I've joined the board to share my experience and in the hope that I can maybe get a direction to work out what's wrong with me...
I'll start at the beginning - bear with me as this may be quite long winded!
When I was on holiday in Spain in June 2007, I was admitted to hospital with severe abdominal pains in the right hand, lower side of my stomach. Appendicitis was ruled out and I was asked by a surgeon if I'd ever had any operations. I said yes I had a laparoscopy in 2005 for a 'probable' burst ovarian cyst. It was never actually confirmed that's what it was. They then focussed on the gynae area and I was subjected to lots and lots of internal examinations etc before they decided I had a swollen right ovary and administered an IV of antibiotics for 5 days. I was sent home to England with doxycycline antibiotics and within two weeks of finishing them, the pain was even worse than before.
I was admitted to a hospital over here and I told the doctors that I believed there was something wrong with my bowel. I've known I've had IBS since I was about 14 years old (I'm now 24) and although I hadn't been officially diagnosed, I knew that it was IBS (instant diahorrea, spasms etc). This pain is completely different.
They wouldn't listen to me and insisted it was gynae related again, telling me that they were going to arrange a gynaecologist to come take some swabs etc. All this was done and sent off for analysis. I felt so frustrated that nobody was listening to me. They finally agreed to try something and said they'd do a laparoscopy. When I came round from the operation they told me that my fallopian tubes 'looked swollen' and that they thought I had PID from a sexually transmitted disease and they 'didnt know how much damage you've done' as you can imagine I was deeply upset - not only about the diagnosis but also the fact I was made to feel like I was dirty and that I brought this on myself for sleeping around, which I do not.
After I was discharged from hospital with 3 different antibiotics to 'clear up' the PID, I went to the Gynae Outpatients where I was informed that all of my tests were clear, I did not have PID and that he believed it to be bowel related.
I pushed my GP for an appointment with a bowel specialist which I received in the November (bearing in mind I'd had this pain since June). I have since undergone various tests etc and they cannot find anything to suggest an ulceration or inflammation in any part of my intestines. They're still just clinically diagnosing IBS.
The way to describe the pain is a constant dull ache (imagine a really bad headache) that is worse on movement and increases in intensity the more I move around. Stress and anxiety also worsen it as does eating fibrous foods - feels like someone is scraping a scalpel down my colon. It is always in the same place, it has never moved since I started with it in June.
The doctors have tried me with antispasmodics, fibre drinks etc. Nothing helps as it isn't an IBS type of pain.
I've now been prescribed an anti-depressant to take on a night to relax my body which they believe will help my 'spasming' intestines. I only started taking it last night so cannot yet comment on their effects but my mood and anxiety have taken a complete nose dive and I feel so down about this situation that I've started doubting myself and think maybe I am making all of this up. I was hoping that someone has had a similar experience so I can be pointed in the right direction....
Welcome to the healthboards and I hope that I and others can offer you some emotional support to get through this. First off, you are not going crazy and you have to believe that. You are also not "dirty" and promiscuous simply because you are sexually active and anyone that tries to make you feel this way has a genuine problem. Just remember that THEY have the problem not YOU. People working in the medical field encounter all sorts of personalities and unfortunately some of them try to save time by immediately sizing up the patient without actually knowing anything about them. Keep all of this in mind. You are perfectly normal.
As the previous reply has asked, have you had a colonoscopy to check the entire bowel for problems ? This is the gold standard for ruling out bowel disease and if you have not had this already done, you need to push for it. I know that in a public health care system the tendency is to do as little testing as possible on a person your age but you need to insist, especially in light of the fact that you are in pain and have been for quite some time. If you have had all of the standard tests (colonoscopy, endoscopy etc..) and nothing was found, then I was wondering .. have you ever tried taking probiotics on a regular basis ? These can be extremely helpful as they restore the flora in your colon (ie. the good bacteria). Many people have bowel problems because of antibiotics and various types of foods. A good probiotic will help to restore bowel health but you need to be sure to get live cultures such as those in yoghurt.
