cathugger: An orange-and-white cat facing to the left. The front of this face is fading into shadows. (Default)
Here we go again. I’ll try to make this one shorter.

This is probably something I’ve talked (and possibly complained) about before. Ever since--or a few days to a week after--I started the SIBO antibiotics, my face broke out worse than it has before. It started on my forehead and spread downward to the space on/around my nose. My compulsions and uncontrollable drive to constantly “tend to” my skin (not going to go into what that consisted of) only made things worse. I guess it works as a representation of how your body and mind can work together to hurt you.

My mom seemed to think that it was from my autoimmune urticaria, but I wasn’t so sure. I suspected a yeast infection for a while because it seemed like something that could be caused by the antibiotics.
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Today, I thought I’d Google the description of some of the skin changes... not thinking I would find anything important. I quickly came across several articles about a protein called keratin that can continuously clog pores. It’s produced by a part of the immune system called keratinocytes, also known as basal cells (!). Basal cells, along with mast cells, can be “activated” by autoimmune urticaria (based on one source that I can’t seem to find anymore.. ugh). Keratin is created as a wall between the internal and external environment: It keeps needed things like fluids in while trying to keep anything the body finds threatening out. So maybe my mom was right about this...but don’t take any of this too seriously because I can’t find where I’ve read much of this information anymore, and my memory isn’t that trustworthy.

There’s a lot that I’ve already forgotten, but at least I have some possibilities written somewhere.

Originally posted on Tumblr. 
cathugger: An orange-and-white cat facing to the left. The front of this face is fading into shadows. (Default)
and I’m going to try to process them before I completely forget everything. Hopefully this ends up making sense.

Recently, I’ve learned two things: I’ve been chronically dehydrated and may need a PICC line/port, and I might be experiencing “spinal headaches. My geneticist, who seems to have experience with multiple POTS patients who can’t orally hydrate, brought up the dehydration thing. And I happened to come across info on spinal headaches accidentally when doing my research. (Can’t remember exactly how.) Spinal headaches are often associated with intracranial hypotension and procedures that involve the brain or its fluid. Based on the description–headaches that begin in an upright position and disappear or almost disappear when lying down–I’ve definitely experienced them before, though I could see the headache having multiple causes that aren’t as well-known.

I’ve been doing a little research on spinal headaches over the past week and learned that they’re often caused by spinal fluid leaks. The spinal fluid is held in by a sack (?) thing, which is more likely to tear in “those with hyperflexibility of the joints.” The brain then sags downwards toward the neck (possible relationship to Chiari?) and presses on some nerves. Several sources have said that dehydration can make this worse. I’m pretty sure that I’ve also heard that, when spinal fluid decreases in the head, blood may try to take its place, leading to a pounding feeling and possibly adding to the pain. Because caffeine constricts the blood vessels (sound familiar?), it’s one of the recommended treatments. Wow.

I started looking into dehydration a little more recently. I wanted to figure out how many of my symptoms might be caused by dehydration. After passing a bunch of obvious symptoms, I saw an article on “Unusual Dehydration Symptoms.” (Not sure what they mean by “unusual” but okay.) I learned a few things that might mean something: fever and chills are connected to dehydration, and food cravings. The second one is because the body lacks the fluids needed to convert some food into energy. (I can see this possibly affecting weight, too.)

But for some reason, the symptom in the dehydration article that surprised me the most was headaches. Okay, it’s pretty well known that headaches are caused by dehydration. The surprising part was the explanation of how dehydration caused headaches. It explained how lacking fluids could lead to decreased spinal fluid. And that leads to the brain sinking and… basically what I explained in the paragraph above.

So, basically, decreased spinal fluid might be able to be caused by dehydration alone. A leak may not be necessary (not that I fully trust that article or anything). (Maybe that’s how some other headaches are formed as well?) To be honest, I haven’t spent that much time researching “spinal headaches,” and I’ve already spotted possible connections to POTS, EDS, dehydration, and Chiari malformation. Interesting. It might also be connected to the smaller-than-normal opening my brain stem goes through.

***

Well, I just got interrupted because apparently, there was a physical therapy appointment no one told me about. I’m not going to try to finish what I was trying to say because 1. I’m exhausted and 2. this is long enough as is. Don’t take anything in here too seriously because I haven’t spent much time researching it (which might be obvious anyway).

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cathugger: An orange-and-white cat facing to the left. The front of this face is fading into shadows. (Default)
Ashley

June 2017

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