Posted 1/5/2011 7:57 PM (GMT -7)
I would like to get the group's opinion on my GI problem of ~ 2 years duration. Pertinent points are:
- I am a 52 year old male, with no personal or family history of digestive issues prior to my current symptoms.
- In the spring of 2008 I visited Santa Fe & Albuquerque, NM. Immediately after returning home (Seattle), I developed THE most severe case I diarrhea I have had in my life. The condition cleared up in about a week. I did not go to the doctor, so I have no "firm" diagnosis, however while I was there, the area I visited was struck with an outbreak of Salmonella later linked to infected peppers from Mexico. Needless to say, I ate a lot of Mexican cuisine (with peppers) on my trip. Data later showed New Mexico was the hardest hit area for this outbreak, followed by Texas. Again, my condition seemed to disappear entirely after a reasonable period.
- In mid November of 2008, I suddenly developed stomach pain of unknown origin. I went from one normal bowel movement/day to 2, frequently with some urgency and diarrhea. Although there is some variability to the symptoms, 3 stand out: pain centered around the navel, generally beginning ~2.5 to 3 hours after eating a meal, variable pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen which feels a bit like the "catch" you may have gotten in your side as a kid when you ran on the playground too much, and a feeling in the rectum after defecating which feels a bit like the area has been moderately traumatized or distended, often with the feeling of incomplete elimination, and which sometimes is made worse by sitting. The actual process of defecation produces no discomfort. I have had hemorrhoids off and on, this last rectal sensation is different. The pain generally does not wake me. If I wake at night and remain awake for some minutes, the pain will typically not be there initially, but will sometimes return after a few minutes of wakefulness. There are periods during the day when it is gone entirely, but since this began, I have not been completely pain-free for any 24 hour period. The condition has improved somewhat, in the last 6-7 months, I have returned to my one BM per day pattern, and diarrhea is quite rare now, but although the stools are now normally formed, when I have to go, the urge is strong, and I have to go NOW.
- Feces seem lighter in color than they have been all my life.
- Test results are all normal (no common parasites or bacteria found, all blood work normal except a slightly lowered vitamin A level). Initially, I had a very slightly elevated fecal fat level (steatorhhea), but this did not show up on a test 3 weeks ago.
- about 22 months ago, I had a normal colonoscopy & upper endoscopy. A biopsy of the upper bowel showed no indication of Celiac. No biopsies were taken of the colon.
- about 15 months ago, I had a capsule endoscopy of the small bowel which showed a few small areas of erosion/redness. This was later attributed to my use of Naproxen, which I have stopped.
- about 6 months ago, I had a 2nd colonoscopy, this time with biopsies for microscopic colitis (at my request). The biopsies were normal, as was the exam (with the exception of a benign polyp, which was removed). Examination of the ileo-cecal area/valve in both the large & small bowel showed no abnormalities/inflammation, etc.
- I am now on my 4th gastroenterologist. He seems to think I have post infection IBS. The previous 3 made no firm diagnoses, with opinions ranging from IBS to Crohn's disease.
- In retrospect, I would say over the last ~ 26 months, my condition has improved, very, very VERY slowly. I am still pretty miserable, however, and I find the discomfort still has a very negative impact on my quality of life.
Thanks all for taking the time to read my post. I'm very interested in any thoughts anyone here might have.