Periodic symptoms
March 28, 2011 3:06 PM   Subscribe

Every 3-4 months I get a scratchy throat, swollen tonsils, and mild postnasal drip which lasts about five days. Is this possibly due to mold in my damp, poorly ventilated apartment?

It doesn't seem precisely correlated with temperature changes or the seasons. But the periodicity has me scratching my head for answers. I have mild seasonal allergies, but their occurrence seems uncorrelated with these throat spells and the symptoms are completely different.

I tried one of those cheapo mold testing kits--I followed the instructions exactly--but nothing grew.

My other crazy idea was some kind of bacterium or parasite? Like some kind of repeating lifecycle combined with an immune system reaction in my body? I've been feeling awful for years. The tonsil thing has been going on for a couple of years.
posted by zeek321 to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (Oh, I do have cryptic tonsils. But I flush them out every once in a while with clean water, and I don't really get tonsil stones anymore. Doing this doesn't seem correlated with the episodes either. And it wouldn't explain the scratchy throat or postnasal drip, I think.)
posted by zeek321 at 3:13 PM on March 28, 2011

If you're tonsils have been that bad for years, it's probably just time to have them taken out. IAMAD, but from what I understand, that's pretty common practice for adults who are getting sick several times of years in the way you describe.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:22 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been feeling awful for years. The tonsil thing has been going on for a couple of years.

Have you seen a doctor? Does your doctor know you've been feeling awful for years? I ask because you don't mention a doctor at all in your question.

If you don't have a doctor, find one. If your doctor doesn't know you are feeling awful, tell them, and let them treat it. If they do know you are feeling awful and they don't attempt to treat it, find a new doctor. If the doctor has attempted to treat it and failed, ask for a referral to an ENT.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:26 PM on March 28, 2011

I have a similar issue - scratchy throat, swollen tonsils. Also, discovered I get tonsil stones too (haven't figured out how to wash them out..just poke at my tonsils to make the thing come out).
Sorry I don't have a great solution for you, but I will offer advice that you should be persistent when finding a doc that will look into it. A lot of ENT doctors shy away from removing the tonsils from adults (not that the surgery is needed for you). I've been to more than a few ENT docs that, upon discovering nothing, lost interest in my discomfort and other symptoms. Be persistent!
posted by Yunani at 3:29 PM on March 28, 2011

When I recently came down with my second, massive, ear-infection in only 6 months, I started wondering like you. Then the paint started peeling off a wall in the hallways that co-joins my apartment, revealing a growing mold colony working it's way through the drywall.

I specifically asked my ENT about it at our next meeting, and he said that the mold couldn't "cause" my ear infections, but could "set the stage for them".
posted by nomisxid at 3:34 PM on March 28, 2011

My brother-in-law had the same issue. turns out it was GERD even though the only symptoms he had were sore/irritated throat, post-nasal drip. But it happened frequently enough that he finally went to the doctor.

Also, if you're constantly sitting in an unventilated apartment, I would assume that may take a toll on you. Especially if you've had the heat on during the winter.

Talk to a doctor. Could be chronic sinusitis, GERD, etc.

You may want to see if you can get a referral to an allergist to test you for any allergies. Some food allergies can even cause this kind of reaction.
posted by KogeLiz at 4:13 PM on March 28, 2011

I have a pretty strong throat/sinus response to seasonal changes that I eventually figured out was in response to the humidity level raising/dropping. My allergies are connected to it as well -- if the weather suddenly dries out, I end up having a really unfortunate allergy attack.

I don't have any tonsils.
posted by hermitosis at 4:42 PM on March 28, 2011

Response by poster: Whoa, so I basically cured my GERD, except when I eat a huge meal and go right to bed, which I do every once in a while when I'm starving and exhausted. I'm going to try never, ever eating within three hours before bed for a few months and then do it a couple nights in a row to see if I can bring on the symptoms. That could be it.
posted by zeek321 at 5:08 PM on March 28, 2011

When I have those symptoms, I call it a 'cold'. I'm interested in the idea that it might not be, but could these be colds you're getting?
posted by kitcat at 8:59 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Based on my experiences living in a moldy apartment, I would say that your symptoms don't sound like they're being caused by mold. My mold allergy symptoms: coughing, closed throat, runny nose - these symptoms were constant, not cyclical, and noticeably more severe while I was inside my apartment.
posted by pluot at 10:33 PM on March 28, 2011

Your symptoms sound like my wife's. She would treat with antibiotics, and it would go away. The Dr decided based on her history, about 1.5 years of this every 4-6 weeks to remove. Once they were gone, it's never come back.

We went through so many things before just having them removed. There was a lymphoma scare, a theory of an infection that was resisting antibiotics, to simple allergies.

Removal is not fun though, you are out of commission for a full week, and it hurts like hell.
posted by eggm4n at 12:25 PM on March 29, 2011

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