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csw csw 2

Problem with bowel movements - not sure if constipation

I'm having a problem with bowel movements at the moment, but I feel like need to give some background for it all to make sense.

I'm a 35 year old male.  I always strained with bowel movements for my whole life, and up until 2009 I only had a bowel movement once every 3 days.  At the time, I thought this was normal (it never occurred to me that other people went every day and didn't need to strain).  Every 3 days, I'd have a strong urge for a bowel movement, and although I usually had to strain a bit to get it all out, I never really considered it a problem.  Back then, I thought straining was a normal part of having a bowel movement.

In December 2009, I had diarrhoea for a couple of days (probably norovirus or something), and after that I had constant rectal discomfort and urge to have bowel movements even when there was nothing there.  When I did have a bowel movement, I'd get a short feeling of relief, and then the problem would come back.  It kept me up at nights, so I had to always make sure I had a bowel movement immediately before going to bed, so I could get to sleep in that short period of relief.  I would basically go to the bathroom an hour before bed time, and sit on the toilet and strain and strain until I forced a bowel movement, and then I'd be able to sleep.

The discomfort went away after about 3 weeks, but by that point I was stuck in the habit of straining on the toilet immediately before bedtime.  For the last 8 years, I was forcing a bowel movement at a set time every day, instead of waiting for a proper urge.  I usually spent about 45 minutes on the toilet before I was satisfied, but afterwards I'd feel normal and have no discomfort, so I assumed it wasn't a problem.

Recently, I started getting rectal discomfort and bleeding piles, and so I decided it was finally time to make the effort to get into healthier bowel habits.  I decided not to sit on the toilet unless I had a proper urge, and not to strain, even if it meant some sleepless nights with discomfort after skipping the nightly strain.  Because straining was causing me pain anyway, I decided I had nothing to lose.

I've been sticking with this for the last week, but I'm having difficulty finishing bowel movements (I haven't yet resorted to straining).  Normally, I wake up in the morning quite uncomfortable with a heavy, bloated feeling, and about an hour after waking up, I get a strong urge to go.  I sit on the toilet, and wait, and usually without straining, I pass a stool after 3-10 minutes.  However, I can only pass one stool (it is normal and well formed), and nothing comes after that, so I get up and wait a few hours until it feels urgent again.

I have a near constant feeling of incomplete bowel movements, and abdominal aching (which sometimes feels like back ache), and end up sitting on the toilet between 3 and 8 times a day.  Each time, I am able to pass only one stool.  After that, the immediate urge to defecate goes, but I still feel uncomfortable and unfinished. 

Is this constipation?  I am usually able to pass 3-5 stools per day, so I'm not backed up or anything, and the stools are always soft, never hard or dry, but I can only pass one stool per sitting.  Then I have to get up and wait several hours, before trying again.  Usually, a strong urge happens after a few hours, and I pass another solitary stool.  I've tried using fybogel, but that just made the stools slushy without changing anything else.  My stools are soft enough, I just can't seem to pass more than one per sitting.

I've seen my doctor again, and been referred to colorectal specialist, but my appointment isn't for a few weeks, and in the meantime I'm still suffering.  Has anyone else experienced this, and did anything help?

 

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