I'm too young to feel like this, what am I missing?

Commented on December 07, 2015
Created November 23, 2015 at 5:21 PM

I am going to make this long story as short as possible. 

1. I have struggled with dyspareunia since 18- I am 29. As a child I had excema and dry skin, and currently suffer from very dry skin. I was recently diagnosed with ADD + depression. I also grind my teeth at night. In order for my body fat to remain a a reasonable level, I must either be VCL or get 6-8 hours of exercise a day. A combination of LC (less than 100) and daily exercise maintains reasonable body fat levels. I have mild-moderate shoulder bursitis and at least one torn miniscus. I also have moderate to severe cold intolerance and lots of brain fog. I am an adventure instructor, so when I am working, I work 12 hour days for 3 months straight and then get a month or two off- this is very hard on my body but I get lots of exercise and time in nature. 

2. I recently was involved in a pelvic pain research study at UNC. The MD spearheading the study is Dr. Zolnoun- a gynecologist. She poked and prodded me all over, testing my pain thresholds and tolerance, and where certain parts of me processed pain abnormally. She measured my vagina- all the different parts of it. Once the research was over, I had a clinical visit with her. (Back story, I had seen her once before as a patient for dyspareunia) She told me that I had fibromyalgia-like pain and out of control inflammation. She said that when it comes to pain, my coping mechanism is "suck it up and deal with it" = active coping, which she says is good because I keep going and keep moving. She looked at me and said "I bet that you grind your teeth at night, you have trouble sleeping, you have problems with you scalp, you feel stressed out and have mental fog. Delayed onset muscle soreness from working out too hard is more extreme for you than others." It was like going to a gypsy fortune teller. She poked me, measured my vagina and told me my medical history without seeing my chart. I was currently taking Wellbutrin and Zoloft. She prescribed the following:

Melatonin and magnesium at night

1G fish oil daily

Mouth guard and pessary at night (she says if I'm grinding my teeth, I'm grinding my pelvic floor)

Vaseline/crisco for dry skin

She wanted to move me to Cymbalta in 3 weeks. 

Since I knew my inflammation was out of control, I decided to go back to paleo, which I had done in the past for weight loss and general health reasons. The melatonin made me insanely groggy and gave me extreme dry eye, so I stopped that, but I do take magnesium at night. I also take fish oil in the morning with the antidepressants. My psychiatrist moved me from Zoloft to Cymbalta. I really don't want to put vaseline or crisco on my skin, so I've been experimenting with coconut, jojoba, and argan oils, and cocoa and shea butters. 

I've been paleo for 3 weeks, and on Cymbalta for 2.5 So far I have seen zero positive affects except for weight loss from cutting sugar and reducing carbs. I know that I may have to wait several months to see meaningful results. After lots of research, I feel like I am probably low on the B vitamins and am considering making my own liver capsules. It seems like an overwhelming amount of supplements, but my diet is well rounded with the single exception of organ meats. 

There are other issues I might consider- like perhaps some sub clinical hypothyroid (I've been tested over and over and always they say I don't have it) Doesn't magnesium aggrevate hypothyroid? Would licorice be a wise supplement? I have also read that both Cymbalta and Wellbutrin cause dry skin and dry mouth- it seems they are exacerbating an existing problem. Do these anti-depressants cause or aggravate inflammation? 

I feel like I'm too young to feel like my body is falling apart. 


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1 Answers

Medium avatar

on November 28, 2015
at 07:27 AM

Hello WayfinderAli,

First off, I want to say from my own personal battles with medication that my heart goes out to you and I hope that you can find some relief and peace in your life soon. Based on your questions, you seem very adamant about your health and really want help, and it also seems that you may be in a state of chronic stress and cortisol release, which will cascade into your mood, sleep, skin, and the rest of your life. The answer to that is to SLOW DOWN. 

Although we humans are bipeds and are made to move, 6 to 8 hours of exercise every day is seems like it could be on the heavy side (depending on the intensity of course), and you may need to give your body a break. Inflammation is a sign that your body isn't in homeostasis, and stress hormones are more than likely a huge factor. If you haven't yet, maybe consider looking into yoga to try a very relaxing form of exercise?

I used to suffer from very bad folliculitis and dry skin all over my body for years and tried numerous cycles of antibiotics and washes until I came across a doctor that said he wouldn't prescribe me any because it would only make me sicker later. What he told me to do next shocked me. He told me NOT to use ANY products on my skin so that I could rebuild the good bacteria and natural oils to combat the infection and dry skin. What is weird is that it actually worked. After a month of not using any soap and limiting my showers to about twice a week unless I get sweaty and stinky, my skin got better and months later it was all cleared up. My advice would be to give that a try, it will take some time to get use to, but you produce natural oils from your body for a reason.

To answer your question about prescription medication causing inflammation, yes, that can happen and it happens a lot. It happened to me a lot in the past. Concentrated chemicals will always have side effects other than the desired and they show up in every way imaginable. Brain fog is almost always included when we are talking about antidepressants.

I don't know if you are taking Melatonin and Magnesium PILLS at night, but you might want to try to replace that with tart cherry juice (Melatonin) and a baked sweet potato (Magnesium). That's what I personally have most nights when I can't sleep and need to relax. They taste much better too ;)

Many people have had much success using natural foods and meditation help skin issues, digestion issues, eating problems, sleep issues, mental disorders, exercise fatigue, injuries, etc... the list goes on and on. I'm one of the success stories. I was in a really rough place and turned it around by reducing stress in meditation and giving my body what it needs in food. SO many people have benefited mentally by increasing their Omega-3s from FOOD and not just from pills. My advice would be to eat as much salmon, hemp seeds, flax seeds, eggs, and walnuts as possible and reducie inflammation with tart cherries and turmeric.

My heart truly goes out to you in your struggles Ali. Keep your head up and I wish you the very best of luck!

- PrimalProgrammer

Medium avatar


on December 07, 2015
at 04:32 PM


Thanks so much for the helpful response. I will definitely try tart cherry juice. I'm super sensitive to melatonin and would love to get it from a more natural source. I've been taking a melatonin gummy (1.5mg is all I can handle) and magnesium that dissolves in water. 

One of the strange things is that everything seems to get worse when I am home and not working- almost as if not having constant activity and something to do all the time is more stressful than working 12 hour days. I feel burned out at the end of 3 months of work, but then when I'm home with plenty of free time I get lost and things seem to get worse. I'm trying meditation, and considering whether moving meditation would be better for me, and how to implement that in an effective way. 

I'm adding ground chia seeds to lots of my food in an attempt to get more omega 3 from foods, I eat salmon at least once a week, and tuna once or twice a week. I have avoided flax because people say its a phyto estrogen, but I'm wondering if the benefits of the extra omega 3 would outweigh the negatives of the phytoestrogen? 

I have also considered the possibility that I'm low on the B vitamin complex and have considered making my own liver pills from grassfed beef liver. I really hate eating liver so that would be a simple solution, but yet another pill to the morning handful. I've also considered adding a pro-biotic but am really on the fence about whether they actually work and whether the bacteria actually gets past the acids in the stomach. I could easily add yogurt or a pro-biotic capsule, but definitely don't want to waste any money.  

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