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Debbie asked...

I am suffering every day from severe stomach pains...

Hi I am looking to see if you can point me in the right direction. I am suffering every day from severe stomach pains,constipation mostly although on some days have severe diarrhoea,loss of appetite, tiredness and feeling sick. This has been getting worse over past few months,and I have been referred to gastroenterologist,however things don't seem to be moving very quickly. I was looking for some advice on where I could go privately to try and be seen quicker and any advice on medication that I could take?I have currently been prescribed constella,but these are not helping st all. My GP has asked for me to get tested for Chrons disease but at the moment it has just been put down to IBS.Any advice would be appreciated,thanks

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The answer

Thank you for contacting us with your question. We are very sorry to hear about the difficult time you are having. In terms of your symptoms of mainly constipation with some days of severe diahorrhea We're assuming that your Dr will have conducted a full abdominal and rectal examination as part of your assessment. This is important to rule out or include any possible cause for the symptoms you are getting. In terms of constipation we can see that you say you are suffering mainly from this, and, if the constipation is severe enough such as lasting more than five days it can go on to produce what appears as diahorrhea. This is in fact overflow which is faecal liquid, this overflow is caused by an obstruction of hard constipated stool in the bowel and results in the faecal fluid not being able to be formed into stool due to the level of constipation present so this liquid then leaks around the obstruction and can appear as though it is diahorrhea.

Constipation can also cause severe abdominal pain and cramping with nausea and sickness. Usually an abdominal xray together with an abdominal examination where the Dr examines your tummy with their hands can quickly identify if this is the case. Ibs is tends to be a term that can be applied to people suffering from altered bowel habits and pain with no clear cause and without proper testing it is slightly difficult to know if this is the case. Crohns disease affects the small bowel and constipation does not tend to be a feature of this, in Crohns disease the small bowel becomes very inflamed and passage of faecal content and movement of the gut is faster than usualy often resulting in frequent loose bowel movements and pain throughout the day.

Seeking an opinion privately is relatively simple to arrange, if you have private health cover we suggest asking your Gp to make and write a referral to a specialist or an open referral where the name of the specialist is not necessary and your health care provider will then be able to assist in getting you an appointment. If you do not have health care cover then the process is the same in which you just need to have a chat with your Gp and ask for a referral and possibly a recommendation for a specialist to see. Once your Gp has agreed to do this it is usually a matter of just contacting the private hospital where the specialist works and speaking with their secretary who will book you in to be seen. Usually the process means you can be seen within two weeks and often sooner.

Medication wise unfortunately it’s not possible to clearly guide you on this without a diagnosis as to the root of your problem, there are medications available to treat constipation and also to treat diahorrhea but it is helpful to know the true cause of the symptoms first. There are also medications to help alleviate the nausea and pain you are experiencing so a chat with your Gp regarding this may be very helpful and they should be able to prescribe the most appropriate medications for you to take.

We do wish you the best of luck in getting this resolved and if we can be of any further help please do not hesitate to contact us again,

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses