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Bowel issues, feeling very down about it, please help.

(22 Posts)
bananapanda Fri 10-Jul-09 00:04:07

Have name changed due to embarrassment and details shared.

I have been having on-going issues with my bowels for 2-3 years now. I had cycles of constipation, loose stools and trapped wind but nothing too bad. But recently its got worse.

I have had loose stools most days since the end of May and I hate it. Its usually only once a day but is accompanied by abdominal cramps. Its not liquid but its not normal poo, its smelly (sorry!) and sometimes explosive.

I am so windy as well. When we have people over and I can't fart freely (sorry for TMI!) I get a really uncomfy tummy and gurgle and its just so embarrasing. Then when they leave I am in pain or have loose stools.

I am sick of having loose stools and I worry about visiting people now although visiting people is usually accompanied by constipation and very trapped uncomfortable wind.

My GP is as much use as a chocolate teapot, he recommended immodium but it doesn't seem to help really.

I just feel so gross all the time, I am sick of feeling rotten in my tummy for some of the day. Its just embarrassing.

Sorry to be so dramatic but before when it was in cycles I was fine but a month + is just depressing.

I have reduced my dairy intake and it seems to make no difference really.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 10-Jul-09 00:07:23

sad how horrible for you. It sounds like IBS but the normal procedure is for your GP to refer you to a gastroenterologist to rule other things out.
Are there certain foods that are triggers? Spicy foods? Bread? Bread's normally a bit of a bugger for people.

bananapanda Fri 10-Jul-09 00:11:03

Thank you for your reply.

I had considered bread but it does not tie in with me eating bread because I don't eat it every day really. Maybe its hanging round in my system? I LOVE bread though sad

I really thought it was dairy but it doesn't seem to be.

I don't like spicy foods and eat a pretty neutral diet.

I went to my GP and he brushed me off and said its stress related IBS, which it might be but I want to fix it.

thumbwitch Fri 10-Jul-09 00:14:03

What started it? Had you been abroad somewhere tropical-ish? You might have acquired an intestinal parasite (not all of them cause you to lose weight)

Could be IBS, could be wheat intolerance (or other food)

Your GP is useless - see a different one. Given the incidence of serious bowel problems in this country due in general to most people's reluctance to talk about it, your GP should be FAR more on the ball and get you seen to.

thumbwitch Fri 10-Jul-09 00:15:50

it usually takes 2 weeks for the system to "clear" any foods that affect it. Try a 2 week period without any form of wheat and see how it goes.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 10-Jul-09 00:17:06

It does normally hang around for a while.

Pop back to the GP, tell him that you would like a referal to a gastroenterologist as per NICE guidelines or see someone else in the practice. Other things need to be ruled out before they say it's IBS.

You can buy anti-spasmotics (that will help the tummy pain) over the counter, mebeverine is it's clinical name. Try keeping off the bread/pasta/cakes though and see what this does. My son gets a dodgy tummy if he's had too much.

Are you loosing weight? Any blood in your poop? Does it float? Furry coating? Do you have tummy pain, high up on the right side?

lou33 Fri 10-Jul-09 00:17:40

get a different gp, and get referred to a gastroenterologist

it could be nothing but it could be the beginning of something, you need to be checked out

(i have ulcerative colitis)

EyePeam Fri 10-Jul-09 00:18:11

Your GP is crap. can you see another at hte practice or change GP for a start? you need a fresh person to speak to.

I have IBD - inflammatory bowel disease aka ulcerative colitis and many of my symptoms are similar to what you're describing, although didn't get constipation.

do you ever get blood in your stools? do you ever think you're done on the loo, only to get 5 paces from the loo and have to run back? worth considering u/c as a possibility.

GPs can be ridiculously embarrassed by bowel things, the first one I saw about this clearly didn't want to do a rectal exam and kept insisting it was piles. I asked to be referred to a specialist and was diagnosed straight away, got treatment and now in remission with the help of daily dose of anti-inflammatories.

Ulcerative colitis has no known cause (possibly genetic) and no triggers. Caffeine and chocolate can irritate if inflamed already, stress doesn't help. Bread, spicy stuff makes no difference.

Please don't be embarrassed, see a different GP and ask for a proper exam, stool sample test and referral. Of course it's not great getting your back passage examined but worth it if you can find out what's wrong and be treated. Makes life so much more bearable.


lou33 Fri 10-Jul-09 00:19:19

stress really doesnt help, mine gets worse when i am stressed

lulalullabye Fri 10-Jul-09 00:19:37

Do you drink a lot of water ? I find that this helps when I am really bloated. I was like this a few yrs ago, stopped smoking and drinking caffiene and alcohol in smaller amountsgrin, and that has worked a treat. Drinking bolied hot water or peppermint tea also helps.

