Big medical problems you solved yourself

I’ve posted before about how I have occasional severe asthma that has put me in the ER once, my asthma only responds well to epinephrine inhalers which went off the market in the USA and are not available anywhere else apparently.

As a child I cycled through a whole lot of asthma medications including prednisone injections which were just horrible side effect wise, and I was STILL having the same amount of attacks! I took myself off and got along fine with Primatene always handy. I had an allergy screening done, where your back is pricked with tons of allergens, results inconclusive.

I’ve seen doctors since and treatment options are more limited than the USA, mostly they advise salbutamol inhaler taken 2-4X a day or prednisone. I had a stockpile of Primatene but again that won’t last decades.

Then I saw another asthma sufferer on some board mention she got hers under control via claritin(loratadine) and I was intrigued, the side effect profile was almost non-existent and it was dirt cheap. So I tried 10mg daily for a few days to see.

I have not had an asthma attack since.:eek: I mean WTF, you have got to be kidding me right? Goddamn miracle medicine. I can’t even remember the last time I needed the Primatene exactly.

My SO can feel his migraines coming on about a day in advance. He used to know they were coming and there was nothing he could do about it. He could still function (mostly) but they would last several days. No medication worked.

So I started doing relaxation exercises with him, focussing on his back, neck and especially his facial muscles. Because of his allergic astma we also go outside for a long time so he can breath lots of fresh air. BOOM no more migraines :slight_smile:

Don’t know if this counts, but I also used to have Magic Creams for the kids I used to work with. We had blue “pills” (sweets) for homesickness, we had special lotions for tummy ache and headaches. They were placebos, obviously, but they worked miracles on children’s aches and pains. So I cured homesickness! ETA ok, possibly not a “big medical problem”…

Several years ago I suddenly started getting severe headaches that didn’t respond to ibuprofen. They were always in the same area of my head (right-rear-lower area), and exhibited severe throbbing. A doctor’s visit resulted in an MRI (“everything looks fine”) and a prescription for Midrin.

After a couple of weeks I realized that if I had coffee at home in the morning, I got a headache afterwards; if I had coffee after I got to work, I didn’t. Something clicked and I recalled that we had switched coffee brands several days before I started getting the headaches. The new stuff was Douwe Egberts; it was delicious, but we tossed it out, and in a few days my headaches went away for good.

I had a peptic ulcer back when I was 16 and it just kept getting worse. Extreme nausea and dull pain would last for several days leaving me lethargic and unable to eat much more than buttered crackers with milk. In college it got worse, probably because I’d started drinking beer and about once a month I’d be flat on my back for 3 days of mild hell. Then they started bleeding and I can’t even tell you how god-awful that was, occasionally ending up in the hospital. The doctors tried everything available at the time, Tagamet and several others I can’t even remember now.

Then my roommate told me about his dad. He was a pilot for the Texas prison system and once when he was in El Paso a waitress asked him why he was ordering such a bland meal, if he had ulcers. He said yes and she recommended a drug you could only get across the border in Mexico. Not that it had dangerous ingredients, really when I looked at it it appeared to just be a bunch of buffers, but for some reason it was unapproved in the US. It was called Estomacurol (sp?) and it probably saved my life.

I made a trip to Mexico, bought some, had one last 3 day intense, nauseous pain weekend and I’ve not had another since for about 30 years now. Reportedly it forms a patch over your ulcer, allows it to heal from within and cured me when nothing conventional medicine knew was of any help whatsoever.

If I could have found that waitress she’d get a tip from me you’d read about in the paper.

I love this thread :smiley:

it was Dr. Weil who said The Placebo Affect is exactly what you want: your body healing itself. no downside!

I don’t know if this counts as “solved”, but when I was diagnosed at age 38 as a Type 2 diabetic, I pretty quickly figured out I was actually Type 1, though no local doctors would confirm that. I’m not overweight, I am active, and for many years had eaten fewer carbs than the “diabetic” diet the CDE recommended to me. Additionally, the standard oral meds that treat Type 2 didn’t do much for me - I rarely saw blood sugar numbers under 200 while on oral drugs.

So I read everything I could, including Physician’s Desk References on Diabetes, and all of the stuff about Type 1 seemed to be what I was going through, and none of the stuff about Type 2 applied.

Seeing as there’s no over-the-counter version of Insulin (well, technically there is, but I wasn’t going to experiment with the generic Insulin when the more modern versions are so much better), I ended up heading across the country to one of the top clinics that specialize in diabetes. Within a couple hours, the doc said “I’m pretty sure you’re Type 1.” I wanted to hug her.

