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Diarrhea, loose stool for over 6 weeks. What is wrong with me?
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Diarrhea, loose stool for over 6 weeks. What is wrong with me?

I am a 27 yr old female with an extremely healthy history (only visits to the Dr. are for an occasional sinus infection once every 3-4 yrs and regular exams)

Approximately 7 weeks ago, I began to have diarrhea 3-6 times a day, with a slight decline in appetite.  At this time, I was also preparing for relatives to fly in and visit, my significant other (who is in the military) received orders to deploy to Iraq, and I was in the midst of looking for a job.

Because of all this, I attributed the diarrhea to stress and figured it would pass.  To make a long story short, it hasn't.  Since it started, I have not had a single day with a normal bowel movement.  Other than the diarrhea (and perhaps a slight depression from this going on for so long) there are no other symptoms.  No pain, no appreciable loss of appetite, no fever or anything like that.

The diarrhea is worst in the mornings...I usually get cramping and the urgent need to "go" about 20-30 minutes after waking up and eating a small something for breakfast.  After the first bout, I usually have to enter the bathroom again a couple more times before I leave for work in the morning.  Frequently (but not always) I also have this same behavior after eating lunch.

The diarrhea/loose stool is always light-colored, sometimes yellowish (my stool is normally a medium brown color).  It is often accompanied by gas, and varies between completely unformed diarrhea, and thin (pencil-thick) VERY soft stools.

Pepto Bismol doesn't do much to help, other than darken the stool.  I haven't tried taking anything else, since I have no other symptoms and don't want to further upset my system.

I currently am waiting for my health insurance coverage to kick in before going to the Dr. (3 more weeks) But with me working now, the frequent diarrhea is more of an issue than it was when I was in and around the house all day.

In doing research on the web, it seems my symptoms most closely resemble a Giardia infection, but I wanted to see what the opinions were here, and if there is anything I can do to lessen my symptoms while I am waiting to see my own Dr.
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Possible causes can include irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and various types of infection (i.e. bacteria or parasitic).  

Further testing should include stool samples testing for various types of bacterial or parasite infections - including Giardia.  If an infection is found, appropriate antibiotics or antifungal medications can be prescribed.

With the diarrhea persisting, I would consider some sort of lower endoscopy to evaluate for cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.  A flexible sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy can be considered to evaluate these possibilities.  This would be especially prudent with the thin stool caliber.

These options should be discussed with your personal physician.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
http://www.straightfromthedoc.com
18 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, Just wondering how you made out. I've had loose stools for about 6 weeks, but it is now getting much better. I've been on this Colonix cleansing and parasite product for 2 1/2 weeks. Now I get about 4 movements between 7 am and 10 am, first two and usually 3 are normal, then the last is almost always loose. Today I could clearly see whole pieces of vegtables I ate for lunch yesterday. How is yours doing?
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Avatar_n_tn
I went thru a long period of diarrhea seeing the Gastro doctor many times only to be told it is IBS.  The problem kepts getting worse along with stomach pain.  I switched doctors looking for help and he ran various test and it came out that I had Vibro. It is a form of cholera which is contracted by eating shell fish.  I got it from eating oysters 8 months before I got diagnosed. All it took was antibiotics to correct the problem. Keep it in mind if you go to the doctors when you get your insurance.  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the comments.  My Dr Appt is on Nov 7th, although my diarrhea seems to have calmed a little since I made the appt 2 weeks ago.  (I think because I am less stressed since I have the actual appt made)

My bowel movements are not normal, still, but I only go between 1-3 times every morning. (between 6:30-7:30 am) and if I'm lucky that's it for the day.  On a few occasions I have had to go after I got to work, or after lunch.  Also, in the last week sometimes I have been taking 1 immodium pill after my BM in the mornings and on the days that I do that, I have never had to go during the day.

My appetite is still good and I am not losing weight, just wondering what it could possibly be that hasn't worked itself out yet (and dreading the possibility of having to have a colonoscopy or something!!)
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, Man my symptoms are exactly like yours ! Maybe I should go to the doctor with you?!, maybe a 2 for 1 rate!
I would venture to say that the pencil thin stools are because they are so soft and just have a hard time getting out in a larger form. I've been on this Colonix program and it seems to be helping, but it's been 7 weeks now. I've progressed to 2 mostly normal movements in the a.m., usually followed by a "fluffy" one or two. So it's still there, whatever it is. I have a very mild dull ache in my lower abdomin (abdomen) sometimes, often in the a.m. I think it's IBS or parasites. This cleansing program, ( Colonix ) is supposed to get rid of parasites, so I'm hoping that will work if that's what I have. I'm like you, I know IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion and I don't want to do all the tests to rule out all the "bad" stuff. ( like this isn't bad enough ! Keep us posted. I bet it's IBS. Have you tried a Fiber suppliment. I know fiber is supposed to be for constipation but the suppliment in this stuff absorbs excess water supposidly, so it also helps diarrhea. That's my other dilema. I'm supposed to take this for 2 months. I do feel better, it's been 3 weeks. However I don't know if I would be totally normal if I stopped altogether, or if I would be worse. ( I did stop the Senna tea that you're supposed to take a bedtime. It a laxative and not what I need. I'm going enough already !) All the best, I'm sure you're fine.
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Avatar_n_tn
the 2for1 rate sounds like a great idea!  ;)

