Bowel troubles!


I've been struggling with bowel related problems for more than 10 years. They seem to have a life of there own. For the last 3 months I've been experiencing constipation, fullness, a feeling of uncomfortable-ness in my lower bowel along with piles and pain around the area of my back where the belt goes the symptoms seem to be worse in the morning. All this is causing me a lot of anxiety and stress I have cramp like feelings in the lower front of my bowel. In the past 8 years or so I've had 3 colonoscopies and 2 gastroscopies, lots of blood tests and many other things, The only conclusive thing to come back is I am borderline Hyperthyroidism and always have a very low VitD reading, Can anyone offer any advice?

41 Replies

  • Get you get a copy of your latest blood test results with ranges for TSH, T4, vitamin D and any others you have?

    It is your right under the Data Protection Act 1998 to have a copy of the results if you want them. You may be charged for them but unless we have a clue to what the doctors mean by low vitamin d and borderline hyperthyroidism then we don't know how to guide you.

    Also has any doctor at any point told you to keep a food diary for a minimum of 3 days noting not only what you eat or drink but when you have problems? This is worth doing as some food and drink intolerances can cause bowel issues.

    Finally are you on any medication?

  • I do have a copy of my latest results and I have made big changes to my diet my S TSH is 0.31L and VIT D is 83 my sister is a ceilic and I avoid all gluten foods, with out being nazi like. My Dr prescribed me PTU I haven't started taking it yet (the side effects seem bad)

  • I also sometimes experience high anxiety, cognitive problems sleep problems along with night terror's (I wake up in panic and fear)

  • I do have a copy of my latest results and I have made big changes to my diet my S TSH is 0.31L and VIT D is 83 my sister is a ceilic and I avoid all gluten foods, with out being nazi like. My Dr prescribed me PTU I haven't started taking it yet (the side effects seem bad)

  • I think you need more extensive testing on your thyroid. A TSH of 0.31 may be low, but on its own, it does not indicate hyperthyroidism. If your doctor won't do any other tests, get them done privately. You want :





    TgAB (it is more likely that you have Hashi's than Graves, so test the antibodies for that first, and see what it says)

    vit d

    vit B12


    ferritin (if you have been having bowel troubles for a long time, it could have affected your nutrients, best to find out)

    You can get all that done with a finger-prick test from BlueHorizon - details on the main page of TUK. That will give you a much better idea of what's going on.

    Have you been tested for Coeliac? If you really have it, you have to be strict in avoiding gluten, otherwise it serves no useful purpose. You cannot cheat!

  • My last blood test for my FT4 16.8 and FT3 5.7 and FERRITIN 267

  • Ah! Well, you are nowhere near either Hypo nor Hyper! If you were hyper, your FT4 and FT3 would be over range, and I doubt that those are! If you were hypo, they'd be much, much lower. So, even with your low TSH, you are euthyroid. The TSH is a very unreliable test.

    Your ferritin, on the other hand, is very high. Did you have CRP tested? It could be high due to inflammation of the bowel. But, there again, you would need more extensive tests.

  • Thank you! this problem I have feels very much like internal inflammation my last Ferritin reading, taken back on 08/07/2015 was even higher 302 and I was ok at that stage

  • According to my blood test results its says the normal range for Ferritin is (ng / ml) 30-500 and your saying it is high at 267?

  • Greygoose was guessing the range as the most common upper levels are 150, 200 and sometimes 300.

  • Oh. Well, that's a very wide range. I've never seen one that high before. When giving results, please give ranges at the same time. Otherwise, mistakes can be made. Ranges are not universal, they differ from lab to lab, according to the machine they use.

  • Yet I seem to have so many hyper symptoms according to my test results the TSH range is 0.5-5.5 so on this basis I am outside the range (0.31) and my Dr (an environmentalist Dr) says its low / borderline. I have many of the symptoms such as I am underweight, I have a lot of trouble with sleep, I eat a lot, I often feel manic / hyper, anxious and others

  • Yes, it is low. But it is more or less irrelevant. TSH can be affected by so many things, it is not a reliable test, and should never be used on its own for a diagnosis. The important numbers are FT4 and FT3. They are the actual thyroid hormones. TSH is a pituitary hormone. Besides, hyper people usually have a suppressed TSH - 0.01. Your TSH is in no way suppressed.

    But, if you are convinced you are hyper, get your antibodies tested :

    TRab and TSI for Graves (hyper) and TPOab and TgAB for Hashi's (hyper/hypo). And, get your thyroid hormones tested again in about six months time.

