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CT Scan Tips and Advice?

CT scan IBS-C constipation hospital preparation

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#1 Maegwin

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 01:17 PM

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I'm scheduled for a CT Scan and I have a few questions for anyone who has taken a CT Scan before. My constipation is unpredictable. My biggest concern is that my body will push out the pills quickly and the doctors will say I'm fine. I had a CT Scan when I was a kid and it took 3 days for the pills to pass. The doctors then said I was fine. So, here are my questions:

  1. Should I go off my meds (exlax, probiotics, mood stabilizers, herbal LBT formula) before the Scan starts?
    • Mood stabilizers can have a diarrheoa side effect
    • Even on these pills I rarely have complete BM's but they will sometimes push the non-solid/liquids through leaving the compacted solids behind
    • I'm concerned my pills will push the markers through quickly and the doctors will think I'm fine
  2. Should I eat more normally during the scan process?
    • I don't eat very much these days and have dropped under my healthy weight according to my height (so my gastro says)
    • I avoid a lot of foods that make my symptoms worse, which are a lot of foods that give the body energy and healthy weight
    • I do eat healthily, no sweet, greasy, or processed foods for the most part. If I ate more I would still eat healthily, just more carbs and protein.
  3. If I "fail" the CT Scan will I be told I'm fine again despite all of my other symptoms (depression, fatigue, chronic pain, nausea, etc...)?
    • I've had so many doctors tell me I'm normal and fine throughout my entire life of having IBS (had it since I was a baby) even though my symptoms continued to handicap my life.
    • I have tried many methods suggested by doctors and that I researched on the net to help with my symptoms but nothing works.
    • My symptoms are worsenning, I can't eat, I have no energy, I'm practically a shut-in, I can't work away from home, I'm on welfare and disability.

I'm terrified that I'll be written off as "fine" and "normal" again. I can't handle that verdict right now. Any suggestions or stories of your experiences doing a CT Scan would be welcome. :)



#2 annie7

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 01:36 PM

sounds like you're talking about the sitz marker test--colonic marker study--as it's called here in the usa...where you swallow a pill containing 24 radiopaque markers, can't take laxatives the entire time etc...

 

you do have to go off all laxtives the entire time--and herbals, etc --anything that you take that helps you have a bm.  i'd ask the doc about going off probiotics and your mood stabilizers..i don't know the answer to that part of the question....and i'd ask the doc too about what to eat during the test-and tell him how you eat now---just to get his advice on the whole thing.

 

i have colonic inertia and pfd and took the sitz marker about two years ago--and survived--lol..but oh yes it is difficult. I had no bm's the entire time.. really--it's best to eat your normal diet to get the most accurate result --that's what my gastro said to do--and I did try but after a couple days of that and no bm's I became quite backed up and sick so I just went to a soft/liquid diet. just ate the "squishy" foods--soups, very well-cooked vegetables, eggs, rice crispies, only a little VERY tender meat, instant breakfast and boost with extra protein to help keep my nutrition up. and of course stay hydrated--drink lots of water...

good luck to you! and please try not to worry--worry just saps your strength and makes everything worse. you will get through this. and it's worth it-- it 's a very good test to have. I actually asked to have it even though I dreaded it. I wanted to prove to my gastro that I did indeed have slow motility. seeing placement of the markers on the x-rays can shed some light on your problems. all my markers were still in there scattered throughout the colon. and there were quite few in the rectum and sigmoid which the gastro felt might be indicative of pfd so next step for me was a defogram..

so sorry your symptoms have been getting worse.  hopefully this test will give you and the doc some answers and your doc can then give you an effective treatment plan.

 

please do take good care of yourself.  wishing you all the best.


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#3 Maegwin

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 03:21 PM

Thank you Annie. I did mention my diet and pills to my gastro but he didn't say anything about changing my routine for the test. Perhaps it's something he'll address when the date is set.

 

Your feedback was helpful. I both dread and look forward to the test. If I do go off my meds I dread the after effects but I hope to finally get some answers and get the doctors to take me seriously. =)



#4 annie7

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 04:10 PM

yes, i hope he does address all that when the date is set.  please keep me posted, if you get a chance.

