist and see how it goes.

Again thanks so much for your help. I truly appreciate this.

987762 tn?1331027953
Hi and welcome,

"Hypochondria" is a rarely used medical term these days, basically because of the stigma that's been attached to it for decades. Hypochondria has been replaced by more appropriately identified mental health conditions eg Health Anxiety, Conversion Disorder etc.

Hypochondria, Health Anxiety, Conversion disorder are still commonly, yet 'incorrectly interpreted' as an individual purposefully fabricating a medical issue to gain attention and or gain financially, this would only be correct in a minuscule fraction of cases ie rarest of the rare.

Unfortunately, there are still medical professionals who also believe this incorrect interpretation and whilst anyone for their own personal reasons can get annoyed or be out of their depth, it is inexcusable for medical professionals to be disrespectful, aggressive and or dismissive of ANY patient they suspect or know are diagnosed with a mental health condition.  

I also strongly recommend you focus on your mental health, if you have not so far had your mental health appropriately assessed by a psychologist or preferably a psychiatrist, i suggest you make this your priority. If you have already and have a diagnosed with a mental health condition, it would definitely be in your best interest, to make an appointment with your psych, to start or try alternative medication and discuss other associated treatment options.

When there is nothing to suggest your symptoms actually have anything to do with a neurological condition like MS, and more that suggests it is likely a mental health causation, then like any other medical condition the M/H idea needs to be ruled in or out.

Keep in mind, that when you don't have any objective clinically abnormal neurological signs and don't have any other objective neurologically diagnostic evidence eg MRI, LP etc, the likelihood of MS becomes extremely unlikely........adding to that your symptom list and symptom pattern, MS would probably not even get on your list of possible causes, so from my perspective i would not encourage further MS testing.

Avatar universal
Thanks a ton JJ! This is very reassuring. I have not ever been to a therapist. I am so focused on my physical symptoms that it's so hard for me to believe that these symptoms may be originating from my somewhere in my head :) I will definitely work with a therapist to get rid of my health anxiety which is really affecting my life.  

All the best!

667078 tn?1316000935
Sounds like you are having a really tough time. What you describe does not sound much like MS. It would have showed up on neurological testing by now especially if you have been going through this for 8 years or more.

I take several medications for anxiety. I went to a counselor for 5 years. I went from being a basket case to a really happy person. I fought getting help due to the stigma. Now I am glad I did. I also use mindfulness meditation. It really helps with anxiety.

What is going on for you is real because it is taking over your life. My friends mother has suffered terribly. She has had so many medical tests. She ended up having complications from one test which made her really sick.

Avatar universal
Hi Alex
I am happy to hear that going to a counselor actually works. I am almost helpless and really need to do something about it. I just booked an appointment at our school's wellness center. Hope they can help me.

Thanks so much!
667078 tn?1316000935
Bette asking for help is a big step. Talking about things makes them less scary.

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