IBS getting worse - when to worry?
Posted 15 April 2020 - 09:02 AM
I was diagnosed with IBS at age 11; I am now 30. My symptoms have changed over time (beginning with IBS-D, then changing to IBS-A, along with periods in which I had no symptoms at all) but have always been linked to anxiety. I also have migraines. Both of my parents have IBS.
In January 2018, I had a bad case of norovirus. Since then, my IBS symptoms have been getting worse. I began to have intense nausea, dizziness, and shakiness before BMs. My diarrhea became more urgent, frequent, and watery. During periods of anxiety, I would experience severe diarrhea, and then afterwards would become constipated for days or weeks. It has gotten to the point where I always either have D or C (no normal BMs).
In the last six months, I've had three more severe bouts of diarrhea. They have each followed the same course, beginning with one day of severe watery diarrhea (10-13 times) followed by a week of gradually less severe diarrhea. During that week, I run a low-grade fever (99.5-100.1 degrees F), feel nauseous and weak, and lose my appetite.
These bouts have always been preceded by a week or more of constipation. Afterwards I become constipated again. I also tend to get migraines during this time.
What is particularly troubling to me is that I've had two bouts of diarrhea at night. The diarrhea doesn't wake me up; in both cases I was already awake (I get up nightly at 2 am). I have always read that this is a bad sign.
I have NOT had any blood in my stool, abdominal pain, or significant weight loss (I may lose 2-3 pounds during each bout but gain it back afterward).
I have a doctor and a nurse in my family who both think it is IBS, but I am concerned that these more severe symptoms are suggestive of something worse, like IBD. I've made an appointment to see a GP through Zoom but due to the coronavirus I probably won't be able to get any tests done in the near future unless they think it is really urgent.
To summarize: for many years I've had "classic" IBS symptoms that were easily managed. These symptoms became worse after a bout of norovirus and the appearance of new symptoms have worried me. I am concerned that I may have IBD.
Other relevant facts:
-The last few years, and particularly the last six months, have been a time of unusual stress and major life changes for me.
-In 2013 I was diagnosed with Henoch Schonlein Purpura, a rare autoimmune disease. Fortunately it required no treatment and went away on its own (it's not chronic). During this time I had nausea and diarrhea similar to what I am having now. I worry that having this autoimmune disease predisposes me to other inflammatory diseases.
-I had bloodwork (CBC, etc.) done for an unrelated problem in January 2019 that was normal.
Any thoughts that people have would be greatly appreciated.
Posted 15 April 2020 - 05:19 PM
Boy I don't know....I think a trip to the doctor would be in order. Sounds worse than regular IBS. My symptoms have been worse lately. I'm sure from the stress we are forced to live through right now, but not extremely out of the ordinary. I had an e-visit with my gastroenterologist last week. My diarrhea was acting up and I was getting hemorrhoids. We are going to try a few things but if they don't improve I may have to see someone. I would think they would see you at some point.
Posted 15 April 2020 - 06:01 PM
Thanks, I appreciate your responding. The prospect of waiting for an answer makes me more anxious, although it's not exactly an emergency. I have a virtual appointment tomorrow. I hope your symptoms improve soon.
Posted 17 April 2020 - 06:39 AM
Thanks, I am already feeling better. Just have to wait until I can see a GI doctor!
Posted 24 April 2020 - 11:01 AM
Just in case anyone was curious, I was able to see a GI doctor remotely. He seemed to think my symptoms were probably just IBS but suggested getting some blood tests to check for abnormalities. Overall he was not very concerned and thought it was unlikely to be something like IBD or Crohn's. Since it's not urgent I'm going to wait a few months to get the tests.