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Cancer: Colon Message Board

Cancer: Colon Board Index

I am starting to stress.

I am a 29 y/o male. I am in good shape, work out 5-6 times a week and try to eat a healthy diet. I have had what I am pretty sure are hemhorroids for a while now (first noticed over 10 years ago). I did my research back then and because they never caused me any trouble other than potential embarrassment, I've never addressed the issue to a Doc. I do get the ocassional bright red blood on the toilet paper, but other wise, no problems there.

I have also ocassionally (starting the past 3 years or so) been woken in the middle of the night with throbbing rectal pain that always seemed to be constipation like and would go away after 20 mins or so.

BUT, the past couple weeks have gotten me worried. Starting probably a week and a half ago, I started feeling constipated, almost plugged up. I had been eating a LOT of Fiber One and began to wonder if I might have over done it to the point of blocking up. Through last weekend, it was harder and harder to pass much other than gas, and I had lots of gas (though I usually do with what I eat). As this week continued it really seemed like I was eating much more than was coming out and I was feeling bloated because of it. I was taking stool softeners through the week and drinking lots of water without things changing. Starting mid-week, when I tried hard, I began passing "pencil thin" stools consisteltly, and still passing very little compared to what I was taking in. As of this weekend, I tried prune juice and Milk of Magnesia which had me passing either watery or pencil thin stools still. It also feels like my sphincter/rectal muscles are very tight now.

Too much of it is starting to match up with scary symptoms. I did get the throbbing rectal pain for the first time in months again last night too. I'm thinking it's time to find a doctor. But I would also love to hear some opinions here too. Could I just be constipated? Stressed? Can hemhorroids, if flaring up, cause the pencil thin stools?

Thank you for your time/advice--I appreciate it!
This is not really the place for advice like this, simply because you are going to hear from people who currently have colorectal cancer.

What you need to understand, and what I am finally beginning to, is that many gastrointestinal issues mimic other issues (i.e. the symptoms of a benign issue is very similar to that of a malignant source).

I am going to a Gastroenterologist tomorrow for blood, mucus and increased frequency. Colitis runs in my family, colon cancer does not, and I'm only 26. I made the mistake of googling "colon cancer in the young" and I got to read all of these stories of young people, like you and me, getting colon cancer. Then, out of panic, I go to my regular practitioner doctor who said only 2% of people who come in with blood in their stool, be it bright red, or found on a FOBT, are found to have a malignant source.

All of your symptoms can be explained by Irritable Bowel Disease, which would be more common for your age category. I had a friend who had rectal bleeding and after a colonoscopy, it was found that he had IBS + hemorrhoids. The IBS caused increased frequency which irritated the hemorrhoids and caused bleeding. He was put on a strict diet for a month and it has since cleared up.

In the end, you will need to see a doctor, but don't expect the worst. If you do not go see a doctor, you will do nothing but research and drive yourself nuts doing so. No one can diagnose an illness over the internet, obviously. Don't go borrowing trouble when you don't need to :)
Update: I did go see the health center where I was training a couple months ago and the Doc (PA) did the finger rectal exam and had me do the 3-sample Fecal Ocult Blood Test, which he said came back negative. He said I did have internal hemorrhoids and a tag from and external one a while back. He said he didn't feel anything wrong on the finger/prostate test and gave me some suppositories for the hemorrhoids and some sort of pill to help with the constipation. It slowly did help with the constipation. One concern I had though was how the FOBT would come back negative when I know I had blood on one of the three samples I turned in. Kind of made me wonder...

Over the next month or so, the constipation decreased a bit for a week or so, but then started back. I've taken stool softeners regularly and make sure to eat enough fiber and stay hydrated. The stools returned to full size for a week or so then started to go back to the flatter type with ocassional thin stools again. I read somewhere that if it were a tumor/polyp, etc., the stool shape wouldn't go back and forth like that. Is that a good assumption? Can inflamed hemorrhoids be the cause of the constipation and the thin stools?

Starting this past weekend, my last three visits to the toilet have had the bright red blood, more so than normal. It prompted me to go back in and see another PA at the health center. He confirmed Hemorrhoids were there and gave me some more suppositories. He said although the hemorrhoids seem to be the culprit for the bleeding, the only way to rule out the other possibilities for peace of mind would be to get a colonoscopy somewhere else. Having several of the symptoms that always lead to "go see a doctor right away", it has caused me to worry. But I have seen two docs now who didn't seem too concerned.

Should I still be concerned enough to try and schedule a colonoscopy? Again I am only 29 and my dad has had polyps found a few years ago at age 55, but otherwise there is no family history of cancer. If I should get one, how urgent would scheduling an appointment be. I am away for training for another month and I'm told it can take a few weeks to schedule. Thanks for the advice, everyone!

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