Misdiagnosed as IBS

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“This cancer is aggressive. It could even have come on in a matter of weeks.” This is what my consultant told me after giving me the diagnosis. The shock of the diagnosis was even more compounded by the fact that I had a pelvic scan and CA125 blood test 7 months ago. My one saving grace is that the 4th doctor I saw picked on the cancer from the symptoms I had.

The aim of this blog is to raise awareness to the fact that these symptoms can be easily misdiagnosed as IBS. This is what happened to me 3 times in the space of two weeks. Initially, my GP, a gastroenterologist and an A&E doctor all assumed I had IBS and constipation after feeling my stomach and doing a generic blood scan. The symptoms I had included:

  • Severe abdominal bloating (I was asked by several people when I was due as I looked 4 t0 5 months pregnant)
  • Pain when urinating
  • Feeling full quickly
  • Severe constipation (I hadn’t gone to the toilet properly for almost a week.)

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Due to the misdiagnosis, I was prescribed laxatives. Whenever I took these, I felt worse and the pain and discomfort intensified. Once I was diagnosed properly, my doctor explained why this was. The bloating was from a huge build up of liquid around my organs (they drained off almost 5.5 litres). From what I understand, this liquid put pressure on my bowels, constricting them and stopped me from using the toilet. When I took the laxatives, I felt worse because I got more and more clogged up.

These symptoms came on quickly over a couple, of weeks and as they went on they intensified. It wasn’t until I went to A&E for the second time (due to the pain and discomfort) that they finally did a CT scan.

These symptoms can be too often be confused with bowel issues. If you experience these symptoms, please go straight to the GP. Nag, moan, complain and make a pain of yourselves if you need to girls but please make sure you get checked! I am just very thankful, grateful and happy that my symptoms were picked up on and that I am able to have the treatment to get better.

If you experience these symptoms, ovarian cancer must be considered regardless of age. It is rare at a young age but it can happen.

For more information look at the websites below:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer-of-the-ovary/pages/symptoms.aspx

http://www.targetovariancancer.org.uk/about-ovarian-cancer/what-ovarian-cancer/ovarian-cancer-symptoms

https://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/ovarian-cancer/understanding-cancer/signs-symptoms.html

#FindingCyril

9 thoughts on “Misdiagnosed as IBS

  1. Sonal Narshi says:

    Truly you are a Warrior Laura. Your story and your blog formidably powerful. So shocked to hear if your diagnosis, but so touched by your strength and all your personal replied to all the messages.
    Wishing you health and strength and the energy to be the Ambassador of awareness raising for ovarian cancer that you are. I lost a friend to ovarian cancer about 15 years ago, it was aggressive. Can only applaud your incredible strength!

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  2. kelgettingout says:

    Thank you for your post. I was in the ER twice in a week…both times I was told I had IBS and they proceeded to take on the role of nutritionists. Telling me what I couldn’t/shouldn’t eat and on and on. Even when I told them I had suffered from IBS symptoms since highschool(I’m now 35) and that the symptoms started as pelvic pain and intensified because I wasn’t having regular or complete bowel movements…even with laxatives. I finally took myself to an OG/GYN last week and she scheduled ultrasounds that took place yesterday. I’m praying it is something such as an ovarian cyst or fibroids or endometriosis…though none are pleasant the thought of cancer scares the hell out of me. I’m still in pain…all in pelvis and on my left side and suffer from nausea/lightheadedness throughout each day.

    Prayers are with you on your journey. Thank you again for sharing.

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    • findingcyril says:

      Thank to you so much for getting in touch with Finding Cyril. You did the right going back to A and E. As we are too often seeing, these symptoms are confused with IBS and this needs to stop. I know this is really hard time for you; the waiting is the worst. During the time I had to wait for my results I developed some strange obsession with pickled onion monster munch! My thoughts are with you and I am praying that it all comes back clear. If you want to get back in touch with us, Finding Cyril is always here for support.

      All my love
      Laura

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rose says:

    This describes my symptoms to a T. I had a CA 125 over 5000 and a CA19 over 9000. Once the large OC tumors were removed the symptoms went away and numbers returned to normal.

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    • findingcyril says:

      Rose, thank you so much for your message and for supporting #FindingCyril. I was having a CA125 blood test and a pelvic scan every year due to my BRCA mutation. I had to do this of my own accord. My current situation shows that younger women also need to be aware of the symptoms of Cyril in the ovaries and what to do if they discover any of these symptoms. What’s more, GP practices need to know that although rare it can be found in young women.

      Love
      Laura

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  4. Lisa G says:

    Being mis-diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the most common theme shared by so many women after the “shockingly delayed” OVCA diagnosis is finally made. IBS should be at the bottom of the “rule out” list. It’s about time women’s GI /pelvic complaints are taken seriously, no matter how vague. They’re real and they kill. I no longer have tolerance for substandard treatment & ignorance. GP’s, PA’s & NP’s need to be accountable for their inactions. Increased abdominal girth & bloating are simply not normal. MD’s need to start the rethinking process NOW so that women can seek treatment sooner. Physicians need to reevaluate & re-assess in a timely fashion, in a couple of weeks & not months! Women have to be their own advocates & demand further testing.

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    • findingcyril says:

      Lisa, thank you so much for your message. You are right women about women being their own advocates. At a recent talk with @BRCAUmbrellla, Caroline Presho and I spoke about the need to raise awareness amongst GP practices. Cyril in the ovaries can be silent but as women (women of all ages) we must speak up if we recognise any of the symptoms.

      Love Laura

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  5. loise says:

    To my brave friend laura, thank you for all ur efforts raising awareness about ovarian cancer. I will be one of ur many prayer warriors. I know ull get through this.
    I hope that this blog can be seen by GP’s out there for them to realise that they need to look into our complains deeper and not mask our pains and discomfort with just paracetamols and laxatives just to get it done. Afterall, who would want to go back to a GP clinic if we can help not to. We come to your clinic for a reason not because we wanted to come and say hi. Please be vigilant with signs and symptoms we tell you. We come and tell you all this signs because we are hoping you can help us find out whats going on and eventually find solutions while its still manageble.

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    • findingcyril says:

      Loise, thank you so much for your message and for supporting #FindingCyril. Your point about how women don’t just keep going back to the GP to complain is an important one. We must be vigilant where the symptoms of ovarian cancer are concerned. If women feel any of these symptoms on a recurring basis, they must not wait and go to the GP, and as you said Loise they must continue to go back if need be. Please continue to share the website to help us raise awareness of Cyril in the ovaries.

      Love
      Laura

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