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Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified Physician
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I'm a 25-year old man. I've been having abdominal pain that

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I'm a 25-year old man. I've been having abdominal pain that moves around in my abdomen, most often on the upper right or mid-/lower left sides. This has been accompanied by a lot of gas and a feeling of pressure or tightness in my lower abdomen, below my navel. The pain is usually very mild and last for only a few seconds, but on a couple of occasions it's been a worse, cramping pain in my lower abdomen that lasted for about 10-20 minutes.
I've had intermittent constipation and diarrhea for years now, and these pains seemed to start along with a bout of constipation. With my doctor's advice I've been adding fiber and drinking extra water for the past couple of days, and earlier in the week I was able to have a few medium-large bowel movements. In the last couple of days, however, I've only passes small stools that were a dark brown/greenish color. The worse pains in my lower abdomen have also only been in the last couple days.
I'm very worried about this - I have anxiety problems in general and health anxiety is one of my particular issues. I know anxiety can contribute to digestive problems, but I need some kind of advice or reassurance.

Hello, this is Dr. David. I have read your question and I'm ready to help.

your symptoms of constipation and diarrhea sound like a very common symptom from irritable bowel syndrome

if your pains seem to correlate with when you are constipated, then it is very possible that hard stool and constipation is causing your abdominal pain as your stool is moving through your abdomen.

I am glad you are adding fiber and drinking extra water to help soften your stool, bulk up your stool to prevent small hard constipated stool. your bowels work better when the stool is larger and softer and more formed.

you can also exercise to help your bowels, eat yogurt on a daily basis, eat prunes, take Metamucil fiber, and also try using stool softeners like colace to soften your stools. all of these can help minimize constipation and I bet will help decrease this abdominal pain you notice move around your abdomen.

stools which are dark brown and green in color is completely normal, but if your stools are too hard and small, you need to work at increasing your fiber, using stool softeners , eating more prunes, eating more fiber to help your bowels.

don't let your anxieties get the better of you regarding your bowel issues. it sounds like you can improve your bowel movements and get more regular.

have you tried eating prunes? have you increased fruits and vegetables in your diet?

how about exercise? that can help your bowels as well.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Exercise and fruits and vegetables do help, though the latter seem to make my gas worse.

My biggest concern is the kind of severity of this particular episode. My pains really haven't gone away even when I was able to clear my bowels earlier, and I went from having fairly large bowel movements (after taking the laxative and adding fiber earlier in the week) to having very small ones in just a few days, even though I've kept up with the fiber and extra water. In the past few days I've had a constant worry that something is blocking in my intestines, even though I know that's not likely.

Thanks for your help.

if you had a blockage in your bowels, you would be in severe pain and would not be able to have any bowel movements at all.

the fact that you have bowel movements daily means there is no blockage.

fruits and vegetables can cause increased gas. the solution to this is to cook your fruits and vegetable and then eat them. like cooked apples with brown sugar and cinnamon. this will give you the fiber but with less gas.

you need to have fiber in all of your meals, like bran fiber for breakfast like raisin brain or high fiber cereal or oatmeal, fiber and cooked fruits and fiber for lunch. sprouted wheat bagels have lots of good fiber. and cooked fruits and veg and fiber for dinner as well.

if you keep this up, and eat yogurt daily as well, and exercise and drink lots of water, your bowels will become more bulky and regular and with less abdominal pain.

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