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Chronic Diarrhea and losing weight
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Chronic Diarrhea and losing weight

Hello -

I posted a question once here before, maybe about 2 weeks ago (http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Gastroenterology/Right-Abdomen-Pressure/show/1000107?personal_page_id=604906&post_id=post_4662911). I ended up going to the ER for this problem and then had a follow up with my doctor. After 4 hours in the ER I was diagnosed with gastritis and sent home with a prescription for Prilosec and given a dose of Mylanta. I will say that I felt much better after this ER visit but that I'm still not feeling 100%. At the follow up with my doctor I spoke with her about my concerns over the diarrhea I had been experiencing over the past week and a half. She said that all my tests (urine, blood Ultrasound and CT) looked fine and that I probably just have a virus. Well, I'm still dealing with the diarrhea and have noticed that I've dropped weight, enough weight that my pants fit looser. I'm very concerned and worried. I made another appointment with my doctor for tomorrow but I'm really scared.

The diarrhea I've been having isn't an "urgent" type of diarrhea. When I get up in the morning to use the bathroom, I just have diarrhea. I have had 3 normal bowel movements in the past 2 weeks and now it seems as though I have a normal movement one day and then diarrhea the next. This doesn't seem to conform with the symptoms of colon cancer I've read about (I don't have rectal bleeding either), but that's still the worry on my mind. I'm only 26 and I don't want to die.

I guess the question I have is whether anyone else has dealt with this before or happens to have a suggestion as to what my problem could be?
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14 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
26 is not an age for colon cancer (appears after 50).

Have you been tested for intestinal parasites?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello and thank you for your comment. I have not been tested for parasites but this is something that I will bring up to my doctor at my appointment tomorrow.

As of right now I am feeling quite ill. My stomach is quite upset and I feel weak. Yesterday I felt fantastic (even had a normal(!!!) bowel movement), ate as I normally would have before I felt this way, and now I'm ill.

I just don't know what's going on with me and only want to feel well again.
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Avatar_m_tn
Stool in diarrhea from parasites sometimes contains some mucus.

The stool in diarrhea from gallstones would be whitish, foamy, floating and sticky due to non-absorbed fats. Gallbladder pain appears within an hour after the meal, persists as a spasm for several minutes to hours and goes away completely, then appears again. Pain is located just below teh lower right rib and may radiate in the back, right shoulder blade or shoulder.

If ultrasound doesn't show any stones in the gallbladder then stones can still be in the main bile duct - CT would show this. And when no stones can be found anywhere gallbladder or bile duct function can be impaired and this can be tested with HIDA scan and ERCP if needed.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your comments. I went to see my PC yesterday and brought up what you said about the gallbladder testing. She says that it's possible that my gallbladder could still be bothering me, but like you said, there are special tests for that. She is referring me to a GI but said that it's very hard to get an appointment with them and that, although she is going to state that I need to be seen ASAP, that it could take a bit.

When I was at my appointment she went over all my tests again and pretty much said that I don't have any cancer in my lungs, kidneys, pancreas, liver, spleen or gallbladder and that what they could see of my bowel (through CT) that it looked normal. This information makes me feel a bit better but I'm still worried sick that it's something that they can't see and that only the specialist can see.

I'm only 26 and don't want to die.
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Avatar_m_tn
Diarrhea is not typical for colorectal or gastric cancer.
Of course specialist can find additional disorders because he /she can run additional tests.

It can be really important for your doctor if you write down the following before appointment:

1. CURRENT SYMPTOMS:
When did they start?
- Bloating - how is it related to meals (in what time after the meal it appears), do you belch, have heartburn
- Diarrhea - is stool sticky, whitish, foamy and floating and appears after fatty food(important, since it speaks for fat malabsorption)
- Losing weight - since when
- Pain (extremely important to describe it exactly): Where exactly it appears and where it spreads to, is it like a cramp, does it go completely away, is it related to meal or certain type of food (fruits, fatty foods)
2. YOUR COMPLETE MEDICAL HISTORY with all diseases you've had, tests and results, treatment and effect
3. FAMILY HISTORY of all diseases in your close relatives
4. YOUR CURRENT DIET
5. MEDS and SUPPS YOU ARE TAKING and there effect.

