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Can they diagnose ongoing gut problems from a stool sample...?

(12 Posts)
babyignoramus Wed 01-Jul-09 15:32:55

Went to docs today about my stomach which has been bad for about the last 20 years...

As listed on my previous post:"My symptoms are - stomach cramps getting progressivly worse until I'm bent double, followed by diahorrhea (sp?) two or three times. This usually happens in the early evening, although it has been known to happen in the afternoon or the middle of the night. It was at it's worst when I was a teenager, went away completely while I was pregnant (bliss!), and has been back with a vengeance since DS was born 4 months ago. Nothing specific seems to set it off, and I've tried eliminating dairy, gluten and meat with varying levels of effectiveness."

Doc says it sounds more like IBS than anything else and has suggested trying to eliminate gluten completely to see if that helps as that's often the culprit. I've then got to go back in a week or two to dicuss what's happened. In the meantime I have to give them a stool sample blush. Are they likely to be able to pick anything up from that? I would have thought that would ony identify viruses etc, rather than chronic conditions?

Nb out of interest, has anyone tried one of the DIY food intolerance test kits from t'internet? Do they actually work...??

tatt Wed 01-Jul-09 15:40:15

surprised they didn't suggest a coeliac blood test first if they think gluten might be a problem.

Going gluten and dairy free is quite hard and if you miss something it won't be effective. A stool sample would possibly detect a problem with lactose or could be to look for traces of blood. Should be done before you start excluding anything.

Why hasn't he referred you for a proper investigation, maybe this hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/html/sigmoidoscopy.html

franke Wed 01-Jul-09 15:46:54

Analysing a stool sample can also identify any problems with the flora in your gut which could point to digestive problems.

babyignoramus Wed 01-Jul-09 15:48:40

I wondered about that - I did exclude gluten before which helped but went back on it as I know you have to be eating for the blood test to work - then I didn't have a reaction! It's difficult to get round to going to the docs about something like this because I'm so used to it.

Are there any coeliacs out there who can advise? As well as the stomach symptoms I also get tired quite easily and have a horrible rash on my fingers which itches like the dickens. The GP has given me some stuff for that in the meantime though thank goodness!

tatt Wed 01-Jul-09 18:00:17

Does the rash look like this?Dermatitis Herpetiformis

although rashes are hard to tell apart. I'm not coeliac but you'll find better advice in mumsnet allergy section.

cositjustisok Wed 01-Jul-09 18:38:51

Hi Babyignoramus..I am a coeliac and have been for 40 years or so ..diagnosed as a young child. Think I would ask for a blood test to diagnose coeliacs as y o have been suffering for so long. Horomones can trigger coeliacs ie: puberty, pregnancy, menopause..so may explain why it was bad when you where a teenager and possibly why you did not suffer in pregnancy. I was particularly bad after my 2nd child...(did not adhere to diet fully at university and for a while after) could not believe it was so so bad..Anyway not sure what you want me to advise on so here to help if you need some questions answered....

babyignoramus Thu 02-Jul-09 17:15:40

Hi cositjustisok, Thanks for that - I didn't realise that hormones could affect coeliacs as well. I know that you need to continue eating gluten for the tests to be accurate, so I have made an executive decision and ordered one of the home testing kits (they showed it on This Morning and tested a load of MPs so I'm hoping it's fairly legit!). I am going to continue eating gluten until I've done that and then if it's positive I'm going to go and wave the result at my GP! If it's neg then I can keep working with my doc to rule stuff out.

tatt - yep, that's my rash.

I'm about 80% certain that I am Ceoliac sad.

IlanaK Thu 02-Jul-09 17:43:54

Sorry to hijack. I have an appointment with Gp in a couple of weeks to talk about similar issues. I always thought I had IBS (since I was a young teenager really and am now 37). I never went to a doctor about it or had a formal diagnosis - just got on with it really. But symptoms are worse in the last year and particular last month or two.

So,how does one tell if it is coeliac? Mine is not that dissimilar to OP. Evening diarhea and stomach cramps. Now I am getting a lot of intestinal pain too. I was really interested in the hormonal link mentiond - mine symptoms are much worse before periods. I was mostly symptom free during pregnancy (had baby 11 months ago) and my periods returned a couple of months ago - I wonder if there is a connection?

Any advice greatfully received.

tatt Thu 02-Jul-09 21:42:56

rashes all look much the same to me - but the one I mentioned occurs in some coeliacs.

Only time I've tried a home test it was useless.

cositjustisok Fri 03-Jul-09 06:01:18

Hi Ilankk....Coeliacs shows up in different ways in different people that is one of the reasons it is difficult to instantly recognise that is what a patient is suffering from.... from stomach pains, diahhorea, iron deficiency, pale stools, rashes..etc etc and the list does go on. I would feel the best thing to do is go along and see you GP and tell him how long you have been suffering from, maybe he will run some bloods to see if you aneamic or anything and tell him you would like tested for coeliac disease. Cnat help but feel that I would be sceptical of home testing for anything..but in some cases doctors are reluctant to test and the patient continues to suffer unnecessarliy so feel I would try a home testing kit if I was in Long term pain and kept being told it was IBS. Babyignoraamus would love to here how your testing goes....the rash along with your other symptoms is making me agree you could well be ceoliacs....good luck and keep us informed.

babyignoramus Mon 06-Jul-09 12:46:45

Well, I did the home test kit and it came up negative smile. It was a little complicated - luckily I used to be a nurse! I stopped eating gluten for two days and then yesterday my sister visited - I jhad cheese on toast for lunch and had diahorrhea,( I should really learn to spell that!) plus this morning my rash had flared up again (it had cleared up with the cream from GP. I am waiting on the results from my sample at the docs and then we'll take it from there.

Either way I def seem to have an intolerance of gluten so I'll be avoiding that from now on!

cositjustisok Mon 06-Jul-09 14:09:33

Thanks for letting us know how you got on Babyignoramus. Thats great news about the negative test...and at least you can now avoid gluten as it jsut does not agree with you..and you definately know that now. Let us know what the results are formt he doctor.

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