My first visit with the gastroenterologist

illustration of human bowels

This is an old blog post (2015) and I have since had two bowel resections (2018 and 2020). I’ve also learned alllllll about Endometriosis on the bowels.

So, you may know that I have been having poopy issues.  Severe pain when going Number Two, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, etc.  

Anyway, two months after my initial consult with my PCP I finally saw the gastroenterologist today (the appointment process took that long…).  Went in not knowing what to expect…

But we just sat and talked for about 30 minutes.  We discussed my medical history, my Endometriosis, my diet change, supplements, my poopy symptoms, etc.  He is very familiar with Endometriosis.  We threw around Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis.  We talked about each, compared them to my symptoms, and even discussed what I do now to keep my symptoms “under control,”  as well as what the medical community could offer me for symptom control (which was prescription-strength identical to what I do now : laxatives, anti-diarrhea medication, cramping medication).

He doesn’t believe my symptoms are Crohn’s or UC. He agrees they’re not normal, which made me feel good.  We also discussed my pelvic MRI from 2014 before my Endo surgery.  There were no abnormal findings as far as my gut went, which is good.  So, he feels my symptoms may be Endometriosis-related, especially since implants were found to have obliterated my cul-de-sac and I have a lot of cramping on the right side : two very high indicators of Endo on the bowel.  And the fact that these symptoms had disappeared for nearly a year, but recently returned may be an indicator of Endo’s return and adhesions.  But it also may be a little bit of IBS, especially because stress appears to be a trigger.

But with that being said : how do you confirm Endo on the bowel?  Surgery, of course.  We both agreed that I didn’t need to be cut open to verify or discredit Endo on my bowels; not just yet (if my Endometriosis pain were existent; however, that’d be a different story).  Especially because my poopy symptoms are something I’ve dealt with for a while and they don’t seem to worsen…it’s just a part of life.  I mentioned how sometimes the pain is so severe you cry on the toilet, but those are few and far between.  So for now …

The game plan:

  • If symptoms worsen or I can’t bear it anymore, head on in for a colonoscopy.  It won’t spot any Endometriosis inside my colon, but it would rule out other problems inside the colon.  Peace of mind procedure.
  • If symptoms are horrible and unbearable, I’ll have an MRI to look at my guts.  Depending on those results, talk about scheduling an exploratory surgery to examine the bowels.
  • If my Endometriosis gets to the point where I need to go in for another excision surgery, make sure to coordinate with the surgeon to examine the bowels (and possibly have a bowel surgeon on hand).
  • If I find blood in my poop, or suddenly begin to lose weight, go back for a consult and testing.
  • He gave me the name of a colorectal surgeon in case I wanted to schedule an HPV test of my rectum.  It has been found on my cervix in the past, and this is just a preventative test to make sure the cells aren’t in my butt, too.  I’ll reach out for the referral from my PCP.

I must say that even though we didn’t do anything but talk at today’s appointment, I feel like it was incredibly productive.  Just being able to sit with the doctor, discuss symptoms, my concerns, the things I didn’t want just yet, etc…it was nice.  And to outline a game plan, as well as know I could go back at any time to have a procedure with this doctor : peace of mind, yet again, is a marvelous thing.

So as he put it, for now I’ll ride this out.  And I’m okay with this plan.  For now.

Yours, Lisa

7 thoughts on “My first visit with the gastroenterologist

  1. Your article can really help a lot of people who feels anxious when visiting a doctor especially when you said that you had a sit-down talk with your doctor discussing the symptoms and concerns to help them outline the game plan that will be comfortable for the patient. With that in mind, I will share this tip with a friend of mine who plans to see a gastroenterologist this week to have an idea of what is happening in his body. From what I heard, he is not pooping regularly, and, if he does, his poop contains blood in it. Knowing him, I am aware that he can really be nervous about going to a medical facility, what more if he undergoes a surgery. Thanks for the tips!


  2. I appreciate how you mentioned that talking about your symptoms with a gastroenterologist can be beneficial because it allows you to make a game plan for further procedures. My sister has been feeling lots of stomach pain and cramping that she’s worried is a sign of a more serious medical issue. I’m sure she’d really benefit from consulting with a gastroenterologist in her area so she can understand her symptoms and ultimately find the treatment that would be best to alleviate her pain. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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