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Loose bowel movements

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For the past few months I have been having rather loose bowel movements. They have been regular, but just a bit soft and messy to clean up. I've had plenty of loose stools in my adult life, but not this consistent for this long that I can recall. For the past week, I've had some stomach problems. Decrease in appetite, and then an uneasy feeling after eating rather than feeling full. I'm not sure if the conditions are related, if it's a worsening of some kind of bowel condition, or if it's just a temporary bug or something.

I spend a lot of time traveling and living abroad, and have always prided myself on having minimal digestive problems while eating a lot of different cuisines in different countries. I've been back in the U.S. now for over two months, and as I said I'm not sure if this is something I picked up before and has been brewing for some time, or if I just ate something bad here a week ago.

Are there certain foods I should eat to try to ease the condition, or maybe some over the counter drugs (other than Pepto Bismol) that I might try? Or does the condition indicate something more serious? I had some routine bloodwork done a month ago that came back fine.

Category: Family Physician-GP

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Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
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Hello,

Thank you for choosing DoctorSpring.

I discussed your concern with our team Gastroenterologist.
Your suspicion is right - this is most likely a stomach bug (virus / bacteria / protozoa)causing a mild temporary Inflammatory Bowel like dysfunction. (Please note this is not the typical IBS).

As of now this condition do not mean anything serious. However since you have these symptoms for more than a month a definitive diagnosis and treatment is warranted.

Here are my recommendations :

1. You can take an OTC anti ulcer medication like Prilosec once a just before sleep
2. Avoid any food items which seems to worsen symptoms - Try avoiding milk and milk products for a week.
3. Sever persistent diarrhoea, weigh loss, blood in the stools, pain in the abdomen, nausea and vomiting are the warning signs. If any of these symptoms are there do get medical help asap
4. If the symptoms persist you should visit your GP / Gastroenterologist. He/She might give a course of prescription antibiotic like Rifaximin to treat the bug and followup with tests if necessary.

Hope this helps
Feel free to ask followups
Thank you


Patient replied :

Ok thanks very much. Why are milk products bad for this situation? I had always thought that things like yogurt and kefir were helpful.

Also, this may be unrelated, but for a similar length of time (the past several months) I've had a small itchy bump on my lower leg. I thought it was a mosquito bite originally, but several months have gone by and it hasn't healed. Cortizone cream helped early on, but now seems to be ineffective. Anyway I wasn't sure if it was indicative of a larger problem, or something that would just go away over a longer period of time.


Hello,

When the bowel upset is of more than 4 weeks duration a possible lactose intolerance might be there due to alteration of the gut bacteria. So it is wroth giving milk avoidance a trial.

The lesion from description appears to be a dermatological problem. (nothing suggestive of a serious problem ). However certain gluten sensitive enteropathies can skin manifestations. But again your stomach upset is more likely to be an infective origin, so no worries there.

Hope this helps
Feel free to ask followups
Thank you


Patient replied :

Ok thanks very much. Why are milk products bad for this situation? I had always thought that things like yogurt and kefir were helpful.

Also, this may be unrelated, but for a similar length of time (the past several months) I've had a small itchy bump on my lower leg. I thought it was a mosquito bite originally, but several months have gone by and it hasn't healed. Cortizone cream helped early on, but now seems to be ineffective. Anyway I wasn't sure if it was indicative of a larger problem, or something that would just go away over a longer period of time.



Hello,

When the bowel upset is of more than 4 weeks duration a possible lactose intolerance might be there due to alteration of the gut bacteria. So it is wroth giving milk avoidance a trial.

The lesion from description appears to be a dermatological problem. (nothing suggestive of a serious problem ). However certain gluten sensitive enteropathies can skin manifestations. But again your stomach upset is more likely to be an infective origin, so no worries there.

Hope this helps
Feel free to ask followups
Thank you


Patient replied :

Thank you for the information. I feel like my condition has remained about the same, decreased appetite and loose stools of off-color (but no blood). It's an inconvenience but not a big problem right now. Will this probably clear up on it's own, or do I need to take something? I haven't bothered with prilosec yet because it doesn't seem like my stomach is upset enough for that.

At what point should I go in for some tests about this, and if so, what kind of doctor and what tests? I'm currently traveling abroad, so I may have to deal with some language difficulty.


Hello,

Yes, you may need medication - probably antibiotics like Rifaximin. Meanwhile you can try pro biotic capsules or drink if it is available OTC.If there are no alarm signs as I have mentioned in the earlier reply you can wait 2-4 weeks. However it is better not to delay the care. Consulting a Medial Gastroenterologist would be ideal. Hope this helps
Feel free to ask followups
Thank you


Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy
Category: HIV- AIDS Specialist
Experience: 
MBBS from Sri Ramachandra University in December 2011
M.Med (Family Medicine) - TNMGR University, Chennai
MBA-MPH in Public Health in March 2016, SRM University
Finished AFIH in March 2016, SRM University
MRCP ( UK ), Internal Medicine, Royal College of Physicians, June 2016
Fellowship in Diabetology from Martin Luther University in January 2017

Currently Resident Physician, in MD Radiodiagnosis - Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai
Dr. Jaydeep Tripathy and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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