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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all--I'm new here, and hoping maybe someone can steer me in the right direction. I'll try to keep my story as brief as possible:In November of 2009, I started having what I delicately refer to as "stomach problems." No pain, no cramping, but stools became very loose (not to the point of being watery though). I'm 40 years old, with no history at all of digestive problems. I initially assumed this was a stomach bug. After a few weeks, I became concerned. In December when I encountered oily drops on the surface of the water in the toilet, I became VERY concerned and made an appointment with a gastroenterologist.To summarize over three months of testing: colonoscopy, upper enteroscopy, and small bowel follow-through x-ray with barium were done. All totally normal, including biopsy samples, except that the colonoscopy showed inflammation of the terminal ileum (but not suggestive of Crohn's or microscopic colitis). More blood tests than I can count: all normal (including ruling out celiac). Stool tests done for various parasites and infections: all normal. The ONLY tests to come back abnormal were the qualitative fecal fat test, followed by the delightful 72-hour quantitative fecal fat test, both of which confirmed, yes, it's officially steatorrhea.The ONLY change in my bowel habits is the consistency. I am not going more frequently. I'm not experiencing any urgency. I'm not having significant pain or cramping. I do think I have more gas than usual, but it's sort of hard to quantify that. The problem has been pretty much unremitting since November. I know I should be thankful that I'm not in pain, and I'm not having accidents--and I am very thankful--but this is getting depressing, and frustrating.I've always been very healthy and active. I've been a vegetarian for several years and eat very few animal products. I go weeks at a time without consuming any dairy, so this is unlikely to be lactose-related. There were no significant changes in my diet or lifestyle preceding this.My doctor--who I like a lot, and who seems to genuinely want to help me--is very confused by my case because it seems to match nothing he's ever seen. My two most recent tests were for fecal elastase (to check pancreatic function: normal), and a hydrogen breath test for SIBO. I'm awaiting the breath test results and hope to know later this week (unfortunately, my doctor is out of town until Friday and I might not be able to get the test results out of anyone else before then). I have to admit that after all of the previous tests that have come back normal, I just don't have a lot of hope that the breath test will be the big breakthrough.My concern at this point is that my doctor is running out of ideas. I fear he'll eventually just pat me on the head, call it IBS, and set me loose. From everything I've been reading, this doesn't sound like IBS to me simply because it's just steatorrhea. But since IBS can take many different forms, maybe this is a form someone else is familiar with and can comment on.So, this was longer than I intended it to be, but I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced something similar, or has any suggestions that I can bring to my doctor if we come up with another negative? Thanks!
 

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You usually don't see abnormal fat in the stool with IBS. But if nothing that normally causes that comes up as being wrong that does make it kind hard to figure out and often that leaves the "functional bowel diseases" as the only things left.You aren't taking Alli or any other sort of fat blocker, right?The SIBO may come back positive and that can mess up your ability to absorb stuff. They might need to make sure your gall bladder is ejecting enough bile, they can do a test for that (I think it is the HIDA scan)
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nope, I'm not taking Alli, or any other medications. Nor have I ever consumed foods with fake fats, though from what I understand, what I'm experiencing is very much like the side-effects of those foods that people have joked about.There haven't yet been any tests targeting the gallbladder, so I'm assuming/guessing/hoping it'll eventually be considered if we continue to turn up nothing. From all the consultation I've done with Dr. Google, it doesn't seem like this is biliary/liver-related--bilirubin in bloodwork was normal, I don't have jaundice... But who knows. I feel like I've spent so much time searching and searching, reading everything I can find, and my symptoms match pretty much nothing that hasn't been ruled out already.(And it's kind of sad when you're crossing your fingers hoping to be diagnosed with celiac disease, simply because then you'd have an answer.)
 
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