ThingOne Fri 10-Jul-09 11:30:17

That's rubbish OP. Don't be embarrassed. Go back to your GP as said above, or another GP, and insist on a referral. I can't tell you how many times I mentioned my bowel problems to GPs before I was finally heard.

They do make you really miserable, don't they. And people are so fucking judgy about wind. It really gets on my tits.

Peppermint tea is good, as is a little peppermint oil in an espresso-sized cup of hot water. Get it from the chemist.

I agree on more water, less caffeine, less alcohol (particularly fizzy like beer and champagne) and less windy foods. Wikipedia has a good entry on flatus and wind-causing foods. Obviously dietary changes can't stop the problems entirely if you have an illness but they can often help a lot.

On the runny stools front have you tried acidophilus/live yoghurt? Followed by eating poached eggs, white bread, rice, bananas? Don't add them all in at once as you might get terribly constipated but what about a couple of days with two eggs for breakfast, then change the brown or grainy (bread if that's what you eat) to white bread. Then a few days after that, have rice as your evening meal or lunch. And don't eat any fruit other than bananas, or eat dried fruit.

bananapanda Fri 10-Jul-09 12:15:12

Thank you for the lovely replies, I was expecting to be told to suck it up.

Lots of questions to answer!

I have not been abroad no.

I do have tummy pain but its lower, the poo is fluffy (for want of a better word!) and sometimes floats yes.

I don't have any blood in my stools.

Sometimes I go to the loo and then have to go again quickly yes but I thought that was typical of having loose stools? If I know I am bad I just sit on the loo for ages.

I tend to eat white bread anyway so will stick with that. I don't really drink alcohol but will cut down my cups of tea and can of coke!

The list of wind causing foods is helpful thanks, i do eat a couple of them (potatoes especially).

I will try and be brave and go to a different GP at my surgery.

Iworryalot Sat 11-Jul-09 08:31:33

Hi Bananapanda , i have IBS and went down same route as you only last year , i to got /get similar MB i go once in the morning , sometimes they are fluffy , shreedy looking blush , i went to docs last year and im affraid had to insist they refured me as was being fobbed off a bit ,but i was so worried ,i did see a lovley gastroologist, who diagnosed me, ran many tests and had a sygmoidoscopy blush and explained all about IBS and bowels put my mind as t rest , now i have to except that this is the way i am , i had a bad tummy bug which he thinks triggered it all and my stress and anxiety is bit part of it , now im a bit better have good days and bad ..but alot better than it was , and i do think food has a huge part and i now am careful what i eat as there are certain foods that make it worse .

please go to your GP and get referral ,it is best to get these things checked out ,also the more you worry the worse it may become .
all the best .

ABetaDad Sat 11-Jul-09 08:44:23

Runny loose poo, then constipation, foul smelling, lots of wind. Its what I had for a year or so before I knew I really had gall bladder problems and before I got the really acute gall bladder pain. It was very dark green poo sometimes, then very light at other times. The acute pain only started l;ater high up right unde rmy rib on the right and then spreading round the back. Women are much more prone to gall bladder problems than men.

I thought IBS to start with when I read your symptoms as they are very similar as is ulcerative colitis which I have also had. It takes a while to track down the exact cause. Unfortunately GPs like to say IBS and then give you a pack of pills and say it is down to stress.

Do not be fobbed off, you need to tell your GP you are worried and want to eliminate gall bladder as a potential cause. You will need blood tests (liver tests) first then You need an ultrasound to find the stome sif you have any. Then if that reveals nothing and endoscopy and an colonoscopy to look inside your bowel.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Sat 11-Jul-09 09:17:23

I'd cut back on the bread and pasta to be honest, it sounds like you are overdoing the wheat. Pop to the GP aswell though, it does sound like a gall bladder problem, the smell/floating poo/fluffy poo normally indicate that your body isn't breaking fat down properly, the gall bladder produces bile that breaks fat from food down. You could try eating foods that do not contain alot of fat and see if this helps, stuff like salad (no dressing), chicken etc. It could also be ulcerative colitis, as has been said before.

Do go back and insist on a referral, see a different GP if you can.

I hope you get it sorted soon, it can't be nice living like this.

