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What causes bowel problems with skin lesions and joint aches?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1980
Answered : 1357 Questions
Hi. I am a 30 yr old female and I have a 10 month old daughter. I have had a dull achy lower back for about 10 yrs but nothing too serious. About 6 months ago i had a sudden onset of severe lower back pain that radiated into my sides and abdomen, and also into my legs. I also started having severe pain and swelling in all of my joints, especially my knees, ankles, and wrists. I had an MRI done and was diagnosed with severe degenerative disc disease/ bulging discs with ruptured tissue/sciatica and told that I probably had rheumatoid arthritis, although no testing was done for that. Shortly after that sudden onset, my daughter and I both started experiencing the following... Her stool is normal except it is filled with lots of tiny hairs/fibers (she is on formula only due food allergies), and also a few black specks resembling pepper. There are also some of these same hairs/fibers all over her skin/inside of clothing, which causes her to constantly itch and scratch at herself. She also has a terrible diaper rash that is raw/weepy/bloody that has been treated several times by several drs, not to mention the hundreds of dollars i have spent on store bought diaper rash remedies, none of which have cleared up the rash. Most of them actually made it worse. The only thing that seems to help just a tiny bit is regular old neosporin, but it only helps the bloody spots, not the rash itself. She also is still not crawling, and seems to have a problem with her legs/knees/muscles, which her drs are currently looking into. My stools are almost black in color, come out as individual pieces like rocks, are very hard/dry, covered in mucus (some of which is bloody), have hairs/fibers/white globs that resemble steak fat/thin pieces that resemble the skin of a piece of corn/bean. I have a very poor appetite (I barely eat every other day, usually a bowl of cereal or a fast food burger), but I am addicted to chocolate milk and drink about a gallon of it every 2 days. I am on buprenorphine for the lower back pain/sciatica, which has always caused constipation but not the other abnormalities in my stool. I have the same hairs/fibers that appear all over my body (skin) out of nowhere, even freshly showered without even touching a towel. I have started getting lesions on my arms (especially hands), legs, chest, breasts, and stomach. I am also extremely, extremely fatigued and feel like I have been particularly clumsy and foggy brained lately. I went to 2 different drs. The first time I was treated for pinworms, the second time for scabies. Neither dr performed any tests, only heard my symptoms and looked at my skin. They both seemed like they thought I was on drugs and just diagnosed as they did to get me out of there. I do not currently use drugs, I have in the past (i used to be bad off, i did anything and everything, intraveinously) but its been 6 years since ive used. Whenever my daughter or I have a spot that itches, after we scratch there is what seems to be like glitter, along with the fibers that ive mentioned. I have examined these fibers under a 40x magnifier. They are always either black or clear almost plastic looking, and the clear ones are iridescent. Googling our symptoms leads me to Morgellans disease, but most of the articles are controversial, some saying its neurological/psychological, and the others saying its an actual disease where your body produces/excretes these fibers, although there still is no cause nor cure. I am certain that in our case, it is not neurological, as my family and friends all see the same symptoms that I do. So my question is, first, what is your opinion... Is there some other logical explanation for our symptoms? Second, if Morgellans is "real", are all of our symptoms, including our stools, my back/joint/leg pain, and most importantly her rash, caused by the disease? Will any dr recognize Morgellans as a real disease and treat us accordingly? Is there anything you can recommend to help alleviate some of our symptoms in the mean time?
Posted Wed, 22 Jan 2014 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Rakesh Karanwal 3 hours later
Brief Answer: It is probably a multi-system immune disorder Detailed Answer: Hi Ms. XXXXXXX Thanks for your query. Firstly, you may ask a query for only one person. Hence, I will be opining on your problems. Further, your problems raise certain possibilities :- * Disorder of immune system of your body, such as, joint diseases (which can be rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis or Ankylosing spondylitis) * Mixed Connective Tissue Disease associated with other immune disorders : consisting of either of the joint problems mentioned above, along with associated Dermatomyositis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or Lichen Planus (an infection). * Thyroid disorder (auto-immune) * Inflammatory Bowel Disease, such as, Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn's disease; Diverticulitis (all of which would account for severe constipation, black stools due to bleeding in the intestine, loss of appetite). * Appearance of lesion over your body could be allergic in nature (due to worms or microfilaria), or manifestation of Dermatomyositis or Lichen Planus (an infection). * Morgellon's Disease is highly unlikely. On the contrary, presence of hair-like fibers could be either, worms particularly, pinworms, ankylostoma or microfilaria; or, uncommonly, shreds of inner lining of the intestine being shed in the stools. You are therefore required to undergo several tests for Joints diseases (as mentioned above); auto-immune disorders; thyroid functions; Colonoscopy, stools examination and other relevant blood tests. Lastly, it is beyond the scope of the category of your query, to give further details. You need a thorough clinical examination by a Rheumatologist to shortlist the most possible diagnosis. Consult a Rheumatologist and Gastroenterologist and apprise them of my opinion. I am certain that they will agree with me; order required tests, and- based on the reports- will arrive at a certain diagnosis and chart out the best course of action for you. Hope I have addressed to your concerns to your complete satisfaction and you find my response helpful and informative. I will be happy to answer further queries, if any. Fond regards and have a nice day, Col (Dr.) Rakesh Karanwal
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