Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Chronic Abdominal Pain
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Chronic Abdominal Pain

My younger brother, he is 33 years old, has been having severe abdominal pain off and on for the past couple years. He says that he always feels discomfort and at times the pain gets so bad he can't stand it. He has been to doctors and specialists, he has had numerous test done and all came up clean. Sometimes when it flares up it can last over a month. He is getting very depressed and it has the rest of the family concerned. He was prescribed Nexium and it seemed to help a little. He is going through a bad flare-up now nothing is helping. Some doctors said it all in his head and he has to just relax and not worry so much. He has just started seeing a psychologist to deal with the depresison. We are alos looking for support groups. He has not been prescribed any anti-depresants yet. I saw on one of the boards that the thyroid should be checked. I am not sure if this has been done or not but it caught my attention. One of our older brothers had to have his thyroid removed because it was cancerous. We also have a history of diabetes in the family. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
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233190_tn?1278553401
The possible causes for the pain would depend on where it is.
Upper abdominal pain can be caused by liver/gallbladder disease, GERD, or diseases on the upper digestive tract.

Lower abdominal pain can be caused by inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel disease, a mass, diverticulitis, appendicitis etc.

Depending on where the pain is, ensure that either an upper or lower endoscopy, as well as a CT scan and/or abdominal ultrasound is considered.  

Thyroid disease uncommonly can cause abdominal pain.  A blood test or thyroid imaging study can be done to initially evaluate for disease.  

I would discuss these options with your personal physician, or consider another GI opinion.  

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
kevinmd_
13 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
You said that your brother has had numerous tests.  I assume they have probably done a CT of the abdomen and pelvis? And also blood tests including his amylase and lipase? I have had chronic abdominal pain for the past 2.5 years.  I do have some constant pain, but most of it comes in waves, and when I get a flare up it can be very intense.  I was diagnosed with Pancreatitis, which has now turned into chronic pancreatitis.  When I had the first attack 2 years ago, my amylase and lipase were off the charts, but now they don't rise much with the attacks, sometimes not at all. (I've been told that is b/c the pancreas is so damaged).  I do not drink alcohol, and have never done so. I have the pancreatic problems from having high levels of triglycerides, which is a familial problem. Before the chronic pancreatitis was diagnosed, doctors were telling me the pain was in my head and wanted to put me on anti depressants.. They kept saying that the pain wasnt real.. boy were they wrong!! Now they are finally taking me seriously... For a little while they had me believing I was nuts!
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Avatar_n_tn
I am not sure which tests he has had. I do know that they have pulled blood and everything seemed normal. He is goingin for more test next week. We thought maybe it was just IBS but he is having no problems with going to the bathroom which I guess is characteristic with IBS. I think it would be greatif we could locate a support group so he can talk to other people who are living and dealing with this. We just want to assure him that there is hope out there.
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Avatar_m_tn
Never let a doctor tell you it is in your head. That is the worst thing a physician can do and physicians who provide that service to their patients. It is very demeaning and dangerous. I have had Chronc abdominal pain for 2 years as well and I know it is not in my head. I have had family members to tell me to relax and that is just stresses in life and a reaction to past stress. It's funny how in the most relaxing of environments I still have abdominal pain. When I lay on my surfboard it us uncomfortable or when I am getting a massage or playing with my daughter, so it is not in my head.  A year before I had this chronic abdominal pain I had an acute bout of abdominal pain and nausea and my doctor did tons of tests on me...ct scans, abdominal x-rays, blood work, chest x-ray. I then was fine for a year until this chronic upper left discomfort started. Went back to the docs and they thought I was nuts since I had tests a year earlier. I did end up doing an abdominal ultrasound, endoscopy of stomach, blood work and all was normal. I went through the antidepressant thing and it was a joke. I am eventually going to find a doctor to help me get to the bottom of this but doctors need to realize sometimes pain make people depressed and not the other way around. My advice is communicate all your concerns with your doctor, be worked up judiciously and soundly and keep your head up and it will be fine whether something is going on or not.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was having the exact same problem as this since I was nearly 11 years old. There was never anything anyone was able to do to correctly diagnose any of the problems I had. It seemed that if all I ate was fruit, it would go away for a while, but then inevitably, after some time (maybe months or weeks), it would be back once again. And I was in the category that a lot of you are in where the pain was so bad at times, that if I had a gun, I am sure I would have done something permanent to myself.