 

oh yes--that was definitely one of the best things about the test for me--it got the docs to finally take me seriously!smile.png


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#5 Rose

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 06:08 PM

Annie is right, it sounds like you are having a sitz marker test rather than a cat scan. You sound just like me. I take a senna/fiber combo to help me have a BM. The fiber/senna pushes through the softer poop, but also leaves the more solid/compacted stool behind. I too have chronic pain in my lower left side of my stomach. This pain started about 6 months ago, first it was only a day or two every week and gradually built up to everyday. I have also lost weight and I was thin too begin with. I desperately try to gain weight, but can't , because the food that will put weight on, I'm afraid to eat because of the effect they will have on me. I have had the sitz marker test, which I passed, even though I passed hardly any stool for 5 days. I only had one marker left, which I don't understand, because by the last day of the test (day 5), I was so backed up I could barely walk. After the stiz marker I had two cat scans and a trans vaginal ultra sound, none of which they said could show any reason for the never-ending pain I am in. My next appointment is with a surgeon on
Nov. 11th. I am at a point where I would rather live with a bag if it means no pain. Of course I hope it doesn't come to that, but I do have diverticulosis in my sigmoid colon, which is exactly where pain is located. I want the surgeon to look at all my tests and see if he thinks removing my sigmoid might stop the pain. Good luck with your test. I know exactly how you feel . I am practically a shut-in also, mainly because the only relief I get from the pain us when I lay Down. I just don't want to live like this anymore, because it isn't really living, It's just existing.
"Remember To Stop and Smell the Roses"
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#6 annie7

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 05:25 AM

Rose--good luck with your appointment with the surgeon. please keep us posted if you get a chance. i do hope that somehow you can get some relief. you and Maegwin are right--it is so hard to struggle with this all the time...

 

i have diverticulosis as well..

 

i'm going to see my surgeon again. he took out half my colon --an ER surgery in june due to a cecal volvulus but, as the sitz marker showed, none of my colon works. the rest needs to go as well--lol..

 

good luck to both of you...


these are just my own thoughts. for expert medical advice please contact a health care professional.


#7 Rose

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 11:32 AM

Hi Annie,

Did removing half your colon help you at all? What is a cecal volvulus? If none of your colon works, what do you do about moving the stool out? Do you have pain? I will post after the meeting with my surgeon.


Rose
"Remember To Stop and Smell the Roses"
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#8 annie7

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 12:55 PM

a cecal volvulus is a twisting of the ascending colon at or near the cecum. mine had twisted 720 degrees.  when this happened i became extremely ill and my husband took me to the ER. by that time my ascending colon was swollen and about to perforate. the ER surgeon removed my ascending colon and half the transverse. he did consult with my gastro both prior to and during the surgery. based on my tests and past history my gastro advised him to remove most of my colon since none of it works--lol--but the ER surgeon decided to be a bit more conservative and just remove the twisted, swelling, ischemic part which i do understand--his job as ER surgeon was to fix the problem that brought me to the ER and he did that admirably--probably saved my life.

 

but--just like before surgery-- i still need laxatives (dulcolax and milk of mag)  to have a bm since the remaining part my colon is slow transit. and i have pfd. i can't go without laxatives although thankfully i don't need to take quite as many as i did prior to the surgery. the shorter colon did help a bit with that, thank goodness.   

 

when the laxatives don't work as well as they should--which is most days--i have a lot of pain from backed up stool and the resultant gas and bloating...

 

thanks for keeping us posted.smile.png


these are just my own thoughts. for expert medical advice please contact a health care professional.


#9 Rose

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 03:19 PM

Annie, thanks for getting back to me. Wow, you really went through hell. Thank goodness, you got through the surgery ok.

I am really beginning to think the pain I am having is from tapped hard as a rock stool that won't break up and move. I take a fiber senna combo called fiber plus and every morning I pass stool that is soft and not formed at all. It's not D, but very soft and not formed. I have to go back and forth to the bathroom several times, as only a small amount comes out at a time. Then,when I feel there is more to come, it just stops and I try and try go get out what's left, but it won't move. All of a sudden, it's not soft anymore, it feels like there is a big boulder up there that is stuck. In the past, when I would get like this, I would take a Zelnorm (I order it from MedsMex in Mexico. The Zelnorm would always break up and move the hard stuff out, and my pain would subside. I started taking the Zelnorm once a week to clean out to prevent the hard ball from forming. Lately, the Zelnorm is not working like it used to. Now when I take it, I end up with just a small amount of watery stool, which I feel is just pushing the D out and by-passing the hardened rock of stool, which leaves me with this miserable daily pain. Does that make any sense?
"Remember To Stop and Smell the Roses"
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#10 annie7

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:00 PM

Hi Rose

 

yes, that does make sense.  and it does sound miserable, too.  