-------------------
Your symptoms (bloating, gas, diarrhea, pain) may be due to:
1. INTESTINAL PARASITES. Dx with stool Ova & Parasites test.
2. FRUCTOSE MALABSORPTION. Dx: 4 days low-fructose diet trial or breath test with fructose
3. LACTOSE INTOLERANCE Dx: 4 days lactose-free diet trial or breath test with lactose
4. SMALL INTESTINAL BACTERIAL OVERGROWTH Dx: Breath test with lactulose or xylose
4. CELIAC DISEASE Dx: 1-2 weeks gluten-free diet trial
5. CROHN'S DISEASE Dx: colonoscopy
6. GALLBLADDER
- gallbladder stones are usually detected by ultasound
- dense bile in the gb (biliary sludge) or small stones in the bile duct may be detected by CT
- impaired function of gb Dx: HIDA scan
- impaired function of bile duct or sphincter of Oddi: Dx: ERCP

Beside that you've got a diagnosis of gastritis and antacids you've got helped. It is possible that you have chronic infection of your stomach by Helycobacterium pylori. This is tested by another breath test and if positive treated by antibiotics. This does not explain lower abdominal bloating and diarrhea, so this (if it is) may be additional problem beside one of above listed.

All mentioned so far can be checked by gastroenterologist. Until then you may have some simple diet trial tests to exclude/confirm some of possible causes listed above.
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Avatar_f_tn
Look, here's another point of view, let's just assume the blood tests and CAT scan you had done at the ER are indeed saying you don't have any major infection, or problems from your cysts, or gallbladder problem, or cancer.  That leaves a couple basic things that you can consider, to help yourself while you wait to see a gastro.  

Sometimes being on certain medications can cause your exact symptoms, so review side effects and talk to the prescribing doc about switching you to another kind.  I had SIX MONTHS of diarrhea from a medication.  Also, sometimes you can get stopped up in your intestines, to where you'll get bloating and gas pain and intermittent diarrhea.  If so, pay attention to drinking plenty of extra water, eating dark green salads and 100 percent whole wheat bread sandwiches, eat home-made stew, eat at least three times a day at regular intervals, and exercise daily.  Also, to sort of get your guts back in shape, drink some Acidophilus milk or eat Activia yogurt from the grocery store for a couple weeks.  

The pain could be from gas, so if you eat fruit, do not eat it with a meal; rather eat it separate as a snack.  The reason you've lost weight is because you've had diarrhea for so long, thus the need to stay well-hydrated and to eat the way I suggested.  You have good reason to worry, since you have gallbladder and cyst history, but the tests they did at the ER pretty much rule out anything disastrous or deadly.  Just go with the idea you've got a majorly goofed-up bowel, and follow my directions for a week or two, and see if it helps.  Keep us posted on how you do.  And don't deliberately change your monthly period anymore, just stay on schedule.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello and thank you again for your comments. They mean a lot to me during this scary time. I still have not heard from my doctor's office regarding getting an appointment with the GI. I'm going to give them a call on Monday.

Stomach or colon cancer are my biggest fears right now. No one in my family has had these types of cancer but it's still on my mind. It's a bit calming to know that diarrhea isn't really a typical symptom of either though.

When I saw my PC the other day she said that it sounds as though I have IBS, but that only a specialist can say for sure. If this is the case, that doesn't really explain why I'm having right side discomfort, and now, stomach discomfort. Yesterday my stomach started to become a bit sore. The pain is localized for towards the upper middle area. Sort of feels the way your stomach does when you get the stomach flu. If that makes sense. This discomfort could also just be from me being so upset and crying lately though. My right side discomfort doesn't seem to be bothering me so much.

I am going to head to the market this weekend to get some yogurt, as suggested. I had read about it before, but now that you've suggested it, I think that I'll give it a try. Really, I'll give anything a try right now just so that I can start feeling well again. I've been trying to eat as I normally would have, in order to stop losing weight (which I don't think I have lost anymore since last week). It's not that I don't have an appetite, it's that I don't want to go to the bathroom anymore as I never know what I'm going to be faced with.

When I first saw my doctor, after the ER visit, she said that I probably had a virus. Can an intestinal virus last 3 weeks?

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Avatar_m_tn
Virus, rotavirus to be exact, causes the so called stomach flu. This usually affect children; adults rarely have symptoms. It doesn't sound like a virus to me: stomach flu usually heals within a week.