For relief, I have found that alternating between almost scalding hot showers and sitting silent on the toilet in the normal position, to work to stop the pain in about 30-60 minutes most times.

Over the years (31 years old now) I have managed to fast a few days, and it would be gone for a while. Through doing my own research and observation, and through sheer cooincidence, a friend that has problems with constipation let me try a few tablets of his.

I have now been a full time user of these tablets, and while taking them, I have not had any more occurrences of the pain. When I went through a dry spell, and was not taking them, I found that too many espressos or coffee drinks brought the symptoms right back within a few weeks. But it I just moderated my coffee intake, I could get away with only using the tabs every few months or so.

I have recently bought a Green star Juicer, and have found that I can get the same great results simply by going on a juice fast for one week, every 6 months.

My assumption of this problem is that it has something to do with constipation, or some form of obstruction of the large intestine. The reason I say this, is because there was a time when I was having a nice hot shower, and the pain started shifting from upper-right abdomin (abdomen), to center, to left, then started to drop as though it was descending towards the backside to be pooped out! The process took about 30 minutes from the start ofthe pain's movement, to ready to dump.

Now combining that experience with understanding what the Oxy-Powder in the above link does,  it makes sense to me that the pain is some form of bowel distress caused by an impaction or adhesion or something with the fecal matter.

Anyhow, I would highly recommend you try that supplement at the link above. It was kinda pricey, but the fact that it helped my pain go away on a semi-permanent basis, I couldn't put a price on that!! Also, a whole body cleansing has done me good as well, to help clean out my liver and kidneys.

Please post back here if this information helps any of your conditions.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been having abdominal pain for months and no one can figure out why.  I've had 2 abdominal/pelvic CTs and a colonoscopy.  The strange thing is different parts of my abs hurt at different times.  Today I am hurting under my lower left ribs?  Anyone have any ideas or have had similar problems?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello.  I am a 27 year old male in fairly good health.  I have worked at the same job for the past five years now.  The problem that I am having is a constant pain in my left side.  It never goes away
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, first, I am also a Steelers Fan (Big Time).
Second, I have been having left-sided abdominal/pelvic pain for 2 1/2 months now.  Have had CT scan, urinalysis, ultrasound, and a colonoscopy today.  Like you, they have found out nothing to cause this yet.  I had my appendix out many years ago, also.

I thought, but was told no, that possibly adhesions from surgery since I have read that they do develop and cause this kind of pain after surgeries.  Maybe this is a possibility for you, though.

Hope you--and I--get some answers here soon!  Going to a urologist next Wednesday.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there, add me to the group who has left sided pain,  as well as rectal pain. Mine started in March, after surgery for an ovarian cyst. I think it is related to pelvic floor issues, but am really guessing. All my tests, ultrasounds, bloodwork (complete liver panel, including the oddball stuff) colonoscopy show nothing abnormal. It is frustrating as the pains are still there. Hope you get some answers and if you do, please post!

