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leogurrrl 01-11-2012 07:10 PM

How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
Hello, I am in need of some advice relating to a problem that started in October 2010 (so started fifteen months ago), remitted for about five months, and now has come back. I am trying to figure out if my problem is truly a gastro problem or if it could be ovarian cancer with GI symptoms.

I have been worked up by the OB/GYN with a CT scan, transvaginal ultrasound, and pelvic exam which were ALL normal. HOWEVER, my CA-125 has been moderately elevated, which makes me not want to abandon the possibility of ovarian cancer. I have actually had these tests repeated TWICE, all normal except the slightly elevated CA-125 (which was 32, and then 46). I am a pre-menopausal female, so this figure did not alarm her, even though it was higher than the upper limit of 35. I don't seem to have any of the other symptoms of OC, though for a while I was having pelvic pain that has since resolved, but does come back from time to time (appears to be a pain in groin that can come and go for a few weeks, then disappears for months).


I had an endoscopy last January that showed 'inflamed gastic cardiac mucosa consistent with reflux esophagitis". They found two benign fundic polyps without a whole lot to say about those. I have had HORRIBLE burning stomach pains across the bottom of my rib cage for months. It started last Jan./February and went away after a few months on Omnaeprazole. I had FIVE OR SIX months of relief after stopping the medication, then it started up again in December. I started the meds again and am NOT getting any relief.


1. Does the endoscopy results from above saying "inflamed gastric cardiac mucosa consistent with reflux esophagitis" mean that my problem IS gastroenterological and NOT OB/GYN? I don't understand whether or not I can rule out my stomach problems being connected to an ob/gyn issue (specifically ovarian cancer).

2. If this is ovarian cancer, wouldn't something have shown up on a CT or ultrasound after fifteen months?

HOW DO I PURSUE this feeling of constant pain and being sick??? With a GI or GYN?? I am so tired of living this way :(( My mental and emotional well-being have long been gone. Not sure how much more I can take :((:mad:

Twixt 01-12-2012 06:20 PM

Re: How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
Hi Leogurrrl,

I'm not an expert (but have done TONS of reading on the topic ever since my issues started - first with an ovarian cyst which has since resolved, and now with a persistent ovarian mass that they can't identify and for which I'll now be getting an MRI).

So anyway, from what I've read about ovarian cancer symptoms is that they tend to be persistent (ie: once the symptoms appear, they don't just go away), and they tend to get worse over time.

So if you've had issues that have flared up but then gone away for long periods of time, and then come back again, I'm guessing it's more likely something GI-related.

Regardless of the cause of the symptoms, it sucks to be having pain in the first place.

I hope you're able to figure out the cause of your symptoms soon!

*hugs*

Twixt

leogurrrl 01-12-2012 06:41 PM

Re: How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
Sounds like you could use a hug, girl! Thank you so much for responding to my post despite your own situation. I am amazed at the kindness of some of those on the boards :)))

Anyways - thank you for that insight, twixt.......so even if the symptoms are persistent, they do not go away and come back.......that is one thing in my favor. My whole GI issue started when my entire household got sick with a bug in 2010. Everybody else recovered, and I did after about 2 months, but then it all came back months later evidently from whatever happened with the first bug (I think my stomach was damaged in some way). I'm hoping beyond hope that's all it is, I am just freaked out about the CA125 (though I understand about the premenopausal women not being accurate) and the periodic pelvic pain. Why can't they just come up with a good screening test for OC!? For so many reasons women need a good test that can detect this awful disease :((( Anyways - thanks for your insight. I had not seen that tidbit of information, so I do appreciate it very much.

[QUOTE=Twixt;4909764]Hi Leogurrrl,

I'm not an expert (but have done TONS of reading on the topic ever since my issues started - first with an ovarian cyst which has since resolved, and now with a persistent ovarian mass that they can't identify and for which I'll now be getting an MRI).

So anyway, from what I've read about ovarian cancer symptoms is that they tend to be persistent (ie: once the symptoms appear, they don't just go away), and they tend to get worse over time.

So if you've had issues that have flared up but then gone away for long periods of time, and then come back again, I'm guessing it's more likely something GI-related.

Regardless of the cause of the symptoms, it sucks to be having pain in the first place.

