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Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Could this be irritable bowel syndrome?


Hello! I am seventeen and a half years young and since early to mid November I have been experiencing abdominal cramping as well as a change in the appearance of my stool. I very frequently (at least one to three times a day) get stomach craps that I can often refer to as stomach spasms as well. These can occur in a variety of areas of my abdomen, including below both sides of my rib cage, around my belly button and in my mid and lower abdomen on both sides. These cramps/spasms usually don't last too long but are painful when they do occur, and they occur in intervals. Also, with my change in stool, when I go I usually can not eliminate much stool at a time, it is not always hard and is sometimes even very soft, yet still hard to eliminate which doesn't make much sense to me or my mother who I've consulted with about my issues. I rarely, but still occasionally get the dreadful D but even with it, I will have only about 2-3 bowel movements, it is usually not watery BM's and I do eliminate pieces of stool when I have D. I have been able to connect my D with things such as coffee, eating corn or sometimes even salad will set it off. However, most of the other times it is just small pieces that come out soft more often than they come out hard, yet still nearly always hard to eliminate. I've also noticed that these "pieces" also can be long and thin like strips, small pieces and thin or flattened, can be in balls, or even pellet or ribbon like. I rarely ever have noticed blood in the stool and when I do it is after I've been straining. I saw my GI in January and had a colonoscopy in late March, he did a biopsy during the colonoscopy as well as a stool culture, and in the results just said there was a bit of inflammation but he didn't know what it was from. I saw him again recently for stomach spasms and he gave me Lialda which gave me D and made my cramping worse so I discontinued the use of it, however I have heard that will IBS there is no inflammation of the intestines, so now this has me worried! Is there any possible way it could still be IBS? I'm really praying for something simple and harmless such as IBS instead of something serious such as IBD. However, if it was IBD wouldn't it have shown up in the biopsy he took during the colonoscopy? Also if it helps, I get spasms at random times throughout the day but I've noticed a pattern in them when I'm hungry, haven't slept well, after certain meals, or late night before bed. I've been suffering for months without any relief, and peace of mind would do wonders for me right now! Thank you so much!

Samantha, thanks for getting in touch. Your symptoms fit the criteria for IBS and you can read more about this on my web site, IBS Help Online. As for the inflammation found, this is not uncommon and may not be related to IBD. It can occur due to an infection in the bowel that we can all get and not necessarily symptomatic. However, there is always some diagnostic uncertainty in this situation and that is why you were tried on Lialda. Unfortunately, this can cause diarrhea as a side effect which you experienced. Sometimes you have to consider repeating the colonoscopy and rebiopsying to be certain. You might find and IBS diet helful for your symptoms as up to 70% can be helped with this.

I hope this helps and good luck.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Dr Peter Thatcher MBBS, MRCPI. IBS Physician & Gastroenterologist


I can answer questions on all aspects of IBS or the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Medicine and Gastroenterology. This would include aspects of diagnosis, investigation and management of IBS and other gastroenterology or medical conditions.


I am a Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist in the United Kingdom. I qualified as a physician in 1993 and have been practicing Medicine and Gastroenterology ever since. I regularly run gastroenterology clinics and 1:4 patients have IBS. I am also the web master of IBS Help Online, an Irritable Bowel Syndrome help site.

British Society of Gastroenterology Member of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, Cornwall. UK

Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Fully UK Trained Medical Degree at Kings College School of Medicine & Dentistry 1993 Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Examinations 1997

Awards and Honors
MBBS 1993 MRCPI 1997

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