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Repeat bowel movements?
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Repeat bowel movements?

After reading some archived messages I see that many people here have much worse problems than mine.  My sympathies to anyone who is suffering.

If I could just get a name for my condition I can do more research on my own.  I call it repeat bowel movements.

I'm a 47 year old white male, 190 lbs, 6' 2".  No other symptoms except repeated soft bowel movements for the past two months or so.  Almost every day.  Before that it was typically one comfortably firm BM each morning.  

It happens when I urinate.  Especially if I wait until I really need to pee.  Once I start to pee I start to have a BM.  That much feels pretty normal but the BM is soft, definitely not diarrhea, but very  soft.

I feel like I really need to go but the BM amount is usually smaller than usual.  Then, maybe an hour later when I need to pee again, I have another BM.  Usually much less but a hassle to have to sit down and clean up all over again.  It's not unusual for the repeated BM to be just a tiny amount, say a 1/4 teaspoon.  I have to use lotion on the toilet paper to avoid irritation after so much wiping.

It's not unusual for this to happen 2-4 times in the morning then I'm fine the rest of the day.

The symptoms are not a big deal.  More of an annoyance.  But I am concerned about what might have caused this change that I seem to be stuck with.

I exercise a lot.  I do a strenuous form of yoga 5-6 evenings a week.  It's called ashtanga yoga but I call it boot camp yoga.  Everyone sweats a lot in the 90 minute class.  Also some swimming and a little bike riding.  I work at a computer during the day.

I've always eaten plenty of bran.  I taken the same multivitamin plus extra C, E and Zinc for years.  I drink plenty of water.

I checked with my GP.  He didn't reach any sort of conclusion.  Says my previous blood work looks great.  He ordered another annual blood test and set me up with a visit to the Gastro guy who did my colonoscopy (all clear) almost three years ago.  I had to get that because my brother (a big fan of red meat) had colon cancer.  But that appt is a month off. And I don't have much faith he'll offer any help except maybe to scope me again.

Do I have to be scoped??  Could this be a sign of... what??  A blockage or loss of muscle control?  I'd really like some help with this.

Oh, one more thing.  There was a more serious episode weeks ago.  I can't remember if this was the very start of my symptoms but it was a while back.  A day after eating at a Chinese buffet I had 7-8 BMs.  Plus general weakness.  I spent much of the day sleeping comfortably.  No pain or diareaha.  I guess it was food poisoning but it sure wasn't what I normaly would call food poisoning.  During the next 5 days I had a couple of times in yoga class when I was unusually weak.  The muscles in my legs shook so I don't think it was just in my head.  But that all seemed to go away.  Except I still have these repeating BMs.
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With a colonoscopy three years ago, it would be unlikely that a growth or anatomical abnormality can present so fast.  That being said, if the symptoms continue, it would not be unreasonable to repeat.  Things like inflammatory bowel disease or colitis can lead to a change in bowel habits.  

Another option would be to consider the various forms of malabsorption.  Fat malabsorption or celiac disease can lead to loose bowel movements.  You can consider stool tests looking for fat malabsorption or a blood test looking for celiac disease.

Irritable bowel disease can also lead to these symptoms in the face of non-revealing tests.  Treatment with anti-spasmodic agents can be considered if this is the case.

You can discuss these options 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.
Medical Weblog:
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15 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
do you know most of those cheap buffets they mix the old stuff with new stuff??
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks, Kevin.  That gives me some idea what I'll face when I see the GI doc.  

I checked out malabsorbtion, etc a little.  Seems unlikely.  I just don't seem to have any other indications (e.g. pain, weight loss, etc.).  I guess anything is possible though.

I really don't mind another colonoscopy.  Good drugs and I managed to stay semi-conscious last time and thought it was cool to watch the monitor.  It was the prep I FEAR now.  Jeez, was that acid coming out of me toward the end??  It burned!!  Next time I'll try applying Vaseline each time before I sit on the toilet to protect my skin.

