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Subarachnoid hemorrhage symptoms

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Early hours yesterday morning I woke up to a headache was so bad it generally felt as if I was smacked so hard with a metal bat or something. Worst headache I've ever experienced. My neck went completely stiff and painful I was also feeling nausea was so close to throwing up. My headache was so bad that taking 2 paracetamol didn't work and after an hour it only got worse it got to a point where I had to lay still otherwise I'll make things worse. I was so weak and and dizzy and trying to make it to bathroom without throwing up I was wobbling. I felt so confused but I think that's because I just woke up in shock. 


It was the worst headache I've ever experienced my head felt like it swelled up or something I was so close to going to A&E but I never did as I ended up falling asleep after 2 hours as the symptoms subsided as far as I know I fell asleep but I do not remember falling asleep. 


I called out of hours doctors following day as my head just felt bruised they didn't seem too bothered told me to wait and just make an appointment within the next 3 days.


So today I went to the doctors and the lady just acted as I was exaggerating and said maybe it's just stress (even though I haven't got anything to stress about right now luckily) I said to her no I said I'm scared I'm really scared please I've never felt pain like this before and then disappear like it was nothing. She seemed to just not care and off I went, I felt so stupid that I was worried for nothing.


So I thought i would come on here and ask people with experiences what I'm describing is it the same as yours or what you have had happened and did anything become worse a week later? I just need to know I have a right to worry? And that I wasn't stupid and that I should ask for a second opinion.


Thanks in advance.

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What you describe sound like classic symptoms of SAH, but we are not doctors and cannot give medical advice other than to say:


Get to hospital without delay and get yourself checked out.  It is too risky not to. If it is a SAH they will deal with it. If it isn't, you have lost nothing. You are right to be concerned.


In my opinion, doing nothing is not an option.


Just go, now.


Good luck - and let us know how you get on!

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Hi there,  


Macca is right, you need to get checked out - it's not right that you are not being taken seriously. 

I had a similar experience in that my concerns and symptoms (severe headache, not being able to put my chin down to my chest, feeling nauseous and very sleepy) were all ignored by my gp, nhs direct, my optician and even the paramedic that came when I called 999 at the outset.


It was 6 days later and a phone call by my dad to my gp to insist that I be investigated that an appointment was made for that day, at a neuro clinic at hospital.  After a 5 hour wait to be seen, they very nearly sent me home again.  Luckily a consultant came to see me and said he'd just like me to have a ct scan and if the result of that was ok I could go home. 


The scan revealed a bleed on the brain and I was in hospital for 11 days.


Now, hopefully yours may not be this and I certainly don't wish to worry you further, but you do need to insist you get checked as it is not uncommon for the professionals to miss the symptoms being something potentially serious.

I knew something was not right with myself, I never had headaches and certainly not one that lasted for days on end and painkillers had no effect.  

Good luck,


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  • 1 month later...

Never hurts to get checked out. Everyone's symptoms are different. My only symptom was vomiting for three days straight prior. Of course which caused which I don't know. The vomiting could've caused the bleed or vice versa

keep us updated

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Hi Kiwi11 


As everyone has said, go to hospital and get this checked out, you really need to do this, as Macca said if it's not a SAH then you have lost nothing by going and you have put your mind at rest, if it turns out it has been a bleed then it will be dealt with by the hospital.


Please don't leave it, get it checked and let us know how you got on.


Wishing you good luck


Michelle xx 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Kiwi11,


This is my first post but I felt compelled to respond.  had a similar experience. Please don't do what I did and leave it too long before getting medical advice, !


Had my SAH on holiday. Had no idea what had happened. Stayed in bed for two days, sleeping a lot and trying not to move. The drive home was awful. After I came home I couldn't go back to work because I felt so bad. At that time ( 2014) I used the NHS symptom checker which kept telling me to phone 999. 


I saw a doctor after a week who thought it was a bad flu and gave me painkillers. After another week I went back to a different doctor who gave me more painkillers. After three weeks off work I saw my own doctor (who had been on holiday). He advised that I went to A&E and asked for a scan. I was admitted immediately.


Because it had happened three weeks before, the scan could not detect the bleed. That meant I had to have a lumber puncture. That didn't work and results were inconclusive so I was kept in the local hospital. After 4 weeks I was sent to another hospital. with a neurological department. It took them a further week to identify the SAH and then more time before they treated it. 


Better to to go now to hospital as it will be easier to detect and treatment will be quicker. Your symptoms are identical to mine. Dont be scared. Treatment was fine. It was the period before it that was bad. All the best! 



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Eileen, a very warm welcome to BTG :) and thank you so much for sharing your reassuring experience with Kiwi11. 

Maybe you would like to post a bit about yourself in the Introduce yourself section.

We look forward to hearing more from you.




Wishing you well

Tina xx



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Put mind at ease and see another Doc if possible or ring them and tell them you are worried.  Even if it's a bad migraine at least you wont have it hanging over you xx


You must be worried and stress doesn't help so ask for a 2nd opinion and say "Can you assure me it isn't a bleed etc etc .


Off you go and put mind at ease one way or another or you'll stress all weekend about it .


Sorry for being Bossy but better to be safe than sorry  xxxx 


Good luck Kiwi and Hi Eileen xxxx

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