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Allergies, Hormones or Something Else
An_190833 posted:
I am a fit, 30-year-old woman, otherwise healthy, with a chronic problem no one can diagnose. I have a history of allergies to pollen, weed, grass and shellfish. Chronic congestion, nasal blockage, mucus in throat. Little dent is made in this despite regular use of allergy tablets and nasal sprays. I have tried every antihistamine and it is not working. Also manifested are other physical symptoms - loss of shine in hair, circles under eyes, difficulty falling asleep, digestive problems (food not digesting, body makes terrible noises trying to digest), extreme fatigue, and more. All sorts of tests were done. Hormonal test came up with a high level of DHEA (on a scale of 30-700, I am at 875), high androgens and low estrogen hormones, potentially high cortisol. Of all the symptoms, the inability to breathe because of tight nose, chest and mucus is the biggest. Could a hormone imbalance somehow be causing these symptoms? Any help is appreciated. I've been to about a dozen doctors in the past year and a half.
HelpPlease81 responded:
I am the original poster. I should have noted that the allergic problems would come and go as sinus infections over the years. The current condition, which is like allergies times 1000, began a year and a half ago, after a period of stress and higher than normal levels of physical activity (running). I also had a water leak in my apartment and some mold issues which became noticeable around that time. I had lived htere for four years, but have been out of that place for about six months now. I was also put on Diflucan and Prednisone as part of the doctors' plan of medicating first, thinking later. These could all be contributing factors to some extent. I just want advice on what the real cause could be and how to treat this, or what direction to go in with it....
Aqua14 replied to HelpPlease81's response:
Stress can make allergies worse, that's for sure. Did the prednisone give you any relief from symptoms? Were any of the doctors you visited board certified allergists? Did you undergo a lung function test (spirometry) to determine whether you had asthma? Have you had a CT scan of your sinuses? When you were running a lot, were you running outside during your allergy seasons?

Hope these thoughts help. Judy
It's never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
HelpPlease81 replied to Aqua14's response:
I have had everything done. That includes three spirometry tests (no asthma). A CT of sinuses (mucusal thickening, but no fungal or bacterial infection). A Chest x-ray AND Cat Scan (no lung lesions/clots/etc.) The Prednisone provided only minor and temporary relief. I was on Advair at the time too. No amount of allergy medication is helping this. I was running a great deal at the time indoors and this came on suddenly. That is why I wonder if it could be something out of the box, like hormones, contributing to allergic-like symptoms.
Aqua14 replied to HelpPlease81's response:
This may sound strange, but have any of your doctors considered acid reflux (GERD)? Acid reflux, even if silent (no heartburn symptoms), can cause not only congestion/sinus problems and PND but also asthma-like symptoms like shortness of breath and chest tightness. Several years ago when I was having mysterious sinus problems resistant to antibiotx along with worsened asthma, my allergist suspected GERD (based on my sinus CT results) and tried me on a course of reflux meds, which helped tremendously. Since then I have read that reflux seems to co-exist with asthma, and that reflux also becomes worse with stress.

I'm just throwing that out there as another consideration. Hope it helps. Judy
It's never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
coughy16 replied to HelpPlease81's response:
You didn't mention allergy testing above, but I would assume that you have been tested?
HelpPlease81 replied to coughy16's response:
I have had extensive blood and pin-prick testing of my arm for a variety of grass, tree, mold pollen and other environmental irritants. I do have allergies, but does not account for this. My allergies used to get better or worse based on the seasons or my exposure (a lot of dusk versus none, for instance). I have not had food allergy testing, although I know I am allergic to shellfish. Thinking I could have a hidden food allergy, I went on an elimination diet for about 3 weeks. I have permanently cut out dairy and when I was on the elimination diet I only consumed fresh fruits, vegetables, rice and plain chicken. It made no real difference.

I have a history of acid reflux and even had H Phylori about 8 years ago so I had an upper endoscopy about six months ago, when my allergist and pulmonologist thought that my health problem could be caused by a GI problem, like GERD, as you suggested.The findings were that I have gastritis (not major). I recently was told that a CT Scan showed a "tiny hiatal hernia." I'm not sure yet what the impact of that might be. However, this condition came on very suddenly and it is combined with extreme weakness, fatigue, respiratory problems, digestive problems, etc. It appears there are too many things going on at once to be explained by one type of condition. That is why I suspected the hormone imbalance that was found could possibly be the cause of this. However, I don't know that it would contribute to a respiratory problem. That is the advice that I am seeking - what other ideas there are for what this could be.
deluxehd replied to HelpPlease81's response:

What do the drs say about your hormone levels and are you being treated?

I am 46 yrs old and I know that my hormone changes (ovulation and menstration) are causing asthma symptoms and possibly affecting my thyroid function. I have also found that certain times of the month I cannot eat certain foods. I am going for further blood testing this week. The dr mentioned that female hormones and thyroid run parallel to one another. As I am possibly entering or in perimenopause, my hormones are not happy.

Because our hormones can control so much of our bodies, anything may be possible.

Take care and I hope you get your answers.

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