As for the thin stools, that's one thing that I failed to address in my update.  In the last couple weeks, I have frequently had firm, normal-diameter stool, so I know I don't have a blockage or anything like that going on.  Like you suggested, I feel that the thin stool is due to the diarrhea.  Also, when it is thin, mine is "fluffy" too (your description was pretty accurate)

I would certainly believe an IBS diagnosis, because I have always had an "iffy" GI tract.  (in the middle of grocery shopping or something and suddenly having to go to the bathroom, then feeling better afterwards)  My stomach and bowels have also always been sensitive to stress.

So, one more week and I should know a little more...(PS--I haven't taken an immodium in 3 days and I've had no diarrhea yesterday or today--stool was just soft)
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

Glad your stools are back to normal size again ! ( can you believe we're talking about this stuff ?! ) Let us know what the diagnosis is please? I think I'm taking a minor step backwards after weeks of improvement. ( uncomfortable feeling in stomach in the a.m. and stool looser after 1st movement of the day.) ARGHHHHH! , I'm so tired of this ! Good luck to you. You sound like you have IBS.
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Avatar_n_tn
I seem to alternate between Constipation and Diahrrea..anyone else have this problem?
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had the same problems as you since the first of June. I went to doctor and insisted that they do a stool test for parasites. I thought I had picked up some sort of parasite from a buffet. My stool and blood tests were normal. I still had loose and watery bowel movements usually between 4-5 A.M. Ocassionally I would have a several cramp in the afternoon and have to rush to the bathroom. The doctor then sent me for a UGI and small bowel test. This too was normal. I go for a colonoscopy next week. I am taking cholestyramine packets twice daily to remove the bile salts?? from my movements. This also is not working. I still do not have normal bowel movements. I exercise on the treadmill daily and try to eat healthy. If you find something that works let me know.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey Ufunny,

After my last post with things getting a little "looser" again I went back to the internet for "the cure". I read alot about digestie enzymes and thought I'd give that a shot since my loose stools often look like undigested food. Anyway, I went to the local health food store and they recommened something called Ultra-Zyme by Nature's plus. The directions say to take two tablets a day. Doesn't state whether with food or not. This product has a cross section of all the different enzymes the body is supposed to produce to digest fat, sugar, etc. etc.
Anyway, the NEXT day for the first time in 2 months every stool was normal. 1st day I had 3, from then on 2 per day. ( as scary as this is to say it was a "wonderful sight". It's been over a week now of normal stool. It would be too conincidental ( spelling?) for it to just happen to get better the next day after 8 weeks. I would definately try it. I couldn't believe it turned around in one day. Of course being a hypochondriac ;0) I'm wondering now if there's a problem that still needs to be addressed and that these enzymes are just treating the symptom, and not the problem.But what I've read, ( of course these sites are hawking their prodcuts !), digestive enzymes are considered food and can be taken forever, and/or can take "pressure" off the digestive system and allow it to heal itself and possibly get itself back on track so that you don't need them. Anyway I'm all smiles now, fingers still crossed, and still sweating out every stool hoping it stays normal. Let me know how you make out if you try it.

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Avatar_n_tn
Awesome!  Thanks so much for the update!  I would also agree that after many weeks of consistent diarrhea and loose stool, for things to return to normal so suddenly is more than coincidence.

Although I haven't been plagued with the actual diarrhea for the last couple weeks, my bowel movements have still not returned to a consistent state of normalcy...I think I might give your remedy a try, if I can find the stuff.

Also, since I am pretty convinced (in my own mind) that my problem is nothing more than a malfunction of my own system (such as IBS or just nerves that set off a chain reaction), I may not pursue this issue at the Dr's next week (although I will still mention it and request a standard blood work-up and whatnot)

At any rate, I'll keep you all posted.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, Just wanted to see if you tried the enzymes. I'm still regular, hoping your the same !

