Are Your Symptoms Ibs Or Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer shares some symptoms with a less serious, but much more common disease: irritable bowel syndrome . So how do you know if your symptoms are cancer, IBS or something else?
We talked to David Richards, M.D., about the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and colorectal cancer, and what action you should take if you are experiencing either.
What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?
IBS can be hard to diagnose. Its not something a doctor can see, feel or detect under a microscope, and the symptoms come and go. The main symptoms of IBS are constipation, diarrhea or a combination of the two, accompanied by abdominal pain.
Someone with IBS may also experience one or more of the following:
- Abdominal bloating
- The feeling that you havent finished a bowel movement
- Relief of symptoms after a bowel movement
You can gauge whether these are IBS symptoms based on how long youve had them. The symptoms have to go back at least six months, with at least one day a week of pain in the last three months, Richards says.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain are all symptoms of colorectal cancer. However, there are additional symptoms that are more concerning.
Sudden and unexplained weight loss, rectal bleeding or blood in the stool are all cause for concern, says Richards.
Other colorectal cancer symptoms include:
I would be especially concerned if these symptoms came on suddenly, says Richards.
Putting It All Together
IBS is long-term and tends to repeatedly come and go over time. It does not predispose you to other GI diseases. However, IBS does not protect you from other digestive conditions, and overlap is possible. New and different symptoms may make you suspicious that something new is happening.
You should visit your healthcare provider if you become aware of alarm symptoms or of a factor that might put you more than normally at risk of another disease. Your healthcare provider may review your symptoms and determine if further testing or treatment is necessary.
Usually, if the original diagnosis was sound, recurrent, but similar symptoms do not signify a new disease.
Adapted from IFFGD Publication: Changes You Should Not Ignore if You Have IBS Updated by: Walter Chan, MD, MPH, Director, Center for Gastrointestinal Motility, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy, Boston, MA Adapted from: W. Grant Thompson MD, FRCPC, FACG, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Edited by: Darren Brenner, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
An Attack Of Dysentery
Dysentery is a form of severe diarrhea associated with blood and mucus. Every IBS patient can have an attack of dysentery due to infections through contaminated food or water.
It is a common cause of blood in stool with your IBS.
There are two main types of dysentery according to the organism causing it:
- Amoebic dysentery: caused by an organism called entamoeba.
- Bacillary dysentery: caused by a bacteria called shigella.
How to know if you have dysentery?
- Severe diarrhea with frequent attacks of diarrhea, you will continuously feel urge to go to the bathroom even every 5 minutes.
- Diarrhea is mainly formed of mucus and blood.
- Not related to eating .
- Associated with intense abdominal cramps
- May be nausea or vomiting.
- Associated with fever.
What to do if you have dysentery:
Milder attacks of dysentery can resolve spontaneously. But if you have a fever or severe symptoms you should go to your doctor.
Your doctor will usually prescribe antibiotics , antispasmodics , and antipyretics .
The best thing is not to get infected. Only drink water from reliable sources and eat adequately cooked food.
For more information about dysentery
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What Are Symptoms Of Ibs
Some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include:
- Abdominal Pain – The most common complaint among people with IBS is abdominal pain or cramping. The discomfort frequently starts shortly after eating and may go away after a bowel movement. But that is not always the case.
- Diarrhea or Constipation – Bouts of diarrhea and constipation, or sometimes fluctuating between the two states, are other common symptoms. People with IBS often feel they need to stay home or near a bathroom for these reasons.
- Bloating – IBS can cause stomach swelling to the point you cant fit into your normal clothes. So if you find yourself reaching for elastic-waist pants after eating, it could be a sign of IBS.
- Excessive Gas – Perhaps the most disturbing symptom of IBS is uncontrollable gassiness. Publicly passing gas can be humiliating. Fear of letting one go, or discomfort from suppressing a necessary biological function, can make socializing difficult.
- Mucus in Stool – It is normal to pass a small amount of mucus in your stool. However, people who have IBS may notice increased amounts of mucus in their stool.
Concerned you might have IBS? If you have been experiencing digestive distress three times per month for three months, or youve been suffering from symptoms for at least six months, talk to your doctor.