I hope you're able to figure out the cause of your symptoms soon!

*hugs*

Twixt[/QUOTE]

Twixt 01-12-2012 09:46 PM

Re: How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
Thanks Leogurrrl! :)

Yeah, I'm trying not to get too worried while I wait for my MRI appointment. I still don't know when it'll be, but apparently it'll be a while (likely around 3 months or so).

I'm guessing (and/or hoping) that if the radiologist strongly suspected cancer, that I would have gotten my MRI appointment much sooner than that. I'd still like to see what my latest ultrasound report said (I'm the kind of person who likes to have as much information as possible - I get more anxious when I don't have all the details, since that makes it too easy to start imagining the worst case scenario).

Btw, have you looked into seeing a gastroenterologist for your symptoms?

Also, when it comes to the digestive tract and any GI issues, it might be worth it to find a good naturopathic doctor in your area. NDs are experts when it comes to GI issues.

I always used to be skeptical about naturopathic medicine, but then last year I saw a naturopathic doctor for some GI issues I was having (low energy, bloating, poor absorption of various nutrients, etc), and she was a huge help.

Anyway, I hope you feel better soon!

Twixt :)

leogurrrl 01-13-2012 04:16 AM

Re: How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
Hang in there with the waiting game. That has always been THE hardest part for me. I get so anxious, to the point of not functioning, really. I'm sure it goes beyond what the 'normal' person would do. I hope and pray you aren't a fraction as bad as I am :))) Why are they doing an MRI vs. a CT? I thought for that sort of thing the CT was really the more telling test?? I wish they had done an MRI on me just because I don't like the radiation with the CTs. I wish you peace of mind while you are waiting. ANd you are right, if they thought it was something that warranted it, you would have gotten a speedy recovery.

Yes, I see a GI and started in January 2011 at the height of all of my problems. He did a colonoscopy (nothing causing these problems) as well as and endoscopy. The endoscopy showed esophagitis and inflamed stomach, so we know the pain is real. I just worried WHY the esophoghatis and if it was happening because of a possible OC-related issue. Can that even happen, or the fact it has been diagnosed as esophaghitis mean it is totally separate? That might be the key to this whole situation. THat darn CA125 is what is throwing me for a loop (46 isn't that high, but still.....it's high and I have symptoms!).

Let me know what you think based on what I told you about the GI testing. I have NOT tried a naturopath, though right now I am exploring other options including seeing a second GI since the meds they tried aren't working this second go around. Six months of relief and then BOOM.

It has been so nice talking with you, twixt..........just having someone else who can relate and having responses to my posts. Some boards and questions seem to go slower, lol.

[QUOTE=Twixt;4909869]Thanks Leogurrrl! :)

Yeah, I'm trying not to get too worried while I wait for my MRI appointment. I still don't know when it'll be, but apparently it'll be a while (likely around 3 months or so).

I'm guessing (and/or hoping) that if the radiologist strongly suspected cancer, that I would have gotten my MRI appointment much sooner than that. I'd still like to see what my latest ultrasound report said (I'm the kind of person who likes to have as much information as possible - I get more anxious when I don't have all the details, since that makes it too easy to start imagining the worst case scenario).

Btw, have you looked into seeing a gastroenterologist for your symptoms?

Also, when it comes to the digestive tract and any GI issues, it might be worth it to find a good naturopathic doctor in your area. NDs are experts when it comes to GI issues.

I always used to be skeptical about naturopathic medicine, but then last year I saw a naturopathic doctor for some GI issues I was having (low energy, bloating, poor absorption of various nutrients, etc), and she was a huge help.

Anyway, I hope you feel better soon!

Twixt :)[/QUOTE]

Twixt 01-15-2012 04:24 PM

Re: How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
Hi Leogurrrl,

I hope you've had a great weekend!

In answer to your question about why the radiologist wants me to get an MRI instead of a CT scan, I'm not sure. They couldn't quite identify the mass on the ultrasound (according to the report from two ultrasounds ago - I still haven't seen what was written on the latest report), and so as far as I know they've ordered the MRI to take a closer look at the mass.

In terms of why they've ordered an MRI versus a CT scan, I'm guessing (and hoping) that they don't suspect cancer, so they want to avoid exposing me to the radiation of a CT scan if they don't have to.

