Sudden change to bowel movements advice pls

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Hi all , so my bowel movements 3 months ago, way before i started the medication and

changed from random to always every single morning and slightly softer (sorry!) at around 7am and this week on 2 days twice in the morning. i know this sounds trivial to most of you but it was a change for me and don't they say that's what y should look for...? So after doc saying it was fine and me trying to accept it i had a telephone conversation with a gastroenterologist (via my dermatologist after my 6 monthly check) and he agreed it is a change and should be investigated via a colonoscopy so am now completely in a spin again and going to get one booked as long as my doctor agrees as she was adamant i didn't need one. I told gastroenterologist i had clear bloods last we and he said although reassuring said the procedure is the only way to know. i also had a one day bout of diarrhoea a couple of weeks ago and he was asking about that when i was hoping a one off bout was ok!! I don't know if anyone has experienced going from ransom lifelong bowel movements to every day regular all

of a sudden but now

i'm panicking as it's been 3

months and no one was listening 😢 i

am 43 by the way.

also lost like a stone but wasn't eating properly as anxious so trying to be rational

about that!

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33 Replies

  • Posted

    What is the medication? Most things aren't coincidence so if you have changed something (like diet or medication) it is highly likely to be the cause. To be honest I think the change sounds a change to a more NORMAL bowel habit.

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  • Posted

    I also agree that maybe this is a change of medication? What have they prescribed this is a common side effect with some. I'd be happy with that outcome as others can go the other way and make you constipated.

    Your bowel movements sound normal to me which differ in every person..as for two tone colour again that's normal as long as there's no blood there .

    Stop worrying I know it's easier said than done x

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  • Posted

    Hello Carol - thank you for the rply but this started happening before the medication  - 3 months -  i have only been on the meds for 3 weeks x trying not to panic - have colonoscopy booked for 5th June  and trying not to think worst case scenario as I usually do.   Have you had a change in bowel haboit like this as I dont know anyone that has and sometimes it is the more subtle things that can turn out to be bad things.
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    • Posted

      I suffer with irritable bowel . When I have a flare up I go more often and looser also can go the other way and I become constipated . My colonoscopy showed nothing just a few harmless polyps

      I was advised to change my diet no bread cakes , chocolate..but to eat more boiled brown rice and natural live yogurts. This is not a cure but a preventive

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    • Posted

      I dont have IBS Carol - never have and am 43 so probably more worried because of my age too.   My husband has IBS and suffers wuite badly with it too.   Just this sudden change after years and years is odd and gasto agrees which panikced me more altho doctor adament was fine.

      ​I am not looking forward to colonoscopy as read a few things and frightened me! Did u have sedation? Are u same age as me?

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    • Posted

      Change in bowel habit needs investigation to be sure but nine times out of ten it is nothing serious. Change in bowel habit is not diagnostic of a tumour and is usually caused by something else. Obviously, if the change is extreme such as constant diarrhoea, or sudden constipation that won't shift, that might be the sign of some bowel condition (not necessarily cancer). Even bleeding can be a symptom of something else. I had three days of bleeding in 2000 and was frantic and it was just a burst blood vessel. More regular bowel movements (same time each day) is actually a sign of normality and can be influenced by more fibre in your diet etc. Sometimes people have bowel cancer with NO symptoms. So of course it is sensible to check out a change but the statistical reality is that it is unlikely to be anything horrible. Worrying itself can affect the bowel considerably, so if you can take your mind of it by getting out and about (if of course you can) you can alleviate some of the stress.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for reply  - am trying to be calm but have health anxiety so worst case scenario in my head and the fact its been left for 3 months now as GP said nothing to worry about! sad
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    • Posted

      We all go to worst case scenario! You are not alone, I promise you. Sometimes the way to cope with it is to face it head on. It's unlikely you have a pre-cancerous or cancerous condition. Let's suppose though that you have. Growths in the bowel usually take a long, long time to turn malignant - years not months. That's why it is the one cancer that can be largely prevented by colonoscopy. If you have anything nasty (which is very unlikely) it is highly likely to be pre-cancerous and will be zapped there and then in the colonoscopy. If (now even more unlikely) you have a cancerous condition, given your vague symptoms, it is highly likely to be treatable. If you approach life on the worst case scenario basis to be honest you wouldn't go out the door. We could all have silent conditions without even knowing it. We could be knocked down by a bus. An aircraft could hit your house. So bottom line, very unlikely to be even pre-cancerous, extremely unlikely to be cancer itself and unbelievably unlikely to be untreatable cancer. What will really ruin your life will be extreme anxiety. One day we all get something but if you worry about it too much you don't enjoy the healthy years you actually have in the here and now. Good luck. If you can, go out with some friends. I wish I could get the back the wasted worrying time I have had in my life and when the horrible thing happened (from which I am now recovered, fit and well) it wasn't an organ I had ever given a moment's though too and it wasn't cancer...