What Are The Differences And Similarities Between Colon Cancer Vs Ibs Symptoms And Signs
Colon Cancer Symptoms and Signs
Symptoms of colon cancer may not be present or be minimal and overlooked until it becomes more severe. Cancer screening tests for colon cancer thus are important in individuals 50 and older. Cancer of the colon and rectum can exhibit itself in several ways. If you have any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical help. You may notice bleeding from your rectum or blood mixed with your stool. It usually, but not always, can be detected through a fecal occult blood test, in which samples of stool are submitted to a lab for detection of blood.
- People commonly attribute all rectal bleeding to hemorrhoids, thus preventing early diagnosis owing to lack of concern over “bleeding hemorrhoids.” New onset of bright red blood in the stool always deserves an evaluation. Blood in the stool may be less evident, and is sometimes invisible, or causes a black or tarry stool.
- Rectal bleeding may be hidden and chronic and may only show up as an iron deficiency anemia.
- It may be associated with fatigue and pale skin due to the anemia.
- Changes in bowel movement frequency
- It usually, but not always, can be detected through a fecal occult blood test, in which samples of stool are submitted to a lab for detection of blood.
If the tumor gets large enough, it may completely or partially block your colon. You may notice the following symptoms of bowel obstruction:
Studies suggest that the average duration of symptoms is 14 weeks.
Colon Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
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What Will The Doctor Do
Most kids get a stomachache, constipation, or diarrhea now and then. This doesnt mean a kid has IBS.
But when a kid has these problems regularly, a doctor may think it could be IBS. Here are some questions the doctor might ask:
There is no test to diagnose IBS. Doctors often diagnose the problem just by listening to a person describe the symptoms. Thats why its really important for kids to talk with their parents and their doctor about their symptoms, even if it seems embarrassing.
Causes And Associated Symptoms Of Blood In Mucus
Blood in mucus may appear due to several conditions. Some may indicate small problems that resolve quickly. But, you can also see blood in the sputum due to some severe health complications. It is always better to see your doctor to check the exact reason triggering the problem. By detecting the issue, you can get treatment to rectify the issue and prevent it from worsening. So, the common causes associated with the issue are:
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Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Ibd:
Irritable bowel syndrome is completely different from inflammatory bowel disease . IBS is a functional disorder. While IBD is a true disease that causes ulcers in your colon or at any part of your gastrointestinal tract from mouth tooanus .
The misdiagnosis of IBD as IBS is common, especially with milder forms of IBD. if you have RECURRENT blood in your stool with your IBS, you have to reconsider the diagnosis of IBS with your doctor.
How to know if you have IBD, not IBS:
- The colics and diarrhea are not related to meals and can occur at any time
- Presence of blood in your stool .
- Nocturnal diarrhea: unlike IBS, IBD can wake you up after getting sleep with abdominal pain and an urge to poop.
- Fever or weight loss.
If your doctor is suspecting inflammatory bowel disease, he will initially ask for some laboratory investigations and also, will ask to do a colonoscopy for you.
IBD is a bad disease and may cause complications if left untreated. The treatment is usually a drug called Mesalasine and in severe cases, we can use other drugs like Corticosteroids and even surgery.
For more information, watch this video from the Discover Therapies Youtube channel or
Mucus With Poops Is Normal In Ibs But What About Without Poops
The colon epithelial cells perform a number of different functions, says Dr. Lacy.
One of their functions includes producing a viscous substance called mucus.
This is similar to mucus produced in the mouth by salivary glands . The purpose of the mucus in the colon is to help lubricate stool to make it easier to evacuate. Everybody produces mucus. This is not abnormal.
In some patients, however, they may make more mucus than usual. This can be seen in patients who have spasms and cramps in the colon . This would be the most common example.
Occasionally it can occur in patients with other conditions that cause cramps or spasms, and occasionally it is seen in patients with irritation in the colon .
In a young patient with spasms and cramps and some mucus without any warning signs , I would just reassure the patient and treat the underlying spastic disorder of the colon.
Overall, this rarely means anything dangerous or worrisome.
So if youre seeing gobs of mucus in the toilet bowl but no poops, do not be alarmed, especially if you have IBS or an inflammatory bowel disease which also includes microscopic colitis, which causes diarrhea and is often misdiagnosed as IBS.
The proper diagnosis is crucial because even though the symptoms overlap, the treatment protocols are different.
Now, if you see what appears to be blood in the mucus, this needs to be brought to the attention of your doctor.
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Bleeding From Peptic Ulcer Or From Esophagus:
Gastritis and peptic ulcers are commonly associated with IBS. Bleeding from an ulcer in the wall of your stomach or duodenum will cause vomiting of blood or passage of blackish stool which is digested blood .
