When to see a GP

Hi everyone, me again!

OK so I know that the general consensus is that if in doubt, see your GP. But I just don't know if it's worth it anymore. 

It's really difficult for me to make an appointment - partly because the surgery is so busy and partly because of my own commitments (childcare/work etc). But I feel fairly certain I'd be fobbed off anyway.

I have seen a GP quite a few times already. One felt my stomach, asked a few questions and diagnosed IBS on that back of that alone. I went back and saw another one when I started experiencing rare bouts of bleeding after difficult bowel movements. She did a digital examination and diagnosed external piles (which I already knew about because...well, they're fairly obvious). My symptoms are not constant and are definitely exacerbated (if not caused entirely) by stress and anxiety. I do often have loose motions (sometimes urgent when stressed) and/or periods of constipation but I rarely suffer from any pain which is a blessing. I had a colonoscopy about 7 years ago for something else and that all came back ok at the time although I'm aware it was a while ago. I am now 29 and although I know it all points to IBS, I just continually worry that I could have something more serious like bowel cancer (I suffer from major health anxiety as well as generalised anxiety disorder). I don't know if my anxiety makes this into a bigger deal in my mind (given that I've seen a doctor at least 3 times already and had an IBS diagnosis) or if I do have genuine reason to worry. I guess the symptoms of IBS are so similar to other conditions it's hard to say. 

I really don't want to have another colonoscopy. The first was a really bad experience and I think my anxiety (which has got much worse over the years) would make it a rather big ordeal for me. I don't want to put myself through that for nothing if that makes sense. I'm also not even sure if they'd give me one based on my symptoms which are (although distressing for me) not as severe as some of the other stories I've read on here. Basically I guess I need some reassurance! Given my age and symptoms is it worth another trip to the GP or do I just try to manage my symptoms and believe the IBS diagnosis??

3 Replies

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  • I too had a dreadful experience with colonoscopy, resulting in them having to discontinue the whole procedure, them not giving me enough sedation and me sending big time complaints about my treatment to the Chief Executive. What I wanted to tell you, in case you didn't know, is that you can have "Colonography" which is done in the Imaging (x-ray department)  - not the Endoscopy Department - and the camera is only inserted about 2" maybe. I had this. Not traumatic compared with the other. The unpleasant fasting/purging procedures are unfortunately the same. The ONLY difference in the results is that with colonography, as opposed to colonoscopy, polyps if they are seen cannot be removed.  They can be removed with the colonoscopy procedure. That didn't worry me as I thought if I had them something else would have to happen. I hope I NEVER EVER have to have a colonoscopy again.  Suffering with anxiety condition it made the procedure for me quite unable to tolerate. I suppose if one could afford to have it done privately that would be a different matter and they would give one enough sedation. Oh and you are perfectly within your rights to request colonography if you see your consultant or GP. Personally I would opt for this. Really there's nothing that can give you 100% reassurance which is what you are looking for, except the scan/x-ray which cannot lie!  Best wishes.

  • Thank you for your reply dachshund. I've not heard of this procedure but it does sound more bearable than the other. I'd still rather not have either but as you say it's the only way to get complete peace of mind. My symptoms have calmed down a lot this week although I've had some light cramping but that could be down to my cycle. If it flares up again I'll look into it X 

  • I also wondered if anyone knows what a doctor might be likely to do/prescribe given that I don't really get a lot of pain? I once got given merbevarine but never took it as its for spasms and pain which are not my problem. 

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