    Doctors know very little about thyroid, I'm afraid you'll find. So, always check for yourself. Your environmentalist doctor is very loosely interpreting your blood results, and just looking at the TSH. A common mistake.

    The symptoms you report could be due to a number of things. And, could be caused by antibodies themselves, if you have them. So, best to get checked, I think.

  • Is antibodies a specific test? (by the way, I had another blood test done a few weeks ago to find out my FT3 FT4 I'l contact my Dr on Monday to get these results posted to me. Thank you for your help, this is a great network.

  • I gave you the four names of the specific tests for antibodies, above - 2 for Graves Disease and 2 for Hashimoto's Disease :





  • Do you have the range for your ferritin result? Quoting test results without ranges isn't useful as different labs use different ranges.

    Also a vitamin D level of 87 isn't low.

    Do you have a vitamin B12 test result and range?

  • Ok, my ferritin range (on the blood test info is 30-500 I live in Melbourne maybe guidelines are different here? I don't have a B12 test result

  • BG154,

    I agree with Greygoose that your thyroid levels appear to be euthyroid (normal), and not hyperthyroid. Perhaps you could check the FT4 and FT3 ranges with your GP. If you are hyperthyroid FT4 &/or FT3 will be over range. Taking PTU with your current levels will reduce your FT4 and FT3 and raise TSH which is likely to make you feel hypothyroid.


    I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

  • This is all a little overwhelming! so much to do. Thank you for your comments and our help.

  • I avoid all gluten foods, with out being nazi like

    I would definitely recommend you become "nazi-like" about gluten. People are either gluten-free or they aren't. There isn't really a halfway house if you are sensitive to it or intolerant of it.

    If you go gluten-free completely and then two weeks later you eat a doughnut you will just inflame your gut again.

  • Thank you for your advice! is there some way to find out if your gluten intolerant? is there a test I can do?

  • I had NHS testing for coeliac disease, including an endoscopy and biopsies. All the tests came back negative.

    It isn't something I know a lot about, but I think there are thousands of proteins in wheat and other gluten-containing grains. Some people may react badly to a tenth of them and get a positive result for coeliac disease, someone else may react to a different 10% and be told they are fine. (Don't take this as gospel truth, I really am not confident on this.)

    Because I'd been told I was not coeliac I carried on eating gluten for another 5 years after testing. I only stopped at the beginning of last year. Once I gave it up I didn't get any dramatic improvement in my gut, but it did happen. It just took several months.

    What did happen within a week though was my insanely bad temper, that I struggled to control and which had been getting worse for years, vanished, almost overnight. It usually only comes back now if I get glutened accidentally.

    I also have balance problems that have been getting worse and worse for years. Giving up gluten made that improve quite quickly. Sadly, some of the damage appears to be permanent. I'm better than I was, but I'm not 100% better.

    I have now decided I probably have a condition called gluten ataxia.

    So, give up gluten religiously for three months and see what happens. It isn't a life sentence, and if it makes no difference you can go back to eating it. You never know what might happen. :)

  • Thank you once again!! Yes! this sounds like a good idea it just seems really hard to avoid it totally it seems to be in so many things. Having said that, I eat healthier than any person I know yet I still suffer and struggle with bowel discomfort it doesn't effect my stomach just lower bowel and back. its not IBS (even though I have many of the symptoms). I'm going to keep a food diary and become a gluten free Nazi!! (lol) for a few weeks.

  • I don't know if you have ever been on an extended protocol of antibiotics but some folks' guts react more so than others. Antibiotics can really damage our internal flora/fauna. Do you take a good quality probiotic? Have your tried that? SBO based probiotics are supposed to be very good as are fermented foods etc.

  • BG1954,

    Tissue transglutaminase (Ttg) is the blood test to determine gluten intolerance (coeliac disease) but it is possible to have a negative coeliac screen yet have non-coeliac gluten sensitivity.

  • Gluten free means eating absolutely nothing with any connection to wheat, barley or rye. This includes malt vinegar (annoyingly in masses of things like BBQ sauces, pickles, ketchup etc.) Beer not allowed unless GF. Even non gluten grains (eg oats) need to have been processed in a gluten free mill

    You really can not be "a bit" gluten free - sorry to say

    Your vitamin d may actually be lower than it appears on blood test, if you are gluten intolerant.

