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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18325
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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My 80-year-old father has had loose bowel movements for the

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My 80-year-old father has had loose bowel movements for the past 2-3 weeks. The frequency of his bowel movements has not increased, but his bowel movements are now loose and sometimes watery. There has been no evidence of blood or any discoloration in his stools. The only other symptom he has had is a gurgling sound in his stomach, which is most prevalent shortly after eating, but sometimes occurs long after eating. He has Type II Diabetes for which takes Gluctrol XL. The other medications he takes are Altace, Cardura and Caduet. He has been taking all of these medications for years, so there is nothing new and the dosages have remained the same for more than a year. He does not take any OTC meds or supplements. He had his yearly PSA test nine days ago and there was a sharp rise from previous years. Going back to the summer of 2007, his PSA level had been 14-16 each time, but nine days ago it was 25. He had a negative prostate biopsy in the fall of 2007, and his urologist has recommended another biopsy given the increase in his PSA from 15 in Feb. 2011 to 25 nine days ago. My father is reluctant to have another biopsy as he has read that typically prostate cancer is not worthwhile treating at his age. He did not mention his recent onset of loose bowel movements and stomach gurgling to his urologist (those symptoms had started 1-2 weeks before the PSA test was done). I am wondering if it is possible that my father has something such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and if that or other gastrointestinal disorders could have caused his PSA to jump up. Or, on the other hand, could his prostate be causing the gastrointestinal problems? He has not had any urinary problems or any change in his urinary habits. The only thing that he has done differently since his last PSA test in Feb. 2011 is that he started drinking a small amount of pomegranate juice (3 oz. per day) at that time upon my advice that doing so is supposedly beneficial for the prostate. He quit drinking it five days ago but doing so has not affected the looseness of his stools, and he had been drinking it for 10-11 months without any problems. He is wondering if somehow the pomegranate juice could have led to his PSA increasing. I'm trying to talk him into seeing his primary care doctor as soon as possible, but he has been resistant and wants to wait until his scheduled appointment in March. Hopefully I can get some further insight here on what could be causing these recent changes my father has experienced.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 5 years ago.
These two issues would typically be separate issues. GI problems would not typically cause an increase in PSA and prostate conditions limited to the prostate would not typically cause diarrhea. An acute infection of the prostate can cause a sudden increase in the PSA and systemic signs of infection, such as fever and general malaise, but it does not typically cause diarrhea. There also is no evidence that drinking pomegranate juice will increase the PSA.

There are many possible causes of diarrhea, and yes, irritable bowel syndrome is one of the possibilities. It also can be related to a variety of infections of the gut, other colon disorders, liver or gallbladder disease, pancreatic insufficiency, or food intolerances. It is also possible to get loose bowel movements due to advanced forms of constipation, such as an impaction, as soft or loose stool may be all that can pass around the area of impaction. Ultimately, it would require an appropraite evaluation to determine the cause of the diarrhea. The urgency of the evaluation would depend upon the severity of the symptoms, but if only having mild diarrhea that is not that bothersome, it usually does not require an urgent evaluation.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Are there specific GI problems that would most likely cause the gurgling sounds my father has been experiencing in his stomach? The sounds are coming from his upper abdomen, so I was wondering if it most likely has something to do with his stomach or small intestine. I forgot to mention in my initial question that he had a surgery in March 2011 to repair a large ventral hernia. A mesh device was required to complete the repair. Again, though, he has not had any GI problems until 2-3 weeks ago, and he did not have any post-surgical problems.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 5 years ago.
No, the gurgling sound is non-specific and can occur with any condition that causes diarrhea, as the gurgling is a sign of the gut moving contents downstream. A repair of a ventral hernia would not generally be a concern for the development of diarrhea a year later.

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