| | Constant soft stools, abdominal cramping
Hello all, this is my first post here and I'm really hoping someone can give me some advice or reassurance.
I'll try to give a brief background and where I'm at now:
About 2 years ago I started feeling really crappy - abnormal bowel movements and a general "eww I don't feel good" feeling in my guts. This coincided with a new job and I thought maybe I was just stressed...
A few months later I saw a GI doctor and we confirmed I have celiac disease (blood test and endoscopic biopsy). I started a gluten-free diet in January 2011, so it's been about 10 months.
My blood levels have gotten significantly better - I believe at my last test they were at 4. Originally it was 75. My doctor said I'm doing good with avoiding gluten. I've changed all my cookware and pretty much EVERYTHING I can think of. A couple of times I've had possible "reactions" to something maybe that was contaminated or not truly GF.
But my stools have not. gotten. better. That was the initial reason I sought help from a GI doctor. I'm a morning pooper, always have been. And every morning, I'll have 1-3 bowel movements, all soft, small pieces. It's sort of like... fluffy stool? Not watery. Sometimes I have to sit there for 15 minutes as my body continuously cramps up to get all the poop out. And sometimes I have to do it again 20 minutes later. I just hate that I can't have a normal BM and then be DONE for the day. I remember being able to do that and I miss it! (How strange does that sound!?)
During the day I'll feel random bouts of abdominal cramping in my intestines. My GI doc gave me hyoscyamine for that, which sometimes helps, but taking more than one pill makes my throat extremely dry. All my "symptoms" are worse when I'm out, either at work or just out of my house.
I feel that it's gotten so bad it's become a mental/anxiety problem and I am making it worse for myself. I have a terrible fear of diarrhea (and having to poop in public in general), especially being hit with it in public. Because my stool problems have been going on for so long, I'm just terrified something will happen while I'm at work. And it has happened. When I'm home everything is fine, because there's no fear. But the abdominal pain is worse when I'm out of my "comfort zone". It's almost like... I feel cramping like I'm going to have to poop, although I don't feel anything in my rectum that would tell me "bathroom now!" I don't have ACTUAL diarrhea unless I've had a potential gluten reaction.
I never used to be like this. It's starting to affect my life negatively - haven't seen friends that much because the discomfort prevents me from enjoying my time with them.
This all started as a celiac disease diagnosis and now I'm at the point where I don't know WHAT to do. My GI doctor hasn't been terribly helpful, the last time I met with him, he suggested taking 2 Pepto tablets at night and see if that helped. To me that just seemed like trying to put a bandaid over a problem without really trying to find out what's causing it.
My diet isn't terrible but being GF is not easy, and I'm NOT a cook so I still rely on processed foods - just GF ones now. I tried eating 2 bananas every day for 5 days and that did nothing for my stool. I casually tried probiotics and fiber supplements, but didn't really stick with them for more than a week. I just don't know what to do, I have no guidance because I don't know what's WRONG.
This was so long-winded... But I've tried to cover all the details. Anyone here had the same (or similar) problems? I could really use some advice.