    Coeliac blood test would be a start, but can give false negative. As your sister is coeliac, strong suspicion you will be. Endoscopy may diagnose. But it can be that Only real way is to try it, with no cheating .(I did - been so delighted at huge improvement - but I do definitely have Hashi)

    Suggest you get b12 and folate levels checked. Could also ask for calcium, parathyroid and Vit d to be checked together to rule out secondary Hyperparathyroidism, due to undiagnosed gluten issues. But this is expensive test so your Dr might not be keen

  • I'm actually hypothyroid. But something which gives me hyper symptoms is high cortisol. I've done a 4-part saliva test for cortisol and DHEA twice and both times cortisol was high.

    I have read that symptoms of low and high cortisol share many symptoms. It isn't possible to guess which you have and testing is essential.

    There is quite a lot about adrenals and cortisol on this site - use the site map - I find it the most helpful for navigating the site :

    If Australia is like the UK, doctors will do a single blood test for cortisol, possibly in the morning, and on the basis of that one result will probably declare your adrenal health to be fine.

    The thing is, blood and saliva tests aren't measuring the same thing. Read about binding of cortisol on this link - just the first few lines :

    The blood test for cortisol measures bound + unbound cortisol. The saliva test measures only unbound cortisol i.e. the active cortisol.

    Another thing about saliva testing is that it is carried out 4 times over the course of a day. Since cortisol has a circadian rhythm you could have good results in the morning, low at lunchtime and in the afternoon, and high just before bed. A single blood test will never give you that amount of information.

    If you lived in the UK, this is the most commonly suggested test used on this forum :

    Some general info :

    Please be aware that I'm not medically trained, and I could be sending you in entirely the wrong direction.

  • @BG1954

    have you considered taking Magnesium and Probiotics to sort out your gut? We all lack in Magnesium and i would suggest looking into Magnesium Citrate (powder version) and drinking it throughout the day (in low doses initially as it can cause diarrhea) as well as getting a good probiotic which covers a spectrum of healthy bacteria. these 2 supps can really do wonders for your gut.

  • I take probiotics and mag tablets every day already

  • HI there 😀

    1. As you mentioned you will get your latest ft3 and ft4 results which will be more helpful

    2. The extra tests for b12, celiac and antibodies sound sensible

    3. Your iron is a bit high

    4. Not mentioned already. ....when I was undiagnosed hypothyroid I got constipated. This allowed bacteria to eat the food that my body was not pushing through fast enough. Long story short got sibo-c. Google sibo. It then becomes a cause of constipation or diarrhea andhas much crossover with ibs

    5. Why have you not got ibs? What's the reasoning?

    6. Parasites?

    Take care constipation sucks. The only thing that worked for me was magnesium oxide or colonic!

  • I could be IBS its just that I don't seem to have all the symptoms my problems is almost exclusively bowel related not stomach and I thought that with IBS you were always going to the toilet with me I only go 1 or 2 times a day however, you might be right I'm not sure how I find out

  • Hi there!

    You can have IBS with constipation, diarhea, both, or neither.

    It doesnt include your stomach, thats why its called irritable BOWEL syndrome. However, it is true that some people will get stomach issues also. Im not sure why the NHS refer to abdominal pain as stomach pain. Your abdomen is a large area and the stomach is very high up

    That feeling of fullness could be distension from gas or faecaes.

    Your bowels are 'behind you' as well and could also be placing pressure on your kidneys and diaphragm etc etc.

    You said in original post "For the last 3 months I've been experiencing constipation, fullness, a feeling of uncomfortable-ness in my lower bowel"

    So you mention constipation, and then just above you say "I only go 1 or 2 times a day". That doesnt sound like constipation, though it could be, depending on the poo itself! Im not sure if you are familiar with the bristol stool chart?

    Anything less than a 4 can indicate constipation, even if you do one or two a day!

    Some doctors will say that going every 3 days is okay, but in my world you need at least one good s**t a day, every day. One after every meal would be my ideal :O I am very well versed in IBS, SIBO and poop these days!!!

    PS, i have no idea whether this is right for you, thats just what I know about me!

  • Thank you this is very helpful. I looked at the chart and mine seem to be like string beans and then other times like mud. Its hard to describe this feeling I have its like a fullness in the rectum, anus sometimes when I go to the toilet I have temporary relief yet its mostly always there. Its strongest in the morning and at night time the symptoms almost clear up. The other thing is this discomfort / pain in my back around the area where you would put your belt. I eat very healthy I take Vit B, Zinc, Mag, probiotics and I've just started making my own juice (with a juicer). I'm a long distance runner (around 80kms a week) so I don't know if this is somehow causing problems. Lastly, I have haemorrhoids so I often have to strain and its painful.

