Persistent Lower Left Abdominal discomfort

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Hello. Looking for any advice/help/reassurance really!

I'm 32/male, I was "diagnosed" with IBS back when I was 14ish and just accepted it, didnt really have too many issues barring the odd cramp. Usually when I had issues I'd have some constipation, I'd take a fybogel and it would be fine in a couple of days.

My current problems started approx 8 weeks ago now. I landed pretty hard on my tailbone and took some ibuprofen for a few days. I don't normally take any painkillers - I think they bunged me up. 3-4 days after I had really bad constipation, worse than normal - straining for 20min+ just to get a few..pellets out. I also had some pain urinating which I just put down to an IBS flare up as sometimes this happens. It lasted a bit longer than usual so I decided to cut coffee out as I thought it might be an irritant (coffee is pretty much 90% of the liquid I've consumed in the last 15 years) It turns out my body really does not like coming off the caffeine so that made my constipation even worse. For the next 2 weeks I was doubling up on fyobgel and having high fibre cereal just to get some movement every few days. 

Eventually I came to the conclusion the caffeine wasn't causing the issue - it was the sweetners I'd moved over to. I went back onto coffee to try and get things going again (albeit less than before) and it had the desired effect. 

my BM's seemed to settle down but ever since my straining episode I've had a discomfort lower left abdomen. persistent, 24/7 same place. The pain seems to be from where the bowel turns into the middle across my pelvic area to my belly button (2-3" below) - it doesn't wake me up, it doesn't really get any worse (sometimes feels a little better after a BM but not for long) its just...there! 

So here I am 7-8 weeks after the straining incident and I still have this discomfort, I can't really call it a pain its more of a ..general awareness/discomfort. the pain is probably a 2/10 when walking about and a 3-4 at the most when sat down (but I do feel its a bit tender) I went to the doctors who prescribed some mebeverine and presumed it was just IBS. they did absolutely nothing. I started taking some tumeric pills, they don't seem to do a great deal. I've stopped the mebeverine and tried buscopan and some peppermint pills - nothing really seems to work. The doctor took some bloods and a urine test. both of these came back fine and apparently I didn't need any further investigation. 

I'm not convinced its IBS - infact I've spent the last 2 months going mad with health anxiety googling alsorts convincing myself its bowel cancer. I've never seen any blood in my stool, my blood test was fine so I guess I'm not anemic. My stools are fairly normal - brown/sausage shaped and of a decent size. Constipation isnt so bad going 1-2 times a day now and the only time its been on the soft side was once after drinking apple juice and once after panicking sat in doctors. I'm generally awake 18hrs a day and don't feel exactly "ill" in myself so nothing really adds up to cancer but this discomfort is really getting me down and all the stress/anxiety im going through may well be making it worse. 

I went back to doctors last week saying this really isnt improving and he shrugged, said I could try some paracetamol and would refer me for "a camera up the bum" because my grand dad died of bowel cancer (even though he was in his 70s) but cancer was unlikely because im 32 and don't have any red flag symptons 

I don't suppose anyone has any insight? I was tested for celiac 8 years ago and that was negative (I guess that could change?) when I sit down it feels a bit inflamed at times and sometimes seems to go down to my inner thigh/groin area. I've read all the IBS discussions and I don't really fit any of them as my stools are solid. I've got an appointment for a specialist (which is absolutely terrifying when you already think you have cancer) but thats not going to be for 6-7 weeks at its only been marked as routine. I'm going out my bloody mind with worry, I don't know if I can cope another 2 months! Trying to research going private in the UK but I'd have to pay for everything and it seems a right minefield but my head is a complete mess at the moment with stress.

One last thing that crossed my mind was there is a low level diverticular disease? Where you can have chronic pain/low level inflammation and that seems to come from being constipated/low fibre? that seems to be the closest thing I can think of that would fit my issues - the doctor shrugged and suggested high fibre and paracetamol though! 

Thanks - if anyone made it! 

 

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  • Posted

    Your symptoms do sound like IBS, especially if you have temporary relief of pain after a bowel movement.  IBS comes and goes and symptoms can change over time.  My IBS started as constant and I was on ibruprofen for weeks to control the pain and it made me even more constipated. I had severe health anxiety for three and a half months because no one could diagnose me and all tests were normal despite the fact I was in a lot of pain.  Initially, I tried coming off potato because my brother’s IBS trigger was potato but my symptoms didn’t change.  Coming off coffee for a few days didn’t help either and I felt my body needed the caffeine so I went back on it.

    My doctor told me to stop oranges since my symptoms coincided with introducing oranges into my diet and I read that they can cause stomach pain.  However, my symptoms got 50% worse on a daily basis and my health anxiety went through the roof as I thought this was the sign of something serious.  I became phobic about going back on them because my doctor said they can cause UTIs which I had tested negative for.   Eventually, panic drove me back to including them in my diet again and my symptoms improved 50%, so my bowel actually needed them.

