Digestive issues: Hi I have had to... - Pernicious Anaemi...

Pernicious Anaemia Society

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Digestive issues


Hi I have had to visit my gp and gastroenterologist for IBS symptoms over last 3 years. Recently found out through research that PA causes these problems with digesting food because of low stomach acid. (Diagnosed 5 years ago). Apparently I am now obsessed with my health and imagine all sorts of medical conditions are wrong with me. I have been told I have ‘Health Anxiety’. Has anyone else been told this ie obsessed with health. Thanks for feedback.

10 Replies

"obsessed with health" Yes - been there, done that, but not quite the same words. Mine were two years of "are you happy in your work" and others implying it was all in my mind,

This ended in severe endometriosis, 3 major operations, many minor ones and a pelvic abscess from which I nearly died. Luckily I was sent, eventually, to an excellent consultant.

GP's come, as all people do, in good, bad and indifferent. Hope you can find the 'good' as I in the end did.

Absolutely at my worst my doctor said all I can suggest is get some exercise 😨with a B12 level of 157 and anemia I could barely walk.


Hi EmChar. Welcome to the 'health obsessed club' 🤬. You're not alone in this.

Health obsessed, hypochondriac, anxious, depressed...many here have been called this. Or diagnosed with fibromyalgia, ME, CFS, MS. Or sent around multiple 'oligies' because doctors don't understand PA or B12 deficiency...and are then labelled with health anxiety...simply because doctors are unable (or unwilling) to consider PA or B12 deficiency as a cause for their symptoms. Or recognise and treat other health issues that can arise due to PA.

Neuropsychiatric symptoms are barely recognised - some have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act for the want of B12 injections.

So...everybody here will know how frustrating this is...and exactly how you must be feeling about it.

PA can indeed cause problems with digesting food and gastric / intestinal complaints are common in those with PA (and in other causes of B12 deficiency)

If the fact that you are 'health obsessed' has been recorded on your medical records (which you are entitled to get a copy of), you could write a letter in response, detailing your symptoms, diagnosis and the links between PA and GI issues - and state that you object to being labelled as 'health obsessed' when there are identifiable reasons for your symptoms.

If it was something your GP told you in consultation, then think I'd be looking for a new GP 😉😀.

If it came following a hospital consultation and was communicated to your GP in a follow-up letter, then think I'd complain to the hospital concerned (via the Patient Liasion Service) and ask for a second opinion (again, this is your right) - and write to your GP telling him you have raised a complaint.

Or perhaps you're just worn out and can't be bothered to do any of that 😕.

Just know that you are not alone and, disgraceful as it is, many here have received the same treatment (ha - fancy calling it treatment 😢).

Finally, if I had not been 'health obsessed' and put pressure on my GP to 'do something', (having discovered that abnormal test results had been ignored for many years), then I would not have been diagnosed and - eventually - treated 😉😀.

So if you are 'health obsessed'...then from where we all sit, it’s a necessity we've been driven too🙄.

But it's not something we (or anybody) should be hearing, as a quasi-diagnosis, from doctors!!

So take heart and take care.


How were you diagnosed with low stomach acid? . I have PA and I asked to be tested for low stomach acid , only to be told that it can only be done in a research situation . My gastroenterologist told me that PA patients have low or no stomach acid ( Hypochlorhydria or Achlorhydria) There is no NHS treatment . I found by trial and error that a probiotic ( Symprove ) worked wonders . Unfortunately expensive , so now I make my own ( organic raw sauerkraut -recipe on the Internet ) A couple of spoonfuls daily does the trick - no more bloating , nausea or stomach pain. Sauerkraut to be eaten raw , not cooked or heated . Can be obtained at health food shops . Make sure that it’s organic and unpasteurised if you think you would like to try it !

The low/no stomach acid really upsets the stomach flora , and bad bacteria takes over , causing problems .

The NHS has no help for low stomach acid . Some people take Hydrochloric acid with pepsin capsules . Best to ask a nutritionist about using them .

Also drinking acidic drinks -diluted organic cider vinegar , or lime juice . Swedish bitters can also help . Even if none of there work for you , you will have done no harm .

Low stomach acid also prevents you from absorbing vitamins and minerals , so you’d best supplement .

BadHare in reply to wedgewood

A spoon of apple cider vinegar in a little water , also works. Like sauerkraut, opt for an organic unpasteurised type, that contains a probiotic "mother" culture.

