I am a 46 year old female and for the past 10 months, I have been experiencing excessive intestinal gas. On some days I have been passing gas over 100 times per day and have been having bowel movements anwhere from 1-3 times per day (not diarrhea). The consistency of the stool is formed to semi-formed (semi-formed stools might occur on days when I have 3 BM's per day, although this isn't common) This is a change for me since I used to have BM's daily or every other day. There is no blood, nor is the stool ribbon-like. One year ago (at my last physical) my stool for occult blood was negative, as it has always been.
I had my gall bladder removed 6 yrs. ago (gallstones). We are pretty sure that my maternal grandmother died of colon cancer (not certain, as she lived in South America). I have tried eliminating milk and this has helped somewhat, though not totally. I am otherwise completely healthy and have no chronic diseases. A recent ultrasound showed an ovarian cyst.
I am scared to death that I could have colon cancer. Is colorectal cancer a possibility?
There are many causes for increased intestinal gas.
Causes can include intestinal obstruction, adhesions in the bowel, cancer, any motility disorder (i.e. diabetes, scleroderma, thyroid disorders), irritable bowel syndrome, malabsorption or infection.
Here are some basic tests for workup:
- Examination of stool to detect the presence of blood, abnormally increased levels of fat (steatorrhea), or the presence of Giardia lamblia.
- A lactose tolerance test, during which patients are provided with a test dose of lactose by mouth. After receiving the test dose, those with lactose intolerance may soon develop abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and excessive flatulence. Breath or blood samples are obtained during the test to confirm the presence of lactose intolerance.
- X-ray examination of the small intestine.
- Upper endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy (in which the inside of the stomach, upper intestines or colon are examined via a tube with a camera at the end).
- Breath or blood tests for carbohydrate malabsorption.
- Antibody tests for celiac disease.
To answer your question, colorectal cancer is always possible. To be sure, I would suggest a colonoscopy.
You may want to discuss these tests and conditions 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.
I am a registered nurse and I had a comment about Iriss' complaint and concern that she could have colon cancer.
Is it true that if the gas is intermittent and not an everyday occurrence that the problem is dietary in nature?
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