IBS Network
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IBS or something worse?

OK I'm going to start from the beginning and hopefully other sufferers will be able to tell me if what I'm experiencing is 'normal'. I'm getting really worried :(

Whenever I become nervous I get a dodgy tummy. Always have done. Over the past few years this has become a bit of an issue in itself and has led to me suffering from quite bad anxiety. If I'm travelling, going anywhere new or where toilets aren't readily available I tend to get anxiety attacks that cause urgent diarrhea which I think is related to the fight or flight thing. It's always quite loose and urgent but rarely affects me when I'm at home or in a 'safe place' so I started thinking it's probably in my head rather than a physical gut problem (although I have found certain foods like white bread and pasta do exacerbate the problem).

I have also experienced occasional bleeding during particularly bad flare ups. Over the past 6 months I've maybe had 2 or 3 incidents where I've lost a teaspoon's worth of bright red blood from my back passage. I got this checked out by a GP about 3 months ago. She did an examination and diagnosed external piles which I already knew I had from pregnancy.

Over the past few weeks I'm just feeling grotty in myself. I constantly seem to have a sore stomach, lots of gas and my stools are always loose. Not diarrhea but still quite soft (so sorry for TMI). I've also had lower back pain which I think is muscular. I can't say that any of it is so severe that it's preventing me from working or sleeping or going about every day life but I just don't feel 100%.

I have googled my symptoms (silly I know) and it always comes back to colon cancer - the bleeding, the loose stools etc. It's really worrying me. I have no history of cancer in the family and am only 29 so I know the chances are slim but I can't shake the worry. I know the only way to know for sure is to request a colonoscopy but I had one for something else about 7 years ago and it was a horrible experience. I'd really rather not put myself through it again, especially with my anxiety. I don't take any medication as I tend to have periods of relative calm and also because I still feel a lot of my symptoms are stress/anxiety related rather than diet.

I'm sorry to have waffled on but I just wondered if anyone else could share their advice, opinions, experience and thoughts on my case. Do I need to go back to the GP and request further tests? Would she have felt something during the examination if it were anything sinister? If it were anything else would my symptoms (such as bleeding) present themselves more often? I'm just so worried all the time. Thank you x

6 Replies

Aww. Sorry to hear you're in a bad place. Many of your symptoms are similar to mine, loose stools, urgency, occasional red blood from the backside, etc. During times of stress my ibs flares up as well. And from my understanding all of this is within the realm of normal for IBS, so please try and put your mind at ease, as you know excess worry only makes it worse.

Of course, a colonoscopy is your best bet. I'm sorry the first one went poorly. The benefit is that you know with greater certainty what you are dealing with in your guts. Talk to your doctor.

As for your anxiety, during the worst times I'll wear a diaper out of the house for mental comfort. I don't think it would stop a bad bout of diarrhea, but it puts the mind at ease. There is also Imodium which works well for me. A full pill will bloat me terribly, but a half pill is often enough. And I've posted this before, but I've repeated mantras in my head to help get over the crazy urgency when your mind is racing while trying to find a toilet - anything to focus your mind on something rather than your guts.

Keep us posted and I hope you feel better.


Hi littlemissbee

To answer you question, "yes" the symptoms you described can all be caused by IBS, but they could also be cause by other things.

Certainly any blood is cause for alarm, especially if you have never had that issue before and it is important to look into the cause, because no can 'assume' it is from the IBS. Doctors do need to take this seriously.

I have IBSD and have suffered with it for many, many years....then one day I saw blood, bright red blood, and it continued for awhile before I got into to see my GP. I was also having a lot of mucus. My GP did a digital exam in office, he was actually looking for polyps, because they can often cause bleeding. He didn't feel anything abnormal, but when he removed his gloved finger, it was covered in mucus and blood. This type of exam can obviously only check the very, very lower part of rectum, so he ordered a Barium test and told me to contact my Gastroenterologist. I got in to do the Barium test, they didn't see any internal bleeding hemorrhoids, but interestingly they did notice I have an unusually long duodenum (I think that is what its called) the long part of the bowel that crosses horizontally at the top part of your colon, mine is so long it dips down really far, where as most peoples it only dips a little. They could not find the source of any bleeding. My Gastroenterologist sent me for a Colonoscopy, as this is a much more accurate test. She was looking for internal hemorrhoids and polyps which could be causing bleeding. There was no polyps or hemorrhoids, but there was blood. It was determined that the sheath or lining of my bowels were bleeding because I recently had a very, very long bout of C.Difficile and the toxins produced inflame the lining of your colon, this caused my body to produce a lot of mucus to protect the lining, and the blood was from my damaged lining. This was a relief to know I didn't have colon cancer.

Many people who have IBS do have bleeding from constipation as the lining of the colon can become weakened by excessive straining and/or the acids from constant diarrhea. I can take a very long time to know what is normal for your body and condition.

I would pay your doctor another visit and tell her your concerns and see if she still thinks it is piles or if there is cause for concern for further testing.


Thank you all for your helpful replies. The past few days have brought some relief thankfully. To be honest the bleeding is the least of my worries as I have visible piles and the doctor said they probably were causing this after carrying out a digital examination. They also only tend to bleed after a particularly difficult movement or stomach upset. It's just the constant loose bowels and feelings of urgency that bother me :(


Go back to your doctor and if you don't get any help, go to a naturopathic nutritionist.


Hi LittleMissBee,

I'd say go to a doctor. Specialist. That's what I'm doing. We can offer support but none of us are qualified medical practitioners.


I get the nervous tummy & D & not knowing if I can get to a toilet causes massive internal panic in me too!!


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