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I am new to this forum and have a concern I'm hoping someone can help with.I am a 38 year old female and I have had what I consider the 'classic' symptoms of IBS throughout my adult life. Basically, if I eat too fast, I get severe pain & cramping followed by diarrhea. Once the diarrhea is gone, the pain subsides and everything is fine again. It didn't happen all that often, maybe once or twice a month, so it wasn't a big deal to me.However, that all changed beginning around May of this year. About this time I began to experience a severe amount of stress due to another life situation. During this time, I began to have extreme rumbling & growling noises from my bowels, so I went to see my family MD. He said it was spastic colon and prescribed bowel relaxants. I'm not one to take medicine unless absolutely necessary, so after trying a few, I stopped and focused on dealing with the other stresses in my life.Throughout June, July, and into August, I have reduced my stress quite a bit, but have begun experiencing other symptoms during this time which have caused me to be very concerned. My biggest concern is changes in the shape and size of my bowel movements. Prior to this, I always had thick, long BMs. However, since this time, I have BMs that have varied from normal, to thin ribbon-like, to pencil-like, and everything in-between. When this happens, I try to eat a blander diet (rice, bananas, toast, bran cereal, etc) to make it 'go back to normal' or get it to be thick again. Most of the times this works. However, after returning to eating normal foods, it begins to fluctuate between normal, thin, and sizes in-between. I also have more feelings of sensitivity in my bowel and rectal areas, and can sometimes feel things working down there. I also notice that I pass more gas than usual at times throughout the day. I usually have a BM once a day, but on some days I have a slight feeling a few times during the day that I might have a loose BM, but it usually passes. I still have attacks of IBS the way I used to around once every ten days or so.I have read from various sources that the symptoms of IBS and colorectal cancer can mimic each other, and that thinning stools and changes in bowel habits can also be a symptom of the later. This is what has me so concerned.I have returned and discussed some of the concerns with my Family MD again. After feeling my abdomen, listening to my symptoms, and running blood tests (metabolic panel, thyroid, anemia, etc..), which all turned out fine, he felt very sure it was IBS, although he did not run any other tests to eliminate other possibilities. I can understand that changes in bowel habits were effected by the period of extreme stress I went through, and that since I did have IBS in the past, the stress could make it worse. However, since I have calmed down in the months since, I don't understand why my bowel movements haven't returned to normal size & shape consistently (as in the past), as well as the other symptoms also. I also wonder if it were cancer, would modifying my diet have an effect on the size of my BMs, or is this more of an indication of IBS. I don�t want to go through any unnecessary tests, but I also don�t want to let something severe go either. I feel my MD is a very good doctor, but I just don�t understand all of this change, and don�t know if I should be concerned and seek further medical opinions.Any thoughts, insights, shared experiences, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Generally with colon cancer by the time you have pain and consistantly thin stools (usually described as pencil thin in a lot of the pamphlets) it is usually pretty advanced.As long as the stool width is fluctuating it is probably more a function of other things, not from a large tumor blocking most of the rectum.K.
 

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Hi abrown, I have exactly the same thing as you do. I just turned 39, and sometimes my stools are normal, sometimes thin, and since I am mostly c, they can be pelletlike also. I sometimes get strong urges for bm only to pass gas or a very small amount throughout the day. I usually go in the morning. I also get ab pain mostly in lower ab, but all over. I do pass gas more often then I used to, and I think the pain could often times be trapped gas. I feel rumblings and things moving also. My doc did the same as yours did a physical,health history and blood test and found nothing. He is sure it is ibs, since I've had symptoms to varying degrees since my teens. I don't think it is cancer, but I've run the gambit, thinking cancer, appendicitis(been to er), etc. Relax,try some peppermint tea or oil, for pain. Soluable fiber works to help bulk up stool, and helps with d and c. Metamucil and Citrucel are popular. I use Fiber Choice chewables when diet isn't enough. Hope this helps,take care.
 

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hi again abrown, Sorry i forgot to mention relaxation. Since some symptoms are made worse by stress. Try yoga, relaxed breathing, and regular excercise, if you haven't already. Many yoga positions, help relax your muscles, which can help with pain.
 
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