When to go to a doctor

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QuinZ

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Hi!

I'm new to this forum after getting afibromyalgia diagnosis from a rheumatologist last December. I'm a 24 year old woman and I've been struggling with intense symptoms for about a year and a half, though I've realized that pretty much everything I've been to the doctor for in the past five to ten years is a symptom of fibromyalgia. Mostly fatigue, back pain, joint pain and random stabbing pains all over my body, plus feeling like I have a fever all the time. I'm currently on a waiting list to be seen by a specialist, hopefully by the end of April.

Since this diagnosis my health anxiety has been a lot worse. I've always been an anxious person and I've always gone to the doctor a lot and since no one ever found anything wrong I was under the impression that I was just a bit of a hypochondriac. I think there's some truth to this since I occasionally go down a rabbit hole and convince myself there is something terribly wrong with me (like cancer or a dangerous heart condition or something). Now that I have my fibromyalgia diagnosis, part of my brain feels like all my health anxiety was 'correct' since there did turn out to be something wrong with me.

For the past two weeks I've had a stabbing pain in my lower abdomen on the right side, which I've never had before and I'm unsure if I should go to the doctor (general practitioner) for this. The pain isn't *that* bad so I'm fairly sure it's not appendicitis, but it is quite noticable and different from the symptoms I've experienced before. I can't really find if it's a symptom of fibromyalgia, so I kind of want to know what my doctor thinks about it. However, I've been to the doctor so many times over the past year and I worry that at a certain point they will just decide that I'm irrational, so I don't want to go to the doctor if it's not actually necessary. And I'm also unsure if I am being irrational about this pain in my abdomen? I just feel like I used to have a good grasp on the 'baseline' of my body so it was clear to me when I needed to see a doctor and now I just can't tell anymore. There is always a part of my body that hurts so how do I know if it's 'just' my fibromyalgia or if there is something else going on with me that needs medical attention. My health anxiety keeps freaking out that if there ever actually is something really wrong with my body/health, I won't notice because I'm so used to being in pain at this point.

I'm not quite sure what my question is here. I guess I'd like to know how you decide when you need to go to the doctor. How do you deal with anxiety surrounding your health? Have you had pain in your lower right abdomen and could this be due to fibromyalgia?

Thanks for reading!
 

JayCS

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Hi QuinZ, and welcome to our group! 👋

Your issue is very understandable. Easy to say: "Just get it sorted out, but don't worry", but easier said than done...
Generally we say get any new symptoms looked at, even if they are "a symptom of fibromyalgia".
But like you say it doesn't sound musculoskeletal, which makes it all the more important to get it checked.
If you used to know the 'baseline' and now have to adjust, that is understandable. If your doc doesn't, you can explain that.
Another reason to go is that the pain has been there for two weeks, rather than 4 days.
Nothing irrational, nothing overanxious there - so I'd rather assume you're being underanxious! 😜 (Now wasn't that what you wanted to hear...)
What I('d) do is work on my anxiety using CBT, relaxation techniques and mindfulness (concentrating on the Here and Now instead of on the past and future). And at the same time use it as energy to cut to the facts of each symptom: identifying, localizing, analyzing, testing physical or substance (supp?) treatments alleviating, if possible preventing them.
In your case it's the local pains rather than the overall Ache which is confusing you, and these can be improved singly. Once you've got to know your body again, you will "notice" when things change.
I know worrying might be exaggerated, which isn't helpful, but if you can manage to harness it and turn it into action, it can be useful.
I guess I'd like to know how you decide when you need to go to the doctor. How do you deal with anxiety surrounding your health? Have you had pain in your lower right abdomen and could this be due to fibromyalgia?
Above was about you, your questions are about 'me':
I actually did get every single symptom checked by several docs, 50 in 2 years, and physios.
I also work a lot on what I suggested above.
That has lead to getting all local pains down to "zero" - so less than pre-fibro, I've had a lot of pain/s all my life.
I learnt to get anxiety down pre-fibro using my own mindfulness technique.
I had pain in my upper right abdomen off and on for 2 weeks and my GP took it very seriously, did a sono and took bloods and I think even sent me off for a double check. Of course that may be a different situation: He knows I know exactly what I'm doing, some things I look up beforehand to give prompts and ask the right questions and he usually remembers most of my issues.
 

