Discussions By Condition: Gastrointestinal conditions

Undiagnosed GI & neurological symptoms... hoping someome can help.

Posted In: Gastrointestinal conditions 2 Replies
  • Posted By: kyoneko
  • October 5, 2013
  • 03:18 AM

Hello - I have had symptoms of IBS for five years now that come and go, varying in their severity and complexity. Most common symptoms have been diarrhea, nausea, spasms in the colon and pain. I often get sharp pains, generally located above my navel and to the left side. Sometimes this pain is so severe it is almost debilitating. Recently (last 6 months), I will get pain radiating to my back as well, between my shoulders and just below my shoulder blades. I have had an upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, CT scans with and without barium and ultrasounds of my gallbladder. All have shown nothing aside from a minor ulcer in my stomach and some 'folds'. I have been tested and come back negative for Crohns, Celiac, Lupus, Gallbladder dysfunction and abnormal function of my liver, thyroid and blood. I have altered my diet and found that while changing what I eat can make my symptoms less frequent, it does not prevent them and has almost no bearing on pain levels. I am on amitryptiline for chronic migraine, dicyclomine for spastic colon, citalopram for 'IBS' and ranitidine for acid reduction. Most troubling is that recently (within last 3 months) I have also been 'diagnosed' with Restless Leg Syndrome and have started to experience neurological symptoms I have never had before as well as a strong fatigue. My chin went numb for a day or two, I feel nerve 'spasms' in the middle of my back that cause uncomfortable twitching and I get phantom sensations in my legs and arms such as a feeling of wetness or tingling in small areas. Within the last couple weeks I have also experienced severe bloating in my abdomen, stronger fatigue and it seems as though I cannot sleep anymore... I get an average of 4-5 hours per night and I cannot force myself to sleep even if I am desperately tired about 60% of the time. I am getting anxious with these new symptoms... And I'm hoping someone here might have suggestions. With as little as testing has done for me, I am willing to entertain any possible potential diagnoses. Thank you.

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2 Replies:

  • I'm sorry you're having a hard time. I have a few thoughts about what you wrote though. First, the pain/cramping in your abdomen is very likely caused by your IBS/spastic colon. People with dysfunction in the colon often have "unexplained" cramping or stabbing pains on a regular basis, simply from the process of pushing stool downward. You didn't mention if the pain comes and goes with any pattern in regards to your bowel movements, or if it comes and goes at certain times of the day. If so, I would venture to guess stool is exerting pressure or getting stuck in the same place, or irritating your intestine in some way, and causing the pain/cramping. I have gastroparesis and colonic inertia and have severe stabbing pains in the same area you describe (left center abdomen), varying in frequency. It used to be daily and left me unable to walk for the first few hours after waking. I take Domperidone for the gastroparesis and it has actually helped tremendously. After years of daily AM pain, I now only experience it maybe 2-3 times per year. As an aside, I found through trial and error that the only thing that helped was deep slow breathing when the cramping started. It is very painful to inhale deeply when in that state, but if I forced myself to do it, it was like it stopped the spasms after several minutes. As to your neurological symptoms, I think most people with chronic GI ailments begin experiencing these as well. In your case however, I would look at the side effects of some of the drugs you take. They can cause extrapyramidal issues like restless leg syndrome, brain fog, insomnia, etc. and this may be one of those unfortunate cases where the drugs you're taking for one symptom are causing a slew of others. The only other thought I have about your description is that you said you have an ulcer. Ulcers and GERD can cause sometimes severe radiating pain through the center of the chest or abdomen, moving to the shoulder blades, back, neck, jaw, or even ears. When I have bad GERD flares (sometimes for no apparent reason), I have pain just as you describe in my back between the shoulder blades. When it is REALLY bad, the pain gets kind of dull and throbbing and moves up into my jaw and ears. It is disconcerting, but in the grand scheme of things pretty benign. I find nothing helps it much except sucking on ice. I do take PPIs daily; you may want to consider switching your PPI and seeing if it helps at all.
    tinyme 1 Replies
    • December 6, 2013
    • 00:15 PM
    • 0
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  • Do you have a history of a hereditary gastric stomach cancer in your family?
    Or have you had loss of appetite or weight loss?
    Anonymous 0 Replies
    • November 12, 2015
    • 04:35 AM
    • 0
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