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Suspected IBD
ericjames posted:
For the past 10 days, I have been having bouts of bloody diarrhea which happens 3-4 times per day. Sometimes there is enough blood to turn the toilet water red. This is accompanied by painful cramping when it occurs and a lot of gurgling stomach noises. I do not have normal bowel movements anymore. I saw my doctor about this, and she ordered a blood test and referred me to gastroenterology. The blood work came back showing a very elevated sedimentation rate (ESR). My consult appointment with the gastroenterologist is still over a week away. In the meantime, my digestive system is not improving. Is there anything I can do to help my condition now at home? Do you think it is okay to wait for my appointment or should I seek more immediate care? I don't have a fever but feel very weak. I am also having pain/stiffness in my back, ribs, neck, and one knee. Don't know if that is related or not.
hannahleigh89 responded:
It depends on how much blood you are actually losing if you should wait a week or not. The weakness and pain/stiffness in your joints lead me to believe that you have an electrolyte imbalance going on. If you can, I would try to stay away from any food that is crunchy or really chewy (like jerky) and anything that is spicy. No raw fruits or vegetables. Stick with bland foods, like baked/mashed potatoes, rice, toast, cottage cheese and yogurt (if you can eat dairy), and clear liquids. I would recommend Pedialyte if you can stomach it, because it will replace some of the electrolytes that you're missing. I hear it doesn't taste very good. But Gatorade isn't actually very good for you if you're having diarrhea because it does have a lot of sugar which can make diarrhea worse. Also, Pediasure or Ensure will help with nutrition if you're having trouble eating, but because of the high nutrient content, they upset my stomach, so I would start slow with them. I make my dad milk shakes daily with an Ensure, vanilla ice cream, and canned apple pie filling that he really enjoys. He had UC and had his colon removed nearly 20 years ago, and has recently had jaw surgery so now he cannot chew. His nutrition is lacking, obviously, but this has helped him to put weight back on.

If you become too weak or fatigued, then this is a sign that you've lost too much blood and need to seek help immediately. But having 3-4 bloody bowel movements a day is probably safe until your appointment, unless again, you're losing a lot of blood in each BM. And sometimes a little blood can make the water look red, because it isn't supposed to be there at all and it's scary. Also, another note, pay attention to what you're eating/drinking. Some dyes are not digested when you are having diarrhea, and this can alter the color of you're stool. But you sound pretty sure that it's blood. (Probably TMI, but if I drink Koolaid, whatever color the Koolaid is, my stool is that color. And I would not recommend Koolaid with diarrhea, lol.)

I hope I've answered your question. I'll give you a couple tips straight from my doctor, that I cannot vouch for because I have not tried them, but she said they've worked for a lot of people. 1.) Bananas, peanut butter, and Fluff brand marshmallow cream on white bread. Make sandwiches. Supposed to be great for diarrhea and easy to digest. I don't eat peanut butter, haven't tried it.
2.) Apparently the World Health Organization released a recipe for decaffeinated tea that they use in Africa to help children to dysentery. 1 liter water, 1 tsp. salt, 8 tsp. sugar, and 5-6 decaf tea bags. She recommended lemon flavored, to cut the salt. I tried cranberry apple and it was disgusting. Couldn't drink it. The salt is supposed to help your body draw in the water in your digestive tract to relieve diarrhea symptoms.

Again, hope this helps. If you have any more questions, let me know and I'll try to remember to check the board again soon. Good luck and best wishes!
ericjames replied to hannahleigh89's response:
Hello Hannah,

Thank you for your very thorough answer. I'm sure you're right about being dehydrated as I've been having the diarrhea for 2 weeks straight now with no let up. Trying to eat as lightly and bland as I can, but sometimes when the stomach pains go away I do get a little appetite back and crave nutrients.

The blood work I had done seems to indicate there is some serious inflammation somewhere in my body, but until colonoscopy is done, I won't know whether I have UC, Crohn's, or something else. I do know I have never felt this lousy before. I used to be able to eat just about anything with only the occasional stomachache. This illness came on pretty suddenly. I am almost sure it's not viral because it's not going away, and I don't have any typical flu-like symptoms.

The blood in stool ranges from pretty light at times to somewhat moderate, so I'm not going to panic over it. It's definitely blood and not food dye. I've always had trouble with hemorrhoids so used to seeing a little streak on the toilet paper before. Doctor did check my hemorrhoids and thought they looked good, so not likely to be the source of any bleeding.

I will let you know if there is any changes. In the meantime just hoping for some kind of improvement.

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