IBS?  Oh, ****!  (Sorry, no pun intended)  I equate the dubious diagnosis of IBS as just a way to avoid making an real diagnosis.  I think I'd prefer to be labeled mentally ill.  Oh, well.  At least I've have advance notice where I'm heading.  I'll try to read up on IBS so I can defend myself.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had stomach problems since junior high. No one knew what was wrong with me. I would pass out, have hot flashes and have a bowel movement. I also passed MANY kidney stones--no cause
Later on with years they diagnosed me with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Then I started to have more symptoms -I had a laparoscopy done and they saw scar tissue but nothing else. Once in awhile I would have episodes of soft bowel movements.
Once I got married to my husband who is in the military-I could only see their physicians. They are knowledgeable in many areas but don't enough in them. Any ways, They said I needed Medimucel----crack heads!!!
It was until 9/11 happened that many of our doctors were being sent overseas, that they didn't have enough doctors to see me. I was referred off base to a specialist. It was the answer to all my problems!!!
I had MANY colonoscopies and endoscopies and they found that I have Crohn's disease.
You should look it up and see if you suffer from these symptoms. It is something that can be certainly over looked because it deals with so many different parts of your stomach
good luck and don't give up and always get a second opinion!!!!!

1funemome
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Avatar_m_tn
I've racked my brain thinking what have I changed in the last two months??

Grapefruits & beer!  A friend has been bringing me grapefruits.  I'd eat one after lunch each day.  And I started drinking one or two beers with dinner.  Well, I've dropped both of those habits.  

That hasn't solved my problem so I thought some more.  I'd say I've been eating more.  Not enough to gain more than a few pounds but what I really notice is that I'm always keeping myself full.  So, my current plan is to cut back.  Not enough to loose more than five pounds in three weeks.  I just want to dream more about food.  That's always a sign for me that I didn't eat too much the day before.  I like that, waking up with a real appetite.  That's how I felt this morning.  And, for what it's worth, I only had one BM.    

It's worth a try.  I've got a couple of weeks to get this under control or someone is going to drug me and stick a tube up my butt.  If I'm lucky.
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Avatar_n_tn
As much as it stinks to get a probe shoved up the anis---the results are always what I look forward to. Just had a colonoscopy done last week and I wasn't able to clear enough out so I have to do another plus an endoscopy--major crapper!
anyways, having those procedures were the key to my finding out my problem.
did you look into Crohns disease?
I started to eat a lot too--I aven't gained any weight though. But I always feel hungry. But then when I eat I regret it because I can feel the train of food come to a complete stop once it hits my intestines. It is so painful and that stress causes me to have the loose stools as you were mentioning.
I am sorry if any of this grosses you out--it is hard to talk about these things without sounding gross!
well good luck
TC
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Avatar_m_tn
Crohns disease?  I'll keep an open mind but the symptoms I read about don't seem to match for now.  

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Avatar_n_tn
Hello Repeat,

In some ways my situation is similar to yours.  I haven't yet found the cause or a complete solution, but have discovered some things that help.

These are:

1. Taking a stool thickening product called Herbulk, which contains rice flour and psyllium. I use this every morning.  It doesn't stop the frequency of bowel movements, but makes cleanup much, much easier.

2. Including rice in many meals.

3. Seeing a chiropractor because I did not receive treatment advice from my internist or gastroenterologist.

4. Using lidocaine HCI in a product called Xylocaine 2% jelly, to alleviate the anal burning associated with preparing for the colonoscopy.  My physician gave me samples of this.


I am a trim, 53 year old woman who excercises regularly and eats healthy foods. I have four to eight bowel movements daily, most of them within half an hour of a prior bowel movement.

Aside from my bowel problem, I am happy and healthy. I saw a gastroenterologist who did a colonoscopy, blood tests and comprehensive stool diagnosis with parasitology. He found no abnormalities.

Because he could find no cause and offered no treatment for my problem, I am currently seeing a chiropractor. He also did a comprehensive stool diagnosis with parasitology.

This time the test showed an abnormal presence of a bacteria called enterobacter cloacae. I am taking probiotics and other natural products to eliminate the enterobacter cloacae.

However, I have some skepticism that these herbal products will kill the parasite; I understand that it resists many strong antibiotics, and that often a combination of antibiotics is needed to zap it.

I also am unconvinced that enterobacter cloacae is my only problem -- maybe it is, maybe not.  I will have to wait and see if killing it changes my need for too-frequent bowel movements.

I wish you well and hope you find an answer to your repeat problem.  

I hope you don't have to endure another colonoscopy and especially the prep -- I know I would hate that.  

Good luck to you.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks again_and_again!

I really like the suggestions for Herbulk, rice in general and the lidocaine.

I've had a little luck (only slight) with adjusting my diet.  The problem is more on the side that it's just plain hard to eat less.  I haven't given up.  Rice is something that's been on my mind but not in my stomach.  I will now give it a good try.  (Cooked *brown* rice, onion, garlic, mixed vegetables, raisins, cashews & chicken.  Big pot.  With thyme & curry,  Taste good.  It's a start.)  Also started eating lentil soup & lentil lasagna.

