Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
stomach and back problems
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stomach and back problems

About 3-4 weeks ago I had a bowel movement which caused pain in the lower left side of my back.  I did not think too much about it and figured if is continued I would see my Dr.  Within the next few days it subsided and happened periodically when having a bowel movement or just any time during the day.  I started having pains in my stomach shortly thereafter, belching and passing alot of gas.  I immediatly thought I have colon cancer as I am the type of person to think the worst.  My bowel movements are normal color.  The size varies-sometimes long and skinny (very rarely) and most of the time medium sized.  A couple of times they are been two colored brown and dark brownish/black - I know everybody says this happens depending on what you eat.  I have been trying to eat healthier salads, vegetables, fruit so I know I will see a change.  Sometimes I get a pain in my left s ide under my rib sometimes its on my right side.  I do have alot of heartburn and am popping tums all the time.  I try not to think the worst but I always do and I know I create alot of the problems myself.  I went to see the Dr. and he told me he thought it might be because of all the stress I was currently going thru.  Since I have had cancer 2 times before I do worry.  I don't want to be that person that had all these subtle symptoms and find out I'm riddled with cancer.  My husband says "you've survived twice how can you still worry about it"  I have two children (16-10) and you want to be around for them.  I know it can be alot of other things.  I have not lost weight, the symptoms seem to be getting less each day.  Right now the pain in my lower left side of my back is a constant sharp pain like somebody is jabbing me.  My Dr thinks the lower back pain and the stomach problems are not related.  I walk/run 10 miles a day and he said if I had something like colon cancer I would not have the energy even in the beginning stages.  I don't want to be a constant worrier but its hard not to.  My other 2 cancers are totally unrelated.  One was 17 yrs ago before I had my first child-it was a trophoblastic tumor which came back as a cancer and I underwent 4 month of chemo, my second one was 8 yrs ago-thyroid cancer.  Both have high cure rates and I feel very lucky.  Help!!!!
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I would still consider obtaining a lower endoscopy - either a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.  If you are over the age of 50, you should be having this test regardless of your symptoms.  

If the endoscopy is negative, a CT scan can be considered to further evaluate the area in question.  Causes such as masses, infection, and diverticulitis can be seen on the scan that cannot be seen on the colonoscopy.

Stomach pains and occasianal black stool can be indicative of an upper GI bleed.  Causes of this would be inflammation and ulcers.  The most comprehensive test to evaluate this would be an upper endoscopy.