I was in a workplace accident where I was hit in the head and shoulder by some heavy stuff falling off a warehouse shelf. My neck snapped back and forth, whiplash style, and I was knocked to the floor. Episodes of loss of consciousness started about three days later.

I was seen by 13 different physicians and went through innumerable tests without a diagnosis for what was causing the LOC.

I figured it out on my own - Subclavian Steal Syndrome. I tore a small muscle which was inflamed and formed scar tissue as it healed. It pressed on the subclavian artery reversing blood flow through the vertebral artery and “stealing” blood from my brain. Add that to my pre-existing tendency towards bradycardia and I was dropping like a ton of bricks.

The appropriate physical therapy fixed the problem. Just needed to stretch out the damaged muscle.

I was diagnosed with bilateral neuropathy in both wrists – either carpal tunnel or arthritis, depending on which doc you asked. I was given drugs, wrist braces and not much else, aside from being told that eventually, when the constant pain got bad enough, I’d have to have surgery.

I thought not. I started googling, looking for physical therapy or exercise, like yoga or something, that should help. I didn’t bookmark it, but I stumbled across a link that suggested the problem lie within weakened core muscles. When your core and lower back are weakened (from years of driving a desk all day), you tend to slump over–your posture becomes crap. This puts pressure on your medial nerve, which runs from your neck down to your fingertips. If you strengthen your core muscles, you’ll improve your posture. Not being slumped over all the time reduced the pressure on that nerve. After joining a dance studio and working out for a few months, I noticed I hadn’t worn my wrist braces in a while. A few months later, I realized I hadn’t had any pain at all in either wrist, except in my right when doing handstands. I still think there’s a little arthritis in my right wrist, but I haven’t had pain or tingling in my hands or down my arm since I started working on my core.

My third child started throwing up when he was just a few weeks old. The doctor (not a pediatrician) had me changing formula but the kid still hurled with almost every feeding. I got out my Parent’s Magazine Encyclopedia and looked up the symptoms. It looked like pyloric stenosis. I asked the doctor and he said “Oh, that’s very rare.” The doc made a mark on baby’s tummy, said if that area of the tummy moved when baby puked, it’d be pyloric stenosis. It did. Baby had surgery the next day. Turns out pyloric stenosis is a fairly common birth defect.

Not me, but TheElf. For several years he had been having terrible legs cramps that kept getting worse and worse until one afternoon a little over a year ago he sprained both of his ankles while asleep. It was terrifying, one minute he was napping in his deck chair, the next he was jumping up and falling over, screaming in pain. Docs put him on all sorts of different drugs, treating him for seizures and such. Wasn’t helping. Earlier this year he finally did his own research and found out that long term use of a steroid (in his case, Advair) can cause tendon ruptures! He had been taking Advair for nearly as long as it’s been on the market, and a week earlier he had a breathing treatment for a bad asthma attack at his doctor’s office and they had put him on more steroids. Turns out that he has acquired a pretty severe allergy to them. He stopped taking the Advair about 6 months ago, the severe leg cramps stopped within a week and he hasn’t had a bad one since. His RLS is better, his back doesn’t bother him as much and he finally sleeps better at night.

I wouldn’t call it a “big” medical problem, but. I was having a recurring pain in one foot last year for months and months. It would come and go, and not necessarily with overuse, so I ignored it for a while. I knew I had strained it at one point, but i figured it would go away after a while.

Finally I went to the doctor. The doctor sent me for xrays and came back with the diagnosis: a type of arthritis. (I’m sorry, I can’t remember the name right now).

I totally panicked. I was 35. Who wants arthritis at 35? I had visions of going through the rest of my life with pain and never being able to enjoy anything again, and all kinds of other insane ideas.

The doctor told me to see a specialist and begin working with it, but I never called back. Instead, I started a new diet and a new exercise regiment. I changed two meals to healthy, light ones, and I began to exercise 3-5 times a week, without fail. I lost some weight, but more importantly, improved my cardio and my energy levels.

Within six months there was no pain left in the foot, and now, almost a year later, I never even notice it. AND I’ve got a better diet and better exercise plan.

Dogzilla you are the same as me! I went to a PT and even showed the women I worked with the exercises. We were all having similar symptoms because of our job. I also had the therapist give me a chart with exercises for relieving the sciatic nerve. I’d had that flair up and just knew that there had to be a way to fix it, but couldn’t do it on my own. This was before the internet.

