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GI Issue Story

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Mar 5, 2019
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#1
Hello this is my first time posting here but I want to tell my story. I am currently taking a gap year between undergraduate and graduate school. I have always been a worrier but my anxiety has peaked during this time of being stagnant and uncertain about my future. I’ve noticed that my health anxiety has recently skyrocketed. I had a melanoma, lupus, and diabetes “scare”. I am only 24 btw (and a female).
My most recent scare has been the worst yet because I experience the symptoms every day. After a particularly difficult bowel movement that required straining and produced really odd thin stools, I made the mistake of googling my symptoms since I’ve been feeling incomplete defecation for awhile and just kinda accepted it as my norm. Well that was an awful idea because it lead to think that I have rectal cancer (which is ironic because I work at a GI office). Ever since then it’s been a mess- I’ve thought I felt every symptom of rectal cancer since that day! Inconsistent bowel habits- not always thin but not the perfectly formed logs I’m holding myself to because it’s the only way I’ll convince myself I’m okay (I also may be over analyzing my stool because Im overthinking if I have a change in bowel habits- I spend a couple minutes after every bowel movement analyzing it). I asked the physician I work with and he recommended me fiber- this of course caused gas which lead to nausea and anxiety stomach cramps probably exaggerated by me thinking it was caused by a bowel obstruction . I layed off the fiber and now I feel fine... it was helping me stay regular so we will see what happens. Oh and I have been passing a lot of mucus.
So the worst symptom is the fact I feel constant rectal pressure- like all my bowel movements are incomplete! And sometimes they are. And then one day the worst happened... I saw blood! I had a panic attack in front of my parents. My dad however somewhat comforted because he has had hemorrhoids in the last and experienced similar symptoms.
So basically what I’m doing is venting and seeking companionship from people with similar stories. I am seeing my GP in two weeks for my physical- the doctor I work for said it’s okay to wait and he’s not worried. I know I have health anxiety but it doesn’t help me shake the feeling that something is wrong. And even if it’s just a hemorrhoid caused by IBS habits (I have for years felt like I had a mild version of this exaberrated by anxiety and not the best diet)- I don’t like being unwell and just want to feel normal again :(
 
Last edited:

Daisymae

New Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
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#2
I’m having bloating problems right now that started right after my recent anxiety. And of course I have convinced myself it’s fatal. Your too young to have anything serious, so try not to worry.
 

triceps

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
1,026
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544
#3
Hello this is my first time posting here but I want to tell my story. I am currently taking a gap year between undergraduate and graduate school. I have always been a worrier but my anxiety has peaked during this time of being stagnant and uncertain about my future. I’ve noticed that my health anxiety has recently skyrocketed. I had a melanoma, lupus, and diabetes “scare”. I am only 24 btw (and a female).
My most recent scare has been the worst yet because I experience the symptoms every day. After a particularly difficult bowel movement that required straining and produced really odd thin stools, I made the mistake of googling my symptoms since I’ve been feeling incomplete defecation for awhile and just kinda accepted it as my norm. Well that was an awful idea because it lead to think that I have rectal cancer (which is ironic because I work at a GI office). Ever since then it’s been a mess- I’ve thought I felt every symptom of rectal cancer since that day! Inconsistent bowel habits- not always thin but not the perfectly formed logs I’m holding myself to because it’s the only way I’ll convince myself I’m okay (I also may be over analyzing my stool because Im overthinking if I have a change in bowel habits- I spend a couple minutes after every bowel movement analyzing it). I asked the physician I work with and he recommended me fiber- this of course caused gas which lead to nausea and anxiety stomach cramps probably exaggerated by me thinking it was caused by a bowel obstruction . I layed off the fiber and now I feel fine... it was helping me stay regular so we will see what happens. Oh and I have been passing a lot of mucus.
So the worst symptom is the fact I feel constant rectal pressure- like all my bowel movements are incomplete! And sometimes they are. And then one day the worst happened... I saw blood! I had a panic attack in front of my parents. My dad however somewhat comforted because he has had hemorrhoids in the last and experienced similar symptoms.
So basically what I’m doing is venting and seeking companionship from people with similar stories. I am seeing my GP in two weeks for my physical- the doctor I work for said it’s okay to wait and he’s not worried. I know I have health anxiety but it doesn’t help me shake the feeling that something is wrong. And even if it’s just a hemorrhoid caused by IBS habits (I have for years felt like I had a mild version of this exaberrated by anxiety and not the best diet)- I don’t like being unwell and just want to feel normal again :(
Hi and welcome Future. Half way through reading your post I thought "bet it turns out to be hemorrhoids" and then you went on to mention that possibility. The few times that mine have gotten inflamed, I'll have those flat stools and sometimes blood after a hard "pot pie" (what my kids call stools). Try if you can to listen to the doctors statements that you're fine. The combination of anxiety and possible hemorrhoid(s) could explain your feeling of rectal pressure. Just one opinion, glad you found us, it's a good and helpful place.
 