kidK.
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Avatar_n_tn
I know what you're going through!! For the past 2 years I have been to a number of doctors and specialists over my stomach issues.  I, too, have loose stools that are light in color (sometimes frothy yellowish) and they always float.  It's so weird. I've had a colonoscopy, endoscopy, upper & lower GI, X-rays and MRI on my mid-section.  They find no abnormalties at all.  I do have C-reactive protein in my urine/blood but no one has figured out why.  I appear to be a very healthy person but feel miserable MOST of the time. I cannot shop without having to run to a bathroom and have diarrhea.  I feel like I'm becoming obsessed with this bathroom issue.  I'm a 45 year old female with a history of IBS, extreme bloating, and acid reflux.  Two years ago I had h-pylori, which is bacteria that can actually live in the acids of your stomach (which most can't).  I was on triple antibiotics for that for two weeks.  Things have not been the same since.  I'm so over having to run to the bathroom.  I've tried more fruits and veggies and all that high fiber stuff.  Nothing seems to help.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  Oh, and my gall bladder checked out OK.  I'm sorry that anyone else has to suffer through this!!  It's HORRIBLE and wish I could find a cure.  Thanks.
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I had my gallbladder taken out over 6 years ago and have had yellow watery bowel movements all the time. Sometimes if I eat something even 2 grapes it will hit me and I will have terrible pain and have to run to the bathroom. Have had all kinds of testing. Cats scans of liver and kidney, small bowel follow through, endoscopy, colonoscopy, ultrasounds, HIDA scan to make sure there is no stone blocking anything. So far the diagnosis is IBS. I have never heard of IBS causing the pain I am constantly with on my right side under ribs. What the heck it cant be the gall bladder, they are showing nothing for liver but a little fattly liver. Now sending me to all these specialists downtown. ITs all crazy to me but if they can get me cured I will be happy tired of Librax and Dilauded.
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Finally got my tests back from the colonoscopy. The doctor said that I have colitis. He was going to call in Asacol for me to take three times a day. I still have the same problems that I stated earlier that began in June. I hope this works! It sure gets old not knowing what to expect!!
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MY SON WHO IS 6 YEARS OLD HAS VERY LOOSE STOOL FOR ABOUT 4 WEEKS... The loose stool is only when he normaly goes to the bathroom (ones a day, maybe twice), not more or less...it is only sometimes watery or just very loos and light colored. The stool test came out negative.... Could it just be a virus that flakes up ones in a while? He has no fever, no pain, he is still very active.... Do I need to panic? or do I need to go trough all kinds of testing? I am from a European country and live in the US and my doctor at home told me that his intestines are just irigulated. I am now giving him ACIDOPHILUS to restore the balance of his intestines and it looks like it is slowly getting better...

Any help is welcome....
Desperate Mom.
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dear FredsChic

I don't know why but doctors in this country do not really believe in restoring the natural balance of your intestines...(natural bacteries)
This is a normal treatment in Europe, and also the first thing my doctor in Europe told me that was wrong with my son.
He told me to look for a medicine or supplement (as they call it here) with lactobacillus bacteries in....
The only one I could find was ACIDOPHILUS, in Europe you will find 5 to 10 brands who will sell you products for the restoration of your intestines...(sorry for my accent)
I would definately try this, no harm done if it does not work.
If I was you I would definately have a colonic done, I had this done as I was having problems myself and I feel much better now.... Every person should do this ones every year....
Toxin live in the bowel you know...
Anyway best of luck to you, I hope it works...
mercedesa
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Avatar_n_tn
You've made the right choice by incorporating a digestive enzyme as well as doing the colonix. Colonix is a great cleansing program but there are other measures one needs to take to make it work for you.
For me I had to change my eating habits - I sought the help of a naturopath and found out I had food allergies and made a change in what I ate. It really helped with health. I did this 8 years ago and have never looked back.

Hope all is well with you now.
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I am David Reid Lowell, ***@**** - and I have been to my Dr. Edward Driscoll (in Worcester) several times with a sharp pain on my left side, on a diagonal between my lower rib cage and the area between my left hip and belly button.

At times I bloat up like a basket ball and I feel like something inside me is tearing. When I sleep on my left side I have to put a pillow under me to ease the pain - sometimes it just goes away.

Sometimes I go the bath-room up to 5 times in one morning and sometimes 'not at all' on the weekend when everyone is home I can't go at all.

It REALLY hurts.

I have had a colonoscopy and one pallap was removed (benign). Since then I have had this problem. Dr. Driscoll did a CAT scan and it came back negative for anything in my stomach, intensities or colon. It did how a small cyst on my kidney and one on my lung which he said is no big deal because they are common in 50 year old.

It hurts, especially after I eat - I can no longer eat acidic food. I am now eating brown rice, and streamed veggies -

All my blood work is fine, have had recent counts done, everything is normal.

PLEASE advise me, I do not know here this coming from and my doctor says that there is nothing wrong with me... it is really, it hurts, and is very uncomfortable. It is also limited to that specific area of my left colon, intestines. It is like there is knot in me, or some on has stuck a knife in me...

What is odd is that it can just go away and then come back.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi I have had similar symptoms to what is being decribed... For the past week I have been making a trip to the bathroom 30 to 50 mins after consuming drink or food.  The stool is usually yellow and fluffy. I also experience sharp pains in my lower adomem like cramping pains.  My cousin yesterday suggested that I take a stool test.

I associated what was happening to me as gas before, but now after reading the comments I am starting to think differently.  When I was in college and I took a long time to eat I ended up vomitting twice in one night and after drinking some ginger-ale and tea i was fine.


Any suggestions before I make that trip to see my PMD.

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