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What causes irritable bowel syndrome?

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Posted on Tue, 12 May 2015
Question: One week ago I went to Emergency with severe pains in the middle left flank area. In the ambulance they gave me a strong pain killer thinking it was a renal problem. I then had scans, blood and urine tests, all showing nothing. I went home with pain killers. The next night I had similar pains, extended in the lower left abdomen.
I had a few minutes of hot prickly sensations in the lower left abdomen too. All of these areas then became very hot, burning with the severe pains. I went back to hospital (these things always happen at 3 in the morning)@ They found nothing, said it could be shingles, but there was and is no rash, or other symptoms.
My local doctor doesn't think it is shingles, the pain is also in the upper left back just near the love handles.
I have no constipation, diarrhoea or bladder problems. I am 68,
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (31 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
what kind of scans did you have?

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

your condition sounds like renal colic but I can't confirm or exclude it. Other potential causes include bowel pain, nerve pain and shingles.

Regarding shingles: the skin lesions may not appear until several days have passed, so no lesions does not mean anything.

Nerve pain: this is not very common but pressure on nerve roots may cause a shingles-like pain.

Bowel pain: usually caused by either constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. Diverticulitis is another potential explanation.

Renal colic: stones, blood clots etc may obstruct the kidney and cause pain. An ultrasound scan when pain has occured, should detect signs of obstruction. Red blood cells may be found in the urinalysis.

I hope I've helped!
Contact me again, if you'd like more information. If you want, you can upload the reports. Reading the reports would allow me to comment on your situation with more accuracy.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (9 minutes later)
I had a CT abdomen scan. If the problem was renal colic, surely that would have shown it.i have had these pains for 7 days now, wouldn't there be other symptoms by now if it was shingles
Thank you XXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (10 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Normally yes

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

the CT should have shown signs of renal colic if you had pain during the test. If you had no pain then the CT could be falsely negative.
Shingles lesions usually appear 3 days after the initiation of the pain but it may start later. More than a week is not common.

The CT (particularly if intravenous contrast material was administered) should have shown inflammed diverticula but no finding is expected in functional bowel pain.

If the CT had no findings and the blood and urine tests were negative then a conservative treatment with painkillers seems like a good choice.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (18 minutes later)
I had no pain during the CT because I had been given a morphine based drug! Should I do it again?
Thank you XXXXXXX
What about spinal arthritis, but even there I have non of the "normal" symptoms
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (5 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
No, because of the radiation

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

the radiation is too high to do it again. You can do an ultrasound scan, which may show a dilated ureter or renal pelvis when pain is felt. The ultrasound scan has no radiation and is less expensive.

Regarding the orthopedic causes, I've already mentioned "nerve pain". This kind of pain usually occurs when the intervertebral disc applies pressure on a nerve root. Pressure can be applied in other conditions as well, like tumors for example. Spinal arthritis does not sound relevant because it wouldn't cause pain in the abdomen.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (11 minutes later)
Where could the tumours be and what are other symptoms
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (7 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
I'm talking about the urinary tract

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

a tumor in the urinary tract may cause it but other conditions like tumors outside the urinary tract may apply pressure on the ureter and cause obstruction. Symptoms of renal tumors are usually hematuria and perhaps anemia and fever. It depends on the location of the tumor though. Lower urinary tract tumors are more likely to present with hematuria.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (11 minutes later)
Hi
What about nerve damage from alcohol. as over the years I have definitely had too much red wine, can that be "cured" I don't mean the drinking, I don't drink much now.
Regards XXXXXXX
What about nerve damage from alcohol? I have definitely had too much red wine
over the years, not anymore. Do my specific symptoms correspond? Is there a "cure" for this type of nerve damage?
I also have a few heated twinges in the back
Regards XXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (5 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Can't exclude it

Detailed Answer:
I can't either confirm or exclude it but it would be unusual because alcohol related neuropathy commonly starts from the extremities, so I don't believe it's the alcohol particularly since you don't drink that much now.

I'm sorry for the delay in my answer. We've got a huge time difference!

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3786 Questions

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What causes irritable bowel syndrome?

Brief Answer: what kind of scans did you have? Detailed Answer: Hello, your condition sounds like renal colic but I can't confirm or exclude it. Other potential causes include bowel pain, nerve pain and shingles. Regarding shingles: the skin lesions may not appear until several days have passed, so no lesions does not mean anything. Nerve pain: this is not very common but pressure on nerve roots may cause a shingles-like pain. Bowel pain: usually caused by either constipation or irritable bowel syndrome. Diverticulitis is another potential explanation. Renal colic: stones, blood clots etc may obstruct the kidney and cause pain. An ultrasound scan when pain has occured, should detect signs of obstruction. Red blood cells may be found in the urinalysis. I hope I've helped! Contact me again, if you'd like more information. If you want, you can upload the reports. Reading the reports would allow me to comment on your situation with more accuracy. Kind Regards!