Rosy

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Jan 6, 2019
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#4
This is what I am going through right now. I worry because I have an abdominal aortic aneurysm and i worry about pushing but the surgeon said not to worry about it. Thank you Future for posting it and Thank you Triceps for an answer. I feel better about it.
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
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#5
Thank for for the replies! I am very happy if anyone can relate to this and it helps them. I’ve been using hemorrhoid treatment and it’s helping- such a weird scary phenomenon though when you don’t realize what’s wrong! I am glad I joined this forum because it’s nice to be heard by people with similar experiences because my family and friends just don’t get it. Funny story today.... had a red tinted stool and was freaking out, but totally forgot for a moment that I had a red velvet cookie yesterday and those do that. Just funny that it happened in the midst of this crisis! Other then the red it was the first bowel movement in a month where I felt generally satisfied so I think I’m on the mend! I need to stop thinking it’s a matter of me either being completely well or cancer. I tend to catastrophize and am working on that thinking pattern and it may be the root of my health anxiety
 

Rosy

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Jan 6, 2019
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#6
When you get blood sometimes, it is probably your hemorroid that is bleeding a little. I don't mind that cause it takes some of the pressure off when that happens. Also eating spinach will cause your stool to look dark green, almost blackish so don't be concerned if that happens.
 

Steven

Active Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
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#7
Hey there. I’ve had my fair share of anxiety related stomach issues over the years. Stress and anxiety can do some crazy stuff to our stomachs and digestive system. I’m glad you’re seeing your GP soon and I hope you bring up the concerns. I’m sure any tests they do at your physical will come back fine. Best wishes!
 
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Mar 5, 2019
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#10
Triceps- I still have some symptoms, especially constipation, but they are back to being a discomfort and closer to the back of my mind like the were before- rather than occupying my every thought. The doctor confirmed IBS (which I suspected) based on my age, clear tests, and symptoms perfectly aligning. I’m in a transition period in my life that is causing much anxiety and uncertainty so I expect to have active IBS until this resolves or I learn to manage stress better/get back to exercising as much as I want to. But good news- this has forced me to eat healthier and my cholesterol is better than ever lol!
 

DMS36

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Apr 6, 2019
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#11
I am having the same exact symptoms and really need some reassurance I am fine! I have a history of health anxiety, started 2 years ago thought I had a brain tumor, cancer, etc. I did start Zoloft but have since stopped (too many side effects). I’m a 36 year old single mom and I can’t stop googling every little thing!!! I’ve had an issue with hemorrhoids since having my daughter and 2 weeks ago I had a flare up (I’m assuming) and saw bright red blood on the toilet paper for about 4 days. That has subsided and I haven’t seen blood in a week. The hemorrhoid is still visible but now I’m obsessing over every bowel movement which is something I have never done before. Of course they are thin/flat or loose but I’m not constipated because I’m pretty regular. I have cramps, lower back pain but that could just be the severe anxiety and nerves. I also suck at drinking water! Went to my GP last week for my physical and all bloodwork came back normal except my BUN was elevated which usually means dehydration. She prescribed suppositories for the hemorrhoids but since they are external I don’t think it will help (according to what I read). I just don’t know how to stop obsessing over thinking I have some kind of bowel cancer.
 

triceps

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#12
Hi DMS. You've basically answered your own questions. You know you're a bit dehydrated so you don't have to worry about the elevated BUN. I'm not touching that vision. Perhaps the suppositories release some anti-inflammatory special sauce not found in the topical medications. You know that the blood on the toilet paper is a fresh red color.The cramps and lower back pain could easily be anxiety related. I just don't see anything pointing towards colon or rectal cancer. Plus your GP says you're fine.
 

DMS36

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#13
Hi Triceps. Thanks for your response. I just got totally freaked out seeing the blood for a few days, started to google and here I am 2 weeks later just a nervous wreck. I probably sound crazy to everyone. But now that I’m watching every single bm I keep looking for “normal” stool for peace of mind. Cramps and back pain is pretty constant which is annoying but I know it definitely wasn’t present before I started looking up my symptoms and getting the sh*t scared out of me (literally). I just really need to get this anxiety under control!
 

triceps

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#14
You don't sound crazy to anyone here. I stated my list of why you don't have cancer but health anxiety is a powerful anxiety disorder. Not allowing you to accept medical opinions or especially ones from a stranger on a forum is the nature of the beast. Good luck with your next bm, may it come out perfect.
 

