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Postpartum Problems

I am writing on behalf of many women who read this forum.  We all have individual circumstances but many commanalities as well.  After having a baby, we began to experience vague neurological symptoms (tingling, burning, pin ***** and stabbing sensations, headaches, joint and muscle aches, twitching, myokymia,nausea, electrical shock feelings, tight feeling muscles,cramping, soreness behind eyes, heavy limbs feeling,etc.)  I have had no visual, bladder, bowel, or balance problems.  My vision is 20/20. I have had VEP (normal), several neurological exams (normal), spinal tap(protein 81, rare lymphocytes noted - no evidence of malignancy- all else normal), MRI of brain(tiny bilateral periventricular subcortical white matter hyperintensities - no areas of abnormal enhancement- 9 spots in total - 1 in corpus callosum), MRI of cervical spine (normal),EEG (slightly abnormal-due to bilateral dysrhythmic features raising the possibility of paroxysmal discharge).  I have seen an MS specialist at Yale who said maybe clinically isolated syndrome, but didn't seem all that concerned.  I am going to Boston to see Dr. Vartanian next.  I've tested neg. for Lupus and RA. I have had migraines since puberty - worse when I was on the pill and MVP(meds not needed). No problems in pregnancy - natural delivery and no meds. My questions are: What could be going on?  My TSH level was .84 - low end of normal- any significance?  What diseases show spots in corpus callosum? Likely of developing into MS? Recommendations as to specialists in northeast? Your opinion? Other avenues I should persue? Thanks!
6 Responses
Avatar universal
Since I started working with this forum 2 years ago (today is my last day - will be replaced tomorrow) I have read and responded to many postpartum women with the complex of symptoms that you have aptly described. Unfortunately, unless it's MS or another neurological disease as evident by standard diagnostic testing I'm not sure what this could represent.  I would venture to speculate that it has to do with the hormonal changes that occur postpartum and in many patients it appears to be transient.  

In your particular case, the spot in the corpus callosum is a bit concerning for the possibility of MS. Depending on their size and what they look like, periventricular white matter lesions are often non-specific.  However, there is a short list of things that can cause spots in the corpus callosum: MS, lymphoma, very bad brain tumor (but it wouldn't just be a spot - it would be quite big) and PML (a rare and serious infection that again would be more impressive on the scan), to name the big ones. As I have never seen you, I can't predict whether or not this is MS or what the likelihood would be.  Not sure if this is north or east enough, but the Mellen Center here at the Cleveland clinic is a top MS specialty clinic that may be helpful to you. Best of luck.
Avatar universal
Post partum depression is frequently caused by a methylcobalamin (methylB12) deficiency.  You can buy methylb12 sublingual tablets at a healthfood store and test the hypothesis.  MethylB12 is harmless.  My lifelong depression lifted in 1 hour flat after putting a 1mg tablet under my tongue.  If it is the answer you will probalby know within 24 hours.  I knew within 15 minutes.
Avatar universal
"Where Should I Go Now?" is met with... "unfortunately, unless it's MS or another neurological disease as evident by standard diagnostic testing I'm not sure what this could represent. {but}  I would venture to speculate that it has to do with the hormonal changes that occur postpartum and in many patients it appears to be transient."

{but}  What if it has nothing to do with vagabond hormones?   What if "postpartum" wanders deeper into the wilderness and roams beyond 365 days?   It's time to quit speculating and start investigating because birthing babies is an ancient phenomenon.   Historically, it wasn't uncommon for a woman to bear 6, 8, or even 10 children or more... and be "fit" enough to care for all of them, suffering only the "minor" ailments associated with everyday living.

I am one who believes in the theory of "cause and effect" because it just stands to reason that:  If I do "this"... I may, might, could, should, would, or will suffer, get or end up with "that."   The negative side of human nature is to not stop and "smell the coffee."   People do things without thought and don't stop and think about anything save the positive side of an issue.   Or... they do things because "this" is happening, and they don't want "that" to be happening.

"It's a safe procedure.  Thousands of people have had it done."  (no more said- you'll do it too, that is if you can't stand whatever it is that makes you want to join the thousands that have already had it done?)

(dialogue) "Awe damn!"   "This is for the-"   "Awe gawd... here it comes again!"   "I can't handle this anymore!"   "I don't wanna be doin this!"   "I am never doin this again!"   "I can't stand it!(sob,sob,sob)"

"It's a simple procedure known as an epidural that is designed to deaden your lower extremities for an X-amount of time."

But what happens if the "stick" doesn't work... and it's done again... and again because it is achieving less than the desired effect?   Or none at all?   Possible damage to the only electrical pole full of wiring one will ever have in their entire life.   Pure and simple.   Sounds pretty negative to me.   Like "anesthesiology-gone-bad"... and it does happen, and has happened.   You can't reach around there and "stick" yourself.   That's a job done by Dr. Anesthesiologist.   And they are doctors too.  (and there are "bad" doctors in all the arenas of medicine)  Why is this particular arena overlooked?   Because nobody thinks about them as being doctors.

The epidural was designed to block pain sustained in the lower extremities for use in "motionless" surgical procedures below the ribcage (C-Sections included).   It could not have been designed for use in normal vaginal deliveries because there is way too much movement writhing around on top of the procedure site.   Some women do a lot of hollering during labor.   Epidurals make it so it is much more quiet since their use in obstetrics began a couple of decades ago.

I am deeply concerned about this issue because my own daughter suffers the same as you.   She was stuck 3 times for the "normal" delivery of her twin boys back in 95... and then again in 2001, 3 times for the "normal" delivery of her last boy.   Why was she stuck so many times?   Well, because it took that many in order to produce the desired effect.

I'm a firm believer that the epidural has no business being used in normal childbirth.   I'm not saying that ALL epidurals used in this situation are necessarily "bad" because there are successful ones.   I am voicing my personal opinion.

Those of you reading this that have participated in Andrea's_Mommy's thread titled "Where Should I Go Now?" need to figure the epidural count within you group.   I have already done so.   It's striking, isn't it?   And... it makes me want to sit down and cry for you, for my daughter and all the other "hormonally changed postpartum vagabonds" still crying in the wilderness of speculation.   I don't remember which one of you made the statement, "I think it has something to do with the epidurals," I commend you because I believe with all my heart that the epidurals are indeed, that something.

Take care,

PS.  Just curious.   How many have been told you have fibromyalgia?
Avatar universal
Hi lady Jay, I`m Andrea`s_mommy, and I just wanna say I really liked your reply, thanks. And thanks to all of you other women out there who have supported me and other women who are suffering from these nerve problems too. I really think the epidural left me this way, but I am getting better through the support of you others and family!
Avatar universal
My other name on here is TabA, but I`m Andrea`s_Mommy. Does your daughter suffer from these nerve problems as well? If so, what are her complications?
Avatar universal
you asked
"how many of you have been told you have fibromyalgia"?

many of us--- and many i know of.
** NEW NEWS-- at OHSU researchers have found a defect  with growth hormone deficiency with fibromyalgia sufferers.
i know many fibro patients now on GH and its helping out great.
i am on GH for GHD and i have a life back.
This may be unrealated to some of you-- but for those that have suffered hormone or depression syndromes for years with no help and no answers, such as your daughter, it might be worthwhile to do some research into the subject of GHD. a IGF-1 test is needed (low IGF-1 may indicate GHD). if you have low thyriod, then it is possible you might have GHD because some thyriod disorders originate in the pituitary (where GHD stems from).
(note- GH is in injection form only and only prescribed by a specialist)

here are important links to research:
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