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Old 10-19-2011, 03:06 PM   #1
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Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea

I've been under various doctors' care for a six-week long problem. It began as acute diarrhea. After the first week, I settled into my current pattern of alternating diarrhea and constipation.

Let me go into a little detail. When I say constipation, I don't mean rock-hard stools; I mean not having any bowel movement at all for several days at a time. Then, when I do go, it can be either diarrhea or solid, massive stools. While it can be several days between movements, it can also be movements everyday. These can also vary between solid and watery; I've had regular stools for 3 days straight, and diarrhea for 3 days straight. The uncertainty is terrifying. Has anyone else had this problem? What was it and what did you do for it?

The constipation is not my main problem, the diarrhea has kept me out of work (I'm a schoolteacher and legally can't just leave the classroom when I need to). However, my GI doesn't know what to do for me, and tells me she can't give me any more time off of work because the diarrhea isn't constant.

I've also had abdominal cramping, in several different places. It hurts, but luckily its short-lived. When I tell my GI about it, and how varied the location of it has been, (both left and right sides) I think she thinks its bullcrap (or just "in my head")

All the blood tests, stool tests, etc. have come back negative. I had a sigmoidoscopy that was also negative. I had a colonoscopy last year, (that discoverred diverticulosis) and my HMO doesn't want me having another. They've scheduled an endoscopy, but, as I'm sure is true for most HMO's, scheduling a procedure is like scheduling a cruise, the soonest they can get you in is usually 4 weeks or later down the road. If the endoscopy finds something, great, I have my answer. However, I'm thinking that it won't likely find the cause of the diarrhea.

Has anyone gone through something similar?
What did you do?
What should I ask/tell my GI?

Last edited by bapush; 10-19-2011 at 03:46 PM.

 
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:41 AM   #2
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Re: Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea

I started having similar problems several years ago. At first it was constant diarrhea. I'd be going up to 20 times a day, but averaged at least 8 times per day most days. I couldn't even make the 20 minute drive to work many mornings. For me, while I had problems throughout the day, mornings are the worst.

Anyway, after tons of testing they couldn't figure out what my problems were and just diagnosed IBS. It was a while in, but eventually my IBS-D turned into IBS-alternating.

In order to protect my job from time lost due to my diarrhea, I ended up working with my employer and convincing my doctor to sign the paperwork for intermittent FMLA. Basically, this protected my job for a certain amount of time for intermittent leave. In my case, it was usually a few hours here or there when my IBS was at its worse.

I know it is much more difficult as a teacher (I taught for quite a few years), but you should know your rights and what options you have with your employer.

I wish you well in figuring out what is going on. It certainly isn't fun.

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Old 10-20-2011, 09:06 PM   #3
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Re: Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea

I have a friend who said she had these symptoms and they diagnosed her with Crohns Disease. Of course you won't really know till someone scopes you and sees inside. There are just so many digestive disorders. Good luck to you, I hope they find your problem and it is totally treatable.

 
Old 10-20-2011, 09:18 PM   #4
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Re: Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea

Had the endoscopy today. They found nothing.

 
Old 10-20-2011, 09:34 PM   #5
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Re: Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea

That is good news.

It was only after they ruled out everything else that they diagnosed me with IBS.
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