Vigilanteawarenessraiser Sat 11-Jul-09 18:18:16

Hi Bananapanda, I'm not surprised you're fed up. As well as all the above, another thing that should definitely be ruled out (I'm assuming you're a woman) is endometriosis. This often gives severe bowel problems similar to yours, which can be constant (i.e. not just linked to your menstraual cycle) - this was the case with me. It's a very common illness, and something like 60% (off the top of my head) of sufferers are wrongly diagnosed with IBS. Try looking here and see if it looks like you. Even if you have no gynae symptoms at all - some women don't - it might still be a possibility . You really should see a gynaecologist to check it out.
Your GP sounds awful. It is really worth it to try and get someone better. I was in your position three years ago, and it was horrendous. Since I've been operated on, I'm much better. You might, unfortunately, have to argue to get to see a gynaecologist. Many GPs don't seem to know that bowel problems are so common amongst endometriosis sufferers. But it is worth it - you shouldn't have to suffer if you have something treatable.
Hope this helps.

bananapanda Sat 11-Jul-09 20:04:42

Thank you for the lovely replies. I drank last night and def felt it this morning - very uncomfy trapped wind (sorry) but sometimes you have to live don't you?!

I don't think its endometriosis because I have fairly light low-pain periods. Interesting though and one to persue. How do they test for it in the absence of gynae issues?

I will brave it and go to the drs though but I am very nervous, partly beause I am overweight and I tend to find drs keen to fob problems off on weight. I have lost some weight recently (through diet and exercise) and my symptoms persist.

On a shallowerer note I much prefer this username but this is such an embarrassing thread to have under it.

danthe4th Sat 11-Jul-09 20:21:50

Ask to be tested for coeliac disease its a simple blood test, I had ibs for years on and off then most of the syptoms youre complaining of, finally after researching myself I discovered I have coeliac disease, and had it confirmed with a biopsy, I had to really push for it but am much better now after being gluten free for 2 years. Worth ruling out with the blood test.

OurLadyOfPerpetualSupper Sat 11-Jul-09 20:46:17

'Sometimes you have to live don't you?'
Actually, if this is a problem that's causing you distress and possible medical causes have been ruled out, the best recourse you have is to accept that you won't 'live' or in other words imbibe anything that might exacerbate your problem.
You need to establish what these things are but obvious culprits are wheat, dairy and alchohol.
You say you don't eat bread every day, but don't forget biscuits, pasta, cakes and so on.
Once you establish what the irritants are you just cut them out until the problem is resolved - not necessarily forever.
Try not drinking with meals (apart from sips of water), drink half an hour before and an hour afterwards.
Aloe vera juice and soaked linseeds are very soothing (though not pleasant).

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Sat 11-Jul-09 21:32:46

You don't have to live like this! Try some peppermint tea, reduce the amount of wheat you are eating and go back to the GP.

Please don't be embarrassed! Seriously, there's nothing to be embarrassed about. smile

Vigilanteawarenessraiser Sat 11-Jul-09 22:14:56

Re the endometriosis: you might not necessarily have painful periods. It's fairly usual to, but a proportion of sufferers apparently get no symptoms whatsoever. I'm not saying it definitely is this (obviously!) - only that, given how common it is and that it can cause exactly these types of problems, it really should be ruled out in any woman of childbearing age who has persistent bowel problems. Whether you have gynae symptoms or not, the only way to diagnose is through a laparoscopy (not a major procedure: general anaesthetic, small cut in your belly button and a camera put inside). If they rule out the other conditions that have been mentioned, like gall bladder problems and ulcerative colitis, I think you should still look at endo because it is so common and the bowel problems that it causes can be indistinguishable from IBS. In my support group, almost everybody has been diagnosed with IBS at one time or other. In my case I also got a lot of food intolerances, and have had to change my diet a lot. ThingOne's advice is exactly right for me.
The reason you would need to see a gynaecologist is because endo-related bowel problems usually won't show up during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Unfortunately, plenty of gastroenterologists don't seem to be aware about the link between endo and bowel problems.

Good luck with going to the doctor's. It's true, you don't need to live like this! And you start to feel less embarrassed when you realise just how many people there are out there with bowel conditions - it's like a whole subculture. I have several friends with bowel conditions now, and I feel completely normal when I'm with them.

higgle Tue 14-Jul-09 19:44:27

Are you being tested for gluten allergy - my DH developed this at age 48 and his synptoms sounded very like yours.

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