EmChar in reply to wedgewood

Hi thanks for reply. no I have not been diagnosed with low stomach acid but a Nutritional Therapist I saw seemed to think it was that because of PA and the debilitating digestive issues I have been suffering from. Also suggested I had dysbiosis. I have been taking lemon juice in water not sure if that’s helpful. Seeing GI next week perhaps I can try for further tests. See how it goes.

As far as I'm aware, I've not been diagnosed as health obsessed, or had that been written about me. Certainly, no medic has verbally suggested I am health obsessed.

However, I KNOW I AM, health obsessed!

Or, as I prefer to see it, I'm suffering from Iatrogenic PTSD, due to GP misdiagnosis when I became very unwell. I suffered, prescription medicine toxicity and side effects. Brought about by gp mismanagement/ignoring, early symptoms, that developed into worse diagnosis.

Doing the right thing, seeing my GP (I've changed her since!), at first sign I was struggling with symptoms, I was ' not allowed', to have a thyroid blood test, as it was not due, according to yearly guidelines. I was not referred to an endocrinologist (despite hypothyroidism 28 yrs, never seen one, as I was ok on levothyroxine during this time), GP told me, GP manages thyroid health!!

I got myself to a London Dr, who told me my blood results showed a thyroid crises, over prescription of levothyroxine had caused meds to dump into my bloodstream... My thyroid had atrophied and I had autoimmunity.

I suffered further numerous symptoms, as my body struggled, and was given, further new diagnosis because, (in my opinion), I was left on such a high dose levothyroxine, for too long, despite my repeat visits to GP when I became very unwell.

One blood test, could have saved me a lifetime of trips to various consultants now. And, myself, and my family, a lifetime of pain and suffering. Not to mention the additional financial cost to the NHS now.

YES IM HEALTH OBSESSED! from suffering a lack of timely health provision which caused PTSD, through my (now), lack of trust in medics, and I not only suffer awfully, from the newly diagnosed conditions, but I'm p..... off too! Having to take more prescription medications. Alter my life plans.

Health Obsession is nothing to be ashamed of. It's a healthy normal response, to a bad experience regarding health issues. Like ill health, health obsession, ALWAYS has a root cause.

Don't hold your breath though, most medics are not interested in root cause these days. Sadly, the interest lays more in getting patients out of the door, the main aim being, to save spending money.


Hi EmChar. When I was losing hair, nails breaking, rosea, high anxiety, insomnia, etc... I was told I was “Healthy” by my GP. That I needed to relax and enjoy life. She put me on anti anxiety meds and sent me on my way. 5 months later after many many dr visits my Endo Dr did one simple blood test for B12 and it turned out I had PA! I persued and persued and never gave up on myself. I knew there was something wrong...Even my family and friends thought I was just under a lot of “Stress”.

Moral of the story, be your own advocate. You know your body better than anyone else!

And yes my GP thought I had Health Anxiety.

CherylclaireForum Support

Was offered anti-depressants many times, although I was never depressed.

I did have (and still do) mood swings, poor concentration and cognitive problems, memory loss, infections and trouble healing, pins and needles and numbness, hair loss, bleeding gums, sore and splitting mouth, stiff feet, legs and hips, etc etc..... and B12 deficiency, low folate and ferritin, osteoporosis of the spine, IBS-type symptoms, possibly SIBO, and "definitely not" Coeliac disease although duodenum showing flattened villi.

I don't really want to spend so much time, and energy that I don't have, trying to work out what to do to help myself. Perhaps we could be less obsessive if we got more help. A diagnosis, perhaps: all this doesn't happen all at once to previously healthy people without a reason, does it ?

STILL not depressed.......maybe there's something wrong with me (?)

PS: Seems to me, reading all the above, that "health obsession" has saved many lives, so might be the most healthy option !

i have definitely had, still have some, health anxiety! i have had less than positive experiences with allopathic doctors over the years and am terrified...yes terrified...that i would have to turn to that system for help. that said, tho, i have not found answers with functional or naturopathic docs yet. i became completely obsessed with food choices, thinking i must be eating something to cause all this gut distress and post nasal drip. never found a correlation - other than possibly wheat which i cut out a year ago just in case. i developed a syndrome called "orthorexia" from the fear of food. i could no longer enjoy eating. restaurants became enemies. learning about orthorexia was actually quite helpful to me. i still don't have it totally under control, but i am enjoying food more and not being so strict and fearful about everything that goes in my mouth. anxiety is really hard to understand by anyone who has not experienced it.

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