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libertyusa (@libertyusa)

Is it Diverticulitis or IBS?

Digestive Health | Last Active: Apr 28, 2020 | Replies (36)

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All your responses to my mystery have been so thoughtful and helpful. I went to my GB surgeon 3 times and he seems almost clueless and keeps saying "You are fine". He says not hernia after a 2-second check. My internist says not diverticular., but it seems like a muscular problem. They both suggest colonoscopy. But now that I think I may have discovered problem (abdominal adhesions) myself, I think that needs to be addressed before a colonoscopy? Would that make sense? I have not had one in 10 years. Age 70+. Physically very active (when normal). Busy lifestyle. Interestingly, Cleveland Clinic's website says "Listen to your body." Seems so important.

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Replies to "All your responses to my mystery have been so thoughtful and helpful. I went to my..."

Hi tennisgolf: You sound kind of like me, even your age, 70+. My complaint is somewhat different but I see similarities.
Many years ago I had hysterectomy, 1988, and then gallbladder removal in 2005. At time of GB surgery I was told I'd had loads of adhesions to get through, and I assume that was due to the earlier hysterectomy.

Now I was recently diagnosed, after several years of reflux and other digestive complaints, with Barrett's esophagus. It has no symptoms in itself, but was found during endoscopy and typical symptoms of GERD are what I feel. Along the way to this diagnosis I had many medical tests because I began unintentionally losing a lot of weight and internist and an ENT got concerned. I also have a raspy voice that comes from GERD often, and one vocal cord is messed up so ENT wanted to be sure nothing bad was pressing on it; hence another scan.

I had no appetite to speak of and those reflux symptoms and had just slowed my eating way down. I also became depressed/anxious about all things medical..

Anyway, re the pain you feel in left side since your GB surgery. I get it, an the way you describe it. I have always had typical digestive pains, suggestive of IBS, but this colonoscopy, which was my first recent test, revealed nothing except for newly found redundant (too long) colon. It is also called 'tortuous.' Never knew about that before and it 'can' be acquired over time, they say. I did not hear 'redundant/tortuous colon' when having my first colonoscopy many years ago and I was not 'sore' for weeks after that one but I am much older now.

A routine pelvic exam I had last year just about killed me, too. I was sore from that experience for weeks and in years past (numerous years ago and many pelvic exams), I never had that reaction. They say older people tend to feel pain LESS but you and I seem to be exceptions to that and are encountering pain now.

Within a week of that recent colonoscopy, leaving my insides extremely sore I found that I had a searing pain just above the navel and across upper abdomen in a straight line when 'pushing' (NOT straining) during a bowel movement, most of the time, not all. Afterwards, I would feel no pain. If I sat back on toilet and pushed again, when NOT having a BM, I would not feel the pain at all. I asked the GI doc about it but he brushed me off, said it could be due to constipation, and with all other scans (due to weight loss) showing nothing in any of the abdominal organs, he seems to think I'm nuts. He is a good and well respected doctor but can be less than personable and is dismissive.

This was all several months ago now and the pains when, not before, not really after, but right during the act of pushing (sorry about the TMI) itself brings on this searing pain that now covers entire upper abdomen. I have no idea if it's from any adhesions, as you are wondering about in your case, or if during colonoscopy the doc 'did something' to the colon when manipulating that scope around, or the loops and twists in extended colon worsened and that's what I'm feeling.

I finally got another appt. with this doc since a GI seems to be the right specialty to address this, but it's not for three weeks. Like I said, he is well known, considered excellent, and even other docs go to him. So every time I need to have a BM I know I will have this tearing/searing pain across upper abdomen . It seems odd that nothing showed up on any of the CT scans I've had. I dread the doc's reaction when I see him again in three weeks. Wondering if I should change doctors or see some other type of specialist or what.

Believe me, I feel your pain and understand your dilemma re who to see and where to go! I do know that gall bladder and any other abdominal surgeries leave us, most of us, with adhesions that can be extremely painful. In fact, doesn't even have to be surgery. Any trauma to an abdominal area can cause adhesions to form. I just didn't think the pain of adhesions would occur or worsen during something 'mechanical,' like having a BM. You mentioned something similar on your left side that sounded similar.

I look forward to hearing your next report. I'm about to throw myself on the mercy of UCLA here in L.A. and try to get a diagnosis. With you near NYC and great facilities and me near UCLA we both SHOULD be able to get the attention and care we need. I hate to say this but I hope we aren't being brushed off due to being over 70! My best to you.

