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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18677
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Hi I suffer from Generalised anxiety disorder and my worry

Resolved Question:

Hi

I suffer from Generalised anxiety disorder and my worry this week is bowel cancer. So I have been checking my stools over the weekend and noticed that 1 or 2 times I went the stool was quite soft and had lines - almost like the corner of a box. Then I would pass a stool that looked quite round and sausage like but a little flakey. I notice that the shape of the stool can be altered when I strain. My doctor has advised that there is nothing to worry about because :

1. I recently had a comprehensive blood screen - inc cbc, esr, thyroid and prostrate and all was ok.
2. I am not passing blood.
3. I have a couple of heamorroids which can change the shape of a stool - especially when they are soft.
4. I have been stressed recently due to the GAD which can bring on IBS.
5. You are passing normal type stools (sausage shape) and if an obstruction was present the stools would always be shaped oddly.
6. I have change my diet recently to a low carb diet.

Would just like a second opinion, please.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I will be glad to assist you today.

Yes, the comments made by your doctor are correct. The blood tests are not a great test in screening for colorectal cancer, but having normal tests is certainly reassuring. The spasm of the colon that can occur with IBS is the most likely cause of varying stool size and shape in this situation.

It is also true that colorectal cancer is very unusual at your age, which is why regular colorectal cancer screening is not yet recommended for people of your age.

Without other symptoms that are more worrisome, such as blood in the stool or a consistent change to the size and shape of the stool, there is no reason to be concerned about the possibility of colorectal cancer.

If you have any further questions, please let me know.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Many thanks for your advice. If a stool is pushed out or strained can the shape of your anus give the stool the edges that i identified? I am pressuming its like pushing play dough through a plaster shaper.

Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 4 years ago.
It is not the straining, but the spasm of the muscle layer of the rectum that would cause the altered shape. Straining during a bowel movement involves tightening of the muscles of the abdominal wall, which increases the pressure in the abdominal cavity. At that point, yes, it is like pushing play dough through a shaper, but it is the spasm of the rectum that is causing the altered shape rather than the straining. And a similar effect on the shape of the stool can occur even without straining.

If there is any problem with the anus that also constricts the canal, there would also be a similar effect, but also would occur with or without straining. However, with your history, it is more likely due to spasm of the rectum.

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