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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Cramping & Diarrhea, Not Like IBS


 ChickadeeGal - Tue May 01, 2007 7:21 am

I've been having some GI/ Bowel problems that I'm really not sure what to do with or about. I'm hoping to get some advice because went to make a Dr's appt, but they have nothing available to see me for a couple of weeks (though I was told to go to the ED if I was really that worried). This problem has been going on for about 2 months, and after two months of reporting this problem to my doctor (who insisted it was just IBS, not to worry, and not to come in). Since I'm going on vacation soon, I'd like ideas of how to keep from embarrassing myself, since I really don't think this is IBS and my doctor doesn't seem interested in seeing me in a timely manner.

Be prepared, there's a lot of sharing going on here... LOL!

Although I've never been formally diagnosed, I've had a history of IBS. My trigger foods included high fat, high carb, or dairy-based foods, and caffine, (and sorbitol... But that's everybody I think... LOL). I could usually predict when I was going to have an issue with a food as I eat it, and within about 20 min, I have one round of diarrhea, and feel the urge to go again for about 30-45 minutes (though any attempts would be unproductive). I would have little to no cramping, only extreme and sudden urgency to have a BM that I knew would be diarrhea because of that lower "glunk" which IBS sufferers know what I'm talking about. I've had great success in managing my IBS, going several months between episodes, and only usually having triggers after periods of prolonged bad eating or extensive eating of trigger foods, or extreme overeating. Because I can manage the IBS so well, my doctor is aware of the problems, but said doing testing to confirm if it's IBS is pointless as I'm successfully managing it and the symptoms are classic IBS.

However, lately, I've been having problems that I really don't think is IBS, though I'm not sure what it could be. When I eat, in about 1.5 to 2 hours, I have incredible menstral-like cramps in my lower abdomen and stomach that cause me to double-over in pain. The cramps last for about 10 minutes, and are mind-blowingly bad. Then, very suddenly, I have the urge to go to the bathroom IMMEDIATELY, where I have a BM... Usually diarrhea, sometimes really soft stool, always with a bit of mucous on the BM itself.

This is very much unlike my IBS problems. MY IBS happens in about 30-45 minutes, this in 1.5 to 2 hours. My IBS has little to no cramps, this has incredible cramps. My IBS has the urge to go, in which I have 5-10 minutes before the urge is uncontrollable, BM, then the urge to have more BMs, this has an instantaneous urge to go with a minute or less to get to the bathroom before an uncontrollable BM, with no urges to go again after that initial movement. The IBS has tangible triggers I can work around, this has no common trigger foods, amounts of food, or other hints before it happens (a food journal for 1 month tracked what I ate and there really is absolutely no common thread to a trigger food... Example: I had a big pasta meal at a resteraunt (I know, bad me) and I was fine, but the next day I had chicken salad and I had an episode. I had 2 cookies, and I had an episode, but I had corn, chicken, and Taco Bell nachos and I was fine. Yesterday, I had homemade low-fat Chinese food (rice, greens, soy sauce, chicken) and soup and I was fine, but I just had an episode today when all I've eaten was a Kashi bar and 4 spoonfuls of tomato sauce ). These episodes came, at their worst, every other day for 2 weeks, though now I have it happen 1-2 times a week... Though I think it's because I'm frankly scared to eat away from home, so I don't, not because the problem is getting better. This has been going on for about 2 months.

In between these epsiodes, my lower intestines are constantly rumbling, grumbling, churning, and fluttering, though I'm sure that's from irritation. I also feel lightly nauseous pretty much all the time since this started, not like I'm about to throw up in a few moments, but like I could throw up in a little bit. And, I think understandibly, I'm exhausted *all the time.*

My diet isn't perfect, but I'm not eating any hugely bad foods (I'm on Weight Watchers, though this problem occured before I started dieting... The diet was actually to help lose weight and see if I could control this by eating only healthy foods... Which isn't working). And no, I'm not pregnant (I have an IUD and just had a period last week that was longer than normal).

Are there any thoughts? I'm really getting desperate. My doctor insists it's IBS, and has not put a priority on seeing me, only finally agreeing to an appt in two weeks after I said that I couldn't take this routine anymore. I've not been severely dehydrated because of this and I have not lost any weight from these episodes.

Past diagnoses - I'm a 25 year old female, and I have been diagnosed with Tachycardia (resting HR of 100) that's perhaps caused by a Thryoid problem (I was supposed to get more tests to diagnose it, but after I got the bill to try and figure out the Tachycardia, I couldn't afford to go back for additional tests... Whoopsy) though my doctor says since I have no symptoms of Thryoid problems other than the HR, he doesn't suspect that's the problem and more thinks that HR is " just normal for me." Had an Ecco (sp) and everything looks fine. I also have BP issues, namely maintaining a consistant BP which jumps from the high side of normal to low, which apparently has to do with the Tachycardia.

Medications - I took Propranolol for the HR (though I haven't been on it regularly since Sept) and I went off hormonal BC in August.

No surgeries, no relevant family history to my knowledge.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:04 pm

User avatar I would recommend that you see a GI specialist. While your symptoms do match IBS a little, there may also be another cause. One possibility would be an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Best wishes.

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