Gastro Issues

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In Jan of 17, got burning pain under both ribs. Dr diagnosed GERD. Two months later, same issue, plus, started noticing change in stool color. Went to gastro dr, in a panic. Did bloodwork, stool test, and abdominal ultrasound

. Everything came back good.

Fast forward 14 months. Out to dinner one night, burning pain back. For a week or so, able to have bowel movements, but not much coming out. Side note- I take a fiber supplement each day and eat fruits and veggies.

Now, i start obsessing over stool again. Talk to a friend who is a dr, who tells me to relax. I start taking pics of every bowel movement. Some are very normal in size, some flat or ribbon like, some short(2-4 inches long), some thin. Color all over the map. Brown, light brown, tannish. Some soft and mushy, some normal. Some even look colon shaped. Abdominal pain rarely present- a twinge in diff places here and there. Pain under ribs comes and goes. At no point is the pain overwhelming.

Back to dr. Tells me "indigestion happens." 2 months pass, where i am obsessing over all of this. More bloodwork done. Came back good. Since dr appt, I have lost 10 lbs. One dr tells me it's probably the stress I am putting myself through. Friend who is dr says same. This has also turned into a social anxiety issue, because I don't like staying out of my house for long periods of time. All I keep doing is believing I have cancer, either in colon, liver, or pancreas. Docs look at me like I am crazy. Now, ever since last gastro doc appt, I had 4 straight days of lower abdomen pain while defacating, with small super soft stools. This morning, short, thin, but well formed, and not super soft.

NOTE- I am 49 yrs old, amd have had stomach issues since I was a kid, but never diagnosed with anything. But at the end of my rope, driving all around me crazy, self included. Made psych appt as well.

And insight would be appreciated, and I will answer any questions as honestly as possible. Could this be IBS?

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Try not to panic.  I’ve had same issues!  IBS is a pain !  Have doctors rule out cancer then you can set your mind at ease!  You could request a colonoscopy to rule out cancer for sure.
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  • Posted

    Pure anxiety - when you start noticing everything about your own bowel health after having clear results that's what it is.  All these signs are IBS and worrying about them or some other worry will make you worse.  Can you treat the core reason for being so anxious.  If you can address these issues and eat well and drink everything will be better. 

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    • Posted

      That is what many keep telling me- the sudden anxiety of the past 2 months. They say that is why I am losing weight(eating habits all over the place- one day, trouble eating from nerves, the next, ravenous appetite).
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    • Posted

      It is I've been there and it's not good.  I had worries and was an anxious person anyway.  I was eventually allergic to nearly everything came out in a rash with antibiotics couldn't even take paracetamol. I was paranoid about my bowel, kept thinking I saw blood it made me ill and couldn't sleep but then I did have worries. I had a diabetic son who bought a flat away from home and drove a car and because I couldn't see that he was up in the morning and tested before he drove etc I couldn't cope and it all affected my bowel and digestive system I ate at all the wrong times, I made good food for my family I made myself do things but couldn't eat it myself. I could have eaten chips and crisps and sweeties but not proper food. I didn't put on weight because I worried so much. I was eventually given amitriptyline only 25mg and it took six weeks to work until one day I don't know why I just worried less I still take it  I eventually got better and look back at how I was and am ashamed because I was affecting my whole family and had a feeling the doctor was fed up too.  Just take it slowly and try to forget about your bowel and can guarantee you will get better. Do you take anxiety medication. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Olive, had entire post typed out and it got deleted. Ugh!

      Anyway, I do not take any meds. Made appt with psychiatrist, because anxiety eating me up. 2 weeks away. They said they will not prescribe meds in first visit. We shall see what happens.

      Side note that I didn't mention in first post- showed 2 docs stool pics. Neither cared that color was light/yellowish/tannish. One says "look- there's a tomato. There's a raisin." My gp, while not seeing pics, told me "stop symptom searching. There are reasons we do years of schooling, then study the rest of our careers."

      As for my anxiety, it is a clear health related anxiety, I believe. While I am married now, I was a single parent forever. My daughter never met her mother(long story). If something happens to me, I am afraid for my daughter. She is an adult, but one who has her own issues. Maybe my anxiety is two-fold, then? I don't know. And with that, just had an outstanding BM, but light in color.

      Thank you so much for the conversation, by the way.

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  • Posted

    Listen stop looking at the colour it doesn't matter. Just forget to look and yes your anxiety is more than likely causing it.  Family worries especially our own children are the worst kind of anxiety issues. I used to make myself sick in the morning I was so uptight - I had to get up to be sick so that my husbsnd didn't know.  It will pass but you need something to treat your anxiety. I don't take medication unless absolutely necessary not even a pain killer because as I told you I became allergic to paracetamol. I have once or twice had a paracetamol since and had no issues it was all anxiety causing it.  If you hadn't had clear tests more than once it would have been different but just try to forget about it. You will do it.  

    Can I ask how old you are and are you working. 

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  • Posted

    Sounds like IBS.  Keep going back to your doctor for more tests and diagnosis.  Don’t panic about your symptoms; panic worsens IBS if that’s what you have.  Don’t google your symptoms or examne your stools.  Try a food diary to see if food is the problem.  Your doctor will reassure and and help you!
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    • Posted

      Thank you!

      My dr seems unimpressed with my symptoms. He saw my stool pics, and his remarks would always be "beautiful! Want me to start telling you what you ate? There's a carrot!" He seriously said "Look, you're almost 50. If you want, we can do a colonoscopy. You seem to think every stool is going to be textbook. That's not realistic. Seeing any blood? No. Stool black, gray or white? No. Stop worrying." Showed him pics of mucus. He said "you see this every day? No? Then stop." I have had 3 drs, friends, and my wife tell me, pretty much, that it's all in my head.

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    • Posted

      Stools come in all shapes and sizes and can be influenced by what you eat.  This is what your doctor is trying to tell you. If your doctor is not concerned, this is good news for you and is a very good reason why you should not worry.  in the case of IBS, some people find undigested food particles in their stools if some foods disagree with them.  Mucus in your stool also can happen with IBS.   Accept your doctor’s reassurances and believe and trust everything you are told. Everyone is telling you not to worry! This is very good advice, 

      Your symptoms are not in your head; they are genuine.  However, trying to relax will help you a lot.  Anxiety fuels IBS and can actually trigger it.   I had three and a half months of no diagnosis and I tore myself apart with panic because no one could help me. I turned to google to give my doctors something to work on.  This made it far worse. I worried 24/7 and had a different health anxiety every day.

      In the end my final doctor diagnosed IBS on the basis of my anxiety.   Once I finally got answers, my health anxiety cleared up and my IBS much improved.

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