I had my colonoscopy Friday.  No problem found.  I was sent home with a prescription for Bentyl.  Translation:  IBS.  Jeez, the side effects for Bentyl include hallucinations and impotence!  Plus interferes with sweating (can't do that and ashtanga yoga, I could end up with heat stroke).  I will not be filling this prescription.  I might if my problem was more than a nuisance.

BTW, I've talked to some yoga/massage type people who think that only one BM a day is a big problem.  They actually want lots.  They consider multiple BMs/day a sign of health.  I'd like to hear more about this idea.  For now I just want to resume what's normal for me.

Before my colonoscopy the doc said he's run a stool test if no problem found.  I'm not sure if he's still interested or not now.  I have so little faith in docs that I'm loosing interest in pursuing it.  I only agreed to the colonoscopy because my brother had colon cancer and I was due to be checked anyway.

I keep going back to what changed in my life when the problem arose???  Again_and_again, was there anything that changed in your life?

One change for me was a switch to intense daily yoga.  And I tend to compensate by eating more and resting more.  Maybe it's all not the best combo.

I used to swim for about 20 years.  No problem with swimming.  If anything, it made me perfectly regular.  I can always switch back but yoga is fun.
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Avatar_m_tn
Here are my colonoscopy notes/tips.  This was originally mailed to family & friends with photos of me recovering, the HalfLytely Bowel Prep Kit and a moon rise.  Sorry, no photos in this forum.  (which, considering the nature of the forum, is probably a good thing.)

---

Bring a pair of disposable socks.

Take along a roll of your own toilet paper and favorite lotion to the hospital.  At the risk of generating fierce controversy, I prefer Angle Soft TP.  My current choice of lotion is St. Ives brand, Cucumber Melon scent.  Both available at Target.

See those patches on my chest.  Wonder why I haven't pulled them off yet??  Another tip: have your entire chest waxed two days before the procedure.  Don't wait until one day before.  You know, the laxative day.

Speaking of laxative... here's a photo of what I used this time.  I told the doc that last time the little bottle of Fleet was really harsh on my butt.  He paused, seemed to remember something and retrieved this "time released" prescription version from his "free samples" closet.  For what it's worth, this was easier on my body. The first step is to take four pills.  I did that at 1:30pm yesterday.  And, yes, I still had to force down that jug full of lemon lime goop.  It's really only as thick as store bought chocolate milk.  Well, that's what I kept telling myself, nearly gagging, glass after glass.  By 9pm it was pretty much over.  In fact, I felt great.  I even went out for a bike ride that lasted an hour.  I watched the full moon rise on a warm, cloudless and breezy evening.  It was great to be outside
after what I had been through earlier that day.

Prepare the liquid in advance so it can be cooled in the fridge.  I started with a warm jug and, ugh, regretted it.  And try an apple juice chaser.  Yum!

If you ever get a male (or female) nurse named Jim with seven years of experience (but only three months in the endoscopy department) and he (she) goes through two full minutes of applying multiple tourniquets, patting and searching for the best vein (even though you normally have great veins) then don't delay, go ahead and ask for someone else to start the IV.  I was in such a good mood today I gave him one try.  He said I'd feel a little sting, I did, I waited and then I had to start asking, "Are you done??!?".  After the second, "Ah, no, not quite" I actually relaxed and told him "You know, this really doesn't hurt that much.  Keep going, man.".  And he did.  I think it was my yoga training.  I was truly able to stay calm despite having Jim practice embroidery just below my skin on the back of my right hand.  Maybe it was a sort of reverse psychology thing but he gave up less than a minute later.  Thank God!  And then we had one of those moments of closeness normally reserved for soul mates and schizophrenics.  As soon as the words "May I ask for someone else?" left my lips he was already replying "Yes, I'll go get her if you can just help me stop the bleeding.".  We had become one.

Note to guys:  When the doctor come in the endoscopy room you have mere seconds before they put the drugs in the IV.  Do yourself a favor, as soon as you establish eye contact with the doc ask him to perform a prostate exam AFTER you're sedated.  I swear, it's been about 20 years since I've had a prostate exam in (or out of) a regular doctor office setting.  Don't ask me why.  It's actually a mystery to me why *other* guys have it done routinely.  Maybe I just don't give off the right vibe, I don't know.  And, Lord knows, nobody ever uses those test results so why do it at all?  What really blows my mind is that, even after this advice, I bet that two of my three brothers will continue to opt for the fully conscious experience.  Oh, well.