DMS36

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#15
Thank you for the taking the time to answer my post, it does make me feel better. Taking this one day at a time and trying to overcome all these physical symptoms of my anxiety. I’m going to put off scheduling an appt with a GI for now.. and it does help being able to talk about my anxiety here, a lot of people just don’t understand unfortunately.
 
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#16
@DMS36 hi! Sorry that you’re going through this I know personally how bad crappy (lol) bowel movements can bring down your overall well being. I got to the point where the shape of my bowel movement would make or break my day.

I feel like when we watch and stress about our bowel movements we set our selves up for failure primarily in a few ways- 1. The tension caused our anal muscles to tighten which are the primary factor that shape our stool. Next time you go focus on those muscles and see if you could feel them tightening. 2. Anxiety can trigger IBS which is associated with all the symptoms you have. IBS can cause a spastic colon, which basically tosses and turns all the stools around to form funky shapes rather than a perfect log. The cramping is due to your colon spasming as it pushes things past the funky area. I can feel mine in my sigmoid colon (located in the LLQ) 3. There’s a chance your BM could always have been a little like this and you just didn’t notice until now. Before this I never looked at their shape- just focused on how I felt and whether it was constipation or diarrhea. During my peak anxiety I saw all these articles that’s talked about how if it’s a log you should see your doctor and you may have cancer blah blah blah but then I paid attention to the sources and they are just regular magazines go rely on riling people up to her clicks. I talked to my PCP and he said that all bowel movements are different and although the logs indicate everything went perfectly during its journey through the colon, there are so many other factors that can cause shape change that ARENT cancer

I feel better now but I still worry. I can’t afford a colonoscopy and at this point with stable weight, no more blood since I treated the hemorrhoids, and a stable weight and appetite I can’t jusitfy getting one BUT this is the only way to receive complete peace of mind that it’s nothing wrong. I hope we both can return to our bathroom trips being a normal part of the day rather than debilitating
 

DMS36

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#17
Hi Future PA! Wow, thank you SO much for your reply. I never thought about IBS but since my anxiety is pretty high and that’s when I noticed the cramping/back pain it does make sense! I did have some nausea and lack of appetite last week when I was SO focused on my bowel movements and the blood but this week I’m definitely eating better and keeping hydrated. I really want to avoid a colonoscopy at all costs I’m sure it’s not a very pleasurable experience! But like you said it’s the ONLY way to be sure. With my last bout of anxiety I had chest X-rays, blood tests, EKGs and of course everything was normal. My PCP didn’t think it was necessary to refer me to a GI even when I told her I was experiencing bright red blood due to hemorrhoids. I thought that would ease my mind..but I keep thinking what if she is missing something? I hate reading these internet articles but I can’t stop either!! Classic health anxiety at its absolute worst! It does help to know that there are people that can relate and we can get through this together!

I feel a little better too but still worry like you said. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to just go to the bathroom without stressing over the shape, size.
 
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#18
@DMS36 yeah next time you see your GP I would bring up IBS and see what they think! Look up the Rome criteria (on a reputable source like Mayoclinic) and you will probably see your symptoms match. Maybe bring a print out to the doctor and point out exactly what symptoms you have and keep a log of how often toy experience them and potential triggers. Do you ever get mucus when you go?

Also it sounds like the appetite loss and nausea are classic anxiety symptoms and it looks like you’re feeling better- if it was cancer these wouldn’t be affected so much by your mood! One thing I read that helped me is that if you do have something wrong (which I highly doubt you do I don’t see any alarm symptoms and since you know a fact you have hemorrhoids you have a direct explanation for the blood) there is no use in fretting over it because there’s nothing you can do to change it besides getting a proper medical evaluation (which you have) and it’s better to focus on improving your health overall- like you’re doing with diet and hydrating. I also find I have better bowel movements when I exercise!
 

DMS36

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#19
@Future PA with HA yeah it makes total sense and I don’t know if it’s fate and a little tmi but I just had my first healthy normal bm since this all started 2 weeks ago!!! I never thought I would feel SO happy and relieved over something like this lol and I haven’t noticed any mucus. I think ALOT of my issues start with not drinking enough so I’m definitely trying to increase my water intake daily. Hoping my anxiety calms down now that I know I can pass a “normal” stool. Please keep in touch and best of luck to all of us!
 
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Mar 5, 2019
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#20
@DMS36 thats great I’m so happy for you! The same thing happened to me a week ago and I’ve been good too! Hoping for great health for you from now on and you’ll be even stronger for your next HA scare (if one does happen!)
 
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