Embarrassing, uncomfortable digestive condition - what the heck is it? I regularly experience pain, constipation, bloating, and flatulence. I also get rashes regularly. I eat healthy and drink lots of water. Bread seems to trigger it - is it IBS, celiac, or something else?
posted by Seeking Direction to health & fitness (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm 21, male, and about to be a senior in college.
For the past few years, I have been dealing with a very irritating digestive condition. It really flared up when I started college (bad roommate and a whole new level of stress).
What happens is that I will get constipated for a few days, with bloating and discomfort in the abdomen. Sometimes, it feels like there is hot lava in there. I feel the urge to have a bowel movement several times a day, but all I will get is a small amount of pellet stool that doesn't come out very easily.
Then, at some point (often after I eat a lot of fiber), I have to rush to the bathroom and I have diarrhea or loose stool. As soon as I step out of the bathroom, I find myself having to go again!
The diarrhea or loose stool is sometimes accompanied by a bad taste in my mouth.
I don't remember having problems to this extent when I was younger, though I often had excessive gas.
I remember having more bowel movements per day as I got older. However, I first really noticed this cycle about four years ago, the summer before senior year of high school, when I studied for three weeks in a country with "contaminated" water. I remember having to run to the bathroom with diarrhea almost every day in the middle of class!
My senior year of high school, I was OK for the most part, but when I got to college, with its added levels of stress, the condition became worse than ever.
I had a full endoscopy/colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy done last year. Nothing was found except for a small polyp that was cut out. What else could it be?
Also, this condition (especially in the constipation "phase") can flare up as I am ready to go to sleep, and probably has caused me to lose sleep many times. Drinking water soothes the discomfort and can help it "advance" to the diarrhea phase (the diarrhea is actually less painful than the constipation, not that it is in any way pleasant).
IBS-C is where the diagnosis stands - for now. However, IBS is ONLY based on symptoms, not on causes - hence, why I feel this needs to be investigated. I need to find the root of the problem.
I forgot to add: I get terrible rashes on my hands (wrists, top of hands, and thumbs). They are worst in the winter, but can return at any time of year. Corticosteroids help; however, I don't know what causes them in the first place. They are ugly, itchy, and bleed easily. Are they related? I have seen reports of rashes in certain digestive disorders.
I remember getting a similar rash around my lips starting from when I was ~ 12 years old. It would come back regularly, and various creams were prescribed. I haven't had it for two or so years (knock on wood), but of course, that's when the hand rash started.
Now that I think of it, I remember getting constipated often as a child along with the aforementioned excessive, embarrassing gas. My parents had to give me laxatives of various types.
Fiber/water can only help so much. They make it easier to "go", as they should, but only in relative terms. The pain and bloating don't go away easily.
Bread seems to trigger the condition. Is it gluten? High fructose corn syrup?
I remember a few years ago, I went for a blood test for food allergies. They tested milk, wheat, tree nuts, etc., with completely negative results; however, I'm not sure if this tested for celiac (sprue) or intolerances. Should I ask my doctor if the aforementioned conditions should be tested for? Any others?