But again, I'm just guessing on the rationale. All I know is that I've got a persistent ovarian mass that has shown up on two consecutive ultrasounds, and that it doesn't resemble either a corpus luteum cyst or a hemmoraghic cyst, and that they want me to get an MRI (and that I still don't know when that MRI will be).

In terms of your other question, I haven't read any connection between esophagitis/inflamed stomach and ovarian cancer. In terms of GI issues, sometimes they can be caused by intolerances to certain foods, or totally different causes.

But again, I'm not an expert - I've just read large amounts ever since I've started having these health issues.

Seeing a second GI doctor - like you've mentioned you're doing - is probably a good idea. Especially if the meds you were taking have stopped working, it's a good idea to start exploring other options, and to try to get to the bottom of things.

Also, if you decide to see a new GI doctor, don't forget to take with you a list of symptoms you've had, and any pressing questions you have for them - if you write everything down, it'll help make sure you don't forget to mention anything important during your appointment.

All the best!

Twixt :wave:

Twixt 01-15-2012 04:28 PM

Re: How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
Hi Leogurrrl,

I hope you've had a great weekend!

Yeah, the waiting has definitely been the hardest part for me - a lot of January has been a write-off for me. Things are getting better now, but I've had lots of days where I've had trouble concentrating at work, and I've had lots of worry-filled evenings. Luckily I'm feeling *slightly* better and less anxious now :)

In answer to your question about why the radiologist wants me to get an MRI instead of a CT scan, I'm not sure. They couldn't quite identify the mass on the ultrasound (at least according to the report from two ultrasounds ago - I still haven't seen what was written on the latest report), and so as far as I know they've ordered the MRI to take a closer look at the mass.

In terms of why they've ordered an MRI versus a CT scan, I'm guessing (and hoping) that they don't suspect cancer, so they want to avoid exposing me to the radiation of a CT scan if they don't have to.

But again, I'm just guessing on the rationale. All I know is that I've got a persistent ovarian mass that has shown up on two consecutive ultrasounds, and that it doesn't resemble either a corpus luteum cyst or a hemmoraghic cyst, and that they want me to get an MRI (and that I still don't know when that MRI will be).

In terms of your other question, I haven't read any connection between esophagitis/inflamed stomach and ovarian cancer. As far as I know, ovarian cancer doesn't cause symptoms in the upper part of the GI tract. Anything I've read (RE: GI symptoms and ovarian cancer) have more to do with the lower part of the GI tract - issues with the large intestine and colon, for example, and not the esophagus or stomach.

But again, I'm not an expert - I've just read large amounts ever since I've started having these health issues.

Seeing a second GI doctor - like you've mentioned you're doing - is probably a good idea. Especially if the meds you were taking have stopped working, it's a good idea to start exploring other options, and to try to get to the bottom of things.

Also, if you decide to see a new GI doctor, don't forget to take with you a list of symptoms you've had, and any pressing questions you have for them - if you write everything down, it'll help make sure you don't forget to mention anything important during your appointment.

All the best!

Twixt :wave:

leogurrrl 01-15-2012 04:46 PM

Re: How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
Hi, Twixt............I'm glad you are getting an MRI. I actually prefer the MRI just because of the whole radiation issue, though I've never been offered one throughout all of this (and I'm not sure, honestly, what one sees that the other doesn't, I just trust that the doctor thinks the CT is what I needed). I've had MRIs years ago for some totally unrelated issues, and was freaked out by the tight quarters, but I would much, much rather do that than have a CT scan, it just hasn't been what my docs have ordered for my particular situation. I do hope you get some answers.

My confusion with the GI issues and OC is that on several lists I have seen indigestion as a symptom, and that's why I have somehow tried to connect the two. I do think because of the severity of it and the less-severe other symptoms, it likely is a separate and unrelated GI issue. Also the fact it is going on now for fifteen months........from what I understand OC progresses pretty quickly. I do think I am barking up the wrong tree the longer this goes on.

Thanks for the suggestions on my second GI visit. Do you recommend that I take my records and test results from the other, or 'start fresh' and let the new doc form his own conclusions? I never really know what to do about that.