In certain cases where the bleeding is severe, there may be reddish blood in large amounts. This is because the blood doesnt have enough time to be digested and turn black.
Diagnosis And Testing A Stool Sample
Usually, the first step towards understanding what is causing mucus in the stool is to test a stool sample.
A healthcare professional will give instructions on how to take a sample. It usually involves collecting a sample of stool in a clean container and, if a person is unable to hand it in immediately, storing it in the fridge to prevent bacteria from building up.
Once a healthcare professional has the sample, they can test it for bacteria and other substances from the digestive system.
Depending on the stool sample results, a person may need further tests to investigate the cause of excess mucus in the stool. Tests include:
- unexplained fatigue
- unexplained weight loss
To help a doctor diagnose the issue, a person should keep a record of their bowel movements and any other symptoms. Keeping a food journal might also help identify food-related conditions.
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Causes Of Mucus In Stool
Different digestive problems can make more mucus show up in your stool. Some are serious and long-lasting. Others can clear up quickly. Problems that can cause mucus include:
Crohnâs disease is another type of IBD that can cause mucus in your poop.
Ulcerative colitis . This type of inflammatory bowel disease causes sores in the intestines. They can bleed and make pus and mucus, which you might see when you go to the bathroom. It also often causes diarrhea, belly pain, and cramping.
C. difficile . Infection with this type of bacteria can cause severe, even life-threatening diarrhea. It smells very bad and often has mucus.
Other infections. An infection with other bacteria or parasites can also cause the problem. Dysentery is one example.
Allergic colitis. This reaction babies can have to cowâs milk can cause mucus in their poop.
Can Ibs Give You Mucus In Stool
Many people experience mild symptoms of IBS, but for some, symptoms can be severe. Symptoms can include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, mucus in the stool, diarrhea, and/or constipation. Much like IBD, there may be times when symptoms are present and times when little or no symptoms are present.
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You May Have A Food Intolerance
Some people feel ill after eating certain foods, but the symptoms dont indicate a more serious condition like celiac disease and its not considered a true food allergy. This is known as a food intolerance. .
People with food intolerances may experience mucus in their stool after eating the food to which they are intolerant, according to Jeffery Nelson, MD, colon and rectal surgeon and surgical director at The Center for Inflammatory Bowel and Colorectal Diseases at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore.
This is particularly true of people who have lactose intolerance, which is an inability to digest a sugar found in milk and other dairy products, or who have non-celiac gluten intolerance, which is a reaction to gluten, the proteins found in wheat and other cereal grains but also in trace amounts in many other types of food .
When mucus in stool is associated with a food intolerance, it is common to also experience increased flatulence, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea along with it.
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When To Talk To A Healthcare Provider
If you haven’t been diagnosed with a health condition that typically causes excess mucus in stool, it’s a good idea to discuss what you’re experiencing with a healthcare provider.
It’s especially important to see your provider about the following:
- Blood in the stool or mucus
If you have a health condition that affects your colon and your stool, make sure you keep track of any changes to your stool and discuss any changes with your healthcare provider.
The mucus produced by your colon protects the lining, creates a healthy environment for good gut bacteria, and eases the passage of stool. If the mucus layer is shedding too much, it could make the colon more vulnerable to harmful bacteria.
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Blood In Mucus Treatment
The management for hemoptysis will also be based largely on its original cause and how much blood the patient has been coughing up.. There are many treatment modalities available which can be used such as application of an iced saline and the administration of vasoconstrictors such as adrenalin and vasopressin in topical forms. Because bleeding is possible during bronchoscopy, laser photocoagulation can be performed in order to stop the bleeding. Lungs can be collapse when there is hemorrhage by selective bronchial intubation and endobrachial tamponade. The last option is surgery, which may include lobectomy or pneumonectomy.
How Is It Treated
The type of treatment needed depends on the cause of the diarrhea. It is important to drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration. Antibiotics or laxatives can contribute to diarrhea, so it may help to stop taking them. Fasting may help some types of diarrhea, but not all.
Most conditions that cause diarrhea can be treated. Diarrhea caused by certain medicines and foods will usually go away without treatment.
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Why Do You Get Mucus With Ibs
Mucous is a normal secretion of the bowel, although most of the time it cannot be seen. IBS patients sometimes produce large amounts of mucous, but this is not a serious problem. The cause of most IBS symptoms diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain are due to this abnormal physiology.