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Forum Name: Colon and Rectal Cancers

Question: Blood in stool, constipation, some pain in left abdomen


 nakago5000 - Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:45 am

Hi, I am a 22 year old white male. On February 15th I had a mild case of diarhea which the following day turned into a week of constipation. Over the week pain formed in my lower left abdomen as would be expected from normal constipation (when I have pain recently it has been in the same location). During that week the lymph node under my left arm was also rather swollen but has since gone away. Now my bowel movements are rather infrequent and are of of small quantity so to speak. They do contain dark stripes of blood in them, though I am uncertain as to if this is just on the outer portions or continue through. I do occasionally notice some brighter pink spots as well, again, uncertain as to if this permiates the matter itself or is only on the surface. Before I realized that I was constipated I strained rather hard for a day or two because the pain was rather intense for a short while (potentially fissures?). Currently I still have to strain to a milder degree, but still more-so than is normal for myself. I have been are rather sleep prone individual my whole life, but recently I've been sleeping upward of 12-14 hours and still feel exhausted all day. I have had a rather large amount of gas as well. My eating habits have changed recently (lessened to two meals, though very close together to the point I would almost consider it a single meal) which could be a distinct factor in many of these symptoms. Lower than normal intake of fluids as well averaging around 1L a day. I know the following symptoms are most likely unrelated, however I have noticed a slight degrade in my vision, sometimes unable to focus properly at first (which is possibly just due to the fact that everyone in my family wears glasses and has needed them around this age), and had a shortness of breath. I have recently gained about 2kg back since noticing I had dropped from 57kg to 55kg. I have not had any past diagnoses of serious illness, though at one point when I was 13 a doctor suggested I have a mole removed from my leg suspecting it to be cancerous (though several other opinons disagreed with this and I still have it). My grandfather on my dad's side had cancer, though I am uncertain as to what kind and I seem to recall it being environmentally related to asbestos. My aunt on my mothers side has leukemia and her mother (my grandmother) was found to have what my aunt calls "stage 4 ovarian cancer" after her death (died during bypass surgery) though I am uncertain as to correct terminology.

I am relatively sure that one of the first suggestions is going to be "visit a doctor", however, I am studying in Japan until August. Before coming here I recall having an examination. I know one of the key factors to detecting colon cancer early is anemia...would this be a typical test performed with routine bloodwork? My experience with doctors here isn't exactly thrilling and I (and friends) have been told "I don't know what is wrong, but here, take this medication" for past examinations. Any assitance is greatly helpful before I have to attempt to navigate this minefield of hit/miss with doctors in this country.

Sorry for the length of this post, I wanted to include as much potentially relivant information as possible. My fear is the worst thanks to watching so many medical shows, but my hope is that such sudden appearance of symptoms work in a positive favor.

Thank you for your time.
-nakago
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:32 pm

User avatar There are a few thoughts I have on your symptoms. The blood in your stool quite likely is due to a fissure. Fissures very commonly occur due to straining from constipation.

There are many causes of constipation also. This is where visting a doctor comes in. I'd recommend seeing a doctor as soon as available. Your doctor can help in determining the cause. In the mean time, doing things such as eating more fiber, being sure to drink plenty of fluids and drinking some juices such as prune juice can help with constipation. If needed, there are some stool softners that can be helpful.

Anemia can cause fatigue and this should be evaluated for; however, given your swollen lymph nodes its likely that you had a recent cold that is causing your fatigue. A simple blood test can evaluate for anemia and is probably warranted since you've been bleeding

You may also consider an evaluation for high lead levels. It's fairly rare now, but can cause abdominal pain, constipation and anemia with fatigue.

Hope this helps.

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