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Anthony Bray, MD
Anthony Bray, MD, Doctor
Category: Medical
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Experience:  14 years experience in the field of Family Practice
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Can IBS cause swollen lymph nodes in the abdomen? I had

Resolved Question:

Can IBS cause swollen lymph nodes in the abdomen?

I had a ct scan, that said some abdominal lymph nodes are a little swollen, now I am freaking out, though my doctor said not to worry.

My doctor thought I might have had an infection, so he put me on antibiotics, but it didn't help. I've been constipated for month and have bloating. Now he's thinking its IBS, but I am wondering if that or constipation could have caused the swollen lymph nodes. My gut is very inflamed/bloated, which I heard could cause lymph swelling. Thanks.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Anthony Bray, MD replied 4 years ago.

Anthony Bray MD :

Hello!

Anthony Bray MD :

No, IBS may cause symptoms of abdominal cramping, spasms, constipation and/or diarrhea but it would NOT be expected to cause enlarged lymph nodes.

Anthony Bray MD :

Now you may have enlarged lymph nodes due to one of many possible reasons and the benign explanations are more likely.

Anthony Bray MD :

You could have had a recent gastroenterititis and this would do it. This is a viral infection (most typically) of the GI tract and typically will cause some diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.

Anthony Bray MD :

Some general viral infections will cause enlarged lymph nodes throughout the body. Mononucleosis (Epstein Barr virus) is notorious for doing this for example.

Anthony Bray MD :

There are a number of general infections >>generally viral that may cause enlarged lymph nodes.

Anthony Bray MD :

Now on the other hand you may have a case of mesenteric adenitis and this would be associated with enlarged lymph nodes and generally causes some abdominal discomfort.

Anthony Bray MD :

Bacterial infections of the small bowel or large bowel (colonitis) could be the explanation. A CBC (complete blood count ) would help to differentiate what type of process your body was fighting to cause these enlarged nodes.

Anthony Bray MD :

It's possible that it may have been a borderline call on the part of the radiologist or in other words the nodes may have not been terribly enlarged and may be more or less normal for you...

Anthony Bray MD :

Of potential concern with enlarged lymph nodes would be lymphoma which is a malignancy. You would be at low risk for this at your age but it is a possible concern and may warrant some follow up testing.

Anthony Bray MD :

I hope this information is helpful for you.

Anthony Bray MD :

If you have further questions then I will be happy to get back with you.

Anthony Bray MD :

If my answer has been helpful and to your satisfaction then please remember to press the "ACCEPT" button. Thank you and Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD :

Anthony Bray MD

Customer:

Thanks Dr. I haven't had any diarrhea, which made my doctor think any type of gastro infection was unlikely. My CBC and bloodwork are normal, as was stool test for parasites, bacteria and occult blood. I've been having this bloating/constipation for 2-3 months. That being the case would some type of cancer, most likely showed up on the CT scan or bloodwork? Now I am freaking out a little, as I don't think it was any type of infection so I keep thinking theres something wrong. I am assuming they weren't too enlarged, my doctor said he should even have told me, once he saw how I over-reacted and said to not even think about it as it was no big deal. But of course, I can't stop thinking about it. Thanks!

Anthony Bray MD :

Hello again,

Anthony Bray MD :

Some cancers show up on a structural study while others not so well.

Anthony Bray MD :

I get the impression from your remarks above that the findings of enlarged lymph nodes was probably not that significant and may have been a borderline call. It may be normal for you for example.

Anthony Bray MD :

You probably did not have any grossly enlarged nodes or a suspicious group or they would have been standing on their heads....

Anthony Bray MD :

At age 29 you are at very low risk for cancer.

Customer: That's helpful and reassuring, thanks Dr. Last question, is it possible that these enlarged nodes are causing my constipation?
Anthony Bray MD :

No I doubt that is the case.

Anthony Bray MD :

How often do you have a BM?

Customer: It's daily, sometimes 2-3 times a day but their always incomplete, small, hard to push out, etc. I am just so concerned because the bloating can be really bad under the gut/belting area. It always feels tender/bloated there.
Anthony Bray MD :

You can help this conditrion in general by increasing your daily fluid intake and get daily exercise such as walking at least. You may benefit from a daily stool softener if you have hard firm stols. Options here would include Colace, Docusate, Surfak or mineral oil...

Anthony Bray MD :

You might try a probitotic to see if this helps with the bloating problem. This helps to normalize the GI tract with beneficial type bacteria. Some bacteria are more gas forming and can contribute to the bloating symptom.'

Anthony Bray MD :

probiotic....DanActive or Activia as examples.

Customer: Thanks Doc, yeah I guess I just worry about what's causing it in the first place. I try those things ideas, thanks for everything.
Anthony Bray MD :

You are very welcome!

Anthony Bray MD :

Let me know if you have further questions and I will be happy to get back with you>

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