  • You could have something I think is called 'increased rectal perception/sensitivity' which goes along with IBS.

    If it is IBS, then many people respond well to a low fodmap diet.

    If you decide to try this then they have an app which is helpful. It might be interesting for you to see which foods that you commonly consume are high fodmap.

    If you have had all those investigative procedures then I would hope a professional has already mentioned FODMAPS to you?

    Did this by any chance get worse when you started juicing?

    Personally, because of my gut stuff, juices are too much concentrated carbs/sugars (depending on what is in them) and bacteria love sugar, and ferment it, and make gas and chnage bowel motions.

    Everything you have mentioned could be IBS so i have no idea why that was never suggested to you before??

    Most doctors will order a giladin test for gluten sensitivity. I am shocked you havent had one already but all those invasive procedures! ?

    I see you are taking Mg and probiotics.

    For me, Mg brings more bloating as it sucks water into the colon. And probiotics are a no no for me. In fact they made my gut worse. As i have a bacterial overgrowth, i just fed it more with probiotoics.

    This is just my story but maybe something resonated with you.

    :) Wishing you solutions.

  • Hi, Once again thank you so much for taking the time to respond its very much appreciated. I saw my Dr a few weeks ago and she suggested fodmap trouble is I feel like I've been overwhelmed with options I'm trying different things at the moment. The Dr gave me a fodmap list with all the items to eat and avoid. No! the Dr hasn't done a giladin test. I have a lot of things to consider since putting my "case" on this wonderful network some I'm already doing and others not. Truth is, its hard to know which to take on and what not.

  • I totally hear you about being bombard with information!!!

    Ill tell you why I support the FODMAPS as a is recommended as a first line therapy for IBS because of the data that backs its use. eg relief on symptoms in IBS patients eg....

    With gut health it actually turns out that while we can use these diets as a guide, we often have our own unique profile of tolerable foods.

    Unless you have something like I do, SIBO, then a probiotic can help (especially if you have been in antibiotics at some point in your life).

    If it is IBS then FODMAPs guidance + probiotics should help you.

    I ALWAYS ask for evidence. Both from science studies AND experiences. We are very complex creatures arent we?!!!

    If there in an automiinune component to your hyperthyroid (antibody tests?) then you may have food intolerance beyond fodmaps! Welcome to the world of gut health :)

    Just as a side, you mention running? Do you know the work of prof Tim Noakes? A long time runner. There are some good interviews out there with him on the internet. Just mentioning in case he resonates with you. He is a leader of the highfat-lowcarb movement. It works for many but not for all, and once again we have to find our own middle ground with it. For me, I am better avoiding most grains and so his work is interesting to me. One of the objections to his style of eating is that it lowers thyroid hormones!! Im not sure if this is true (i havent studied it).

    Anyway, just MORE info for you!!!

    basically what I wanted to say is FODMAPs is evidence based. And that you could ask your doctor for a gluten test BEFORE you stop eating it (as once it is out of your system the test wont show any reaction).

    Take care! Sorry for the extra bombardment!!

    If you ever want to know more about the gut health side of things, I can give you more info. But not now :)

  • Hello,

    I'm not sure if you or anyone else can throw light on these thyroid test results any help would be most appreciated.

    S TSH 0.16L mU/L (reference range 0.5-5.5)

    FT4 17.0 pmol/L (reference range 11.0-22.0)

    FT3 5.5 pmol/L (3.2-6.4)

    TgAb 15 IU/ml (<115)

    TPOAb 8 IU/ml (<35)

  • The TSH is low are you taking thyroid meds?

    The Ft3 and Ft4 looking jubbly! But how do you feel? Ft4 could be a little higher, perhaps its all being used making T3. But its not an awful number 17. Id lovw to know what that feels like!

    TgAb and TPOab are nice and low. Mayo clinic reckons tgab over 9 indicates some kind of autoimmune disease.

    Take care :)

  • How do I feel? well, I just came back from the hospital I got up at 3.30am and took myself there I've been experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, fear, depression for the last few days its been very difficult. it seems to be a vicious circle of anxiety fuelled by these symptoms. At the hospital all my blood tests came back good my TSH was 0.32 and FREE T4 16.5


    I posted this article just after you posted :-) Could be helpful :-)

  • Thank you for posting this article and thank you so very much for taking the time to respond to my posts it is so appreciated.

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