Auntie Pam I know 3 people that had that! And yes, they were all men. The last boy I knew that had it was the 4th child born, but was 12 years or so younger than his sister. So we joked that his mom had a child reset at some point.

I’ve got chronic erythema nodosum. It showed up when I went to college. I went to a great hospital, but every doctor wanted to try something new and I just wanted to be able to rest. I had it all over, legs and arms, I couldn’t see the ones on my butt, but I could feel them. Constant pain. Constantly tired. So hot from all the blood at the skin’s surface. My personal doctor was wonderful and we really tried to figure out what was causing it, but never did. I got it much worse than a typical case. At one time, there were pictures of me on the internet, I had okayed the pictures, but it was startling seeing me on the web.

So, about once a year, sometimes more often, I was unable to be myself. I finally got a burst and taper of prednisone, but was not thrilled with the idea of taking it so often. I tend to become allergic to something I’m exposed to. It worked, and I was lucky that with my records, doctors would quickly prescribe it for me so I could get back to normal. My helpful hint for anyone that has to take it, because it’s really bitter, drink warm water with it. It made the bitterness disappear for me.

But, I wasn’t happy with not knowing why this was happening to me. So, late one night I was thinking about it. It struck me that the first year I got it was the first year I hadn’t spent the summer doing summer things. I was working and didn’t go swimming every day or working in the garden, etc. So, I now make sure to get plenty of sunshine all year long, and I haven’t had a recurrence for 12 years! If it’s a placebo, I couldn’t be happier.

I don’t know about severe, but…

  1. I had some sort of pimple that seemed to have turned into a mole after scratching it too much. And it just wouldn’t go away. I decided to put a bandaid on it so I wouldn’t have to look at it. It disappeared within a week.

  2. Fed up with severe allergies during my weekly visit to a house with cats I started taking Claritin. A few months later I started having breathing issues occasionally which I figured out we’re a reaction to the Claritin so I stopped. But after that I no longer had allergies to the cats. And smoke hasn’t bothered me as much either. It’s like my body took lessons.

Not a big medical problem, but the pain was big.
When I was in my early twenties, my wisdom teeth started trying to come through. Oh, how they did try, for days and days! At the time, I worked at McDonalds and didn’t have dentist money. On the day I couldn’t stand the pain anymore, I was working in the drive-through and we were getting slammed. There was no way I was going to be allowed to go home, and no way I was going to be able to go on. So I asked for a bathroom break, and on the way there I picked up a boxcutter. I washed the blade, sterilized it with my lighter, and slashed my gums open. It was wonderful! And I never had a bit of trouble from it.

I have had irregular menstrual periods since puberty. The average was 3-4 periods a year, although once or twice I went nearly 10 months without a period.

The first time I went 10 months without a period, I was 18 (1996), and I made an appointment with my doctor to see what was up. She ordered a hormone panel and everything came back normal. She told me I’d have a hard time conceiving children in my life and gave me a birth control prescription. I stayed on that for a year, it made me crazy, and when the year was up I didn’t renew the prescription.

Did my own investigation and found I fit the symptoms for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I really didn’t mind not having to deal with a period every month, so I never sought any treatment, despite slowly gaining weight into my adulthood and not having any luck losing it.

My mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 2005. Some time after that, I read that being overweight puts you at a significantly higher risk of contracting uterine cancer. Having insulin resistance (a feature of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) or diabetes puts you at significantly higher risk of contracting uterine cancer. Gee, maybe I should do something about this.

Did some research and decided to go on a low-carb diet (South Beach, specifially) in 2010. I lost ~30 pounds in four months and my period became regular for the first time in my life. Every 30-32 days for the next year or so, with minimal cramping. Not so bad!

Unfortunately, I had stopped losing weight while remaining 20-30 pounds overweight, so I decided to see a dietician this past June. She put me on a diet with a much higher carb level than I was used to eating, and as I type, I am now 3.5 weeks late for my August period with no chance of pregnancy. She and I are going to have to have a talk.

I guess there should be a similar thread “Big medical problems you failed to solve yourself”.

However, there may not be many contributors.

I am on a ketogenic diet (similar to the beginning phase of Atkins) and it seems to almost completely take the symptoms of my narcolepsy away. I quit taking my Provigil and Ritalin and really don’t have to worry about being sleepy or fatigued unless I eat some cake or bread (or sugary stuff in excess).

Just wanted to state for the record that in 2009 I was (finally) officially diagnosed with PCOS by my doctor.