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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 36115
Experience:  20 yrs. in practice, includinge surgery, general medicine, addiction medicine and pain.
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A few weeks ago, after having had lunch with a friend, I was

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A few weeks ago, after having had lunch with a friend, I was walking through the park when the palms of my hands suddenly started burning/itching intensely. At the same time, I felt as though the side of my head/face was swelling. I tried pouring water on my palms, but it didn't help. I then started to feel faint and sweat profusely. Then came abdominal cramps. I was not able to get home in the normal way and my friend had to arrange for a taxi. Once home, I spent about half an hour between the bathroom floor (feeling faint, sweating profusely, suffering severe abdominal cramps, panting) and the toilet (diarrhoea). Once the diarrhoea started, the burning/itching seemed to stop. I then had a shower and noticed my body, especially my stomach, was very red, but I otherwise felt okay again quite quickly. That night I experienced a very bad headache, which is very unusual for me, and felt as though the pillow was applying pressure to my head. I haven't experienced this before exactly, although my right hand (not both) has been peeling on and off for months now. I've also been sick quite a few times late at night or during the night, again for a few months. The severe abdominal cramps were similar to an episode I had in the middle of the night before, but that was last winter. I tend to sweat a lot generally, but have done that for as long as I can remember. I put it down to the food although I went to a well-known place, which appears to be very clean. I had a burger and chips and a couple of chicken wings and an iced tea. After the chicken wings, I used a lemon wet wipe that was provided to clean my hands. Yesterday I experienced similar symptoms again, although no way near as bad. I went out to dinner, but barely ate anything once I got there. On my way there, my right hand (not both) started to burn/itch and I experienced short bursts in which my heart raced, I felt faint and I sweated a lot. I cut the evening short and returned home. I'm currently in between GPs and have just discovered it's going to take a little while to be able to register at a new practice and see a doctor, so I would like to know in the meantime what it could be please. Many thanks.
Hi. First off do you have any medical conditions or take any medications?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No known medical conditions and I'm just taking the contraceptive pill.

OK XXXXX. With the attack yesterday was there diarrhea like the last time?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. This time it was much milder. It was just the itchy/burning hand (just one this time), racing heart, feeling faint and sweating. The itchy/burning hand was constant, but the other symptoms came on in bursts. No abdominal cramps or diarrhoea like last time.

OK XXXXX. That one attack with the diarrhea and flushing sounds very much like what's called carcinoid syndrome which is a rare thing involving a gastrointestinal tumor that secretes serotonin. This could be something simpler like irritable bowel syndrome but that one attack was classic for carcinoid syndrome. You need to see a doctor as soon as you can for a workup for this

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for getting back to me. Would carcinoid syndrome explain the burning/itchy hands because that's how it started and it appeared to be quite a strange symptom to me?

Yes it could XXXXX. It goes along with the flushing that people get and it's a little like a histamine release reaction from an allergic reaction

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Also, the flushing associated with carcinoid syndrome appears to be dry, whereas I was sweating profusely.

It can go either way--just a dry flush or the sweating. One other though here--but I don't think it's likely--is hyperthyroidism--overactive thyroid. But with that the symptoms are usually constant or nearly constant and not just one or two times
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes. Most of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism I only experience occasionally. The only constant one seems to be the sweating, as I notice I seem to sweat a lot more than other people generally. Is there anything else that you think it might be, or is that it? Obviously, I'm aware I need to see a doctor; it's just that it looks like it might take a few weeks.

Well, there's always the old default diagnosis of anxiety attacks but before you can chalk it up to that you need to rule out other possibilities. Let me know how it goes and please remember to rate my service to you XXXXX

Dr. Chip and 3 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your help.

My pleasure--any time