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Noticed blood in stool. Family history of colon cancer. Chances of celiac disease?

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I have a concern regarding a colonoscopy/endoscopy. For years now, I have been trying to find a doctor who would test me for Celiac disease. I have been having a very hard time finding a doctor who takes my concern seriously. I have recently had blood in my stool (twice, separated by about 3 days, two weeks ago). After talking to my doctor, he would like me to have a colonoscopy/endoscopy asap, but flat out refuses to consider celiac as a possibility. I have an appointment with Dr. XXXXXXX at the Celiac Center at Columbia, but her first available appointment is in early December. I'm slightly concerned that if I don't have celiac and it's something more serious (colon cancer), it would be bad to wait. On the other hand, there's no use being tested by a doctor who won't even look for celiac (and who doesn't seem to know anything about it). I want to wait, but I want to be reasonably sure that it's safe to do so. Here's the information:

32 yrs old
170 lbs (I gained a lot of weight with my children, and have been unable to lose the weight)
Anemic (iron deficiency, low hemoglobin - I've NEVER not been anemic - literally every time I've ever had my blood drawn I've been anemic)
Documented skin-prick test allergy to wheat & rye; also allergic to latex
Blood in stool was bright red, and there was quite a bit, but didn't seem to actually be in the stool
Normal thyroid levels, test for Crohn's disease negative
Easily fatigued lately (but I'm usually very energetic, even with anemia)
Gluten free for 2 yrs, but I think there's been significant contamination while eating out

Family History:
Both paternal grandparents had colon cancer (between 60 - 70 yrs old at diagnosis, I think)
Mother and maternal aunt have thyroid disorders
Maternal grandmother had strokes (around 65 yrs old)

Symptoms that make me consider celiac disease (all symptoms from before going gluten free):
Extremely easily upset stomach - constant constipation; when BM, always diarrhea; constant nausea
Cannot drink milk or eat ice cream - upsets my stomach too much
Outrageously itchy legs and arms at night
Crampy stomach with bloating
Large, gross BMs
Dental enamel wear (dentist told me not to brush my teeth so often, b/c I was wearing the enamel away, but I was only brushing 3x per day)
Phantom feeling of ants crawling on toes (nerve damage)
Anxiety (definitely linked to gluten intake)
Significant weight gain, even though I eat very healthy and not too much

I know some of this is very random, but I'd rather you have too much info than not enough. Again, the question is whether it is safe and worthwhile to wait until the beginning of December for the endoscopy/colonoscopy?

Thank you,

Posted Tue, 23 Oct 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Ratnakar Kini 1 hour later
I am Dr.Ratnakar Kini, gastroenterologist and I am pleased to answer your question.

With a history of constipation and diarrhea and a bright red blood in stool , the first possible diagnosis is hemorrhoids which is a benign condition.

The anemia you have could be due to loss of blood during bowel movements. Though it was overt only on two occasions, chronic invisible blood loss too can occur. But still a complete work up for anemia has to be done. Celiac disease is also one of the causes for anemia.

I would like to have some more information before I can give my opinion.

1. Any family history of polyposis coli?

2. Was colonsocopy done before?

Kindly get back to me with the answers and I would give my opinion.

Dr.Ratnakar Kini
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Noticed blood in stool. Family history of colon cancer. Chances of celiac disease? 33 minutes later
Hello Dr. Kini,

No polyposis coli that I know of, and I've never had a colposcopy before.

Thanks for your help!

Answered by Dr. Ratnakar Kini 20 hours later
I presume you meant colonoscopy and not colposcopy.
Celiac disease can be diagnosed by various methods including blood tests. As mentioned in my earlier post, you need a complete evaluation of your anemia and not just testing for celiac disease alone.

If there is family history of polyposis coli, the risk of colon cancer is high and a colonsocopic surveillance has to be started at a younger age.

With family history of colon canacer, colonoscopic surveillance is usually started after 50 years. Since you are only 32 years, the risk of colon cancer at this age is less.
Moreover there are other common causes of bright red blood in stool including hemorrhoids and fissures which are less serious conditions. You can wait till December for your colonoscopy.

If you are still apprehensive, you can go for other tests like virtual colonoscopy or a double contrast barium enema to rule out anything serious.

I hope that answers your question.
If there are no more questions, kindly accept this answer and rate this service.

Dr.Ratnakar Kini
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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