How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Chip Your Own Question
Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 32679
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
Type Your Health Question Here...
Dr. Chip is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I recently noticed my bowel movements have become flatter

Resolved Question:

I recently noticed my bowel movements have become flatter than normal, They are not paper thin but they definitely appear to have a flat side to them. Sometimes I notice that my bowel movement will start out normal but get flater with length. Sometimes after going, I will have to go again 15 or 20 mins later and then my stool will be small caliber and flat. I am worried I might have colon cancer, at times I do also have bouts of loose watery stool. Recently I have had blood work done along with an esr test + Kidney & Liver Function and CBC. The only thing that was abnormal was my lymphocytes were low (17.9) Normal (24-44) Neutrophills (76.1) Norm (37-67) my ESR test was normal.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.

Do you have any history of hemorrhoids?
Family history of colon cancer?
Any weight loss?
Abdominal pain?
Have you ever been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome?

Dr Abby
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No history of hemeroids, Cancer runs on my mothers side of the family (Particulary the woman, Usually breast or uterus cancers, I had a weight loss back in december but it was attributed to a bad reaction that I had while using zoloft. 3 weeks ago I had a bout with what I thought was the stomach flu. I have bouts of gas since then. But not much abdominal pain. I have never been diagnosed with IBS
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for clarifying.

At this time, it is unclear what (if any significant) risk exists between genetic breast/ovarian cancers (the BRCA gene mutations) and colon cancer. Some studies have shown that there may be a twofold increased risk in people who carry the BRCA mutation, while others have not confirmed this.

Much of the time, a stool that is flat on one side is due to an internal hemorrhoid. If you have had diarrhea and have spent significant time sitting on the toilet, this can increase your risk for developing a hemorrhoid.
Internal hemorrhoids are not obvious...this is because they are inside the rectum and do not typically cause discomfort.

That being said, whenever someone has a change in bowel habits and/or a change in the size of their stool, it needs to be investigated due to the fact that it can be a sign of colon cancer.
Your doctor may recommend that you have a colonoscopy just to be safe at this point.

Colon cancer may have no symptoms (which is quite common) or it may present with changes in the stool, iron deficiency anemia, unexplained weight loss.

Colon cancer is rare in younger adults...

Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have after reading this,

Dr Abby
Dr. Abby, Board Certified MD
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience: Family Physician, practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
Dr. Abby and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
just curious about my esr test, If I had some form of cancer, wouldnt I possibly have an abnormal test due to inflamation?
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.
That is a good question...

It is reassuring that your sed rate is normal as it is commonly elevated in people who have cancer.
However, it is not reliable in ruling out cancer with 100% certainty. If it was, we would not have to do many of our cancer screening tests.

Dr Abby
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Also when I spoke to you yesterday I forgot to ask you, Is there a lymph node in this location it feels like I have a swollen painless bump.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.
no reason just dont feel like waiting
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 5 years ago.
If you're talking about where your left two fingers are, no, there are no lymoh nodes in that area.
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 32679
Experience: Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
Dr. Chip and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you