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Back-pain connection to diarrhea?
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Back-pain connection to diarrhea?


  I am a 23 year old male and am in the midst of a bout of diarrhea that started about a week ago. At about the same time, I started experiencing lower-back pain, extending into the left hip. I initially assumed it was a coincidence because I have frequently had lower-back pain in the past. Given my symptoms (listed below), is it possible or even probable that the two are linked? Also, now that the problem has lasted over a week, I intend to consult a physician. To what degree is it important for me to find someone who specializes in this sort of problem?
  Symptoms: Loose stool or diarrhea. Liquid excretion is mostly clear, with many small, soft-edged pieces of "solid" waste. ("Soft-edged" as if the outer layer of the waste were bread that had been soaking for several hours: thin, expanded and bleached.) Roughly every 3rd bowel movement includes a pink tinge to the softened edges of the solid waste as well as the toilet tissue, which I can only assume is blood. Abdominal pain occurs only prior to and during bowel movements. Once I realized the condition wasn't going away, I started eating more bananas and rice, but found it inconvenient to go on a strict BRAT diet. Bowel movements seem to be grouped closely together, 4-5 within a few hours, followed by a "quiet" period. Back pain, focused in the lower vertabrae and left hip with stiffness in the left leg, makes it difficult to do certain activities without caution, viz. rolling over, sitting up from lying position, lying on my back. Pain seems to increase slightly during bowel movements, but this may be due to the lack of support provided by the seat. And I just discovered that I may be having trouble digesting parsley, as a recent movement left green leafy specks in the liquid part that are either basil or parsley from dinner.
  Hope this isn't too much information. (Any such thing?)
  Many thanks in advance for your response.
  -Chris
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Dear Chris,
Diarrhea can be due to many different causes.  In general, diarrhea of less than 3 weeks duration is due to an infectious etiology, whereas diarrhea that lasts more than 3 weeks can have a number of possible causes.  It is important to know:
a) your bowel pattern ( frequency, consistency) prior to the onset of the diarrhea
b) the number of bowel movements you are currently having and their consistency
c) the size of the stool
d) whether you have rectal urgency or incontinence
e) whether you have nocturnal stool
f) risk factors for infectious diarrhea: travel, exposure to others with diarrhea, possibility of contaminated food or water, any new medications.
g) constitutional symptoms: weight loss, fever, vomiting
The first step is to exclude an infectious cause for your diarrhea.  If your diarrhea persist for more than 3 weeks, you will probably need endoscopic or barium studies of your gastrointestinal tract to exclude inflammatory diseases. One example to be considered is Crohn
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