You've said that one doc diagnosed you with gastritis and that Prilosec and Mylanta helped. Pain in upper miidle abdomen additionally speak for gastritis and increased acid secretion, so it is quite possible that these meds would help you again. A common cause of gastritis is chronic infection with Helycobacter pylori (diagnosed by breath test by gastroenterologist). If you have this infection, anti-acid meds probably won't give you complete relief as you've reported in your first posts. You can still try athese meds though.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Just wanted to put an update on here.

I finally got an appointment with a GI for the 27th of this month. My doctors office said that I was very lucky to get in this soon as it usually takes 2-3 months!

The discomfort on my right side isn't as bad now, but it's still there. I've now got some discomfort on my left side and sometimes in my stomach. The discomfort on my right side seems to become irritated by fatty foods or when I eat a lot.

As of this week my diarrhea hasn't been as bad. I've still had it a couple times but I've also had some more firm, formed movements. This includes today where I had an absolutely normal (besides the color, it's still a bit yellowish brown) bowel movement! I was so excited I almost did a dance. :) Strange, I know, but when you've been feeling ill and haven't had an absolutely normal BM in a month, you become excited about these things.

I'm really starting to think that I have a fat malabsorbsion issue as that's when my side and bowel movements seem to flare up. I can't be for certain though.

Now it's just a waiting game until I see the GI on the 27th.
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Avatar_m_tn
Pain on the right (if below ribs) after heavy and fatty meals sound like gallbladder, maybe stones. Small light meals could help. Heavy fatty meals trigger gb contractions - so this is cause of the pain. This is not already fat malabsorption. In fat malabsorption fat would appear in the stool and make it foamy, floating, whitish and sticky. Yellow, light brown color of the stool only means that stool has traveled through the bowel fast and bilirubin has time to change its color only from green to yellow but not to normal brown.

Pain in the stomach responded to Prilosec  you say in your first post. Avoiding acidic foods, fruits, alcohol, soda would help. Small meals themselves would help a bit.

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Avatar_f_tn
Today I had my GI appointment. The doctor was really nice, although he spoke quite quickly and gave a lot of information all at once.

He said with all my symptoms, that not all of them can lead to one diagnosis but that it sounds as though I have an issue with my gall bladder as that is what most of my symptoms point to. He stated that although nothing was seen on the CT scan and US that sometimes the gall bladder can still be causing an issue and that a special test is needed to determine this (HIDA Scan). I am going in for my HIDA scan on Monday.

After speaking with the doctor he sent me for more blood testing to look for a thyroid problem, Celiac Disease, H. Pylori and two other things that I can't remember at the moment.

I am also scheduled to have a Glucose Breath Test on the 10th of September to check for overgrowth of bacteria in my small intestine. I'm told that both of the tests I'm being given are non-invasive but quite boring an take 2.5 hours each.

The weight that I lost? Well looks as though I've lost 15 pounds since February. The doctor didn't seem too concerned about my weight loss, as I gained weight back from the beginning of my issues, but said to keep an eye on it to make sure I'm not losing more. The weight loss is still very scary for me as I haven't been trying to lose weight, it's just happening.

Looks like I'm on my way to a diagnosis of some sort and hopefully I'll be feeling 100% soon. I do already feel much better, with having normal bowel movements for almost 3 weeks now, but I still want to know what's wrong with me.
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Avatar_f_tn
Please look at my post "Chronic nausea without diagnosis" from ItsmeDi.  It sounds like we have simalar symptoms.  I hope you'll let me know what they diagnose you with.  I am still have lots of problems.  Good luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
Well, I just got the results of all my labs and the HIDA Scan I had yesterday. All results came back fine, including the HIDA Scan. I was hoping for a bad HIDA Scan result, as that would have been the answer to everything, but it was normal.

I guess my pains, diarrhea and weight loss have nothing to do with anything as all my tests are normal. That, or I'm just insane and making it up.

I just want to feel better and now that I have these results, I feel worse because I'm fearing cancer again.
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611999_tn?1298761891
Hi I have similar things going on I messaged you. My post. http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Gastroenterology/Diarrhea-sick/show/1037100?personal_page_id=171361&post_id=post_4815116

  The only thing they have found is heavy growth of candida albicans yeast and a rare bacteria hafnia alvei from stool sample which the doc said should not cause this.  I also have a low tsh and mildly hyperthyroid which is probably where my increased heart rate and palps are coming from so I think its 2 issues I have.  I have been trying probiotic align and its helped with the loose stools the last few days.  I am also very weak and have lost lots of weight.    Have you been on any antibiotics lately to cause your intestinal flora to become out of whack?
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