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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 8/24/2007 9:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello. I am a new member and would be grateful for some thoughts on my problem. I have had bowel problems for some 20 years on and off with gas, abdo pain and, occasionally, more than one "moveent" a day. No diarrhoea or constipation and I am vegetarian. I had a total hysterectomy fo fibroids at 36 and am now 51.

Recently the gas and twice daily motions returned so I visited the GP who has referred me for a sigmoidoscopy. I gather this is to be a rigid rather than flexible scope - what are the differences between the two and is one superior to the other?

I have had a normal CA125 (reading 28) and normal LFT and anaemai test.

The thing is I don't ever have what I would call diarrhoea or constipation but someone has suggested I may have IBS. Can IBS be present without causing looseness or inability to perform?

Any help would be welcome. I feel rather vulnerable!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 4151
   Posted 8/24/2007 10:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Pauline... Welcome to Healing Well :-)

A sigmoidoscopy is a flexible scope as well however they do not look past the sigmoid colon (hence the name). A full colonoscopy will scope your entire colon. In terms of what gathers more information, it would be a full colonoscopy. Sigmoidoscopys are usually less cost because if they have the equipment, they can do this in a doctor's office versus a hospital / surgery clinic setting. They will not give you anything to "put you out" for a sigmoidoscopy so many prefer the colonscopy over it.

Have you tried anything (OTC or rx) for the gas? Researchers now say that even though rare, IBS can present itself without bowel changes although that is different than the classic Rome criteria of diagnosing IBS. They now say that pain can be a main symptom.

Have you seen a gynecologist as well to rule out any female issues?

Take Care
Co-Moderator ~ IBS Forum
Co-Moderator ~ Lupus Forum 
Dx: IBS 1989, Diverticulosis 2004, Idiopathic Acute Colitis 2006, UCTD 2007
Meds: Plaquenil 400mg, Chlorzoxazone 500mg, Lyrica 50mg, Protonix 40mg, Naproxen 1000mg, Klonopin PRN, Miralax 17g, Supplements

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 8/24/2007 10:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes, it could be IBS, but sometimes people get a bit free with that diagnosis. Having gas and related gas pains is normal. Having a bowel movement twice in one day is quite normal for a lot of people. When normal becomes abnormal is when it really starts to interfere with your life. When pain is unbearable, when you bloat to the point you can't wear your clothing or even look pregnant, when even your one or two bowel movements a day are hard to pass or hurt or have a lot of mucus with them, even if they look normal.

Since you're a vegetarian, I daresay you eat lots of veggies. Veggies, especially in their raw or al dente state, are bad to cause normal people gas. Beans too, obviously, cause a lot of people gas. Raw fruits and fruit juice can cause gas in some people (apples seem to be universally the worst offender).

Have you been able to combat the gas with OTC gas relievers? Have you tried keeping a food diary to see if one or a few things in particular (e.g. beans or raw broccoli) makes it worse? If your problems are mild and controllable with diet modifications and/or OTC stuff, then you are within the realm of normal.

Have you ever had a colonoscopy? If not, and given your age, make your doctor convert that sig to a full colonoscopy. A sig only looks at the lower part of the large intestine, while the colonoscopy goes much further up into it. A colonscopy is recommend for people over 40 every 10 years to look for colon cancer.

That your doctor wants to do a sig is a bit weird to me (based just on what you've described as symptoms); it looks at so little of the intestines, what's the point in your case? He's not going to find the cause of your gas problem in such a short amount of space. They're usually used, as I understand it, for people with lower-intesinal problems, such as when the doctor suspects hemmroids, skin tags, anal fissures and other things like that that might be causing pain or bleeding right near the rectum. If you don't have those complaints, I don't see the point at all, although if you've not had a colonscopy in the last 10 years, you need one of those just as routine maintenance, as it were.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 8/25/2007 1:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the messages. I have made an apt to see a doctor next week (can't see usual one as she is on holiday!) and will ask what the purpose of the sig is. I have had piles in the past and a feeling of pressure and slight bruising right at the end of the rectum, so maybe the rationale is to look for these. I have no womb and have had ovaries checked the last two years when I went to the GP with the wind problem - they couldn't find them when doing an ultrasound and even an internal had difficulty locating them! The CA125 is within normal limits, and while I know that there are false positives and negatives with this test, it is reassuring that the reading was not high.

The GP mentioned, when I went recently, that a colonoscopy could be done at a later date, so presumably she is following a route that she thinks is acceptable. I have always had a good relationship with her and don't want to jeopardise this.

What is the readership's opinion of charcoal tablets for wind? I have heard they can be effective.

Thanks again.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 8/25/2007 2:00 AM (GMT -7)   

If you have a good relationship with your doc, by all means keep it up.  The scope would probably be a good idea, with your history of hemorrhoids and rectal pressure, and because of your age.  Do you not have a uterus because you had a hysterectomy?  When was the last time you had an ultrasound?

A friend of mine ended up having TWO uteruses and, yes, TWO cervixes.  Very bizarre.  She had surgery to fix this crazy congenital condition...we'll see if she'll be able to have kids.  I'd be very interested if you've had cervical/uterine issues in the past!

As far as the gas, this might just be regular changes in your physiology, but a sigmoid/colonoscopy will still be a good idea for you.  The only difference is how far up into the colon they place the scope.  Have they explained why you're not receiving a colonoscopy, by any chance?


Co-moderator - IBS Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 8/26/2007 11:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Hysterectomy performed for fibroids and heavy bleeding. I am seeing another GP at our practice on Tuesday and will ask if sig can be "upgraded" to colonoscopy. Any views on the charcoal anyone?!!
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