I've seen similar posts on this topic so hopefully someone can offer some insight. I'll give some background but try to be brief:
I'm a 27yr old male average weight and build. I've always had a slight "issue" with bowel movements, something in the past I've usually attributed to the mind-body connection such as "stress, anxiety, nervousness" and things like that. I tend to be a "long sitter" the kind that has a magazine in the bathroom but i've always come out feeling satisfied.
Anyways about 3 weeks ago I suddenly started having more bowel movements and almost all of them were loose and watery sometimes with small chunks of undigested foods in them. No blood and only minor cramping and bloating pain. Sometimes I'd get some chills and tingling in my legs. They were often gassy and color ranged from dark and slimy to light and rough. I never knew what would come out basically. The cramping and sudden urge to go anywhere was relieved within a few minutes of going, although I ended up going back between 3-5 times a day for a good week and a half with this. I haven't had any accidents although one time about 5 years ago I did have runny stool while walking and had to change.
At the time I was going through a stressful relationship period and currently I have a lot on my plate to take care of (nothing horrible, rather just school stuff) so I attributed these really loose stools to the stress.
After about a week and a half ago I began to notice a decrease in loose stools with some somewhat normal bowel movements returning. I'd even get two or three days in a row with basically normally formed and non-gassy stools. The pattern started to become either a loose small stool followed by a normal stool later in day or the reverse with a big normal stool followed by a loose gassy stool later in day. So for past 2 weeks or so I've been going 1-3 times a day with at least one normalish movement in there. This seems to be good.
The cramping is decreasing and is now usually relieved and goes away within 5-10 minutes of going to the bathroom. As for my diet over the past year or so I've been taking in more fiber in the form of yogurts, oats, veggies, fruits, and grains. Most of my fiber comes from oatmeal and cereals like shredded wheat. I also have been alternating between Danactive immunity yogurt shots and Activ digestive yogurt but I've been taking these somewhat regularly for past 6-8 months or so with no issues.
This week I found an odd situation. I had been free of these loose watery and gassy stools for a few days only for them to return. That night I had chinese food and the next day had what I'd call a really normal and really good bowel movement. The next night I had a bacon cheeseburger and had a really normal and well formed movement the next morning. This was similar to the way things were before this latest issue...for past year or so i had become pretty normal in movements....a good large easy movement in morning after breakfast and sometimes a smaller but easy one before bed.
Some things to note: I do eat a lot of grain based fiber and I do drink caffeine and beer. I've found caffeine as long as in moderation often leads to really good bowel movements for me. There has been no blood in my stool and any discomfort and pain is minor and goes away within 5-10 minutes after going. The occurrence of these loose watery crampy movements don't seem dependent on any one type of food...although oddly junkier food tends to lead to better movements than health food. I do exercise a few days a week...a combination of lifting and running and biking although my schedule is busy so this is happening less lately. I tend to get a lot of gas in general coming out both ends and I've always limited my intake of spicy foods.
My appetite mentally seems to be fine but my digestive system seems a quieter than normal ,except when I'm having a bowel movement. I've always had bloating and gas but its been there for years.
I'm pretty sure this is mind body related but I wanted to see if anyone has any insight. Thanks!
I'll also add a few other things I just thought of:
My diet for the past year or so has been relatively the same. For breakfast I often have either shredded wheat, cherrios, or oatmeal. Most mornings I'll also have yogurt and/or some fruit along with this and a glass of water. Lunch is usually peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat with milk or water. About 2-3 days a week lunch might be something like a panini or sandwich from Cosis or something like that. I tend to have either coffee or soda in late afternoon which I've been doing no issue for years. Dinner is anything from a sandwich or pasta to chicken or vegetables...dinner changes often. Snacks usually include bananas, granola bars, hummus, and sometimes junk food (although this is less than once a week). I have between 1-3 beers a night maybe 3-4 nights a week. I do tend to "forget" to eat sometimes so Ive been working on snacking and eating regularly even during busy periods.
I do have a somewhat "bad knee" from years of running cross country and I have what I've been told is "very tight hamstrings" which can at times lead to groin and leg discomfort. Also in past year I've been "sitting" more due to changes in what I do for money, my internship, and more schoolwork. I've been making an active effort to get up and move around more which seems to help the cramping a bit.
Welcome to the gastroenterology community! It sounds like IBS to me. IBS is affected by stress and other mind body things like you said. It seems like you are doing all the right things to help like getting enough fiber and figuring out what foods work well for you. Have you tried going off all lactose for a while? Even if you haven't changed your diet, lactose intolerance can appear randomly at any age. I would also recommend seeing a GI doctor about your issues to make sure nothing more is going on.
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