Linda J
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Avatar_n_tn
i am a 34 yr old male have had severe pain in my upper left ab through to my back  first started 2yrs ago when i was put on hctz (fluid pill for my blood pressure }}i thought i was having a heart attack but i seemed to be low on my pottasium they brought it back up  and for a few days i felt like it was over but now years later i am still having these episodes .... i have had to go on a stricked diet because my suger has been close to 600 but i have had it under control for around 8 months highs @ 125 after i eat ,,never was an issue till this started  i have had cat scanes ,x rays blood test ,i had a heart cath  everything is perfect they say it is probly anxzity but i never had problems till i took the fluid pills  i feel so hopeless with this i know it is not anxzity i can barly function i have always been  active hiker boater up for anything now im lucky to check the mail when it flares up   could something have been overlooked  does an ultra sound show somthing the cat didnt? any ideas what to tell them to check
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Avatar_n_tn
I too am like many of you! Young (33), in good health, no medical problems and have been living with a lower left abdominal pain for 3 years (seems to be in the Sigmoid colon area). I visited my doctor three years ago, did all the blood work, refered to Gastroenterologist for an upper, lower and every scan known to man. I even had a colonoscopy at the age of 30. I'm not constipated, no diarrea (diarrhea), no nausea, no weight loss but am living proof there is something out there that continues to go undiagnosed, as all tests came back negative. I simply don't believe ANYone should be living with a constant pain daily! The pain is dull most days, hence the reason for not pushing the envelope again with Doctor, but has been more painful in the last two weeks. The Internet has generally provided me a good source to answer anything but this one continues to go unanswered...
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 33 too and had similar pain in my abdomen with occasional constipation and diarrea (diarrhea).  I got upper endoscopy and lower colonoscopy but nothing showed up.  They diagnosed it as IBS.  I was coffee and tea drinker.  I stopped drinking caffine - no coffee, tea, soft drinks - not even decaf.  It is working and pain is gone.     When ever I drink caffee, the pain comes back.  It took me nearly a week for the pain to go away from the day I quit caffine.  Chocolate too could be bad.  Hope this helps.
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Avatar_n_tn
i am a 46 yr old male who had severe abdominal pains that started approx. 2 years ago. i had 2 such attacks that lasted about 36 hrs each and i blew it off as a "stomach virus".  i then had an attack that lasted 2 days and, upon calling my insurance companies nurse line, i was instructed to go to the ER and have it looked at.  they did a C-scan and blood work and diagnosed it as chronic pancreatitis!  they explained to me what it was and asked if i was an alcoholic or drank excessively.  i told them that i probably drank on average 2-3 beers or glasses of wine p/day but that it did not control my life.  anyway, i went to a GI specialist and the disease was confirmed.  in the past year, i have had 2 ERCP's to remove pseudocystes on my pancreas. now, i have been given the option of surgerey (puestow procedure) to open the ducts that are constricted and this should reduce the pain levels.  or, i can stay on the pain medication regiment (duragesic 50mg patch with oxycodone as a breakthrough back-up) that seems to keep everything in check...so to speak.  my quality of life is currently at about 85% right now but i have trouble maintaining my weight due to the malabsorption of fats, etc., that is caused by this disease (i have lost 15 lbs in the past 4 months).  i would like to know if anyone on this board has ever had the puestow procedure/surgery and how he/she fared from this.  my biggest fear is that i will wind up worse off than i am now after this surgery as there are no guarantee's and complications do exist as with any invasive surgery.  pls help!
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Avatar_n_tn
i am a 46 yr old male who had severe abdominal pains that started approx. 2 years ago. i had 2 such attacks that lasted about 36 hrs each and i blew it off as a "stomach virus".  i then had an attack that lasted 2 days and, upon calling my insurance companies nurse line, i was instructed to go to the ER and have it looked at.  they did a C-scan and blood work and diagnosed it as chronic pancreatitis!  they explained to me what it was and asked if i was an alcoholic or drank excessively.  i told them that i probably drank on average 2-3 beers or glasses of wine p/day but that it did not control my life.  anyway, i went to a GI specialist and the disease was confirmed.  in the past year, i have had 2 ERCP's to remove pseudocystes on my pancreas. now, i have been given the option of surgerey (puestow procedure) to open the ducts that are constricted and this should reduce the pain levels.  or, i can stay on the pain medication regiment (duragesic 50mg patch with oxycodone as a breakthrough back-up) that seems to keep everything in check...so to speak.  my quality of life is currently at about 85% right now but i have trouble maintaining my weight due to the malabsorption of fats, etc., that is caused by this disease (i have lost 15 lbs in the past 4 months).  i would like to know if anyone on this board has ever had the puestow procedure/surgery and how he/she fared from this.  my biggest fear is that i will wind up worse off than i am now after this surgery as there are no guarantee's and complications do exist as with any invasive surgery.  pls help!
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