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Concerned it could be something more sinister...


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Hi all.  I have had, what I believe to be IBS, for about 20 years now.  In that time, the predominant symptoms have been urgency to poop, multiple stool motions per day (more than 8-10 sometimes), feeling bloated almost all the time, excess gas and occasional burping.

I'd classify mine as IBS-D, as I rarely have issued with constipation - almost always loose and watery stools.

In 2012, I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy and these came back clear apart from H-Pylori, which was treated at the time. 

I had full bloods done in 2023, and these were all normal apart from a slightly low Vitamin D reading, but the major stuff all normal.

I had a faecal calprotectin test done earlier this year which came back with a low reading, less than the threshold for anything IBD related, so was assumed to be IBS.

I was re-tested for H-Pylori this year and it was negative.

I've not yet had a FIT test, but have done 2-3 at home which have been negative.

I should note, I have had generalised anxiety quite badly for around the same time (I'm not sure what came first to be honest), and this has definitely spiked with a change in personal circumstances over the past 12 months.

I'm now desperately worried that perhaps all this time I have had a slow growing stomach/bowel cancer, and now I am starting to feel the symptoms more than ever, I'm worried something has been missed.

My paternal grandfather died from bowel cancer in the early 90s, but there is no other family history of this type of cancer.  I am 42 years old.


Any help / similar / relatable stories would be appreciated.

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Jeffrey Roberts

Dear Reef,

Thank you for sharing your story. You have good reason to be concerned about your grandfather's history of bowel cancer. It does sound like you are doing all the right things. I sympathize with you that you really aren't able to control your symptoms very well and it keeps you guessing whether something else is brewing.

I would keep being vigilant. If something changes, if you ever see blood, it needs to be investigated; however, since you have had these symptoms for 20 years, it is likely IBS that you are feeling. Any changes in your normal might signal something different is going on.

The one treatment that you might consider is adding a low dose of a neuro-central modulator (a TCA antidepressant) to help with urgency and loose stool. Your family doctor can prescribe that. 

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