Lower Bowel Distress

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   Posted 1/22/2009 2:33 PM (GMT -6)   
I haven't posted much in this forum as my main dx is lupus - but my current rheumy has diagnosed me with fibromyalgia as well.

I've been having a lot of severe and very painful cramping in my lower bowels - colon - below the belly button, followed by an almost instant need to empty my bowels. This seems to occur 15-20 minutes after eating, but is *not* tied to any specific foods or habits. The urgent need to empty doesn't hardly give me time to get to the bathroom, even if I'm at home - and the volume is *huge* - like a few days worth, yet I'm not constipated.

The rheumy is saying that this kind of "irritable bowel syndrome" is part of fibro and that nothing can be done about it -- that no diets will help, and that medications are merely palliative.

I've looked thru this forum and not seen any reference to similar issues -- have any of you had this, read about it, heard about it, etc? I would love to know if this is actually a common part of fibro or if it's just this drs opinion.

Thanks for any comments or pointers ya'll come up with,

Lynnwood, Co-Moderator: Lupus Forum
SLE(’00), Sjogren's Syndrome, Raynaud's Syndrome, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression, Herpes Simplex 1
Plaquenil, Prednisone(15 6mg), Piroxicam, Xanax, Trazodone, Boniva, Wellbutrin, Valtrex

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"Life is far too important to be taken seriously." –Oscar Wilde, 1982


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   Posted 1/22/2009 3:11 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Lynnwood

I did suffer from something very familiar.  Do you ever get small sharp pains in your tummy?  When you do have a BM with these cramps..is it loose and stringy?  I am probably way off, seeing as you have addressed this with your doc, but when I went through it for many years..they labelled it IBS..however....eventually it was a bowel blockage.  Have you had any surgeries on your abdomen? for eg...appendix, exploratory type surgery? 

I hope you find out what it is, but keep watching, and writing down what kind of stools you are getting. 

Wish I could be more help.

Fibromyagia, R/A, Diabetes, Atrial Fib, depression

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   Posted 1/22/2009 4:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry Lynn that you are going through this. I don't have any comments to make on the subject unfortunately, but I do know that bowel upsets are very uncomfortable and inconvenient. I used to suffer from ibs before my back surgery some thirty years ago and I had terrible stomach distress similar to what you are describing, so I think I know how you feel and once again, you have my sympathies.

Let us know how things turn out and feel better Lynn.

Gentle Hugs,

Moderator Chronic Pain
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   Posted 1/22/2009 4:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Lynnwood! I also unfortunately do not have any suggestions or much opinion about this subject, I do not know too much about it BUT as linda has said, bowel problems are very inconvenient and they ARE usually very typical in Fibromyalgia patients.. I do have a lot of trouble with my bowels also, very much like IBS, even though I have never technically gone to a specialist about it or have had it diagnosed. It is in my case very IBS-like though. It is either a bad constipation problem or just the opposite blush It IS a pain devil  , so I feel for you! Hope things get better! And do keep track of everything that is going on with your bowels!
21 years old
Fibromyalgia, Bipolar Disorder, OCD, Irrational fears
"You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you." -Mary Tyler Moore

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Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 55
   Posted 1/22/2009 7:17 PM (GMT -6)   


unfortunately, i know exactly what you are going through. I have been diagnosed with IBS, as I started at my Gastroenterologist before he referred me to a rhuemy where I received my fibro diagnosis. I will just tell you a little bit...then we'll get back to you...it started when i went to the emergency room because i was kealed over in pain, gave me antibiotics and vicodin and sent me home. I was back 4 days later because i was out of pain meds and it still hurt. turns out, i had a cyst on my tube and endometriosis...however, the IBS set in (so now, i am skeptical of how much was due to the cyst and endo, but whatever). So, having had GERD before (i had surgery) i called up my gastro doc and we tested EVERYTHING from Chrones to celiac to allergies. Over the course of 2008, I had exploratory Laporscopic for female stuff, then an upper endoscopy, a colonoscopy, an abdominal catscan and another test...all to find out that i have IBS. with that said, my gastro doc was amazing and thorough and sent me to a rheumy who diagnosed me with fibro on DAY ONE. It was because i had kept a 9 day journal of ALL symptoms even down to how soft the stool was and how i felt pains and where i felt them and how urgent it was. I also wrote how anxious i felt and how often i would use the restroom. I couldnt believe how correlated the fibro and IBS were. It was amazing. SO...yes, i believe that the pain you feel can be caused by fibro. HOWEVER, i do want to mention that i have greatly improved my symptoms and regularity by paying attention to my diet. I had always thought i had an intollerance to milk or the fat content in dairy. i mean, i had tested negative via blood tests that it wasnt really allergies...so i didnt know what it could be. SO, anyway...i started noticing that i just didnt feel good all around. I, like you, could not pin point any one food or anything...so i decided to take it upon myself to figure out what it was...so i went to a health foods store and got some "experiments." I ate a gluten free muffin and i didnt have any sort of stomach ache or feel ill. turns out, i have been gluten free for some months and have made sure to increase my fiber intake and MOST of the IBS has subsided. My bad days are typically because my schedule is out of whack. I might have had a messed up sleep schedule, or i didn't eat enough fruits and veggies the day before. 

