Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
IBS and Pain Upper Left Side
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IBS and Pain Upper Left Side

I have had IBS symptoms(not diagnosed) for 10+ years and have just coped with it.2 months ago I developed a spasm like pain on my upper left abdominal area  below the ribs(not side or back).It usually happens in the evening and it does not keep me awake at night.In the morning there is no pain at all.I have had  a few stressful months this year and to top it off my cat died last week so I'm feeling pretty depressed.I do have an appointment on May 16 with a GI which I made a month ago.I'm just getting very nervous about the appointment and what they will say is wrong.Of course cancer comes to mind.Please give me hope that it will be something less serious.
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Stress can have a profound effect on your gastrointestinal trac.
Your stomach is located in the upper left side around the bottom of your rib cage which people sometomes don't realize. You don't say how old you are but from experience with my family who have had stomach and intestinal cancers, and "NO" im not saying you may have it, the symptoms are black,dark red and bright red blood in there stools. Not one got cancer before early 60's and none of them died from it. Another symptom is cronic (chronic) constipation from tumors blocking the intestines, weakness from the bleeding. So basically I wouldn't worry unless the doctor tells you to which isn't likely unless you have some of the symptoms I described or the find something. And before I forget
hemmroids can cause bright red bleeding also. There are alot of reasons you could be having your symptoms so relax and find out from the doctors whats going on before you get to nervous. Good luck

Greg
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Thanks so much Greg.Your comments make me feel much better.I am a woman and will be 42 at the end of the month.My father was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 58 and is a survivor 14 years later.I do not have any noticable bleeding and I'm never constipated.ALways the opposite!!So hopefully that is good news.It's just the pain I get in the evening that has me worried because I did not have it before 2 months ago.Just a few days left and I will find out.Thanks again for answering.
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Im glad I could make you feel better, I have had in the last  month a Upper Endoscopy and a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy about a year ago for what at first I thought was my heart. Im 37 and in pretty good shape, I ate or drank something on a fishing trip in Maine which made me very sick. Couldn't stop going to the bathroom, I lost 30lbs. That cleared up on its own after about 2 months and alot of metamucil, they never found anything. Since then my stomach has been giving me lots of trouble basically Gerd symptoms which they comfirmed with the Upper Endoscopy. I got so dehydrated from the original sickness that I really thought I was having a heart attack, chest pains ,could catch my breath etc.. They found nothing wrong with my heart so this last month or so I had a terrible pain on my upper left side, a little above the bottom of my rib cage so I  went back to the doctors and he couldn't see me so I went to the ER like he said to and I described my problem and they ran me through the heart
checks again blood work,xrays and ekg. Im sitting there for the second time in just over a year and this time I didn't think it was my heart because of last time and went through all that.. but I will give the ER doctor credit he found a spot on my stomach that was a thinning spot or pre-ulcer so thats when I went to a gastro who finally diagnosed me with gerd or to much acid washing back up into my esophogus which was causing my pain for the last year. Not to mention I was on the verge of an ulcer also. Sorry so long but thats basically my story plus my dealings with my relatives who have had cancer of the gastro track so I was thinking maybe that was my problem also. But most cancers of the gastro track will show signs of blood or blockage long before there is pain. Good luck and at 42 from what I have seen and read that is very young for this type of cancer your concerned about especially in a woman. I take prilosec and Maalox
which seem to be helping but the prilosec does make me feel full or bloated alot so I had my dose reduced. To much acid being turned off I guess.. hahaha oh yeh 1 more thing, a friend of mine had his gallbladder taken out for pain similar to yours and mine and his pain was on the left side also which the doctors said was not common but does happen, usually its on the right side.  Good Luck

Greg
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You certainly have been through a lot.My pain seems very minor to what you've been through.I hope we both are pain free soon.If you need those 30 pounds back that you lost,I will gladly share.I have some to spare.Maybe this is a sign to start taking better care of myself.Thanks again.
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Hey Greg,
I was very interested in your remarks to shmoopie.  I would like for you to tell us what a flexible sigmoidoscopy is and what it is for.  Thank you,
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The official answer is below but basically they take a back door peek using a camera to visually check out your bowels for signs of infection,disease,polops etc. Its is not as bad as it sounds below and they will give you some drugs if you wish. I had none
and made it through fine. I felt the Upper Endoscopy
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)was much more uncomfortable until they gave me more drugs , your in a concious sedation they call it so you will respond to doctors requests. They numb the back of your throat but the gag reflex just wouldn't quit for me for some reason. But you will remember nothing.


Flexible Sigmoidoscopy  

Sigmoidoscopy is the visual examination of the inside of the rectum and sigmoid colon, using a lighted, flexible tube connected to an eyepiece or video screen for viewing. This device is called an endoscope. The colon (large intestine) is 5 to 6 feet long. During a sigmoidoscopy, only the last 1 to 2 feet of the colon is examined. This last part of the colon, just above the rectum, is called the sigmoid colon.

Equipment
The flexible endoscope is a remarkable piece of equipment that can be directed and moved around the bends in the lower colon and rectum. The image in the bowel is transmitted through the endoscope either to the eyepiece or a video screen. An open channel in the scope allows other instruments to be passed through it to take tissue samples (biopsies) or to remove polyps.


Reasons for the Exam
Sigmoidoscopy is performed to diagnose the cause of certain symptoms. It is also used as a preventative measure to detect problems at an early stage, even before the patient recognizes symptoms. The following are some reasons for performing a sigmoidoscopy.

Bleeding -- Rectal bleeding is very common. It often is caused by hemorrhoids or by a small tear at the anus, called a fissure. However, more serious problems can cause bleeding. Benign polyps can bleed. It is important to identify and remove polyps at an early stage before they can become cancerous. Rectal and colon cancers bleed and require immediate diagnosis and treatment. Finally, various forms of colitis and inflammation can cause bleeding.
Diarrhea -- Persistent diarrhea should always be evaluated. There are many causes of diarrhea and the exam is of great help in tracking down the specific cause.

Pain -- Hemorrhoids and fissures are some causes of pain around the anus or in the rectum. Discomfort in the lower abdomen can be caused by tumors. Diverticulosis can occur in the lower bowel. With this condition, small pockets or sacks project from the bowel.

X-ray Findings -- A barium enema x-ray exam may show abnormalities that need to be confirmed or treated by sigmoidoscopy.

Detection -- Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers in the country. It is highly curable if it is found early. This cancer usually begins in the colon as a polyp that remains benign for many years. Therefore, it is generally advisable to have a sigmoidoscopy after age 40 or 50. If parents, brothers, or sisters have had colon polyps or colon cancer, it is even more critical to have this exam. The tendency to develop colon cancer and polyps can be inherited.

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hahaha thanks but Im back up to my 180-185lbs. It took awhile for me to start absorbing nutrients properly again but now I can't eat everything in site like the doctor told me to back then. It was weird because I couldn't eat anything and was never hungry but all of a sudden I got my appetite back. It was scary because they couldn't find anything wrong at first, just the constant need to go to the bathroom. They also said that when you catch something like that its out of your system in as little as 3 days, its the damage they leave behind that last the longest.
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Thank you for your response.  It sounds like it is the same thing as a colonoscopy.  Is that correct?  Anyway, I do thank you for the information.
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It is the same...
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