    I was eventually diagnosed with IBS.  Diagnosis cleared my health anxiety and my symptoms got a lot better.  They only flare up with stress.  Symptoms tend to vary a lot from person to person. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks for responding

      Your doctor sounds at least somewhat ..interested! in trying to help.

      One of mine asked if I had any blood in my stool and the other one was quick to wash his hands of me and refer away. 

      The time this all started was also the same week I attempted to eat better, I'm not sure what I started with - eating smaller meals and cutting down on potatoes/swapping for rice. Eating more fruit etc. It was basically over night..no problerms to discomfort!

      It's a shame you had to go through with pain for 3 and a half months but its at least somewhat reassuring to hear that IBS/health anxiety can last for a longer time as its something I've never experienced. 

      I have no red flag symptoms so I know theres no way i can see a specialist any time soon, it has crossed my mind to try and get an ultrasound privately, I wonder if that would ease my mind somewhat. Maybe a full blood test. The bloods I had at doctors I'm guessing was only an overview and tested for 4 things whatever they are, I had one at hospital a couple of years back when they were trying to diagnose Vasculitis I had in my legs and I remember the nurse taking about 6 vials! 

      Doctors is certainly no use to me now, they have washed their hands of me

      May I ask what tests you had in the end before they diagnosed you properly?

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    • Posted

      Maybe changing your diet might have upset your stomach; diet change can do this too.  There seems to be a correlation with your diet change and the onset of your symptoms.

      I had an ultrasound, urine test, celiac test, and stool tests for fecal calprotectin and h pylori.  I was so frightened that I had a private ultrasound rather than wait a month for an NHS scan.  However, I was not reasured by any of my negative tests at first because they only told me what I didn’t have and not what I did have. This is the problem.  You need the tests to diagnose you, but when they show nothing, that causes more anxiety

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    • Posted

      I would agree its ..very much a coincidence it happened literally the same day. But on reflection I don't think I've "changed" much..I'm eating less (I'm actually eating breakfast now - high fibre bran and blueberries/raisins or porridge) and I've reduced the amount of potato based foods I'm eating as well as cutting out pretty much all junk/unhealthy food, I can't remember the last time I ate any chocolate, if I want a snack now I have to have some grapes!

      I actually thought they would have told me to do a stool test but since I've been panicking like mad I've been having a check in the bowl after having a BM for the last 2 months and I can't say I've noticed anything untoward. Also in spending several hundred hours playing with doctor google it seems where I'm convinced I've got a tumour ..the blood would very much be visible. 

      I can see what you mean, I suspect if I went ahead and had a private ultrasound and it found nothing, I'd be paranoid they missed something..or that particular test doesnt find my particular ..tumour!

      But is it better than seeing it out for 5 weeks. It bugged me the doctor just wanted to send me for a scope, I don't know if he was just trying to make a joke of it. I said I've spent the last 7 weeks panicking I've got cancer. he just says you don't have any of the red flag symptoms and at 32 its unlikely. I don't know, that didn't exactly reassure me as much as I'd hoped or he wouldn't have sent me on!

      Ahhh and these peppermint oil capsules are giving me acid reflux, everything's a panic! rolleyes

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    • Posted

      I think you have done quite a lot to change your diet.  Any change in eating habits big or small can alter your bowel movements.  When I was advised by my doctor to cut out oranges to see if it helped my pain, my bowel immediately stopped working and my pain got worse.  WhenI went back on them, my bowel started working again and my pain got better. So even minor diet changes can affect your bowel.

      I would believe, trust and accept what your doctor told you.  Having no red flags and being told that cancer is rare at your age, is very good news and very reassuring indeed.  If your doctor was very concerned, you would not have been told this.  It is also very encouraging and thorough that he wanted to send you for a scope. Once again, I don’t think he would have offered this if he didn’t care.  I seriously doubt he would be making a joke of it when he saw you were worried.

      Peppermint gave me heartburn too.  If you have reflux, it can make it worse so it is not recommended for GERD.

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    • Posted

      I suppose your right about the diet

      It all stemmed from taking part in a physical activity that made me realise I was getting a bit too chunky! so decided to do something about it.

      I ideally need to lose about 3st so I've cut down on my food portions/removed the junk and tried to be better and I'm losing around 1-2lb a week. However part of me wonders is this weight loss from a tumour! But then looking at calculations and such I am eating about the right amount or even less calories daily to lose 1-2lb (its now been 12lb over 8 weeks - I do wonder though because its easier than I expected!)

      Its amazing what your body can get used to, especially with your bowels to just give up completely without the oranges. I know when I gave up coffee I don't recall having another BM for about 4 days! regardless of what I ate. 