Sorry for my soapbox, but I feel for you. I can also say that the URGE never goes away. I can tell that i will have a bowel movement typically within 20 minutes. That is typical for nearly ALL of them. Oh, i also started eliminating some chemicals that i put in my body and i don't know if that has helped, but i know it hasnt hurt. I feel lots better overall. oh (after reading over your post again) I can usually tell if i have ingested gluten within 20 minutes after i eat and i start cramping and have to wait it out til it passes. I am not saying that is what you have, but you can have a sensitivity to something without testing positive and there are other things that can help the IBS over all. thats the point to all that.

Please let me know if you have any direct questions regarding this issue. I will try to help!


ps-i also had the volume issue.
24. Diagnosed with Fibro in Aug. 08 and Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder in December 08. Gluten free since Nov. 08.
Surgeries: Compartment Syndrome/Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome Dec. 05; Lap Nissen Fundoplacation Aug 06; Exploratory Lap Feb. 08.
Played college soccer. Going back to school to be a Registered Dietitian.
"I control the disease, it does not control me."

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   Posted 1/22/2009 7:35 PM (GMT -6)   
It could be colinitus, I would ask your doc and see a sppecialist , gastro        sue2z

Fibromyalgia, ulcerative colonitus, arthritus, bi-polar
norspan patch, valium, prothiedon, lyrica

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Date Joined Jun 2007
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   Posted 1/22/2009 8:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Just a quick comment.....Have any of you been tested for Crhone's? Your symptoms sound so much like my husband's who does have Crhone's. Our son also has it. ~Sande~

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Date Joined May 2005
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   Posted 1/22/2009 10:13 PM (GMT -6)   
I guess I forgot to add that I have seen a GI & had all the camera's, biopsy's, & tests -- they just "guessed" IBS, gave me an anti-spasmodic, and said no attention to diet is needed.....

After the GI when I mentioned it to the Rhuemy is when he said it's often part of Fibro .. I've tried the gluten free thing for several months with no real changes.

Anyway, what I'm hearing you all say is that you have similar problems, but that the rhuemies haven't said it's definitely part of fibro.....

Thanks so much

Lynnwood, Co-Moderator: Lupus Forum
SLE(’00), Sjogren's Syndrome, Raynaud's Syndrome, Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression, Herpes Simplex 1
Plaquenil, Prednisone(15 6mg), Piroxicam, Xanax, Trazodone, Boniva, Wellbutrin, Valtrex

Links: DIAGNOSING LUPUS (4 of 11), LUPUS INFORMATION, LUPUS RESOURCES, Donate to HealingWell, Drug Interactions

"Life is far too important to be taken seriously." –Oscar Wilde, 1982


Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 139
   Posted 1/22/2009 11:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Ugh, gastro problems. I have been run through the gamet of EVERY tests. I too finally got an IBS dx. My problem isn't like yours. I usually don't have a bowel movement for a week or more. I'm not technically constipated by the definitions that I've found, but I have stomach pains every day. Just on Tuesday I was grasping my desk in class because I was having such bad stomach cramps.

I'm sorry I can't be more help, but I found this thread helpful because it lets us know we're not alone! Hopefully you feel better!
Fibromyalgia: 2008

Effexor 150 mg, Flexril 5 mg, Gabapentin 600 mg

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Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 1/23/2009 6:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Yep, I know exactly what you are talking about, unfortunately. I was diagnosed with IBS before I was actually diagnosed w/ Fibro, but my symptoms were pretty similar to yours, especially the cramping, urgency and "volume" issue. It would seem like that much "stuff" could not possibly be coming out of me. Sometimes the pain would be so bad that I'd shake and sweat, feel nauseas, etc. I do think it's silly that your doctor told you diet shouldn't be paid attention to though. You should take a look at the IBS forum here or simply google "IBS and diet" and you will see how important it is. Just off the top of my head, acidic foods can be a trigger, raw fruits and veggies too, among other things.

I'm sorry you are having to deal w/ this, it is certainly no fun! Definitely do a little more investigation into the diet thing, even though there doesn't seem to be any one food triggering it for you. It could be a diet pattern in general. Good luck!

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   Posted 1/23/2009 9:16 AM (GMT -6)   
Lynnwood I too have the samething and had it before fibro. I have had colon problems most of my life. It sure keeps you from enjoying going out to eat etc. I need to have a colonoscopy and sonogram of my small bowel cause the cramping has been getting worse to the point I almost pass out sometimes. I also have gastroparesis (stomach muscles don't work well) before I was dxd with that I took fiber everyday and it helped the diarrhea a lot but I can't take it now. So you might want to add fiber to your diet and see if that helps. Amodium also helps but you have to figure out how much to take or you end up constipated.
Have you had your gallbladder removed???
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   Posted 1/25/2009 12:11 AM (GMT -6)   
I know other people have already said this but, DIET DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. A BIG difference. I would recommend reading online or buying a book about ibs diet. I got one a couple days ago and it has already helped me immensely. I also have the bowel cramping, and emptying in large volumes. Im not sure what causes that buy changing my diet causes it to happen much less frequently. Good luck in relieving your bowel pain and discomfort.
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