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Avatar universal


I have had moderate abdominal pain on and off for about a month now, and finally saw a doctor (general practice) about it, who said it was my intestines spasming or IBS.  Rather than trying medicine first, she recommended eating Activia for two weeks and seeing what that did.  I've been doing that for about a week now.  My BMs are still not regular; I've had three or more for the past two days, and didn't have any the day before that, so I'm just all over the place.  I have no diarrhea and am not constipated, but they're usually short and small in diameter (about the size of a quarter).  Today, I had really bad gas that was really watery with a tiny bit of mucus.  Here's my question.  Is this serious and do I need to see a specialist???  I'm a bit of a hypochondriac (with general anxiety disorder, the two tend to go together) and I tend to over-react, so I thought I'd ask before I did anything else.

I'm 23, healthy, non-smoker.  There's a history of colon cancer in my family, both my grandmother and great-grandmother.
8 Responses
Avatar universal
Colon cancer is rare under 40. Only if your great/grandmother had a cancer at their young age (before 40), then you should be concerned, since this would speak for genetic type of cancer. Otherwise - no real worries about cancer needed.

Eating activia without any diagnosis is nonsense, if you ask me, especially if you don't feel any improvement. Probiotics mostly help only in intestinal infection and in diarrhea due to antibiotic treatment.

Do most of your symptoms improve shortly after bowel movement?

If yes, then this may be IBS; bloating, mucus, irregularity all go with IBS. But blleding doesn't. So, if you'll find blood in the stool, this can be from inflammation (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis).

With small diameter of stools - do you mean finger-like?

Avatar universal
Yes, finger like.  But sometimes they're completely normal.  If going 3-4 times a day a couple times a week is normal...
Avatar universal
If stools are of normal diameter sometimes, it means there is no physical obstacle which would narrow the anal canal. I guess, internal hemmorhoids might be able to narrow your stools, but then, you would probably know, if you have hemmorhoids.

So, I think, that anal sphincter doesn't always relax enough, when you have bm. This occurs pretty often in constipated persons and in IBS.

Pain is better after you have bm?
Avatar universal
No, the pain gets better sometimes for no reason, but having a bm doesn't seem to cause it.
Avatar universal
I was thinking, if symptoms are better, not worse, after bowel movement.

Anything happened a month ago, you've eaten something special, were you stressed at the time?

Some people with IBS are irritated by fruits, or by some particular food. Try to observe, if some food affects you.

If blood wil apear in the stool ,this is then IBS. If in some time, symptoms won't improve, colonoscopy may be appropriate, to see, if there is any colonic inflammation.
Avatar universal
I too have had chronic abdominal pain, 7 weeks for me. My stools alter in size and shape but nothing extreme and there has never been blood. I do not have diarrhea but occasionally constipation but have for many years.  I am anxiety ridden myself so I have been petrified of colon cancer. My intestines gurgle a lot and feel like I have gas but nothing to pass. I even can feel movement (I am assuming from the cramping) in my abdomen. I have had a CT scan, blood work, urine tests, stool tests and a ultrasound of my ovaries and everything has been basically normal.  The pain/cramping is everyday and varies in intensity. I have lost weight which has only added to my anxiety but it is probably from my lack of appetite, It seems to be getting worse.  I am hoping it is just because of my anxiety that I have no appetite and not cancer. I am scheduled for a colonoscopy and endo (where they put the tube down your throat) one week from today. My GP doctor keeps telling me I do not have cancer (he is very adamant about it which seems odd since I haven't had the colonoscopy yet).  So see a specialist and hope for the best, maybe we have the same thing, lol
Avatar universal
Lilacs, let me know what you find out.  I'm the same with anxiety.  I've been on different anti-anxiety medications but I always have side effects to the point where I can't take them anymore.

I have discovered that dairy seems to be what causes the awful pain and cramping, but even cutting that out hasn't fixed the frequent bms.  (Though I'm on birth control that contains lactose.)  I'm also now getting tiny mouth ulcers.  They're not really painful, just a bit bothersome.  So I'm now pretty convinced it's something like crohn's or celiac because I've never dealt with lactose intolerance before and it came on really suddenly.  Though of course the problem with being a hypochondriac is that no one believes you when you actually are sick.

Could this just be lactose intolerance causing all of it?  I still don't have diarrhea or constipation or blood, though one day I had lots of dairy my bms were yellow and another day they float.  And does lactose intol come on that suddenly if I've never dealt with it before?
Avatar universal
Amy, I finally had the colonoscopy (declined on the upper endo) and my colon was normal!  I was so relieved to find out I didn't have cancer I figure I can handle what-ever these strange symptoms turn out to be.  I have to make an appointment with my gastro now to decide what else could be wrong.  I have been wanting to keep a food journal to see if lactose is making mine more severe and I think I will start that today.  

I highly recommend seeing a gastro and getting the colonoscopy (it was truly a breeze once I got my anxiety under control) and the relief of knowing that I do not have colon cancer makes me feel like a ton of bricks have been lifted off my chest.  Get it dont Amy and let me now how things turn out.
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