Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Digestive Health Support Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi there - I'm new here and have been dealing with some weird symptoms for the past 6 weeks. I've seen a few different doctors and had various tests done, and the general trend is thinking it's some form of IBS. I'm not entirely convinced, but I'm also not a doctor nor do I have experience with this - you all aren't doctors, but certainly have the experience, so I wanted to throw out my weird symptoms and see if people think "yeah, that does sound right" or "no, that doesn't seem IBS". Any input and thoughts are appreciated!

I'm 44M. So this started about 6 weeks ago where I started having some minor abdominal discomfort but nonspecific. It almost felt like core workout that went too far. Over the course of a week, I started getting swelling in the belly area, with slightly increasing discomfort, but nothing that affected my daily activities. Up to this point, I had noticed no particular GI-related issues.

I then had some heart palpitations and started freaking out. Went to ER, got blood/urine work done and CT scan. Everything seemed fairly normal - nothing showed in CT, and just some mild things in blood/urine that no one seemed concerned with (I showed these to 4 different docs). Also had EKG for heart - ultimately, the thought there was anxiety/panic and really, the heart symptoms have largely disappeared. I have a cardiologist appointment scheduled but no one seems concerned there.

ER released me, suggested it was something food related and to followup with a GI if no improvement. Over the next couple of weeks, I did have some GI issues - inconsistent BMs, some constipation, random gas, etc. Some nausea. Still had normal appetite and full control of bowels, but trying to go felt like it would help (sometimes did, sometimes didn't). About 3 weeks in, got to see GI; they felt it was something I ate and IBS related. I'm at the age of being colonoscopy ready, so I have that scheduled for September. GI thought this would probably resolve on it's own. Over the next week, symptoms were tolerable.

Then in week 4 or so, symptoms got worse - more discomfort, now starting to affect daily activities. Also more noticable discomfort and tenderness higher up between chest and belly. Appetite sometimes comes and goes, but my eating and bowel habits have changed so I don't know what's driving what. Just want to lie down and rest at times. Sometimes I can see my belly moving up and down - not sure if it's the heartbeat or spasms or what. Seem to sleep OK once I find a comfortable position. It's remained this way for the last few weeks.

I'm not familiar with IBS outside of Google and reading through some people's stories here, so I'm going to present in-my-mind the ibs and not-ibs debate in my head:

Seems like IBS or something similar:

Discomfort is generally in the intestinal areas.
Having a lot of the typical symptoms: abdominal swelling, gas, changes in BMs
A few different doctors seem to think that's what it is
CT and other scans don't show anything abnormal
Seems to be worse as I've gotten more frustrated/anxious, though there's a chicken/egg issue here

Unsure if it sounds like IBS:
No urgent need to go to bathroom - it's mostly voluntary on my part
Been fairly constant for 6 weeks - doesn't feel like "flare ups" or anything - it's just a super-obnxious background discomfort (more foreground than background now).
BM are all over the place - sometimes many times a day, others less. But outside of a couple of days of constipation and one day of diarrhea, mostly reasonably formed. Often small when I'm forcing myself to try to go several times a day to feel better, but otherwise "normalish".


Maybe not IBS argument (maybe not even GI):

Had mild abdominal discomfort a week before any GI issues
Can't seem to connect symptoms with food intake - felt better last night and this morning; hadn't eaten anything in 16 hours, then started feeling discomfort again randomly
From what I gather, most IBS starts when younger (30 or younger?) and almost never after 50. I've never had anything like this feeling before and am 44.
Have weird physical/psychological symptoms like when accidentally even just brushing against side of abdomen, I notice it and freak out - it's not pain, but like a very mild sudden jolt. But nothing if I touch sides intentionally, so this could be anxiety driven.
When pressing against central area just under breastbone, it feels a little caved in (though I never previously paid much attention) and mild pressing can create physical discomfort that lasts hours (like a deep soreness).

I'm sure I've missed a lot of things so I'll try to add more if I think of things. I also don't know what's "important" and what's not, so I tried to include a lot but if you think anything is helpful to know, please ask. Apologies for the length of this, and I've only been on your forum for a couple of days, so I hope I didn't miss any rules or anything. I'm not looking for a diagnosis or asking people to play doctor - and still am in the process of getting various tests and colonoscopy/endoscopy. I'm just curious if some of you with IBS have any "yeah, that is an IBS symptom!" or "that sounds weird" thoughts.