 

and yes it is possible to have sort of a partial blockage---like what you are describing--where some of the softer or even watery stool bypasses the harder backed up stool. can you do a clean out--mag cit or something-- or an enema to get rid of the backed up stool? and then take or do something to keep it from getting backed up again if this keeps happening repeatedly.

 

 maybe the fiber in the senna/fiber combo is getting to be too much fiber. i found as i got older (i'm 61) and my colon got slower that i definitely do lots better on  a very low fiber diet. or if you haven't already tried this, maybe  you could  add a daily stool softner or some osmotic laxative--miralax--milk of mag-- (play around with the amount) to keep the stool softer and of course drink lots of water but i imagine you're already doing the water thing...aren't we all--lol...

 

zelnorm quit on me too--rather early when i started taking it, in fact. it did seem to quit on a lot of people either sooner or later for some reason. i got so i had to take 12 mg zelnorm in the am but not every day because it got so it wouldn't work if i took it daily--only worked if i took it two or three times a week.  and then i would periodically have to go on a one or two week "holiday" from it and then go back on it. the holiday would sort of kick start it into working again.  i've also hear that zelnorm doesn't work too well on backed up stool. so maybe that's why it's not working well for you now--too backed up. you could try a clean out and then see if zelnorm works better..

 

did you try linzess? didn't help me..but it helps some people.

 

 wish we could get prucalopride (resolor) here in the usa. that med is a lot like zelnorm but with a better safety profile. if you can get your doc to write you a script for it you can get it through canadadrugs.com--they need a script in order to send it to you.

 

do you feel you always have trouble getting stool out and that it keep getting stuck in the rectum? if you do, you may be having trouble with pelvic floor dysfunction, where the muscles don't coordinate properly to allow for a complete evacuation.  or there could be another type of outlet problem like a rectocele (i have one) . ...just brainstorming here...

 

hope you can somehow get rid of that horrible blockage and keep it from forming again.


these are just my own thoughts. for expert medical advice please contact a health care professional.


#11 Rose

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:21 PM

Annie, believe it or not, I have already tried a bottle magnesium citrate and all I got was a like watery stool, like with the Zelnorm. The zelnorm didn't work for me if I used it daily either, but if I used it once or twice a week, it would clean me out, but not now. The linzess worked great the first day I took it and I thought I had found my miracle, but after the first day it didn't work as well and left me with horrendous gas pains. To the point , I couldn't eve walk. Then waited a week and tried it again, but the horendous gas came back, so I gave up. I am thinking of getting a script for golytley and see if that will move this hard stool.
"Remember To Stop and Smell the Roses"
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#12 annie7

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 04:30 PM

Rose--oh yes! the script for golytley sounds like a good idea.  anything to get that hard stool out. you don't want to become impacted. 

 

when i do golytely or mag cit cleanouts i have to take 15 mg of dulcolax as well to get it all moving. at least, that's what i had to do when i had my whole colon. thankfully i haven;t had to do a clean out yet (fingers crossed) with my new semi-colon...

 

good luck! i do hope you can get some relief soon!!


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#13 Rose

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 05:59 PM

The golytely is probably what I am going to have to take. ugh, I dread it and to be honest, I am a little scared. What if I drink all that down and it doesn't work? I will have all that stuff sloshing around in me. I hate having to deal with all this. I am so miserable. I keep hoping every night when I go to bed, that the next day will be better, but no such luck. I am 65 by the way and just retired in August. This pain started a few months before I retired. I didn't have pain everyday then, but had to deal with it two or three days a week. I really thought that after I retired, I would feel better, because I wouldn't have to rush out of the house every morning and the stress from the job would be gone. Unfortunately, I have gotten progressively worse sine I retired. It's just not fair. I worked so hard my whole life and was so looking to having some me time, so my husband and I could do some of the things we never had time to do and instead I end up practically housebound with pain. It's not fair for my husband either. Thank God he is supportive and understanding and keeps telling me some doctor will find an answer. I hope he is right. :-(. Thanks for listening and for your help. I appreciate it.
"Remember To Stop and Smell the Roses"
Rose (C-type)

#14 annie7

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 06:48 PM

yes i always dreaded the cleanouts too--drinking all that awful stuff. it always made me so sick.taking a stimulant with it did help kick it out. but hopefully you won't need to do that. i do hope the cleanout goes well for you and gives you some relief.