I hope you have had a stress-free and worry-free weekend. This has actually been one of the first weekends I have had in a while without extreme worry - mainly because my symptoms have eased up a bit. I have been in turmoil over the last few months to the point of having some severe emotional issues. Don't know if I mentioned it, but I am also going to see a therapist to help me cope with some of the emotional aspects of this. I go there in another couple of weeks. Good thing it's not an emergency with some of these things, as long as it takes one to get an appointment :dizzy:'''

Thank you for being such a great cyber-friend:angel:

[QUOTE=Twixt;4911463]Hi Leogurrrl,

I hope you've had a great weekend!

In answer to your question about why the radiologist wants me to get an MRI instead of a CT scan, I'm not sure. They couldn't quite identify the mass on the ultrasound (according to the report from two ultrasounds ago - I still haven't seen what was written on the latest report), and so as far as I know they've ordered the MRI to take a closer look at the mass.

In terms of why they've ordered an MRI versus a CT scan, I'm guessing (and hoping) that they don't suspect cancer, so they want to avoid exposing me to the radiation of a CT scan if they don't have to.

But again, I'm just guessing on the rationale. All I know is that I've got a persistent ovarian mass that has shown up on two consecutive ultrasounds, and that it doesn't resemble either a corpus luteum cyst or a hemmoraghic cyst, and that they want me to get an MRI (and that I still don't know when that MRI will be).

In terms of your other question, I haven't read any connection between esophagitis/inflamed stomach and ovarian cancer. In terms of GI issues, sometimes they can be caused by intolerances to certain foods, or totally different causes.

But again, I'm not an expert - I've just read large amounts ever since I've started having these health issues.

Seeing a second GI doctor - like you've mentioned you're doing - is probably a good idea. Especially if the meds you were taking have stopped working, it's a good idea to start exploring other options, and to try to get to the bottom of things.

Also, if you decide to see a new GI doctor, don't forget to take with you a list of symptoms you've had, and any pressing questions you have for them - if you write everything down, it'll help make sure you don't forget to mention anything important during your appointment.

All the best!

Twixt :wave:[/QUOTE]

24kbear 01-15-2012 04:59 PM

Re: How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
Hello, leogurrl...

I, too, have had GI problems that have gone away for years and come back. You may have read my post about Gastroenteritis and Ovarian Cysts? I really find it very "coincidental" that I have never had ovarian pains in my life (during ovulations) but in the past 3 years when I'm not supposed to be ovulating (b/c I have a Mirena IUD) that the two times I have been in the ER due to gastroenteritis, I've had ovarian pains (this last one was confirmed as a cyst in a CT scan). I asked the GYN if there is a relation and he was QUICK to say not at all. He did give me an ultrasound and the cyst had already shrunk from 2.8cm to 0.9 cm in a little over a week, so that is good news. He did not do an annual exam, so I think I'm going to schedule it with a different GYN and ask her if there is a relation.

Do you have other symptoms other than burning? I normally do not, but the week prior to being admitted into the ER (on both occasions) I had lower left groin pain and excessive gas where I am VERY bloated and is not helped with GasX. This is why I don't believe I had "food poisoning" during those times...normally, you get symptoms 2-8 hrs within eating the bad food. I would go with your normal DR or GI DR since you already went to the GYN. If the normal DR thinks there is too much of a coincidence, then he/she can refer for certain tests from the GYN.

Hope this helps!

leogurrrl 01-15-2012 05:37 PM

Re: How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
HI, 24kbear - no, I haven't read your post, but I am going to go back and read it. I honestly don't know if mine are truly ovarian pains are not, as they are further down in my groin, though from what I've read pain can be 'referred pain', so even if it is in my groin and not actually over my ovary, the source *might* be from the ovary. Of course I have had a history of kidney stones that also tend to be in the groin and not the typical kidney area, so it is truly very hard for me to decipher what is what.

When I get the GI pain, it is mainly just awful, acid-y burning across the bottom of my rib cage, sometimes with nausea, sometimes not..........and I can almost feel heat coming off my skin if that makes sense, especially in that same area. It's almost like I have a fever, but the thermometer says otherwise. I have NEVER had gastroenteritis until my whole family came down with a bug in 2010 and while I eventually recovered, it came back months later for two months, left for five months, and now is back. I truly am beginning to think there is no connection with the ovarian/groin pain, the more this goes on and as I sit here and type this and think it through. I just want answers, you know??

