Left sided pain and blockage feeling - IBS Network

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Left sided pain and blockage feeling

magiceto profile image

TL;DR – Have painful left sided tummy cramps, feeling of stool blockage at the same site. Very soft stools, all tests and scopes return normal. Tried IBS supplements, diet change, painkillers, fibre supplements.

This is something which has been bugging me for the better part of a couple of months now. It all started in November where my stools were softer, more in quantity and I was experiencing increased BMs during the day. In December, the same continued, but for more than half of the time, my stools would be watery and diahhrea like. It was then that I started developing left sided cramps and pain, especially after a BM. It felt like a blockage over there and passing stools felt incomplete. It was like I was constipated but my stools were really soft and a little watery. I needed to sit on the toilet for between 45 minutes to one hour each time, at least 3 times a day.

This culminated in 3 ED visits, the last requiring me to be hospitalized for a week. Doctors performed every test under the sun (blood, urine, MRI Endoscopy, Gastroscopy, colonoscopy, CT scans) all of which came back negative. No colitis, IBD, diverticulitis, diverticulosis or Crohns disease were found. I was then hastily given a diagnosis of IBS as all results were normal. Having suffered from the latter for nearly all my life, it was never this bad.

What I’ve tried:

1. Strong painkillers like Endone and Oxycodone never helped with the cramps and diarrhoea. At most they numb me so much that make me very sleepy but deep down the pain’s still there.

2. I’ve taken nearly every single IBS over the counter supplement known to man. You name it, I’ve probably taken it at some point last year.

3. Gentle natural fibre supplements such as Benefiber and Normafibe. Made my visits to the toilet longer (between 1 hour to 1.5 each time), more frequent and increased watery stools.

4. Different diets - low fibre, high fibre, low lactose or normal lactose. Although high fibre diets do exacerbate the situation.

5. Imodium – Made me constipated, more cramps and still have to go to the toilet frequently even though very little comes out.

My question is does anyone have any solution? I cannot have any social life anymore due to needing the loo every hour aside from the constant left sided cramps which are irritating to say the least.

14 Replies


Incomplete evacuation is very common and it happens even when stools are soft.

I have this problem myself and, because of the frequency of visits to the loo, I used to think it was a type of diarroeah until a colorectal consultant told me it's actually constipation.

My solution, which isn't always 100% successful, but works most of the time, is to take a sachet (sometimes only half a sachet) of Movicol (a laxative) at night and to use either a mini-enema or glycerin suppository in the morning if I still feel as if stool is stuck.

Incorporating a lot of high-fibre foods in my diet only makes matters worse for me and I just eat a bit of everything in moderation.

Painkillers also make matters worse (as do many medications) so don't take them unless you really need to and always drink plenty of water.

Hope this helps.

magiceto profile image
magiceto in reply to

Thank you for your swift reply. So even though I have diarrhea and loose stools (lots of them), it's still classified as constipation when it takes so long to come out? If so, I'll certainly give Movicol a go.

in reply to magiceto

Yes, apparently so. It happens because the bowel, which uses squeezing and relaxing spasms to evacuate stool, only does half a job - nobody knows why.

The mini-enemas or suppositories clear out what's been left behind in the descending colon down the left hand side. I find it I necessary to use one of these about once every 10 days or so although it may be different for you of course. Also, Moviciol may not be the right laxative for you, I think I tried everything Boots had to offer before I finally got to it!

Let me know if this works for you.

magiceto profile image
magiceto in reply to

Cheers, but what about the painful cramps on the left side? Could they also be related to constipation? Tests were all normal...we thought it was diverticulosis/litis.

in reply to magiceto

The stool is almost always stuck in the descending colon which is situated on the left and that's what causes the pain - it shouldn't be sitting there. If you were told you have diverticular pouches, stool sticks in those and sometimes causes a flare-up of diverticulitis which can be excruciatingly painful and has to be treated with antibiotics. I know this first hand!

magiceto profile image
magiceto in reply to

I really appreciate your time and help. Will get Movicol Chocolate flavour tomorrow. Shall update you on my progress.

magiceto profile image
magiceto in reply to

Went to the pharmacy and was told to try Benefiber as Movicol was to make my stools wetter and softer, which I do not have a problem with. Tried the former and had me running to the toilet another 2 more times per day in addition to the 3 times a day. Stools were like diahhrea. Cramps increased in frequency too.

Seriously at a loss as to what to try next.

in reply to magiceto

None of the fibre laxatives, such as Fybogel and the one you've been trying, suit me either and only make matters worse just as they have for you.

It wasn't until I tried Movicol that things got better, however, it's horses for courses and you may have to try several different preps before you get to one that works well for you.

It doesn't matter how wet and soft your stools are already, from what you've said previously, you're still not getting rid of everything.

magiceto profile image
magiceto in reply to

My doctor has prescribed Lyrica, but taking 25mg for a week didn't ease the diahhrea or cramps at all. It also didn't help with sleep either. In your experiences, (not asking for any medical advice here) is the dose I'm taking too low?

Thanks for your responses.

in reply to magiceto

I don't have any personal experience of Lyrica so am unable to comment on the dosage.

What you have to get used to is the idea that you've got constipation not diarrhoea and that all painkillers, such as Lyrica, only serve to increase that condition.

I had similar problems to you 5 trips a day, Cramping, incomplete evacuation is what the doctor told me aswell. I started taking fybogel it takes a few days to kick in but now it’s either 1 or 2 good movements a day and they’d done quick if you know what I mean. My stools still aren’t normal ie on the firmness level but the cramps have gone the multiple trips to the toilet have it’s worth a go.

Sorry to hear you are having pain and problems. I experience similar, I have chronic constipation because of poor nerve function in my rectum so get faecal loading regularly which causes a lot of pain and cramping from my left rib to hip. I take movicol which helps to an extent but means stool is always soft, so when I start to get the twinges of pain I use a fleet enema and can never believe how much I’ve had stored up! This isn’t ideal but is all that works for me right now, I am under a consultant to find a long term solution. Part of the testing I’ve had done exposed the lack of nerve function which means I have poor sensation/urges, hence feeling incomplete. I had biofeedback therapy too, which helped a little! Hope you get it sorted :)

I struggled with constipation and over all digestive issues for 2 years. To keep the story short I finally tested myself for sibo (3 hr lactolouse breath test). and it came back showing I had slow motility and I was positive for hydrogen sibo(weird because methane sibo usually causes constipation). Literally 3 days into treatment everything started moving again. No more bloating, constipation or pain in general. I even started opening up my diet. My advice is request to take a 3 hour lactulose breath test for hydrogen/methane sibo (test for both). When that is done you should find some

Sort of leaky gut protocol to heal all the damage done.

Had similar pain in lower Right side, dull and painful lasted hours at a time. Painkillers did little. My dear GP sent me for every test eventually had endoscopy. All was well in colon etc. Consultant said must be I.B.S. Recommended MEBEVERINE 135mg taken 20 minutes prior to meals. Has worked 100%. Forgot one day and had pains return, so never miss now. Perhaps this may be for you? Good luck.

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