 

and oh yes it is so hard struggling with this every day.  and yes i keep thinking positive, hoping the next day will be better--got to keep thinking that...staying positive..

 

i took an early retirement because of the constant daily pain, being backed up and constipated and bloated all the time--getting worse with the stress of the job. . drove to work everyday with a heating pad on my tum. 

 

i am thankful i no longer have to struggle through work every day, though.  that alone is a big relief.  

 

i am so glad you have a supportive husband. mine is as well and i am thankful for that, too. and i agree--i feel the same way--that it's not fair to him, really-- living with me and all my health problems ( i have mitochondrial disease as well).

 

and yes, your husband is right----hopefully and fingers crossed some doctor will find an answer!  we can't lose hope. like they say--never ever ever give up..smile.png

 

and thank you for listening and your support!!


these are just my own thoughts. for expert medical advice please contact a health care professional.


#15 oceannir

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 02:45 AM

Rose--oh yes! the script for golytley sounds like a good idea.  anything to get that hard stool out. you don't want to become impacted. 

 

when i do golytely or mag cit cleanouts i have to take 15 mg of dulcolax as well to get it all moving. at least, that's what i had to do when i had my whole colon. thankfully i haven;t had to do a clean out yet (fingers crossed) with my new semi-colon...

 

good luck! i do hope you can get some relief soon!!

 

Did you have surgery Annie? How did it go for you. I hope its improved your symptoms drastically



#16 annie7

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 04:50 AM

oceannir--Hi!  smile.png  how are you doing?  better, i hope...

 

june 28  i developed a cecal volvulous. my ascending colon twisted 720 degrees, started swelling and was about to perforate. hubby took me to ER where they performed an emergency extended right colectomy.  

 

the ER surgeon removed my ascending colon and half the transverse. he did consult with my gastro both prior to and during the surgery. based on my tests and past history my gastro advised him to remove most of my colon since none of it works--lol--but the ER surgeon decided to be a bit more conservative and just remove the twisted, swelling, ischemic part which i do understand--his job as ER surgeon was to fix the problem that brought me to the ER and he did that admirably--probably saved my life.

 

but i still have to take laxatives to go now even though i only have half a colon.  that was the only way they could get me going again in the hospital--was with laxatives.  otherwise, nothing--no bm's.. the remaining colon is still slow transit and troublesome.

 

so, thanks for asking--i'm a little bit better now with the shorter colon. at least --so far, fingers crossed-- i now do not have to take quite as many laxatives to go and also--so far and fingers crossed--i have not had to resort to any mag citrate cleanouts since the surgery. but i still have a lot of problems going because the laxatives do not always work well. they say i should wait six months before trying any more surgery to allow my body enough time to heal (had a bad time in the hospital after surgery--in there for 16 days, my body  shut down after surgery, couldn't eat, developed severe edema, had to be tube fed, lost ten pounds,  etc etc)  but i do plan to go back to the surgeon to see about getting the rest of my colon removed, like my gastro had advised him. i think a full colectomy would work much better for me--provided of course that my pelvic floor problems aren't too bad. my other gastro does think biofeedback helped a bit with all that.  it's complicated--lol...

 

oceannir--i do hope you've been feeling better and that things are going well for you. take care.. 


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#17 oceannir

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:26 AM

I've been feeling better as a whole, as you know, its a very day by day week by week thing. One week you actually feel progress, then a few bad days and you're back to square one, bloated and in pain. I've long given up on finding some magical cure all drug, so I just scan here looking for new information and try and cope the best I can. (Ive been taking your advice and getting up at 4am before work to allow my body 3 hours to attempt to make a bowel movement, its a pain, but it works to an extent).

 

 

What do they think caused your colon to twist all of a sudden? Or had it been that way for a while? What caused you to know that something was wrong? Bowel movements had stopped or just extreme pain? 

 

Thats discouraging that it didn't solve your problem but better that you survived and seem well and ok, even after such a traumatic experience. I assume you had keyhole surgery? I bet part of you was just wishing they'd have the whole thing out and be done with it. It seems normal reaction for people to be have severe reactions to this type of surgery.

 

Keep fighting, as we all know, even 'small' improvements can be very uplifting.



#18 annie7

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 06:24 AM

glad you're feeling better as a whole but yes, it is hard, isn't it.  just like you said--good days and then backsliding to bad--the bloating and pain, being backed up. wish we could all have good days! and yes the getting up early--tiresome as it is-- does help a bit.  i still do it even though i'm retired--lol--lets me get out of the house for appointments and errands etc at a decent time.