The drugs were kind to me today.  Like before I remained semi-conscious.  The actual exam was the high point of the whole
experience for me.  I love to watch the monitor!  Alas, if only I
could keep my mouth shut.  One too many uninvited comments and random yelps and the last thing I remember what the nurse giving me a second dose in the...   ZZZ zzzz  zzzzzzz.  Dang it!
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Avatar_n_tn
Seeing a chiropractor is a good idea. Natural products are much better at killing parasites than traditional meds. It takes at least 3-6 months to work, maybe longer. I suggest colonics to go along with this, whether you have multiple bowel movements or not. Yor bowels should move within 2 hours after every meal. That would make anywhere from 2-4 bowel movements a day being normal. Of course, that usually does not occur for most people, hence all the health problems in this country. I like Garden of Life Fungal Defense as a parasite cleanse with followup maintenance on Primal Defense.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello Repeat,

In answer to your question about whether anything was different in my life prior to the onset of the frequent stools, I had been taking an antibiotic, Doxycycline, for a minor dermatological problem. I took 50 100mg capsules and within several weeks began having 8 or so bowel movements daily.

I've read that antibiotic use can contribute to bacterial imbalances in the intestines, even if someone took antibiotics decades before a problem surfaces. Diarrhea can be one symptom.

However, I do not know for a certainty that antibiotics caused my frequent stools.  None of the medical people with whom I've discussed my problem can say for sure, either.

Recently I read about a probiotic called VSL#3 and am considering taking it. You can find studies and other information if you Googlesearch it.

Besides the rice I mentioned in an earlier post, another food choice I have found to make stools more firm and less frequent is eggs.

Repeat, these are some books on gastrointestinal problems that I've found useful:

Gastrointestinal Health, by Steven R. Pekin, M.D., ISBN 0-06-058532-3

The Self-Help Way to Treat Colitis and Other IBS Conditions, by De Lamar Gibbons, M.D., ISBN 0-658-01217-7

Digestive Wellness, by Elizabeth Lipski, M.S., C.C.N., ISBN 0-87983-984-8

Regarding the suggestions in this thread about frequent stools being healthy, I strongly disagree.  Most authorities say one or two a day is fine. Going again and again is discouraging, to say the least.

Best regards,
Again and Again



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Avatar_n_tn
Your colon cannot be healthy unless it is moving on a daily basis. For some people, that may be once, for others maybe 4-5. As long as your bowel movements are not painful and are a consistency of frozen yogurt, the amount of times your bowels move are definitely coorelated with your health. I am the only authority when it comes to my bowels, no one else.
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Avatar_n_tn
well - I am new to this (including topic), so pardon my expressions.
I have similar symptoms for nearly 2 months now, plus I can't eat anything, as a results - de-hydration and high blood pressure (because over-work of kidneys) attacks.
Loss some weight, but not much.
Recently went to see chineese doctor - he said that it's looks like a bacterio-infection of indigestive system, and gave me pills - "tabellae berberini hydrochloridi", without prescription, and once a day "acidophilus with apple pectin", also put me on diet - nothing fried, fat, no alc., no raw food (fresh salads), etc.
I must say - I am happy to feel normal again, on a third day of treatment. Must stay for two weeks, but I don't care.
The pills - "tabellae berberini hydrochloridi" - is mild, as its turned out, in china mothers giving it to a newborns - to get rid of infections|bad bacterias.
It is not a "solution for all cases", of course, but may be worth looking into.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I made some progress.  I now go for a walk each morning.

I typically get up and start working on the computer.  I've been working day and night lately so if I feel the need to have a BM I just keep working until I "have" to go.  

I have a new policy now.  I get up, eat my regular breakfast of whole wheat cereal and start working.  Later, at the first HINT that a BM is starting, I go for a ten minute walk.  There's a park nearby and the sun is rising by then.  Once I'm outside the rest is easy.

The first time I did this I had to cut across the park and race back home!  I'm getting more used to it now so it's not so risky.

Once I return I head to the head.  There I have what I would estimate to be a fairly complete elimination.  Then I can return to work without having to return to the toilet later.  This is an improvement.

It's really common sense.  I know.  I had just strayed from a normal life gradually and had trouble finding my way back.  



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A related discussion, diagnosis was started.
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