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Change in bowel habits, nausea, abdominal soreness, abdominal pain, stiff neck, bladder issues. May have multiple sclerosis

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 9095 Questions
Over the past 4 or 5 months I have had these reoccurring stomach problems as well as other symptoms that are leading me to believe that I may have Multiple Sclerosis..

My symptoms consist mostly of:
change in bowel habits
soreness in abdomen after sleeping
lower abdominal pain and cramps

these symptoms seem to come and go for weeks at a time.

Within the past month or so, I have also started to experience a sore, stiff neck (almost like a kink) as well as some pain and discomfort in my left ribcage, that seems to be focused on one small area.

Ive been down south on vacation and went golfing yesterday, something that I do very often (since it is my profession) and when I woke up this morning, my neck, left shoulder (and shoulder blade) and left arm have been very sore and stiff and just doesn't feel right, almost numb feeling. I can feel this dull achy pain throughout my whole arm and I have also had some bladder issues - the need to go, but not much urine comes out. At first I thought that I may have been sore from golfing but I have never experienced this before.

The only other thing that I have really seemed to noticed is that I have been significantly tired throughout the day.

Im only 20 years old, in relatively good shape and don't have any family history of MS (not sure if that matters).

My doctor has done a few blood tests to check for things related to my stomach issues and nothing has come back positive. *Is there a way to test for MS? Would it show up in any tests the doctor may have done before?

I can't imagine the symptoms to just show up so suddenly but I don't know much about the disease. I have tried stretching out my arm and neck but it doesn't seem to be helping. Sometimes I will get a random pain in these areas but I haven't really noticed any twitching or lack of strength. Being down in a warm place I wouldn't think that my muscles would remain sore for a long period of time either.
I understand that these could be signs of many more things or I may just be paranoid and assuming the worst but I would rather be safe than sorry.

If anyone has any information or opinions, please let me know.
Thank you.
Posted Mon, 21 May 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 2 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
Your symptoms of stomach upset, pain, change in bowel habits are more likely to be due to an irritable bowel rather than multiple sclerosis.
After an occasional exercise like golf, pain or stiffness in the neck and arm muscles is common. Exercise or stretching is not advisable during acute pain. Taking a mild analgesic with a good muscle relaxant like thiocolchicoside will be helpful after consulting your physician. Avoid any exercise, avoid using a pillow and do a hot fomentation in the affected area for relief.
The symptoms you are having are not suggestive of multiple sclerosis.
There is no single test that is proof-positive for diagnosing multiple sclerosis.

Tests like MRI, Evoked potential test, spinal tap, etc are helpful in diagnosing the condition. An accurate diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is based on your medical history and a neurological exam (an exam of the function of the brain and spinal cord) using various tests by a neurologist. A lot depends on the skill of the doctor in asking the right questions to uncover information and to properly evaluate the signs and symptoms of a malfunctioning brain or spinal cord.
Please do not worry. Your symptoms are likely to subside after a conservative treatment.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Change in bowel habits, nausea, abdominal soreness, abdominal pain, stiff neck, bladder issues. May have multiple sclerosis 26 hours later
Hi Dr. Tayal,

Thank you for your help. Today I have noticed that my muscles aren't nearly as stiff but have had some pains in my left arm, chest and right fingers. The sensation in my arms almost feels like nerve pain when you bump your elbow. I haven't really noticed any lack of coordination but my muscles do seem shaky and just different feeling, primarily in my left side, including my leg and foot...these sensations lasting nearly all day.

One significant thing that I did notice was I experienced an ongoing twitch in my upper arm. The twitch only lasted for about 20 seconds but I know that these mix of symptoms may be more involved with MS.

Do you think that this along with the pain and discomfort in my left ribcage area may have something to do with MS? A friend of mine who is a massage therapist mentioned something about Lung Nodules and how they can cause this sensation in a specific part of your rib area.

Could this all just be from me being stressed? Or could it in fact be something much more serious?

Thank you very much.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 3 hours later
Thanks for writing back.
Overall, your symptoms could be attributable to either simply stress or an electrolyte disorder.
Electrolyte disorders can lead to pain, twitching and generalized weakness. I would suggest the following:
a.     Try XXXXXXX breathing and meditation to take care of the excessive stress
b.     Oral rehydration solutions can take care of minor electrolyte disturbances.
If there is no improvement in symptoms, you may need certain tests like Serum calcium and potassium levels and Serum B12 levels
It is unlikely that you have any underlying neurological issues. Lung nodules are not related to your symptoms.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Change in bowel habits, nausea, abdominal soreness, abdominal pain, stiff neck, bladder issues. May have multiple sclerosis 17 days later
Over the past 3 days I have been experiencing an unusual feeling in my throat. It feels as if I have a lump of food or mucus in the back of my throat that will not go away with water or anything else. I have been rising with salt water and drinking lots of tea but there has not been any change, just a constant feeling of something being stuck. I have also noticed that I have white patches on my throat behind my tonsils as well as tonsil stones and a very itchy, red chest. My throat is NOT sore, I do not have a cough or fever but have had infections before due to the way that my wisdom teeth are going in (because bacteria is getting trapped in the holes). I have also tried clearing my throat and spitting constantly but still no change. I am very worried that these symptoms without a fever or cough may point to something more serious such as cancer, because I have been waiting so long to get my wisdom teeth out. I am a 20 year old male, in good shape but have a history of cancer (but not of the mouth or throat --that I know of--). I do smoke but very occasionally (once or twice a month) and drink alcohol often.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 9 hours later
Presence of white patches behind the throat with red and itchy tonsil stones and difficulty in swallowing is suggestive of acute tonsillitis even if there is no fever and cough. It may be caused by either viral or bacterial infections.
Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and use over-the-counter throat lozenges. Salt water gargle is also a good way to relieve a sore throat. In addition, take like Ibuprofen and Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) after consulting your general physician.
Avoid smoking and alcohol.
Sucking hard candies and ginger lemon tea would also help in opening the congestion.

Also get a rapid strep test (to rule out streptococcal sore throat) and a throat swab done at your doctor’s office so that if it is bacterial Pharyngitis, you will need a course of antibiotics. Please do not worry these symptoms are not likely to be related to cancer.
Hope this answer is helpful.
Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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