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    • Posted

      thank

      you for taking the time to reply i really do appreciate is as i just feel sick with worry and can't eat sad yes losing weight too. Are u the same age as me? I want to not worry so much i hate being like this. It's the waiting, even tho i am not looking forward to it , i just want it to be done and 2 weeks away feeling like this is like torture for me. so admire people who can just carry on with day to day. how did u do it?

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    • Posted

      I'm 57 and yes I had sedation I couldn't tolerate the colonoscopy at the time I was suffering with chronic stomach ache and bloody diarrhea. Big change in bowel habit . I then had a colonography ( virtual colonoscopy) which was no problem I worried about this for nothing ask discuss this with your doctor. It showed up further polyps I'd had 2 removed during colonoscopy.

      I had another colonoscopy to try and remove these with sedation double dose but didn't tolerate it again . The reason I couldn't tolerate is due to past trauma

      You can only try the nurses are brilliant relax you should be OK

      Good luck x

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  • Posted

    I'm 63 but oddly my gut issues were mostly between my 20s and late 30s. I was found ultimately to have a food intolerance to wheat (in more than modest quantities), and légumes (particularly broad/baked beans). My rather frightening "blood" incident in 2000 when I was much nearer your current age was caused by tempting fate by eating baked beans one breakfast which sent the gut into spasm. However, other than that the gut settled down after nearly twenty years of misery but with every objective test negative. I know how frustrating it can be and how worrying, but, in the end, it was all simple and non-serious despite the dramatic symptoms. Don't give up and good luck!

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    • Posted

      I think that's because we get a distorted view because those are the cases that get talked about. Statistically it's just not true and by a long way. Thousands and thousands of people turn up with vague gut symptoms and it is IBS, a bowel condition other than cancer or nothing discoverable at all. The problem with cancer is that it is an interference with normal functioning such as a growth would produce. Nearly every cancer starts by mimicking far more likely ordinary illnesses and conditions abut the big difference with bowel cancer is that it usually takes a very long time to develop. You are on the symptoms very quickly (some people put up with them for years) so the likely end result for you is good on any view. But the intense worry will make your gut much worse so that's why it is a good idea to try and take your mind off it.

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    • Posted

      It's true the more you worry the worst your bowel gets .

      On a plus note your doctor doesn't seem to concerned I was sent for mine in less than a week my symptoms were more alarming classic signs of bigger problems yet nothing showed I'm OK polyps were nothing . Just a bad flare up probably gastroenteritis.

      Stress also makes you lose weight ask the doctor for something to calm you down x

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    • Posted

      that's what worries me ,

      it's been 3 months , sad and no one has listened to me at the GP surgery yet the gastroenterologist agrees

      it's a change and should be looked at. from random time and dad "hardish stools"' to every morning "much softer".........i don't know anyone else this has happened to and i have asked lots of my friends too .

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    • Posted

      I'm sorry no one listened to you at the GP surgery. Often a failure to take a patient's concerns seriously can make the person unnecessarily anxious. But you are having the colonoscopy very soon and, to be honest, the changes in your bowel habit are incredibly minor. Your consultant is probably and rightly being ultra cautious which is good but your fear is much greater than it needs to be on this history and anyway you are doing something about it. If, as I hope and believe, this won't be anything much (if anything) I would concentrate on trying to alleviate the excessive anxiety you get. I'm not saying this patronisingly - I promise you - because I used to have it myself. When I did get something (not cancer) which came close to killing me then oddly it wasn't frightening at all. I amazed myself and all my friends who thought I would be the worst patient in history, particularly with a life-threatening illness. Oddly I was very calm during the real thing. It was the fear of illness, not the illness itself, that was the problem. So if it turns out all negative and you start worrying that perhaps they missed something or the problem (if there really is a problem) is somewhere else, concentrating on trying to help the excessive fear and what is causing that. I really do sympathise with you because I know exactly what you are feeling in every word you say, but I promise you that the fear is worse than any illness and if you ever do get anything in the future that needs treatment, I bet you will deal with it very well and surprise yourself.

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    • Posted

      thank you so much for taking the time to reply, it really does mean a lot. I was crying and shaking this morning as my movement was dark on half and then really soft and really light, almost yellowy on the other half. This has happened a few times and i keep thinking the worst, i am scared to go to the toilet anymore. Do you think a change from random and hard to every day same time (ish) and softer is not considered a change? I thought any change should be reported and doesn't always have to be blood/ i've seen stories where very vague symptoms and people have found out they have it , so probably panicking more as they are minor like u say. i don't know anyone else who has experienced this and believe me i've asked a few people, embarrassingly as reassurance is a major thing of health anxiety and i do it all the time. I am meant to be going to a lovely hotel with my husband tomorrow and i can't think of anything worse at the moment which makes me feel so guilty but what's the alternative, sitting here all weekend convincing myself they are going to tell me i have cancer next week?

