Monthly Archives: May 2013

Health Anxiety!

Its been many days since I’ve been worried about one thing or the other. These worries are not related to personal emotions.

In 2012, I had a sore throat. I was not too careful about it and it lasted for a month. After several days of antibiotics, the sore throat was gone. But it became re-current for a year which required taking antibiotics every 3 month or 6 months. So A and I were worried about my sore throat so we went to an ENT specialist. She thoroughly checked and prescribed medicines. A week later, the sore throat was gone but I inquired that I have itchy throat in the morning and sometimes in the evening. After that she gave me some antacids for a week. I felt my stomach was feeling relieved but the itchy throat remained and it was neither persistent nor could be totally ignored. So the next time we visited the ENT, she told us the problem could be gastrointestinal. On hearing this, I told her that my Mom had stomach cancer and if I should be worried. At this point the doctor literally panicked and referred me to a Gastro doctor. At this point, she prescribed a really expensive medicine which I didn’t want to buy as she was a ENT specialist who gave me meds for Gastro related problem. So A and I decided to go to the hospital which was covered by our Social Security. We went to the doctor there and explained the situation. After listening to this, he said I had GERD and gave me some PPIs and asked if I wanted to take an endoscopic examination. I agreed to endoscopy. Upon endoscopy, nothing unusual was discovered except that I had mild chronic gastritis. The doctor took several samples for biopsy and the reports turned out normal. Satisfied with the examination, we decided to discontinue the PPIs and eat a balanced diet avoiding spicy food.

Everything was going fine but one day I had difficulty to swallow for few days which went away naturally after few more days. But I was still scared thinking what if something was wrong. So we went to the doctor again and explained that I had pain swallowing and some lower abdominal pain as well. On hearing my story, the doctor said I could take another endoscopy and a colonoscopy if I wanted but the medicine would be the same. I decided not to take another endoscopy since my reports were fine just a few months back. But by then I was starting to have mild sensation of pain on my lower abdomen as well. I was very stressed and worried about my heath at this point. I became anxious and all the bad thoughts started disturbing me like What if something bad happens? Could my stomach pain be more than gastritis? I felt weak and scared. At this point, A  asked me to get hold of myself and not be so scared as there is nothing wrong with me. When he explained me the whole situation, it made sense that I was being over anxious. I talked with my brother and sister-in-law and they advised me not to worry as well. As days went by, I realized that I was over-analyzing the situation and being anxious for nothing.

Today, I feel fine but the mild pain in the abdominal area still persists. It is not unbearable. I am not taking antacids but having a balanced diet avoiding spicy, oily and sour food. We regularly eat fruits and green leafy vegetables. But I cannot help worrying about the small problems that I didn’t realize I even had in the beginning. So my question is, have any of you experienced similar health related anxiety? Is it normal to feel anxious about small health issues like this? Have any one of you felt that the doctors of our generation are being safe in terms of diagnosis and asking us to take all the tests and decisions at the stake of patients’ anxiety of the results? I would be happy to hear your thoughts on this.

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