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Extremely Painful Bowel Movements when Menstruating

  For my last couple of cycles, I have suffered from extreme pain and
  discomfort during bowel movements. There's an enormous pressure
  that even makes walking painful! During the bowel movement, I feel
  like I'm giving birth. The pain subsides when I'm done, but the
  discomfort lasts until the end of my period. What in the world
  is going on?!
________________________________-Dear Helen,
I am uncertain from your letter whether the pain and discomfort occur at the time of menstruation or if you are uncomfortable all the time.  If the former interpretation is correct, you should meet with your gynecologist to discuss whether you could have endometriosis.
If your pain is not related to menstruation, additional information is required i.e. age, concurrent and previous illnesses, medications, change in diet, weight loss.  The characteristics of your stool are important  If you have small pebble-like stool alternating with normal bowel movements, irritable bowel syndrome is possible.  If you have thin stools with or without blood, the possibility of colonic polyps or tumors must be excluded.
I suggest that you meet with your physician and have a complete evaluation.  Colonic workup may include checking your stool for blood and visualization of the colon lining by colonoscopy or barium x-ray.
*keywords: abdominal pain, constipation, menstruation

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