In 2017 I had diverticulitis. It was not my normal pain with it. It started lower on my left side. My first thoughts were I had pulled a muscle from coughing. Second thought with more pain was adhesions from the hysterectomy I had in 1997… then the pain moved more centered in the lowest part of my abdomen. I start thinking a vaginal fistula. So I saw a gynecologist All was fine there. He ordered a ct scan. Somewhere in all this I had short bout of diarrhea and then constipation. Diagnosis was diverticulitis and the doctor did not put me on antibiotics. It was a few days after getting results I had an appointment with my gastro doctor.. I had scheduled it months before as a regular check up. He was surprised that the gynecologist had not started me on antibiotics. By this time my whole lower abdomen was hurting. I did the round of antibiotics and had a colonoscopy about 6 weeks later… doctor wanted time for it to heal. I did not clean out well, but he was able to see the one section that concerned him most.. Instead of the couple of diverticulum I had a colon full. I another colonoscopy a few months later. One polyp… pathology was fine on it. Now since I have more of the pockets I will be more susceptible to diverticulitis.

My point is… just because it feels muscular it may not be. It could be a blockage or diverticulitis or something else causing your symptoms. I think you should see a good gastroenterologist.

Your doctor may want you to have a ct scan, ultra sound, and or a colonoscopy or other test. Yes, Know your body and find the words to express what your body is saying. Write down your symptoms so you do not leave anything out as you talk with your doctor. Write down questions.. bring something to write on and with to your appointment. Take someone with you. Two sets of ears are better than one. Sometimes the other person can think of questions that you have not.

I don't know what I would do without my husband going through all of this with me… fortunate to still have him. We just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.. taking care of my 91 year old mom. No cards… no gifts, no fancy dinner just taking care of each other and now along with my mom.

@tennisgolf , @courtneyt , hi to both of you. I have been reading through this thread and agree with everything I have been seeing. I just wanted to add to if a future olonoscopy rules out other things, and leaves you with a diagnosis of IBS, that you might also want to have a pelvic floor exam done by a pelvic floor therapist or a specialist who deals with pelvic floor dysfunction. I was having similar pain in same abdominal area for years after several surgeries in that general area, which eventually became worse throughout the years. It all came to an excruciating painful climax last March. Eventually, after having test after tests and exam after exam, which ruled everything else out, I was told by both my Internist and my GI, that I have IBS-C&D, pelvic floor dysfunction, interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, and BE. I have also had a whole year and a half to do all of my research and everything seems to be flowing with what my team of specialists are telling me (I have a GI for ibs, and BE, a rheumatologist for the fibromyalgia and chronic pain with relation to my CNS [nerves], a pelvic floor physical therapist [in relation to not being able to relax my muscles due to adhesions from surgical scar tissue as well as from stress], and a Urogynocologist for my IC [painful bladder spasms]. Sometimes poop and gas backs up in the intestinal track right where your pain is that you're describing is and there's a physical manipulation you can do that my therapist taught me in order to get it flowing again. Obviously, it's also extremely important and most beneficial to follow a restricted diet for this as well. Since my IBS is both constipation and diarrhea, but more so constipation, I follow the Low FODMAP diet, which you can Google. But, also, in addition to this physical manipulation I'm talking about, the muscle/fascia tissue needs some kind of consistent therapy to loosen up to where those tight restricted muscles and nerves can learn to relax again and push out whatever waste needs to be pushed out, without the pain. They can do surgical procedures to remove some of the scarring, but it's usually not recommended (unless your case is severe and nothing else has worked) since this will be yet another surgery, with more possible scarring. I am not completely better, but I am making much progress from where I first started. In addition to the helps I've mentioned already, I do physical therapy stretches and now as of recent, strengthening stretches at home, daily, which my therapist taught me. I am also having to take a nerve relaxer as well as a muscle relaxer daily to help while I am still a work in progress but my rheumatologist is hopeful that I will be able to only take as needed in the near future as I continue to get better, from time to time, whenever I get a flare up. He has put me on the lowest dosage for both of those meds, and neither of them are habit forming, thank God for that, bc they really have helped relax me as well as keep the chronic pain that I used to feel, at bay. I don't know if any of this will help you, but I just wanted to share a little bit of my journey with you. And, if you have any questions about anything that I said here, please let me know here in the thread, or feel free to send me a private message. Keep us posted on whatever you find out and on how you're doing!