I'm a little worried about Ralph - hope they're ok
I came across this thread searching for various combinations of "lower left abdominal pain" and most of the posts here seem to mirror my current symptoms very closely. I wonder if anyone can describe how their symptoms began? With me, it was fairly sudden, after a noctournal computer programming marathon. It began with a fullness round the back, like needing a poop, but nothing was willing to make its way out. I put it down to a bit of constipation- after this, the lower-left abdominal pain began to set in. Initially, it was like the cramps just before a bout of diarrhea (but with no diarrhea) and then became a bloated feeling. Aside from the initial cramps (almost doubled-up painful) which passed over the course of an hour or so, the symptoms continued for a few days - I found that walking long distances made the pain flair up more, but the bloated feeling stuck with me continuously. It wasn't debilitating to the point I couldn't get about, but it certainly made picking things up off the floor while sitting on an office chair uncomfortable.
As I'm completely unfamiliar with such sensations - I've never had problems with my bowels - and it continued for over a week, I made an appointment at the doc's, and the earliest I could be seen was the following week. By the time I got to the appointment, there was no symptoms! Just typical! But a few days after, the nagging discomfort / pain that's described here started. Anyway, back to the appointment - The doctor palpitated my belly, applied the customary gloved and slimey finger that's so common under these circumstances and announced all was apparently normal barring obvious signs of hemorrhoids. I think she noticed on my record that I had previously been flagged to have a hereditary haemochromatosis test (I completely forgot about that appointment a couple of years ago), so I was booked in for a blood test, then a fasting blood test.
At the fasting blood test, I asked the nurse if I should make another appointment for my sore gut and was told that if the symptoms are still present, I should. So about 3 or 4 weeks after my first appointment, I got up to go to the second appointment and once again, no symptoms! I've only got a sample of 2 to base this on so far, but this pain seems to be scared of doctors! It turns out my iron levels are twice the maximum however, and with the lack of belly related symptoms to show off the appointment turned into a haemochromatosis talk and firm admonishment not to overlook the genetics testing appointment this time! I've been back to provide blood samples for the genetics test and am still waiting to hear back, but I'm completely unconvinced that haemochromatosis will be the explanation for the gut pain. It tends to cause liver or pancreas problems if advanced enough.
The pain now seems to have settled into a pattern of sorts, unaffected by foods or coffee. It'll flair up for a few days, and then seem to be almost if not completely gone for a couple of days after. It never affects my sleep, although I have noticed the last couple of days that I can feel it when I lie down. When I wake up it's not there at all. My BMs are pretty much once a day and largely normal (although can cross between Type 3 and Type 4 on the Bristol stool chart in one BM) with the only notable change being that they're softer than they used to be since I started eating a lot of sunflower seeds for the fibre, and on the advice of my father who claims they've worked wonders for his hemorrhoids.
One thing I have noticed is that when lying on my back, if I feel around the source of the pain (sigmoid colon and above) with some pressure, I can feel a sausage-shaped lump that's almost as hard as cartilage extending from about a level with my bellybutton right down to near my bladder, following the path of the colon. It's not sore and there's no swollen lymph nodes I can find in the area, but it's an annoying and worrying lump. It seems to come and go too, sometimes feeling very worrying and at other times being unnoticeable unless I *really* look for it. I suspect it vanishes altogether at times. If I could find documented evidence of it being possible, I'd assume I was feeling faeces in my colon, awaiting escape. It's definitely not the tendon at the top of my leg/hip.
I intend to keep chasing this up with the doctors, but I'm due to travel for the first 2/3 of this month so the next appointment will be after that. Just thought I'd post here to see if anyone has any input. I'll also keep posting here because I know the mysterious vanishing of Ralph has slightly worried me!
Well - that's the first time I've ever talked so much poop (insert classic Scottish synonym) on a forum!
Oh - I'm 35 and male by the way, with no (known) medical conditions barring lifelong seborrhoeic dermatitis.
EDIT: I meant to add - I will try the peppermint tea that I've seen suggested a few times above. It sounds enjoyable and promising : )