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Help - 160+ "head rushes" or "head zaps" a day

Hi Folks – I’m a 49 year old male and starting in May this year, I started experiencing some very weird “head rushes” or “head zaps” as I have seen other folks make reference to. I’m now 4 months in and they are continuing - getting worse and more frequent. I actually know exactly when I had the first one – I was on holidays and departing the hotel and I got this head rush that was very sharp and lasted only a few seconds. It felt like someone stuck a needle in my brain full of adrenaline. I could feel the rush come from behind my right eye and it was so strong I got tingling down my entire body. These “rushes” only last a few seconds and don’t interfere with my balance / motor skills nor do I have any cognitive break etc.… they are just very annoying and generate a bit of anxiety.  After that first one, I was experiencing them 4 or 5 times every hour for the next month. For that first month, they generally only occurred when I was in situations that had a bit of anxiety involved – good or bad: i.e. playing a video game and monster jumps out, watching TV and phone rings… initially the sensation was almost pleasurable – almost like a release of sorts. Again, they only last a few seconds and once over, I do get an anxious feeling. Initially, in-between these episodes I felt fine. For the first month I just wrote these off as I must have picked up a bug while on vacation (I was in New York). Few items about me – I have never had any issues with depression or anxiety in the past and take no drugs and am a very moderate drinker.
I began to get worried the second month as the head rushes started to occur every 10 minutes of so regardless of what I was doing – no anxiety needed. These new head rushes are similar to the more anxiety generated rushes just a bit milder. They also last just a few seconds. In the second and third month of this issue, I got as many as 80 of the milder rushes a day. As of right now (four months in), I get the milder rushes up to 160 a day. I swear I can feel a build up to each rush in the minute before they occur. I still get the “sharper” and more anxiety driven rushes as well but 3 or 4 an hour. These rushes also occur at night and the sharper ones will wake me up. I’m off work at the moment and have very little stress in my life.
In addition to the head rushes, in month 3 and 4 I started experiencing general fatigue and am now sleeping 12 hour a day. I usually run on my treadmill for an hour and now can only manage 20 minutes before I am exhausted and drenched in sweat. One of the worse problems I am now having related to this is I have no sex drive – never had that issue before. I am also putting on weight.
After the first month I went to see my Doctor about this – he tested my thyroid and I was a bit low so am now on 50 mg of synthroid. My vitamin B was a bit low as well so am on a B supplement. As my symptoms are so strange and persistent, I had an MRI on my head done to ensure no tumor etc.… The MRI was clean. Doc also suspected Cushing Disease so have done 2 X 24 hour urine cortisol test. In both tests my cortisol was above average. Doc had MRI on my adrenal glands to see if there was a tumor – MRI was clean. Running out of ideas, my GP has now referred me to an Endocrinologist. The Endocrinologist had me do a blood cortisol test – it came up as abnormal but too low cortisol not too high? Endocrinologist now doesn’t think it is cushing or even endocrine issue?
I have searched high and low on the Net for folks with my similar symptoms – closest I can find are for folks with antidepressant withdrawal (SSRI) however, I have never been on antidepressants and am not on any drugs.
Anyways – saw this forum with folks who had similar symptoms and thought I would post in hopes of finding someone in a similar situation looking for answers.
2 Responses
Avatar universal
Update - the head rushes continue to get milder and less frequent. I only get 4 or 5 an hour and some I barely feel.  That said, other symptoms remain – very low sex drive and very tired. I can sleep 14 hours straight on weekends. I still feel build-up (anxiety) leading up to a rush. As the rushes are not as strong I feel less relief after a rush – anxiety remains. I continue to put on weight.


New issue: for the past month when I wake up my baby toe on left side has been tingling – not quite asleep but a tingle when I step out of bed, tingle goes away. For the past week the tingle has been getting worse and doesn’t go all away – toe a bit sore? No clue if this has anything to do with my issue? I’ve read about these type of things with diabetes.

Here are my test results from old to new. In brackets () is the normal range. Doc(s) hasn’t called to give me any opinions on latest test:

Aug17
CORTISOL RANDOM 65 - 540 18 nmol/L LOW
VOLUME, 24HOUR URINE (600 – 1800) 2100 mL/d HIGH
CREATININE, 24 HOUR URINE (6.3 - 22.7) 26.5 mmol/d HIGH
FREE CORTISOL, 24 HOUR URINE (0 – 193) 290 nmol/d HIGH

Sep 07
Cortisol 396 nmol/L G VIEW
LH 2.6 IU/L (1.0-9.0) C VIEW
FSH 3.6 IU/L (1.0-19.0) C VIEW
Prolactin 6 ug/L (3-13) C VIEW
Testosterone Total 9.1 nmol/L (6.1-27.1) C VIEW
Testosterone Free Calculated 183 pmol/L (110-660) C VIEW
Testosterone Bioavailable Calculated 4.3 nmol/L (2.8-15.5) C VIEW
SHBG 31 nmol/L (13-89) C VIEW
TSH 3.05 mIU/L (0.34-5.60) C VIEW
FT4 13.6 pmol/L (7.0-17.0) C VIEW

Sept 11
CORTISOL RANDOM (65 – 540) 18 nmol/L LOW
Sept 25
THYROID STIMULATING HORMONE (TSH) (0.35 – 5) 3.36 mIU/L NORMAL
FREE T4 (12 – 22) 18 pmol/L NORMAL
FREE T3 (3.4 - 5.9) 5.2 pmol/L NORMAL

Sept 25
VOLUME, 24HOUR URINE (600 – 1800) 1580 mL/d NORMAL
CREATININE, 24 HOUR URINE (6.3 - 22.7)  24.9 mmol/d HIGH
NORMETANEPHRINES < 3.3 5.9 umol/d HIGH
METANEPHRINES < 1.7 1.1 umol/d NORMAL

No clue where I go from here? Love to get some input as I think my Docs are stumped.
Avatar universal
Update #2

This week the head rushes are a bit worse - they had subsided so much I could barely feel them the week before but they are back again. Not the sharp ones but still a real problem.

I continue to have bad night night sweats and my soring is off the charts according to my wife. Sex drive is still in the dumps.

Still sleeping 14 hours a day when I'm not working. I continue to put on weight mostly in my gut - went from 200 to 220 since this thing started.

Other items that might or might not be related but only occurred since this started:
1) Small toe on left side and bit of left foot tingling when I wake-up. Not all the way asleep.
2) Getting cramps in my calfs in the moring and at night.
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