I'm sorry you are having issues. I hate to hear of so many who are struggling, whether they know what they are dealing with or still trying to figure it out. Life can be pretty tough sometimes, that's for sure. I hope that we all have more good days than not. I am going to look for your post so I can read more. Thank you for sharing your experience with me:wave:


[QUOTE=24kbear;4911483]Hello, leogurrl...

I, too, have had GI problems that have gone away for years and come back. You may have read my post about Gastroenteritis and Ovarian Cysts? I really find it very "coincidental" that I have never had ovarian pains in my life (during ovulations) but in the past 3 years when I'm not supposed to be ovulating (b/c I have a Mirena IUD) that the two times I have been in the ER due to gastroenteritis, I've had ovarian pains (this last one was confirmed as a cyst in a CT scan). I asked the GYN if there is a relation and he was QUICK to say not at all. He did give me an ultrasound and the cyst had already shrunk from 2.8cm to 0.9 cm in a little over a week, so that is good news. He did not do an annual exam, so I think I'm going to schedule it with a different GYN and ask her if there is a relation.

Do you have other symptoms other than burning? I normally do not, but the week prior to being admitted into the ER (on both occasions) I had lower left groin pain and excessive gas where I am VERY bloated and is not helped with GasX. This is why I don't believe I had "food poisoning" during those times...normally, you get symptoms 2-8 hrs within eating the bad food. I would go with your normal DR or GI DR since you already went to the GYN. If the normal DR thinks there is too much of a coincidence, then he/she can refer for certain tests from the GYN.

Hope this helps![/QUOTE]

FatimaR 02-21-2013 02:25 AM

Re: How can I tell if stomach symptoms are pointing to GI problems or possibly OC?
 
[QUOTE=leogurrrl;4909084]Hello, I am in need of some advice relating to a problem that started in October 2010 (so started fifteen months ago), remitted for about five months, and now has come back. I am trying to figure out if my problem is truly a gastro problem or if it could be ovarian cancer with GI symptoms.

I have been worked up by the OB/GYN with a CT scan, transvaginal ultrasound, and pelvic exam which were ALL normal. HOWEVER, my CA-125 has been moderately elevated, which makes me not want to abandon the possibility of ovarian cancer. I have actually had these tests repeated TWICE, all normal except the slightly elevated CA-125 (which was 32, and then 46). I am a pre-menopausal female, so this figure did not alarm her, even though it was higher than the upper limit of 35. I don't seem to have any of the other symptoms of OC, though for a while I was having pelvic pain that has since resolved, but does come back from time to time (appears to be a pain in groin that can come and go for a few weeks, then disappears for months).


I had an endoscopy last January that showed 'inflamed gastic cardiac mucosa consistent with reflux esophagitis". They found two benign fundic polyps without a whole lot to say about those. I have had HORRIBLE burning stomach pains across the bottom of my rib cage for months. It started last Jan./February and went away after a few months on Omnaeprazole. I had FIVE OR SIX months of relief after stopping the medication, then it started up again in December. I started the meds again and am NOT getting any relief.


1. Does the endoscopy results from above saying "inflamed gastric cardiac mucosa consistent with reflux esophagitis" mean that my problem IS gastroenterological and NOT OB/GYN? I don't understand whether or not I can rule out my stomach problems being connected to an ob/gyn issue (specifically ovarian cancer).

2. If this is ovarian cancer, wouldn't something have shown up on a CT or ultrasound after fifteen months?

HOW DO I PURSUE this feeling of constant pain and being sick??? With a GI or GYN?? I am so tired of living this way :(( My mental and emotional well-being have long been gone. Not sure how much more I can take :((:mad:[/QUOTE]


Hii i hope you are still active on the board i came across your old post and i hope you get this message. I have been having ca125 test as my mom died from ovarian cancer. I have had so many fluctuations mostly in normal range and now the last one was 39 slightly above normal but i am worried. I read that period can raise the result so i have had the test on day 10 of 12 of my cycle. I was wondering what your numbers were and when during your menstural cycle do you usually get the test done ? I would appreciate your reply. Thank you.


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