Thank you!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
To be really sure, you'll have to wait for the results of your colonoscopy.

But I never had many gut issues (except just a handful of rare incidents in my life.) and I got what I and the doctor thinks is IBS now, and I'm 68. (65 the first time I had symptoms, which went away for 2 years then came back!)
My gut was always strong, predictable, regular, and I ate healthily for over 40 years. So I'm unsure about any age cut-off limits with IBS.

Most of what you say happens to you I can relate to as being pretty typical for IBS. But that of course is just my guess based on what you said.
Believe me, it can be very draining, depressing, anxiety-causing, baffling, up-and-down, cause us to get food/symptom-obsessed, and limiting of freedom, as well as scary because of all those "what if's".

Have you seen the "Rome IV" criteria for IBS diagnosis?


Scroll down to: C) Bowel disorders (though sometimes IBS sufferers report gastric/GERD type symptoms, and those can be quite common in IBS.) so you might find symptoms overlap with some of the other disorders too.

I also get heart palpitations and completely skipped beats even though my normal resting heart rate is pretty healthy (between 60-70 bpm) So the IBS triggers arrythmia sometimes in my heart. Yet the doctor found no real red flags when checking my heart.

I get other seemingly unrelated symptoms too....get very cold after eating, get shaky and trembling especially during an early morning flare-up (ibs -D) have had dizziness and tinnitus, food intolerances, sleep disruption, and anxiety. I think they are all part of the same package.
Anxiety certainly makes IBS worse, and it's hard sometimes to know what started what (chicken or egg?)

I have had this since 2018 with a 2 year gap in symptoms. So, 6 weeks into this, it's difficult to see what is going on. I also get times (weeks) with no symptoms, but you haven't had it long enough to record that kind of pattern.

You could give the low FODMAP diet a shot? Hopefully to relieve some symptoms while you are waiting to see the GI doctor?

Kind thoughts, and wishing you well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To be really sure, you'll have to wait for the results of your colonoscopy.

But I never had many gut issues (except just a handful of rare incidents in my life.) and I got what I and the doctor thinks is IBS now, and I'm 68. (65 the first time I had symptoms, which went away for 2 years then came back!)
My gut was always strong, predictable, regular, and I ate healthily for over 40 years. So I'm unsure about any age cut-off limits with IBS.

Most of what you say happens to you I can relate to as being pretty typical for IBS. But that of course is just my guess based on what you said.
Believe me, it can be very draining, depressing, anxiety-causing, baffling, up-and-down, cause us to get food/symptom-obsessed, and limiting of freedom, as well as scary because of all those "what if's".

Have you seen the "Rome IV" criteria for IBS diagnosis?


Scroll down to: C) Bowel disorders (though sometimes IBS sufferers report gastric/GERD type symptoms, and those can be quite common in IBS.) so you might find symptoms overlap with some of the other disorders too.

I also get heart palpitations and completely skipped beats even though my normal resting heart rate is pretty healthy (between 60-70 bpm) So the IBS triggers arrythmia sometimes in my heart. Yet the doctor found no real red flags when checking my heart.

I get other seemingly unrelated symptoms too....get very cold after eating, get shaky and trembling especially during an early morning flare-up (ibs -D) have had dizziness and tinnitus, food intolerances, sleep disruption, and anxiety. I think they are all part of the same package.
Anxiety certainly makes IBS worse, and it's hard sometimes to know what started what (chicken or egg?)

I have had this since 2018 with a 2 year gap in symptoms. So, 6 weeks into this, it's difficult to see what is going on. I also get times (weeks) with no symptoms, but you haven't had it long enough to record that kind of pattern.

You could give the low FODMAP diet a shot? Hopefully to relieve some symptoms while you are waiting to see the GI doctor?

Kind thoughts, and wishing you well.
Thank you for the response! It's frustrating that IBS is just a whole random mash-up of symptoms and it feels like it makes it so hard to diagnose. I've only been dealing with this for 6 weeks and it's taken a toll - I can't imagine what you and others are going through. I'm still hopeful this is some kind of one-off event, but I just have run out of ideas of what it might be that's not also super-scary. I'm trying acupuncture next to see if it can reduce symptoms and maybe create a positive-anxiety spiral, but outside of that, waiting for test results and colon/endoscopy. And I'm experimenting a bit with the FODMAP stuff as well to see if I can get back to some kind of functional baseline that way.