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.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.
12 Comments
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Also I have been having lower pain towards the pelvic area and leg pains here and there not everyday.  It seems to be worse at night.  The back pain sometimes shoots up the back or go into the hip area.  I am falling apart!!!!! Thanks again for listening.
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Thanks for getting back to me.  I have not had any black stool since the fall and only 2 times with no other symptoms.  The symptoms I am having now sometimes go away for awhile and then come back.  The pain is sometimes in my hip bone and other times in my lower back.  Sometimes I have trouble going to the bathroom and other times not.  I somethimes think I am thinking about it so much I am causing myself to have trouble moving my bowels.  I did one of those kits for my Dr and dropped off on 02/27 so we will see what that reveals and will be having a blood work up soon for my thyroid follow-up.  Somedays I have no symptoms other days they are constant.  Can this be in my head because I am thinking about it so much.  I am 49 just turned in 01/04.  I do have an appt with a gastroenterologist on Thursday of next week so will see what he advises.  Do you think it could be colon cancer.  Could it be reflux disease as I have tons of heart burn also and maybe the back pain is unrelated.  Do you have back pain with colon cancer-sometimes the pain shoots into the lower buttocks and into my legs but not always???? Confused and scared!!!!!
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I have just about all of the symptoms you're describing. I was diagnosed with crohns disease 1 year ago. I have nerve pain due to vitamin defeciencies. My legs hurt because of this. I have pain in my back, shoulders, abdominal area, pale complexion. Hardly ever have loose stools so was suprised to have this diagnoses. I too have had cancer (cervical) so was concerned. After 2 1/2 years and so many docs finally saw a gastro who did endoscopy and gave me the final diagnsosis. Hope you get some answers soon.
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My mother was diagnosed wirth 3 rd stage colon cancer last April. Her symptoms were nausea, watery or pencil size stool. Never for two months had a normal stool. She had abdominal pain and blood in her stool.  She never had any back pain.I would demand a colonoscopy and a endoscopy---that  can show any cancerous polyps. I have Gerds and IBS and have foul belching. My IBS that I have had for probably 20 years in the last 2 years has gotten bad. My stool was abnormal in color, size ect. I convinced my self that I had colon cancer like my MOM. The colonoscopy was performed and although I didn't have cancer it did show 1 polyp that had moderate changes. Of course, it was removed. The procedure was painless insist on medicine to knock you out. God bless.
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Teresa, thanks for the info.  Glad to hear she did not have back pain.  I do not have watery bowel movements.  Sometimes in a normal movement there are thiner ones.  Lately I have been constipated and the pain in my stomach and back has lessened.  I still have this fear I have colon cancer.  My husband says I may be constipated because I am thinking of it so much I am causing myself to have some of these symptoms.  What is your mothers prognosis.  My brother in law had colon cancer at the age of 38 he is now 51 and his had spread into 7 lymph nodes, hope your mother has the same good luck or that angel looking over her.  Let me know what you think and good luck to you, keep those Dr appts especially since its in your family.
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Thank you for inquiring about my mother. She had a colon resection and we found out the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. She endured 6 moths of chemotherapy. I think the chemo was the worst part. It stripped her of her energy and her positive outlook. Her surgery was last April and thank God so far shes cancer free. She does have permanent damage in the nerves of her legs--a sideeffect of chemo.She is still with us and I will be pleased to spend another mothers day with her. I don't think worrying gives you constipation but stress does aggravate IBS. I was scared when my Mom was diagnosed and I had some similar symptoms---it sure was relief to get the colonoscopy and it turned out okay. Worrying about it is the worst part. I hope you get the test soon and I pray all turns out fine Bless
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Teresa, my brother in law had colon cancer at the age of 38 and it had spread to 7 lymph nodes.  He underwent chemo for 1 yr and will be 52 this May.  I wanted you to know this because there is hope for your mother.  My brother in law is in great health and no reoccurance.  Good luck and I will keep you posted.  Thanks for the encouragement!
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Its me again and the pain has subsided some - I don't have the pain everyday and the belching and gas has subsided.  The only thing my stool is light brown and they have been either small balls at times at thinner stools.  I am getting more concerned, do you think because the pain and other symptoms have subsided that I should still be concerned about colon cancer.  Sorry to be so paranoid.
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Now I have to ask again and sorry if I'm being paranoid here.  My back pain has lessened and my stomach does not gurgle everyday just once in awhile.  I have been somewhat constipated-small balls and this am longer thicker bowel movements.  Not sure why I am constipated but I think about this day and night worried I have colon cancer.  I started taking Metemucel cookies today and they say it takes 12-72 hours to work so we will see.  Like I said there are days nothing bothers me and I am beginning to wonder if I have talked myself into something.  The only thing that bothers me are the bowel movements.  Sometimes I go and they just pop out of me and they are really tiny and skinny or round balls.  I hate talking about this because I don't want to have anybody to be grossed out about my bowel movements.  Do you think if I had colon cancer I would have the symptoms everyday and they would get worse.  No weight loss, no fatigue.  No appetite loss, eating normal, why can't I go to the bathroom.  I am 49 and looked up menopause and they say you can have gastro problems with menopause, my periods are stating not to come every month.  Please help, I'm scared.  I have had a fecal occult still don't know results.  Had a blood workup but they forgot to do a CBC so will do on Monday.  Saw a gastro and he thinks I should have a colonoscopy which I know I should but cannot do right away.  Anybody let me know what you think.  Thanks so much for all your help.  I am going thru extreme stress right now and wonder if this could cause my problems.  Read my first message for original symptoms.  Thanks!
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Should I start a new topic with the above recent new problems and pay another $15.00 Somebody let me know.  Thanks!
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Hi,I 24 years old, female. I am very worried and scared. Starting March 04 I began having very bad stomach pains, espically under my right rib cage. I was having "gallbladder like attacks." My bowel movements drastically changed. In march I weighed 162 pounds, today June 21st 04 I weigh 109 pounds, no dieting or excersing.
A few years ago I was having black and skinny stools, and even blood in my stools and suffered from constipation. I was about 19 years of age then and very afraid to tell my doctor. Now almost 25 I feel I waited to long. I have constipation still, blood in my stools about once every 2 weeks, sometimes loose and watery diarreah (diarrhea), mucousy stools, even black and skinny stools still. My stomach makes weird noises often. I have no appetite and I am always tired.
I am going for a colonoscopy this Thursday. I am so afraid I will have colon cancer. There is a history in my family of breast cancer, lung cancer and lupus. Am I to young for cancer ? If anyone can please help with any comments or stories I would greatly appreciate it. ***@**** My name is Dena. Thank you
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,I 24 years old, female. I am very worried and scared. Starting March 04 I began having very bad stomach pains, espically under my right rib cage. I was having "gallbladder like attacks." My bowel movements drastically changed. In march I weighed 162 pounds, today June 21st 04 I weigh 109 pounds, no dieting or excersing.
A few years ago I was having black and skinny stools, and even blood in my stools and suffered from constipation. I was about 19 years of age then and very afraid to tell my doctor. Now almost 25 I feel I waited to long. I have constipation still, blood in my stools about once every 2 weeks, sometimes loose and watery diarreah (diarrhea), mucousy stools, even black and skinny stools still. My stomach makes weird noises often. I have no appetite and I am always tired.
I am going for a colonoscopy this Thursday. I am so afraid I will have colon cancer. There is a history in my family of breast cancer, lung cancer and lupus. Am I to young for cancer ? If anyone can please help with any comments or stories I would greatly appreciate it.  My name is Dena. Thank you
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