Ketch

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When I had "stabbing pain in the lower abdomen" it turned out to be kidney stones. That is exactly the way to describe it! Like a stiletto. It takes a while to pass a stone and if it is one, you will not doubt that's what it is when the time comes. Definitely drink more water, better with lemon.
 

QuinZ

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Thank you for taking the time to reply. I like what you said about going to the doctor even if something is also a symptom of fibromyalgia. That's totally logical. I've just built up some stress around doctors over the past year. I made a call this morning and scheduled an appointment, so thank you for the push, I needed that. I'll also ask about some counseling options to talk about my anxiety.

I hope you have a nice day!
 

Jennifer V

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I'm sorry things are so tough for you!

I would definitely go to your doctor and get the abdomen pain checked out, because a new stabbing pain in the abdomen could be completely unrelated to fibro.

For example, you may have a benign cyst, a UTI, a pulled muscle, or a variety of other things. Maybe it's just random and will go away.

As an example, I've had lower abdomen pain before. Once it was a ruptured (benign) cyst (determined by ultrasound) and the doc didn't do anything, because the fluid reabsorbed over time. Another time I had similar ab pain and it was nothing and just went away.

I would suggest- even if it's hard, don't be afraid to go to the doctor even if you've been many times. You are paying for their service and you deserve to be treated professionally for each issue that occurs. I hope you're feeling better soon! ❤️
 

sweetkamie20

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I am new to the forum and havent read this whole thread but, just in case no one has mentioned it, fibro patients nationwide use significantly more medical support than many other groups. theres an army of us going to the doctor more than an average person. so, its not just you going to the doctor a lot. its all of us.

also wanted to share what helps me avoid feeling shameful in these scenarios. I just say something like this to the doctor: "i realize i might be overly cautious about my health but I dont know when something is serious or not. i need your perspective."

the older ive gotten the more ive noticed that when i just put my flaws/weaknesses/fears up front it encourages the other person to treat me like a human and give me some grace.

oh, and, if you start to worry you are medically "hypersensitive" there's good news: questioning your psychology is a characteristic of good mental health :) i would give yourself lots of credit :)
 

JayCS

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Brilliant answers, sweetkamie, I fully agree! 👐
Internationally too, not just nationwide.... :cool:
 

sunkacola

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the older ive gotten the more ive noticed that when i just put my flaws/weaknesses/fears up front it encourages the other person to treat me like a human and give me some grace.
YES.
And, not only that, but the more you put the truth of who you are and how you feel and experience life up front the more other people are encouraged to do the same thing. And then they can encourage people by their actions.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if no one felt they had to hide their weakness or fears any more? If people could simply be their own authentic selves instead of always trying to put on a face that they think other people want to see?
 

JayCS

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Wouldn't it be wonderful if no one felt they had to hide their weakness or fears any more?
That would be amazingly liberating!
Yep, and for me personally, training myself by confronting my fears and putting them open was liberating, as well as strengthening.
Even in front of whole groups of people - and no regrets afterwards ;-).
Not easy when you know some may be laughing, some scorning, others are just cold.
But it does help to realize that it encourages many, which is also my experience. So the only way to change is: ourselves.
 

sunkacola

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Yep, and for me personally, training myself by confronting my fears and putting them open was liberating, as well as strengthening.
Even in front of whole groups of people - and no regrets afterwards ;-).
Not easy when you know some may be laughing, some scorning, others are just cold.
But it does help to realize that it encourages many, which is also my experience. So the only way to change is: ourselves.
That is my experience as well. I have even has someone tell me that my being so open about it has made them feel they had "permission" to be open about their (different) physical problems.

The more I live the more I am certain that being authentically yourself on as many levels as possible, as much of the time as possible and with as many people as possible is the best way to live.

Sure, there can be ramifications from that, as Jay mentions. But those only happen some of the time. The ramifications in your life of withholding your authentic self from the world are constant and cumulative, and to me they are far worse, especially because it can over time result in your not even knowing yourself.
 
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