IBS or crohn's

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 8/31/2009 7:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Okay, husband has finally consented last week to go to the doctor.
This has been going on for 20 ish years- but the older he gets, the more frequent this becomes.
He used to get episodes that he would stomach pain, low abdominal, and they would always lead to diarrhea. The diarrhea would last 5 or so hours- with him going at least 20 times in that amount of time. sometimes, he would do that for a day or two, of co urse, he woudl then feel worn out, as if a truck would run him over. The pain is usually almost unbearable for him- until he goes to the bathroom. Thenhe would go, the pain would go down, and then the pain would build up and he'd have to do it all over again. It never matters what he eats or drinks, we never see a specific trigger.
Well, this had gone on, and he would have an episode or two a year, and now that he is 51- he has had three or four this year alone.
THis last episode- lasted 8 days- diarrhea 20 times or so each day, til about 3pm- always would start about an hour after he woke up and then last all day, until about 3.
He would still go to work, and do his job- only because that's the kind of guy he is.
Never a fever, always unbearable pain. He has passed out from ths pain before, only because he would hold his breath.  So, after going finally 8 days long, we went to the doctor.
They discovered that in 10 months, he has lost over 11 pounds- without really trying.
His white blood count is very mildly elevated, along with his mean platelet value but his platelets are on the high end of normal. His lympocytes are mildly elevated, as well.
The doctor said it "could" be IBS but it generally doesn't follow this pattern- and it could be IBS coupled with something else.
He is already a skinny man- doesn't smoke or drink. Eats a low fatish diet.. has severe GERD- that has sent him to the hospital twice for in the past because of the terrible chest pains he would get with it.
So, his last bout of diarrhea was Wednesday- and today (Monday) is the first day he has had a bowel movement since then. He was not constipated, it was not harder then normal.. it was just a normal bowel movement.
What is going on?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 8/31/2009 9:41 PM (GMT -7)   
There are several things that it could be and only more investigation will show what it is. From the point of view of Crohn's disease, the triggers can be various also. Food is a contributor, but only in conjunction with another trigger. Known triggers include alcohol, NSAIDs (like aspirin), stress, stomach illness (like food poisoning or Norwalk) and possibly some food allergies. Even those do not always produce the effect every time.

The GERDs is suspicious. It may indicate a food intolerance. Usually a food intolerance is a food that is eaten nearly every day, possibly as a common ingredient in foods eaten at most meals. GERDs may also indicate a pancreas problem. If the pancreas is not functioning properly, it may not be producing enough of the enzymes needed to digest dietary fats. Undigested fats cause a slowing of the passage of food through the gut and that requires more time for the stomach to empty.

I would guess that he is taking some kind of GERDs medication. The most popular meds are PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) which can cause their own bowel problems because they can reduce the acid level of stomach secretions below the pH needed for stomach enzymes to work. This then results in undigested food passing into the small intestine. When the small intestine detects undigested food, it slows the movement of food through it. This can result in SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) which can cause a lot of the symptoms your husband feels. Normally, PPIs don't cause that level of discomfort, but if there are other problems (like a bowel stricture or diabetes or some other digestive problem like pancreatic insufficiency) the result can be just like his symptoms.

Other possible causes are Addison's disease, scleroderma and diverticulitis.

Edit: ...and ulcerative colitis and the range of associated colitis and ileitis variations.

Post Edited (Keeper) : 8/31/2009 10:50:34 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 845
   Posted 9/1/2009 2:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Without a scope or pill cam test it will be almost impossible to know what is going on. There are so many things that these symptoms could be from that I would not jump to 1 or 2 diseases. Similar to what other have said, it could be a problem with pancreas, gallbladder, or even diabetes. While some of what you have written may have a chance of being Crohn's disease, I would look more toward an ulcer or gallbladder. I remember when I was having gallbladder complications and the pain that came with it. You also mentioned that he has had problems with GERD in the past and this is also one of the signs that his gallbladder may not be functioning right and putting too much or too little bile in the digestive system. Celiacs disease is something else that may be considered.
So if you haven't already picked up from this post and others, your husband should really have a colonoscopy and endoscopy. From there your husband and his doctors can establish a base of where to start diagnosing him. It may be one of these disease, but it may be something as simple as an ulcer from stress or overworking. The biggest thing for the both of you is not to jump to conclusions, keep an open mind, and keep going until you get an answer. It took over a year after 2 surgeries to diagnose me and this is usually the case for people with crohn's disease unless they are found through an emergency surgery for a perforation or blockage. Be patient and keep calm. If it is Crohn's disease then stress will not do either of you any help. Feel free to stay and ask us questions here though. Many of us have multiple conditions and may be able to answer some questions. Plus sometimes it is just a nice place to vent and no one gets mad or upset at you for doing so. Infact, most here will congratulate you for releasing your emotions and being tough. Stay strong and endure till the end. Don't give up.
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