I am a 24 year-old female. I am not overweight, exercise 4-6 days per week, and eat a reasonably healthy diet (I probably could stand to eat more fruits and vegetables). I have a family history of colon cancer--my mother had pre-cancerous polyps remove 5 years ago and my great-grandmother died of the disease. Because of my family history, my mom always told me to pay attention to my bowel habits and go to the doctor if I notice anything different.
In May of this year, I was constipated for about a week, which I thought could have been due to the fact that I was traveling the previous weekend. Everything returned to normal, and then a few weeks later I became really constipated again. This time, I went to the student health center at my school to see someone, as I was also having lower back and abdominal pain. The PA I normally see did an abdominal X-ray and did not see anything abnormal, so she said she thought the pain was just from constipation. Once again, it cleared up and I went away for the weekend. While I was out of town, I was getting dressed to go out. I bent down to pick up my jeans off the floor, and when I stood back up I had horrible pain in my lower back that radiated down my left side to my butt and legs. The pain subsided by the next morning when I woke up, but ever since then I have had pain on and off. Lately, the pain has become more localized to my tailbone area, and it got a lot worse after I was sitting in the car for 20 hours in one weekend.
I began seeing a family physician in my area because my husband's insurance finally kicked in, and I explained to her some of the issues I had been having (back pain and bowel problems). She ordered blood tests and scheduled a follow-up appointment for several weeks later. I got a call from her office saying my TSH levels had been high, and she ordered more tests to check my thyroid function. I have that follow-up on Monday. In the meantime, my back pain got really back this past weekend, and I went to the health center because they could get me in that day. There had also been two times in the past few weeks where I had noticed blood with my bowel movements---once it was streaked on the surface of the stool and once it was on the toilet paper. I told the doctor at the health center about all my concerns, and he did a rectal exam, during which he saw a fissure and external hemorrhoids. He said he thought the blood was from the fissure, but he did a fecal occult blood test (which came back negative) to test for blood in the stool. He also ordered blood tests to check my white blood cell count and hemoglobin (both normal), since I mentioned I was freaked out about cancer. Then today, when I went to the bathroom, I noticed several black chunks in my stool. I am really freaked out about colorectal cancer, and I read somewhere that tailbone pain could be from rectal cancer that has spread. I feel like I am being paranoid, and I do tend to be really anxious when it comes to my health. I would just appreciate any insight anyone would be willing to give me!
How did your follow up turn out? Your Dr. can decide when it is best for you to do a colonoscopy. I do understand your fears. My Dad had cancer of the esophagus, sometimes when I don't think swallowing feels right, I worry. I'm 53 and doing fine.
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