Thank you again for sharing!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
If you are going to try the low FODMAP diet, don't be surprised if you get what happens to me; that is, I can eat some high FODMAPS quite happily (honey, avocado and broccoli in moderation, and toasted bread which contains gluten), while some of the LOW Fodmaps don't suit me at all! (i.e. tomatoes, turnips, olives etc)
Honey has been extremely helpful for me when I have had a very bad flare and haven't been able to eat solid food for most of the day!

We are all different in our responses to the diet, so you will find your own compatible foods by experimenting. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
One more idea....
Thanks to the "gut-brain axis" ("gut feelings!") IBS and anxiety create a nasty feedback loop. One sets off the other, and they do this horrible kind of dance.
It might be interesting to explore Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

I am in UK, and setting that up would take ages, and privately I couldn't afford it on top of my other expenses (I'm a pensioner) But I would definitely try it if circumstances were different.
I do try to apply the principles to helping me to deal with IBS, on my own. Depending on how much I can still my anxiety for long enough to focus on the principles, they can and do help at times.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, an update for anyone interested. I had more tests and still nothing. I'm still not sure if this is gut-driven, anxiety-driven, or something else entirely. I do have two symptoms that I'm curious if others have with IBS:

1. My abdomen feels legitimiately distended, and it doesn't seem connected to bowel movements or gas. When I did my colonoscopy prep, there was literally nothing inside my bowels and my abdomen still felt and looked a bit swollen.

2. I find myself breathing harder than normal at times. This may be anxiety driven but it doesn't seem directly connected to times of high or low anxiety relatively speaking (it may be the background anxiety though).

3. I'm never hungry. Shortly after my orginal posts, I went through a period where I really couldn't eat anything at all for a week and lost a lot of weight, but I seem to be past that. But nevertheness, I no longer ever seem to get hungry and thus I'm still eating a lot less (never snacking, just eating when I know I should, etc).

4. I have bad days and mediocre days, but nothing seems connected to what I eat or my BM's. I've been logging my food and meds and sleep and things like that and can't seem to find a lot of correlation. It just seems totally random.

Do any of these things sound familiar to you all? In my head, they point away from IBS but what do I know. I'm getting an MRI of my abdomen next week to again see if there's any non-GI potential issues going on, but after that, I'm running out of ideas/tests.

Thank you!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Get a SIBO test done. They didn't know what was wrong when my symptoms changed. Sent me for this test; results came back; had excess of 1 of 3 gasses that are tested; which meant I had too much bacteria in small intestines. Have antibotic treatment to take now. I seem to be doing better; almost done with meds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Get a SIBO test done. They didn't know what was wrong when my symptoms changed. Sent me for this test; results came back; had excess of 1 of 3 gasses that are tested; which meant I had too much bacteria in small intestines. Have antibotic treatment to take now. I seem to be doing better; almost done with meds.
Thanks! I haven't done a SIBO test, but my doc did give me Xifaxan, which is supposed to help with SIBO if you have it? So I assume I'm covered there, but not positive. I did order my own SIBO home breath test, but haven't taken it yet (not supposed to take it for several weeks after antibiotics, etc).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
4. I have bad days and mediocre days, but nothing seems connected to what I eat or my BM's. I've been logging my food and meds and sleep and things like that and can't seem to find a lot of correlation. It just seems totally random.
I get absolutely the same thing. I keep a detailed "detective diary" of everything I eat, sleep duration, stresses, even weather changes! And can't link any particular thing to whether I have a flare or not.
I suspected histamine intolerance at one stage because I reacted badly to tomatoes, canned fish, crab, and spinach. Then later I tried spinach and fish again and was fine on it! Not even sure it's that.
It's so random.
Sometimes too much fiber aggravates my gut. I find I daren't eat much fruit (even moreso than vegetables) I daren't eat "five a day" any more.
But there have even been days when I can eat fiber and be fine.
Then suddenly I will get a period when I get no symptoms at all. The max that has stretched to is 32 days so far. Then it comes back for no reason I can figure out.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top