Long-Term Side & Back Pain, Particles in Stools & Other Weird Symptoms - FOBT Just Came Back Positive :(
Just got a call from my doctor letting me know that two of the three sides for my fecal occult blood test came back positive. I'll be scheduling my colonoscopy in the morning. Right now I'm trying not to worry and to consider all the possibilities that aren't cancer. I've been reading about colitis, diverticulitis, IBD, Celiac etc so long the symptoms have started to blend together. I'm posting this in hopes something might call out to someone or I can at least get an idea of what to rule out.
As for my background, I am 26, female, ten pounds overweight. I do not smoke and drink very rarely. I am on no medications or supplements other than hormonal birth control. I have no known history of familial cancers and have followed a vegetarian diet for several years. Shortly before my symptoms began I began making an effort to increase the fiber in my diet by eating more vegetables and whole grains. I lost 20 pounds without trying in the months that followed, but attributed this to the diet change.
I spent several months in Third World countries four years ago. I did not drink unbottled/unboiled water, but did brush my teeth with it. I also ate meat on occasion during this time. In 2007 I adopted a cat who ended up coming with quite a case of fleas.
For the last two years I've had these symptoms consistently:
left side pain under ribs (generally dull, occasionally sharp) that wraps to back
occasional left hip pain
occasional pinching pain to left of spine
increasingly harder, but regular bowel movements
The pain was first attributed to a large ovarian cyst, but continued after the cyst resolved. Several months later, my GP diagnosed me with IBS. A blood test at this time showed normal organ function and a fiber supplement was prescribed on top of my already high-fiber diet but seemed not to help.
In the last three months, my symptoms have worsened. Hard stools turned into severe constipation which led to increased lower back pressure. I consulted my GP again and forgoing a CT scan ended up having an ultrasound of the liver, gallbladder and pancreas -- everything looked normal. However, I soon noticed a small amount of blood and mucus in a bowel movement which seemed to persist for several days and was referred to a gastroenterologist.
While waiting for my appointment three weeks later and then doing the Fecal Blood Test, I noticed a number of oddities including what appears to be red peel or ribbon -- I had noticed this once several months before but figured it was just peel of the red apple I had eaten, as this is exactly what it appeared to be...however I haven't had an apple in a month or two. My stool has also begun to float consistently (a change--it is not however pale or smelly so I'm not sure if this indicates malabsorbtion) and often contains sesame seeds (not just white particles, but hard, teardrop-shaped seeds) even when I have not to my knowledge eaten any and what seems to be vegetable fiber.
Meanwhile, I am now experiencing looser stools. This has done much to relieve the lower back pressure, but the soreness type back pain has increased, along with the hip and side pain, which comes on sharply about 45 minutes after eating. It's all worse the longer I sit down - leading to a feeling of almost feeling numb in this region - walking around and lying down helps a lot. Pain is worse around 2 pm and in the late evening. For the past two weeks I have had fleeting cold sensations -- as if I'd just drunk a cold glass of water -- in the area under my left ribs too.
On the upside, I am still hungry often and my weight has stayed pretty steady for the last two years. I experienced some moderate nausea when I first began having pain two years ago, but have not for a long time. I am a little lethargic, but I think a lot of that has to do with the pain - my energy level itself is adequate.
The gastroenterologist also ran a number of blood tests including a CBC, thyroid test and tests for food allergies. Everything came back normal and there was no indication of Celiac there.
It seems like most of the bowel diseases that involve blood in stool also generally involve diarrhea or a diet low in fiber, things I don't really have. Does anyone have any ideas?
Oh and just to get it all out there, I was diagnosed with costochondritis in August 2008 and still experience chest soreness in certain positions. A months later I found a lipoma (benign fatty tumor) on the left side of my back between my hip and spine (apparently a common area for them) - had an x-ray which didn't show anything and another blood test that came back okay.
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