Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: San Antonio, TX
Abdominal cramping, blood in stool, frequent diarrhea for a week
I'm 25 years old, male. Two months ago I went to the doctor under the assumption I was very ill-something just didn't feel right. I had been waking up in a panic, sweating and shaking uncontrollably on several occasions. I felt weak, dizzy, light-headed, nervious, etc. The first doctor told me it was probably just stress. I went home shortly to see my parents and to get a second opinion. I had all my blood work done, an EKG, an MRI (I thought I had a brain tumor), everything came back normal. Turns out I was just having really bad anxiety attacks and suffering from a case of panic disorder. That week I stopped eating a lot due to a loss of appetite and I lost about 8 lbs. After that, I was on the road to mental recovery over the next couple of months. I started eating better, tried to exclude sugar and caffeine from my diet, started taking a B-complex multivitamin for stress, started exercising a few times a week on top of doing yoga 1-2 times a week. For the most part my appetite came back, but it still wasn't what it had been previously (probably due to depression onset by my anxiety). Sometimes I ate better than others, just as much as I used to, but from time to time I'd cut my meals a little short.
A little over a week ago (as far back as I can remember), I noticed my appetite go down a little more than usual, mostly due to the negative effects upon eating-shortly after beginning a meal, my stomach would begin to feel upset-heartburn with a mild ache/discomfort in my stomach. Two Saturdays ago, I went to a wedding. I was quite hungry and eating just fine from what I can remember (fruit, cheese, crackers were laid out prior to dinner which consisted of green beans, potatoes, and some bread-there were actual entrees, but my girlfriend and I have been vegetarian for a little over a year now so we ate what we could). By the end of the meal, the feeling settled in again. Later that night, my girlfriend ordered some pizza. Sometimes when I've had an upset stomach, pizza doesn't settle so well, so I ate cautiously. After about a slice and a half, the feeling hit me. After that I decided to take some Pepto-Bismol to see if that might help. The next day I became worried upon passing a bowel movement-the stool was black and I knew that wasn't a good sign. Then I remembered, Pepto-Bismol has the ability to turn your stool black, so I tried not to worry about it. After that, I noticed what appeared to be blood in my stool (red in color). Throughout the day I noticed myself developing some abdominal cramping/bloating. I ate what I could but everything seemed to upset me (I remember just eating crackers was enough to upset me). The following bowel movements throughout the day and later that night had a tendency to be coated in bright red blood which looked to be encased in a clear/mucus like substance. This had me very worried.
The next morning (Monday) I decided to go to the doctor immediately. He decided to have me tested for any sort of bacteria infection or parasite via stool sample. I was also prescribed Dicyclomine for the abdominal cramping. By the next day things seemed to had gotten worse-the blood, the cramping, the nausea. I went back for a follow up. This time he prescribed me Ondansetron for nausea. I took one before I decided the nausea wasn't bad enough to have that taste in my mouth. I stopped taking the Dicyclomine as well as it didn't seem to help much with the cramps and made me feel very strange. By Wednesday night, I couldn't take the cramps much longer. Since Monday the cramps had gotten worse, the stools had gotten more and more watery, and the blood seemed to be more of a maroon-ish color-I couldn't tell if this was because it had changed in consistency, or because it was just mixing in more with the stool. The blood always seemed to be worse at the end of the bowel movement (at the top of the stool).
I decided to get a second opinion and went to an urgent care clinic later that night. The doctor did a breath test for H. Pylori (which came back negative), and a blood count (both white and red blood cell counts normal). My potassium was low, so he gave me a potassium pill and he prescribed me Diphenoxylate/Atropine to control diarrhea and told me to go on an all clear liquid diet for a day, followed by the "BRAT" diet the next day, followed by incorporating other things into my diet the following day (the first doctor didn't tell me what or what not to eat previously). Over the next few days, the blood seemed to diminish. Friday/Saturday I noticed my stools begin to gain some solidity. They started coming out in a light brown color with a yellowish tint (when I would flush, it would be primarily yellow). They had a foul smell of rotton eggs. On Saturday I stopped taking the Diphenoxylate/Atropine as it instructed once the diarrhea had stopped. That night, perhaps gaining a little too much confidence in my dietary choices, I had some stuff I felt might have aggravated my symptoms-a small piece of cheese, a pickle, a piece of candy. The next day the diarrhea was back. I thought it might have been the pickle I ate, as the diarrhea had somewhat of a foul stench of vinegar. I started taking the Diphenoxylate/Atropine again to help control the diarrhea.