 

the surgeons all said they didn't really know what caused my volvulus. apparently sometimes there is a cause but in many of the cases it just happens. actually, two weeks prior to this happening i had a major electrolyte crash which  sent me to the ER with vomiting, fainting and mental confusion (scary) and into ICU on IV's for 24 hours. the ER report on that said that not all of my levels were typical of an electrolyte problem and the ER doc thought something else might have been going on at the time--some other trauma to the body--but didn't know what...so maybe that was sort of a precursor.

 

the night of the volvulus i woke up and suddenly felt like i had to have bm but couldn't, started vomiting and passing out. lots of abdominal pain..could barely stand up and walk.

 

and no unfortunately it wasn't keyhole surgery. after the CT scan the ER surgeon decided to open me up completely to see just exactly what was going on.i had a six inch vertical  incision in the middle of my abdomen. now it's quite the dramatic scar--lol..and now i'm worried of course about adhesions and scar tissue possibly causes problems later on although hopefully not. 

 

oh yes--keep fighting!smile.png  you are so right!  and yes--i do so treasure and am encouraged by even the small improvements! anything is better than nothing at all...


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#19 Maegwin

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 11:59 AM

I'm kind of like you Rose, although I stay away from most fibre as it makes my symptoms worse. However, my BM's are similar to what your describing: soft, un-formed stools that are more like cow patties and then always the feeling of incomplete BM's with those "boulders" left behind. I frequently have to starve myself inorder to clear my bowels out, hence my weight loss. At most I can eat four days in a row but by the fourth day I'm very backed up. If I continue eating after that that's when I get really sick.

 

I'm worried that the sitz marker test (called a CT scan here) will be a pass because my bowels do move the loose and small waste through (like the markers).

 

Annie, with your colon removed does that mean you have to wear a bag? I don't think I could do that. I'm depressed now because my body prevents me from enjoying the activities I used to love: dance, racing, hiking, cycling. If my "symptoms" were cured but with the result being that I would still be limited with my activities my depression would just continue and worsen.

 

Can you tell me a little about yourself and your health situation? How old you are, what you do for fun, how active you are? I'm so terrified about a bag being my only option.

I recently found out from my father that I've had these digestion problems since I was in diapers. As a baby I would go several diaper changes without a BM and then when I did go it was adult sized. Did either of you have this?



#20 annie7

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 01:58 PM

Maegwin--no, i don't have a bag. i had only half my colon removed--the ascending and half of the transverse. still have the descending, sigmoid and rectum. 

 

if tests show that my pelvic floor is now working properly after biofeedback and if i decide to go on and  have the rest of my colon removed i would be able to have a total colectomy. and with that surgery you do not have a bag. they hook up your small intestine with the rectum--or sometimes a little more of the colon. so you still use your rectum to go. 

 

if the pelvic floor is still not working properly and i need the rest of my colon removed, then i would have an ileostomy and then yes, i would have a bag. 

 

is your pelvic floor working properly? have you been tested for that? because if it is and you have no other outlet problem that prevents stool from leaving your rectum then i wouldn't think you need to worry about a bag.  the bag--via either ileostomy or colostomy--would be needed  only if you have severe pfd or other serious outlet problems and no stool can leave the rectum. if you turn out to have slow transit but not pfd etc then a total colectomy --no bag--would be the surgery...if surgery were needed. they really don't tend to rush patients into these surgeries. there's lots of testing required first.

 

and really--having a bag is not the end of the world. i have a couple friends with ileostomies and because i was dx'd with pfd i've  been reading a very good ostomy board for the past year to try to get a realistic idea of what living with an ileo is like. people do adjust and they do leave active busy lives. people even snow ski and surf with a bag. and they say they feel so much better having had the ostomy.

 

please try not to worry so much and just take it one step at a time...and i know it's hard not to worry, really i do--i'm a worrier myself--lol--  but--i think your'e getting way ahead of yourself here. and worry just makes things worse and saps your strength and energy...

 

i'm 61..i'm old--lol..and love being active as well--as active as my body will let me be--again lol.. i've had c problems (that i remember) since the age of 10.  don't know about my baby history and never will at this point--father deceased, mother has dementia and i'm the oldest...  so sorry you've had all your problems since infancy...makes it an extra long hard road...please do take good care of yourself....try not to worry...smile.png


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