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Hi there. First post, but I've been lurking here for some time. I've had bowel problems my whole life, and I was diagnosed with IBS-A two years ago. I don't have health insurance; a GI doc diagnosed it because of my symptoms, but I couldn't afford a colonoscopy or barium enema to rule out other issues. The GI doc took an X-ray (no barium) and said that my colon as "all kinds of messed up" and told me to come back if my symptoms didn't get better with Bentyl.They didn't get better, but I can't afford to go back. I've been following up once a month with my primary care doc, who is also treating me for post-traumatic stress disorder (from child abuse). She thinks that my IBS is directly related to my PSTD. This kind of upsets me, because I feel like she's saying that it's all in my head.My regular doc seems to think that I just have IBS and PTSD, but I keep panicking thinking that there's something much worse going on. Bentyl doesn't help. Enteric-coated peppermint seems to help a little. The pain is EXCRUCIATING and gets worse when I'm anxious-- and then I get anxious because I'm scared that there's something wrong, and it all goes downhill from there.My bowel habits are all over the place. I couldn't poop for a whole week, and then I've had 17 bowel movements today. Sometimes they're really watery, sometimes they're rock-hard, sometimes they're ribbon-shaped. I have occasional bleeding because of severe hemorrhoids. My doc seems to think that the hemmies can explain all of the bleeding. I keep worrying that there could be something else wrong, but I don't even know what else it could be. Are there any other conditions that could cause these problems? The pain is mostly in my upper-left abdomen, but the X-ray I had two years ago showed uniform problems throughout.My blood tests are normal, except that my iron levels were too high on my last test. I'm going to be tested for hemochromatosis next month.My biggest fear is that I could have colon cancer, but I know that's irrational. It's the occasional blood and pellet stools that really freak me out. But I know that if I had colon cancer and had been having symptoms for this long, I'd already be dead-- right? And if it were IBD, I'd be having diarrhea without the bouts of constipation, right? The only other possibility seems to be diverticulitis, but my white count is always normal. I have had some weight loss, but that's mostly because of PTSD-related eating disorders and the fact that it hurts to eat a full meal. My weight is currently within a normal-ish range (BMI 18.9)I don't have any risk factors for colon cancer, but it's still my biggest fear. I'm 23, female, vegetarian for 10 years, no family history of colon polyps or cancer.I really just want somebody to reassure me and tell me I'm not the only one having these symptoms. Please tell me I'm not going to die. Sometimes I feel like I'm horribly ill.Also, ladies: am I the only IBS sufferer who sometimes has severe tummy pain during sex? It seems to mostly be when I'm in a bout of constipation.
 

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That is so typical of IBS. The ever changing bowel habit and weird stools. All the too hard stools and too much diarrhea can really irritate hemorrhoids and that makes them bleed.Colon cancer is a stealth disease, that is why they do screenings for poeple over 50 (the age group at risk) and remove the polyps most people get as thy age before they have a decade or two to possibly develop into a cancer.Generally the colon cancer story is I had no idea anything was wrong and the doctors found it.IBS on the other hand is a loud and obnoxious disorder that causes lots of annoying and varying symptoms and is very common in young adults.Issues with sex are also pretty common. Everything is right next to each other down there so one thing effects another quite easily.
 
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