As the diarrhea continued on Sunday, by the end of the night it seemed the blood had started to come back. I called the first medical group which employs the first doctor I saw to see if my test results were in yet (still no luck). I told them I was still in pain and the diarrhea hadn't stopped so they prescribed me two antibiotics over the phone. Yesterday, the diarrhea was back to the point of being that maroon-ish color. I went back to the first medical group to see a different doctor. This doctor said my diet was all wrong. Here was my diet throughout the week:
-gluten free crackers*
-gluten free cereal*
-hard boiled eggs
-plenty of water
-plenty of water
-cilantro based broth
-plenty of water
-plenty of water
-gluten free cereal
-split pea soup
-piece of celery
-piece of cheese
-refried black beans
-creamy potato soup
-butternut squash soup
*-I started eating gluten free foods to see if this might make a difference, to test for gluten intolerance.
She told me I shouldn't have been following the "BRAT" diet as she says it's out of date. She said I shouldn't be eating any fructose sugars (fruit) or any lactose until the diarrhea stops and has been gone for at least 72 hours. On top of that, she couldn't figure out who prescribed me the antibiotics over the phone. She said these shouldn't have been prescribed and aren't even used to treat anything I may have regarding an infection. She said I shouldn't be taking the Diphenoxylate/Atropine either. She said I should only be taking the Dicyclomine. She said to follow the new diet for 3 days and see how things go, and if they don't get better to see a gastroenterologist.
I started taking the Dicyclomine yesterday but both times I took my dose, I felt very strange and unwell, so I haven't taken any since.
Yesterday and today I noticed the blood seemed to have gotten worse, but now mostly bright red in the toilet and on the toilet paper, sometimes maroon in color when mixed in more with the stool. There have been a few times where there appears to be nothing but blood (nowhere near enough to fill the toilet, just a lack of feces)-in such cases, if there are feces, they sink to the very bottom and it's hard to tell what is and isn't blood/feces 'cause it's hard to see in the toilets shadow.
The last of the results came in today for parasites, which came back negative, so I was found negative for all parasites and bacterial infections.
Today I've had a few bowel movements of dark brown diarrhea, once which looked almost dark green/black in color (dark green on the toilet paper). I didn't see any bright red blood in these instances, only a tiny trace on the toilet paper (a little dot of bright red blood).
The last bowel movement I had was very little with bright red blood (note: all these bowel movements have had a diarrhea consistency-very watery).
1. abdominal cramps - worse right before a bowel movement and after lying/sitting in a certain position too long.*
-upper central abdomen
-lower central abdomen
-lower left abdomen (there seems to be a focus on the left side)
2. lower back pain - worse right before a bowel movement and after lying/sitting in a certain position too long.*
-lower left back
3. nausea - worse before and after eating.
4. diarrhea - alternating consistency.
-bright red blood & mucus (early last week)
-bright red blood (now)
-brown/yellow (this weekend)
-dark colored stools - black/dark green (a couple of times today)
5. distended stomach - bloated belly.
* - symptoms aren't present at all times; sometimes not present at all.
Other symptoms, most likely just a result of being sick:
-loss of appetite
-unintended weight loss
-banana (before I was told not to eat them)
-gluten free noodles in a cilantro broth (gluten free diet doesn't seem to make a difference)
-no family history of colon/stomach cancer.
-had a colonoscopy done 2 years ago for rectal bleeding
diagnosis: anal fissure/hemorrhoids; a benign polyp was found/removed.
I've been on a vegetarian diet for a little over a year now. Prior to this I used to have abnormally large bowel movements, which probably caused the anal fissure in the first place. Since a change in diet, my stools have been a normal size/consistency (up until now of course).
I made an appointment today with a gastroenterologist for tomorrow morning.
Does anyone know what this might be given my symptoms/situation?
I'm very tired of feeling this way. I just want to get a good nights rest, eat some food without feeling sick, and get back do living.
I've been bed(couch)ridden pretty much all week, which probably might not be the best thing for my lower back pain.
I've been sleeping on the couch 'cause I'm still not used to the new bed my girlfriend and I got which doesn't give me much lower back support and has been hell while I've had these abdominal cramps-I wake up in a LOT of pain when I try to sleep on the bed-this was happening before, but nowhere near as much since the diarrhea/cramps started.
I've been using a heating pad that seems to help a bit, taken a few hot baths.
Note: a very low grade fever has been present if ever-every time I'm at the doctor, fever isn't present, but I've had a low grade fever a few times at home when I've checked myself, but I don't always trust my thermometer.
Any help is appreciated. Thanks ahead of time to anyone willing to read this.