Do you have any other symptoms besides the pain ? Blood in stool, varying constipation and diarrhea, weight loss .. etc .. Also, have they done an ultrasound to check for more ovarian cysts or adhesions from your previous surgery ?
I think that you need to be persistent until you find the cause of your problem. Anti depressants are not the best answer and doctors really need to stop drugging people when they are unsuccessful at finding the answer. A patient would be much better served if they knew that their physician was on their side and working as hard as possible to find the cause of their problem. It is this type of professional support that patients need at this time and drugging them is not going to accomplish anything long term. If you need a mild sedative to sleep then by all means. Sleep, good diet and moderate exercise are extremely important ESPECIALLY at a stressful time like this.
Let us know how you are doing and try to hang in there.
Thank you for your in-depth reply to my post and for welcoming me to the board!
I've not had a colonoscopy as the specialist doesnt believe I require one although he is arranging for me to have a barium meal x-ray and possibly an MRI scan. He did a sigmoidoscopy but as the pain is in my right hand side I questioned why he wasn't going to do a colonoscopy, his reply was because I was having the CT scan and therefore he didnt need to perform a colonoscopy. It seems very strange to say but I almost feel like there's something enlarged or swollen in my right hand side too and when I hold my stomach in and let it go I get throbbing pain. The CT scan hasn't shown any sign of inflammation though.
I've tried pro-biotics last year for about 3 months and whilst they helped with my irritable bowel syndrome, they didnt actually ease any of the pain.
The consultant believes there is a connection with my anxiety and angst at the situation that is causing me to have more pain what with the brain and digestive system being closely linked and I'm coming to terms with the fact that it might just be my IBS that exacerbated by my stress and anxiety and I've now taken an anti-depressant the last two nights and my stomach feels slightly better though my anxiety and irritability hasn't changed but that will take a while I think. I have quite bad irritability and feel like lashing out or screaming at someone sometimes and it's a scary thought and I'm very confused as to whether its to do with this situation or because of some other problem....
Thyroid disorders do run in my family and about a year ago my thyroid test did show as being slightly over but it went back to normal. Is this worth getting tested again? My heart beats like wildfire and I get a lot of headaches etc as well as the anxiety and mood swings - I think all of this may be causing a lot of confusion in my head as to what I'm feeling...
I've just started eating Danone Activia yoghurts with the live cultures in so maybe this will help.
I'm vowing to start watching my diet very carefully and get back to exercising for my low mood and who knows maybe this will help??
I'm going to make an appointment with my GP next week too to discuss everything with him and see if he has any other ideas as to why this has all happened!
This all sounds ridiculous ! A CT scan .. barium .. only a colonoscopy can rule out a bowel problem for sure. A sigmoidoscopy is fine but only looks at the lower third of the bowel and not the entire thing. The preparation for the colonoscopy is rather unpleasant but I have been told that before having the procedure you are given a sedative and sleep through it so it is painless (unlike the sig which I remember hurt quite a bit when the surgeon forced air into my bowel to distend it in order to see). Perhaps you should speak to your GP about recommending another gastro-intestinal specialist who would be willing to do the procedure and rule out the bowel once and for all.
All the best to you and let us know how you are doing.
Yes I've arranged an appointment to see my GP (only free appointment was Friday afternoon) to speak to him about my concerns and anxiety about the situation. I've been in agony with pain since yesterday afternoon, it almost feels like a stitch today and is worse than it has been for a good 2 months and I feel like I can't breathe properly... Going to see if he can write to the specialist to recommend that a colonoscopy be performed just to completely rule out anything that a CT or barium might not pick up on cos this is driving me insane!
Thank you for your advice though - I wouldn't have thought to see my GP about getting him to recommend it as I thought it would be out of his hands but it's worth a try and I need to speak to him about my anxiety and mental state anyway. Then at least if a colonoscopy is done, like you said, it completely rules out everything physical!