Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
gas, loose stools, diareaha, etc....
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gas, loose stools, diareaha, etc....

I am a 20 year old female and this problem started a year ago. I have no personal or family history of any kind of related conditions. About a year ago I noticed a few days would go by before I would go to the bathroom, I use to go everday. It went from three days to a week. Once a week my stomach would get upset and I would go the the bathroom and the stools were not as solid as they use to be. It has been the same since. I will not usually go to the bathroom unless I drink coffee in the morning (no other hot drink seems to work) and even then it is a small amoutn. I have severe gas and it cramps my stomach badly. My stools are loose, and when I do go to the bathroom or relieve gas it smells like rotting food (sorry to be so vulgar). I have tried a high fiber diet, even drinking the fiber drinks (citricil) and they do not work. When it has been a few days since I have gone to the bathroom my stomach begins to bloat and cramp. And during those times I seem to retain more water than usual (and I do drink a lot of water). As I mentioned sometimes when it has been about a week I will go naturally, and it is diareaha. After that my stomach will go down again and the cramping will stop, but the gas is still there and it all starts again. This really started overnight, I did not change anything in my diet. I have not lost any weight because of it, lacatives do work, I have had no bleeding and I am not sick or nausiated. I do not know how else to describe it and I hope that was enough information, do you have any idea what this could be?
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233190_tn?1278553401
Hello - thanks for asking your question.

Erin has kindly addressed your question and I agree with her suggestion.  

Another consideration would be a form of malabsorption, which can also present with foul-smelling loose stools.  You may want to inquire about testing for this (i.e. with a fecal fat test).  

A second consideration would be some sort of endoscopy (either colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy) to evaluate for any anatomical abnormalities or inflammatory bowel disease.

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.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.
8 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
The symtoms (symptoms) you are describing are very consistant with constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  This can seem to become a problem overnight (we dont know why perhaps a combo of lifestyle, diet, hormones, stress, bad luck) but can be quite a problem.

You need to stay off the laxitives (they can be addicting to the bowel) and get in to see your family doctor who can consider a GI referal, if their first line agents dont work.  Meanwhile, get on a fiber supplement (Benefiber, Citracel and take a dose every day).  If you get constipated Milk of Mag is a good and gentle choice.

Your family doctor or GI may use medications like Miralax or Zelnorm that can be very effective in getting and keeping things going.  Test should be done to be sure this is not a thyroid or electrolyte abnormality.  A barium enema may be ordered to assure that there are no structural abnormalities (unlikley).

Hope this helps.
Erin
GI.PA
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the response. I went to see a GI specialist (who I was referred to by my family doctor) and they said the same thing. However, I have tried the Citrical and it doesn't seem to work. They checked for all the things you metioned and all my tests came out negative, so they said it must be IBS (the specialist said it is a slow moving colon). My question is, why are my stools loose? And a diet high in fiber seems to give me more gas. My stomach usually rumbles and makes strange noises and I can feel it moving around (or so it seems), are these symptoms of IBS also?
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the response. I went to see a GI specialist (who I was referred to by my family doctor) and they said the same thing. However, I have tried the Citrical and it doesn't seem to work. They checked for all the things you metioned and all my tests came out negative, so they said it must be IBS (the specialist said it is a slow moving colon). My question is, why are my stools loose? And a diet high in fiber seems to give me more gas. My stomach usually rumbles and makes strange noises and I can feel it moving around (or so it seems), are these symptoms of IBS also?
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Avatar_n_tn
Consipation predominant IBS is thought to be a motility problem (meaning it is not the texture or form of the stools but more the slow transit time through your gut which may or maynot cause hard stools).  So you can be "constipated" with soft stools.

If fiber supplements did not work, get back to your GI and ask, oK  what is the next step here?  Do not get hooked on the OTC laxitives, this is not a long term solution.  A trial of Miralax (www.miralax.com) or zelnorm (www.zelnorm.com) would be a good next step.

Erin
GI.PA
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Avatar_n_tn
It's also possible that you have a partial colon obstruction from constipated stool (a high impaction). This leads to constipation symptoms, but when the bowel finally works it can be diarrheal, from the back up and extra contraction required to move material past the impaction. You are young to have something serious like a tumor, but it still might be appropriate to evaluate the colon anatomy, either with a 'scope, or an xray. The clean-out required could be therapeutic.
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Avatar_n_tn
hi, i read your entry on the problems you were having and I just
wanted to tell you that it was really weird to read that someone had the exact same problems as me almost to a tee. I am also 20 years old and have had the exact same problems. The only difference is that when I had these problems they were unbearable to deal with. I could not do anything, because I was afraid I would get sick, or have to be sick in the bathroom.  The only difference is that I also started to have gallbladder attacks along with the bowel trouble. I eventually had my gallbladder removed and since have had the same trouble.  Even as bad as having to stay home from work 2 to 3 times a week which enabled me to finish a semester at school. So, this was a breath of fresh air to hear of someone with the same troubles. Thanx,  I am alos curious to how you have since treated this and if any hope has come.  Please email me at ***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for all your comments. I have an oppoitment to see a GI next week.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 21 year old female and I am having similar problems, although I am not constipated. Shortly after I moved to another state for a few months I started getting loose, sometimes watery stools once a day with lots of gas. This was also after I had finished taking 7 days of tetracycline and I figured that may have been the cause. Pepto Bismol helped firm up stools and the problem seemed to be going away after a couple months. I also experienced nausea after eating for two weeks (right after I started taking birth control pills, which I thought was a possible cause). Then recently I got the flu for a week and didn't eat much and consequently didn't pass stools. Since I have resumed eating, the daily soft stools have returned. I have not experienced any weightloss. However, I am worried that these may be symptoms of a more serious problem and I am concerned that HIV is listed as a cause of chronic diarrhea. It doesn't seem like a person my age would be prone to many GI disorders (although my mom does have IBS). What should I do?
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A related discussion, What to do was started.
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