      Your probably right about my doctor, I think hes only doing it because my granddad had it and he thinks it now "runs in the family" I did speak to my mum about that because she had a conversation with her doctor about if our family needed testing for it but from what I gathered there was some discussion about genetics and what have you and it never made it to our side of the family.

      I think bowel conditions have to be one of the worst things going with them being so connected/influenced by your mood. Now I've noticed some white chunks in my stool which has me worried but even dr google doesn't really have an answer for that. at least the first result wasn't bowel cancer!

      The peppermint is weird, I bought the wrong ones at first and I had a lot of trouble with them, I thought these ones would be better as they were entric coated and would get further down however within 20-30min I'm there burping mints! So I've knocked them on the head! 

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  • Posted

    I have really no clue here,

    but a blood genetic testing of HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8

    will give you peace of mind, if you ever could possibly develop real coeliac disease

    (mind you, coeliac genetic testing does not say anything about gluten sensitivity that one still could experience, which is mostly not feeling generally well or having bloating, so different to what you describe.

    Yet coeliac's danger is more not in the symptoms, but in the outcome of malabsorption, destroying villie and a higher cancer risk - intestinal and lymphoma - if not sticking to a zero gluten diet, in contrary to gluten sensitivity. I know what I am talking about as not only have done the testing in lab, but also had a family member dying of lymphoma with a too late coeliac diagnosis/diet.)

    If you are worried about coeliac, I can only suggest this genetic testing and be aware, it does not say even if having the gene, if it was turned 'on', but if it was not there, it is 99% chance of never having real coeliac disease.

    All the best!

     

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    • Posted

      This is interesting

      I'd never heard of the disease till I'd been tested for it 8 years ago. I don't know what sort of test it was back then, just a blood test of some description. 

      I don't think I have any symptoms of malabsorption but theres certainly things I can relate to when reading up about some of the issues people with the disease have. 

      No one in my family has it, but thanks for giving me some names to look into. I suppose the other thing I find possibly relative is that I had vasculitis 2 years ago which is another immune related disease. Maybe I'm just jumping to conclusions but still!

      Thanks for the information. 

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  • Posted

    Hi I have had IBS since I was about 11 I am 37 now everything you are saying does sound like IBS as you are OK sometimes after a bm I was the same as you I kept getting these pains in my left hand sideand some on the right went doctors he gave me buscopan mebevene and also lansoprizole and peppermint oil pills thy seem to work a little bit but when it really kicks off I have been admitted to a and e as it was so painful it turned out to be I had an IBS flare up and gallstones if the doctor is not helping you plz go a and e as the doctor fobbed me off for months that is was IBS or even wind pains x
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    • Posted

      Hi

      Wow that sounds rough, I've always read about these IBS stories of people having crippling pain and it made me wonder if I ever really had it as generally I don't. I think I know what an IBS cramping pain feels like as I have had them occasionally, waves of pain over my entire abdomen that have me crippled over in agony till they pass shortly after. I would associate that with an IBS spasm..unfortunately not what I have now!

      The relief from a BM doesn't seem to be a great deal..it just feels like theres a bit less..pressure inside! and its back to normal after 15-20min which then makes me think If I can go again and pass some more I might feel better again! which just got me into a bit of a straining loop and a wonderful hemorrhoid as a result. So now I daren't do anything, I know I've got a hemorrhoid..its quite apparent! I daren't rock the boat incase I see blood in the stool now!

      I have tried everything you mentioned but lansoprizole which may be worth me investigating as it bothers me greatly when your led to believe you have IBS but IBS medication doesn't do a thing! 

      I think based on how long it took me to get seen when I had quite a painful condition at my hospital a couple of years back if I went with what I'm dealing with now I'd probably be still sat their waiting by the time I get my specialist appointment through! 

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    • Posted

      I had really bad pains and I thought it was an IBS flare up but I did have a bm and the pain never went for hours thought brilliant when eased up went to bed great but omg I was awoken with this really sharp pain it was so bad I thought I was in labour but felt a but different had to call ambulance and found out I had gallstones so plz be carful in case u think it is IBS and it turns into something more severe x
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    • Posted

      Sometimes you have to try several medications for IBS to find one that works.  Some people find that no medication works for them but they still have IBS.  I feared I didn’t have IBS, but it turned out I did have IBS.
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  • Posted

    I swear I'm getting some pains higher up now. Left side nearer my ribs!

    Really not making any sense.

    I bought the highest rated celiac testing kit on amazon! (best of a bad bunch) since its hopeless trying to get anywhere with my doctor. I don't exactly know how trustworthy it is but thats come up as a negative.

    Not sure where to go with this now. I know some of you have had pains for longer than me but 2 months continuous in the same place really does freak me out, broken bones are fixed much quicker! I suppose at least its not got any worse..

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