Would a 6 year remission be more characteristic of IBD or IBS?
Background:I was diagnosed with 'colon spasms' about 10 years ago. The Dr. chose not to pursue a colonoscopy or endoscopy diagnosis at the time because I was significantly underweight and uncompliant (I was 12 and hated doctors). After 6 years of having an 'attack' at least once a day it eventually went away and then I have had 6 years of maybe 5 very mild attacks per year until these past few weeks. An attack for me is a very painful abdomen, to the point that it wakes me up at night, a fever accompanied by sweating and chills, and diarrhea for 30 minutes- 1 hr. At the worst point in time eating anything (a banana, a single slice of bread) could cause an attack within minutes or it could be hours later (I got really tired of waking up at 3am). I don't remember having a normal bowel movement during those 6 years. There were times I felt that I could not breath much less move. Anti-spasmotics would take the pain down a bit but it still hurt like hell.
The attacks started going away about the time I graduated high school which was also around the time I became a vegetarian and when I started drinking coffee regularly. Since then I've had maybe five instances a year where I'd get comparatively mild abdominal pain and diarrhea. One thing that I have found a little weird is that all my bowel movements are due to my morning coffee. If I skip the coffee or delay it, the bowel movement follows suit. In the past few weeks things have been changing and I am beginning to think that the good times are over. My symptoms don't seem to fit even the norm for even severe IBS (with the fever, frequency, the children's equivalent of >30% loss of weight, stunted growth, and waking up at night in pain), but I am skeptical of IBD if my remission lasted 6 years. I can't seem to find any scientific information of duration of remission with IBD, so any information or experiences anyone could provide me would be greatly appreciated.
I had a friend who had problems - not significant and not consistently - for over 15 years before being diagnosed with IBD. Like you she put off dealing with it. Make an appointment and get a colonoscopy done - it's really not that bad (I've had 3, as well as 2 flex sigs).
Btw coffee is popular with anyone with constipation as it's known to get the bowels moving, so that's not weird at all.
Hello, sorry you've not been feeling well. I also agree w/ sheba and arbob that you should see a good doctor/specialist and have some testing done. I can somewhat understand the hesitation to seek medical advice and trust/be compliant to what the medical professionals want you to do. Though you were young when first sick, I gather you may still be more comfortable trying to figure things out on your own. It is good to get all the information you can, but it will only get you so far. You can not diagnose yourself without this testing, and also you can not prescribe medication if you need it.
You had asked for experiences on flare/remission w/ IBD...I am 31 and have been diagnosed with severe crohns for almost 10yrs. Though it's severe (my GI calls it malignant - just meaning that it's typically unresponsive to treatment) there was a period of time that I was not on medication due to lack of insurance, and I was mostly symptom free for almost 2 years. Every case is completely unique and I would definately not rule out IBD just because you had 6 years without major symptoms.
I guess my advice is to keep gathering as much info as possible and to also utilize your doctor as the most valuable resource you have available to you. Testing is not difficult and it is worthwhile.
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