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    • Posted

      I think the point is that you have noticed a very minor but persistent change and you are absolutely right to be ultra cautious. What I am also saying us that this doesn't translate into I am likely to have bowel cancer. Regular motions are not a symptom of cancer - they are in fact an improvement - whereas a change from regular to irregular is probably more needing investigation. Two tone colour motions are pretty normal too but it is worth getting it looked at to put your mind at rest. Actually, a simple stool test would work out if it is blood. It's much more likely to be nothing at all. And even bleeding is a symptom of lots of things in the gut and not just cancer. I got it the time I told you about and had dark blood with an ulcer. You are not wrong to be ultra cautious but you are going from 0 to 100 anxiety in imagining it must be cancer. Vague symptoms that they talk about usually mean feeling a bit unwell, bit of blood possibly, irregular bowel habits such as increasing constipation and constipation alternating with diarrhoea - anything that might suggest obstruction, because a tumour is an obstruction. Even then, nine times out of ten, it is still nothing. Your symptoms don't seem to me to be symptoms indicating an obstruction but you are right to be safe. And there are other bowel conditions so it is worth being sure. Most people find the colonoscopy ok. I've had a few now. The clear out day is a bit miserable and keep some cream or germaloids handy cos it can get a bit sore but the test itself is not too bad for most people. Some consultants tell you afterwards the result, some write to your GP. Don't read anything into that. I have had both types of consultant and the findings were completely negative on each occasion. Good luck! Go and have a lovely meal!

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    • Posted

      thank u x had s melt down yesterday and felt awful.

      managed to eat last night had scrambled egg and tinned plum tomatoes, felt bette...then this morning , noticed most of the bits

      of tomato in my bowel poo! juan is far too quick surely and scares why it hasn't then broken down sad i am just hoping it's all down to anxiety , what do u think? x

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    • Posted

      Tomato bits are very very common. Same with nuts. Stress and anxiety can speed up transit time dramatically. Fast transit of food isn't anything to do with bowel cancer. You are over thinking and over observing and it will wreak havoc with your digestion if you go on like this. You are having the test in a very short time and you need to just try and distract yourself from thinking about it like this because it is becoming a problem to you and you are going to give yourself a breakdown if you go on like it.

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    • Posted

      Please go and see your GP explain how the stress is affecting you .

      I did with mine and was prescribed short term diazapan helped with my nerves . Try to stop worrying I know easier said than done. You'll make yourself ill and the more upset you get the worse your symptoms become .. stress aggravates your bowel try not to read too much into it you'll probably find you worried for nothing x

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    • Posted

      Hi Natalie,

      No, I wouldn't be worrying if I was you because it is simply not justified. The thing you need to treat is the anxiety which has become irrational. Get some help for that and have test and you will almost certainly find it is fine. David.

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    • Posted

      hello david

      i am trying but it has happened again today and food i ate last night is undigested again in really soft movement this morning. could this be something sinister at all? if not bowel cancer some other kind of cancer ? can it really be caused by anxiety?

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    • Posted

      Anxiety can turn your motions even to proper diarrhoea as we all know when we get scared. This doesn't mean it's not digested but that the colon does not absorb the liquid in the final stage because the gut's rythm is upset. That happens when the gut is not acting in a synchronised way (peristalsis). Anxiety can easily cause that to happen. I think you would likely have actual pain if you had colitis or other inflammatory bowel conditions. But the point is this: it's silly to torture yourself over what it might be (which could be nothing - most likely - through to a number of bowel conditions) when you are getting the answer in a couple of weeks. There are other things that can cause loose stools (occasionally a stomach ulcer can cause them or reactions to certain foods or medicines) but you are likely to have other symptoms with an ulcer. But anxiety is right up there as a number one cause. Somehow you are unable to accept this possibility and your mind is fixated on one unlikely cause. The big point is that what you think it might be is irrelevant. It is what it is and you will get the answer very soon.

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    • Posted

      I've already told you I wouldn't be because there are far more likely causes of this than cancer. And you know I have already told you that. You want me to be honest Natalie and I am being honest. Whatever your problem with your gut which is probably just a functional one and not related to any illness let alone cancer, the real problem is your disproportionate fear of "cancer" as a specific illness. Your mind is playing tricks with you and that's what you need to get some help with. There are lots of horrible illnesses out there which are not cancer and many cancers are perfectly treatable and you are very unlikely to have cancer anyway. Your level of anxiety is honestly, honestly way beyond normal (we all worry a bit) and it is that anxiety that is more likely to ruin your life.

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    • Posted

      hello , all done and back home last night , was fine and just had a polyp removed which he said is fine , relief is not the word! not the most pleasant experience but not as bad as i was thinking !
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    • Posted

      Brilliant news. You were absolutely right to get it checked. One polyp is fine but better out than in. And with 5 yearly checks or whatever they suggest you will almost certainly always be fine there. Now, he says cheekily, I think you owe your husband a meal out. Good luck!
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    • Posted

      yes have consultant follow up in 4 weeks so will see what he says. had lunch out today, so was nice to relax a bit. i

      am going to try and go to the office tomorrow but feel anxious as been as home for 3 weeks ! thank

      u for support and advice david!!

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