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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Bloody diarrea and abdominal pain for 4 months

 npbarber - Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:04 am


For the last 4 and a half months I have been suffering diarrea, which around 80% of the time contains red blood. Associated with the diarrea is abdominal pain, cramping, spasms and extreme urgency. I have between 10 and 15 bowel movements a day, 2 or 3 of which occur during the night. Some days I am quite comfortable between bowel movements and other days I have discomfort in my abdomen continuously. On the bad days, I feel like I just want to crawl into bed and stay there (something that my young children will not allow).

I believe the initial onset of my problems were almost 2 years ago when I started to have bouts of non-bloody diarrea lasting 2 to 4 weeks before clearing up. I consulted my gastro doctor and was initially diagnosed with IBS. I was prescribed Bentyl, which did not help. My gastroenterologist performed a colonoscopy in April '08 which did not show any visible problems. A biopsy determined a "small amount of colitis" that was (I'm told) too insignificant to require treatment. (My bowels had been behaving normally for about 3 weeks at the time the procedure was performed.)

At the end of April, I flared up again and have been in this state ever since. Still carrying my IBS label, I experimented with bland diets, probiotics, relaxation techniques. I sought the help of my gastroenterologist again in June who rediagnosed me as having ulcerative colitis and prescribed 1.2mg mesalamine, 4 times a day (Lialda). After 5 weeks, no improvment.

I was then tested for C. difficile and, with some relief, was found to be positive. I was taken off mesalamine and prescribed metronidazole for 2 weeks. 4 x 250mg (or maybe 125mg??) per day. Again, no change in symptoms. I have now been prescribed vancomycin. 4 x 250mg per day for 3 weeks. I am 8 days into the course and still I am not seeing any improvement in my condition.

Bowel problems are prolific on my mother's side of the family, including my grandmother who died of colon cancer (though she didnt die young) and I am very concerned what the final outcome of my condition will be. I have been assured that I do not have cancer, yet I have not responded to any of the treatments for inflamatory bowel disease.

I know my doctor is running out of ideas - I quote "if the vancomycin doesnt work, I'll shoot myself". I'm worried I'm going to be stuck in this condition for ever, or that I am going to have my colon removed. Do these really sound like my only options, or are there still some unexplored avenues to venture down?

(This is probably not of any relevance but I should mention it just in case: Despite leading a very healthy and active lifesyle, I suffered a segment elevated MI in March '07 at the tender age of 36. It caused a cardiac arrest which was corrected after approx 90 seconds of VF. In April '07 I had CABGx1 for a dissected LAD)

Many thanks in advance for any input.
 npbarber - Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:14 am

Update: I have now finished my course of vancomycin and still have the same symptoms. If anything, the bleeding has increased and the abdominal pain is worse. I see my gastroenterologist on 10/7

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