New to the forum, question about tiny white balls in stool

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/3/2010 12:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't feel like typing up a full history right now, but I just want to say thanks to this forum I don't feel so weird and isolated. I was diagnosed with Crohn's last summer and am still trying to sort out doctors/meds. Also, I don't have health insurance and I live in the US.

I was taking Flagyl recently to heal persistent anal fissures. I was supposed to take 3 per day for 30 days, but could only stand it for about 20 and had to stop. Diarrhea, nausea, depression, metallic taste, dehydrated, loss of appetite, vaginal infection, mood swings... I had it all (the only thing I didn't have was the ominous tingling). It was interfering with my ability to concentrate at work, and I also lost about 6-7 pounds... I was so worried that I wasn't getting enough nutrition, so I called the nurse, she talked to the doc and they said I could stop it.

So thanks to one of the threads here (I can't seem to find it again) I know that what I was experiencing with flagyl was not totally different from what others have experienced. And... the flagyl actually did help with the pain/bleeding of the fissures, so I wasn't suffering for naught.

A weird thing, though... Even though I stopped the flagyl on Tuesday, I'm still having the diarrhea (though it isn't as frequent, thank god). I can tell it's related to the flagyl because it has a distinct smell and texture. On top of that, I'm noticing tiny little white/off-white balls in my stool. They are VERY tiny, like the tip of a pen and I'm wondering if it's my Pentasa that isn't being fully absorbed. Does anyone else get these when you have super frequent diarrhea and are on capsule-meds? It only started after I had been taking flagyl and the antibiotic has given me the most frequent diarrhea I have EVER had in my life. I was going so much that I was losing count (up to 5x a day).

I see my doc this upcoming Tuesday the 6th and I'll bring it up with him. The only other thing I'm worried about is that maybe the tiny balls are signs of a parasite... I do have a cat, but she isn't showing any parasite symptoms and her stools have been normal.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 2481
   Posted 4/3/2010 12:30 PM (GMT -7)   
are you taking pentasa?

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/3/2010 12:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Yup, I'm on 6 per day of Pentasa.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 1632
   Posted 4/3/2010 12:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Those tiny white beads are totally normal with Pentasa - even if you're not having diarrhea, those tiny white beads are still there.

If you open the blue Pentasa capsule, you'll see that it has tiny white beads in it. The medication is actually coated *around* those beads. When you swallow it, the blue capsule "melts" away in your stomach, leaving the beads to travel through the intestines. Then the medication on the beads gets released through the intestines, and by the time it exits, the beads are still there but nothing else.

On a side note: You mentioned you don't have insurance but you're taking Pentasa. How are you paying for it? Pentasa is fairly expensive out of pocket, and it's of questionable benefit - especially for anal fissures. You might be wasting money on it. Consider going to imuran or 6-mp, both cheaper and proven more effective, though with the *potential* for more side effects (I stress the word potential because most people don't get the side effects, but some do, so you have to get frequent blood tests.)

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/3/2010 1:33 PM (GMT -7)   
That is interesting about the Pentasa because I've been on it for several months and this is the first time I noticed the beads. What you are saying makes perfect sense, though. I just wonder why it never happened to me before.

I've been paying up to $500 for a "30 day" supply of Pentasa, which I have been stretching to 40 days by taking 6 instead of 8 per day. Although my current doc didn't prescribe it, he is aware of my dosage ...and he has told me that my particular crohn's isn't usually helped much by Pentasa (I've got ulcers in the ileum). However, he says that he doesn't want to put me on anything "harder" drug-wise until I get another colonoscopy and/or other tests--which I cannot pay for yet.

We tried entocort for awhile, but that was making me crazy hyper and paranoid with insane headaches, so I had to stop it. Even though I would have only needed to take the entocort for a few months to go into remission, it still was costing me just as much as the Pentasa overall. My current doc has been super helpful and has given me tons of sample pills of both the pentasa and the entocort. thankfully I did not pay a penny for the entocort... I had ample samples to take before I figured out it wasn't working for me.

I just qualified and received ICHIP insurance (through state of Illinois), but it will not cover pre-existing conditions for 6 months. So I'm basically just doing what I can to hold on while I wait for the coverage to kick in and I can get my colonoscopy. In the meantime, if I stay on the Pentasa, my husband and I are looking into ordering it from Canada to save some money.

On another note, my sister also has Crohn's and is on Remicade... she is one lucky duck living in the UK with her Welsh husband reaping up all that universal healthcare!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 4/3/2010 2:17 PM (GMT -7)   
After I was diagnosed with Crohn's and had an ileal resection, I asked my doctor to put me on Pentasa. I was on it for five years, and it didn't help me at all. I wound up with another obstruction, which disappeared after my (new) doctor put me on a minimal daily dose of 6MP. I have very little faith in Pentasa. (BTW, I definitely experienced the tiny white balls, too.)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 105
   Posted 4/3/2010 7:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, the Pentasa does do that.  The first time it happened to me I had to go look it up online myself. smilewinkgrin
Diagnosed w/ Crohn's 2010
Current meds: Pentasa, prednisone taper

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 4/4/2010 9:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Just as all the above said the white balls are normal when on Pentasa. I take the sister med Asacol and have been successfully maintained on it for over 5 years. Good luck!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease & Anxiety/Panic
Crohn's Disease for over 34 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*
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