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sunrunner's avatar

Strange symptoms after head CT?

Asked by sunrunner (120points) December 21st, 2010

I’m not sure if these are related to my head CT, but since I’ve had it done (about 3 weeks ago), I’ve been experiencing moderate to severe dry mouth, dehydration, decreased appetite, nausea (sensation as if I’m about to gag, in my throat), and a feeling of fullness (and sometimes dull pain) in my abdomen. This is the only real thing that’s happened in the past month that’s “odd” – no nutritional, stress-level or other changes I can think of. I’m worried these symptoms might be indicative of nascent pancreatic cancer. It could be IBS, I suppose, but these symptoms arise irrespective of diet and stress, and they arose shortly after the CT.

Could these symptoms be attributed to the radiation and if so, what is the probability that that is the case?

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13 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

Your experience would have nothing to do with the CT scan.

marinelife's avatar

It is very unlikely that it had anything to do with the CT scan. Rarely, people have an allergic reaction to the contrast medium, but the symptoms are different from yours.

Get back to a doctor.

Judi's avatar

Did they do it “With Contrast?” you may have had an allergic reaction of some kind to the contrast.
My MIL was at deaths door and when they put the contrast in for the CT scan it zapped her back to life.
I had the family gathered from miles away and she came back from the CT scan a chatty Cathy. That was over a year ago and she’s still kicking. It was really strange.

CaptainHarley's avatar

MOST unlikely, approaching zero as a limit.

JLeslie's avatar

If your hair starts falling out, then really worry. Otherwise, I doubt any of your symptoms are related to the CT. Have you had a a lot of xrays recently? Do you work in a place with high radiation or chemical exposure?

Harold's avatar

As a radiographer of 27 years experience, as well as being a lecturer in medical imaging, I can categorically tell you that it had nothing to do with your CT scan.

The symptoms you mention are not relevant to a contrast allergy. Delayed reactions to contrast are very unusual, and all adverse reactions take on the form of anaphylaxis. At the time of injection you may feel nausea, a strange taste, and a feeling like you peed yourself (all these are very brief, and would be over by the time you got off the machine), but any other reaction is anaphylactic in varying degrees.

It sounds like you need some abdominal imaging (ultrasound then CT) to find out your problem.

sunrunner's avatar

@Harold I’m talking about damage from the radiation—not contrast solution; I didn’t have contrast solution injected.

Akag9's avatar

Physician with 25 y of experience. I agree with Harold (see above). And, since now we know that no contrast was used, during head CT the dose of radiation you get is about 2 mSv. That amount you get naturally in about 8 mo of just walking around on our planet Earth…
So, it’s NOT THE CT. Call your primary doctor. He’ll order some labs, maybe Abdominal Ultrasound etc…

skfinkel's avatar

I can relate to your concern about over radiation, but it sounds from the knowledgeable responses here that that should not be a problem. But, clearly something is. That is what you need to chase down—learning what is the matter with you? And don’t let the doctor off the hook, find out. And if they are not willing to pursue finding out, get another doctor.

Prk123's avatar

Did you ever follow up further and find out what caused your symptoms?

Prk123's avatar

It has been a few years but what do you remember ? I k ow someone with similar symptoms but had MRI with contrast agent? Every physician and technician indicate that no way MRI imaging or the contrast agent would cause this. Could she have had an amount of contrast agent large enough to cause these symptoms?

Prk123's avatar

The symptoms are sudden and the dry mouth (eyes not dry enough and so probably not Sjogren) is extreme and it went from normal to extreme dryness in less than two weeks. The construction has remained so with no improvement for the last two months. No exaggeration when I say extreme dry mouth, dentist, oral surgeon, lab techs and a couple of more specialists observed it without even being told about it beforehand

JLeslie's avatar

^^For the dryness and feeling in the throat I think maybe it could be thyroid, but there are so many other symptoms it could be something more complex. Still, I would check thyroid numbers. As the thyroid grows it can interfere with swallowing.

Sjogren’s probably not, but they will likely test for that, and lupus—a bunch of the autoimmune tests. At minimum run an ESR.

Dry mouth can be caused by medications, has the person started a new med?

Also, if the person’s tongue hurts, and it feels like drinking beverages should help, but doesn’t, it could be an iron deficiency. Is their tongue very pale? Tongue, lips, eye conjunctive, pale pink rather than more reddish? Then I would say test iron and run a CBC.

Moreover, the feeling of thirst is glaring sign of diabetes, but you don’t seem to be emphasizing thirst, rather you are talking about dryness.

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