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Dull pain in mid-abdomen
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Dull pain in mid-abdomen

I was on the Atkins Diet for three months (very low carbs, high in meat/protein), which caused big problems with constipation, something I had not experienced before. I noticed a dull pain 2 inches to the right of my navel, so I quit the diet. A month later the pain was still there - steady, non-varying. I tried an exercise program, a month later the pain was still there. I went to the doctor. She ordered a bunch of tests, including an abdominal ultrasound. Nothing.

About two months later I discovered that if I do not drink wine for a week or so, the pain goes away. If I have even one glass of wine/beer/cocktail, the pain returns for 3-4 days. I went 6 weeks without any alcohol, but one glass brought back the pain. Obviously, I am not drinking wine now, but I would like to know what is going on. My doctor is puzzled. She thinks the alcohol causes irritation, and I am now taking a 6-week course of Aciphex and not drinking. Her idea is that inhibited stomach acid production and no further alcohol irritation might heal what is wrong, after which I can enjoy an occasional glass of wine again. I do not like taking drugs, but I am taking this one. I have been taking it for 4 days. I have never had any problems with acid indigestion or excess acid.

I have no symptoms other than this dull pain. It fees like a clenched golf-ball two inches to the right and an inch lower than my navel.  It does not change in response to foods of any kind. It does not change in response to anything. It comes the next day after drinking alcohol. It feels like a cramp. Sometimes I feel a kind of burning sensation on my back in the same location. Do not know what brings that on. My appetite is good, I can eat anything, as usual, I have normal bowel movements, I am essentially healthy. I had not had any problems with constipatation until the Atkins Diet. I was wondering if this could be a hernia. The doctor pressed and pushed but did not think it was a hernia. She ordered a bunch of tests but they did not show any problems. She just ordered a blood test to look for the bacterial infection that causes some ulcers.

I am female, 44 years old, 170 lbs, 5'8" tall. I am about 15 lbs overweight.  

The doctor said that if alcohol was irritating my stomach, the pain would probably be higher than it is, but she still thinks the pain is caused by alcohol irritating my stomach even so. Hence the Aciphex.

In November, when this first started, I had two sessions with an accupuncturist who said my gall bladder quadrant was out of balance. She said this both sessions. I did not return to her, but did read about gall bladders on the internet. As my pain is lower and does not seem connected to spicy/greasy foods, or any kind of food, it didn't seems to fit.

Any ideas???
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Right sided abdominal pain can be caused be the appendix, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel syndrome, gallbladder or liver pain.

An ultrasound would be a reasonable first test to evaluate the liver/gallbladder.  The appendix can be evaluated with a CT scan.  If those initial tests are negative, a colonoscopy and small bowel series can be considered to evaluate for inflammatory bowel disease.  

Irritable bowel syndrome can be considered if the symptoms continue despite normal tests.

You may want to discuss these options with your personal physician.

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.
Medical Weblog:
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While at it tell your doctor to run some Pancreatic tests.

I had the same symptoms as you have and I was diagnosed with a pancreatitis cause by gallstones in combination with alcohol. I used to binge-drink.

Anyway, I am NOT a doctor but I'm trying to help. Abdominal pain from pancreatitis is NO JOKE. I don't want anyone to go through that pain like I did.
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Hi Bonnie -- I have had very similar symptoms as you. My pain is to the right of my navel -- and it feels like a golf ball lodged there. The onset came with constipation, etc, but once that was cleared up, the pain remained. It now is almost daily, but it varies in intensity and feels to be gradually dying down. Like you, the pain sometimes radiates to my back. Occasionally the pain appears to rise to the bottom of my rib cage or to sink to the right side of my hip. Like you I have had many medical tests -- and I am essentially healthy with no signs of any serious  problem. I had not considered the problem as being related to wine drinking, but it is possible. I am dating a woman who likes wine and I am drinking much more wine lately than I am used to drinking. I will stop it for a few days to see if the pain goes away. And funny -- like you I also consulted a Chinese doctor, who told me I have poor liver function. I went for several weeks and the acupuncture did make me feel better in general, but the pain remained (and I think drinking the strong tea concoctions irritated the pain). My theory now is that I have some kind of irritable bowel or stomach problem, but probably not an ulcer. I ignore the pain now and it goes away -- or at least does not bother me as much. If you would like to correspond directly, write me at ***@****. I would like to share experiences. (I am 43, male). Mark
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Hello Mark,
It's very interesting to me that you have what sounds like the same experiences with this odd pain that I have. We are just about the same age too. And it began with constipation. I'm answering here in case it will help someone else, or if someone else has the same thing. It's somehow comforting to hear of someone with the same thing happening.

I have been on the Aciphex for about 10 days now. I didn't like it at first, but now I do not notice it. I have not heard from the DR so I guess that I don't have the bacterial infection that causes ulcers.

I have been doing some internet research on this and zeroing in on gall bladder problems. I found a "recipe" for a gall bladder flush. It starts off with drinking lots of apple juice for several days and then doing some other things (I don't have the notes with me right now.) After following this routine, you are supposed to pass gall stones. I am planning on doing this soon, but I just went camping so I didn't try it then. However, I DID drink a lot of apple juice while camping, and one night I had some BIG cramp-like pains where the pains previously had been dull and slight. I was just about to get worried about these pains, but they went away. And do you know, the golf-ball pain is much reduced now, even though I did drink some wine on the camping trip. I am going to start the gall bladder flush routine tomorrow and see what happens.

Do you have any difficulty with different foods, or with digestion or anything like that?

Bonnie
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Hi Bonnie,

It's funny you mentioned ulcer -- I also had the bacteria test and it came up negative, even though the upper GI test that I did indicated some irregularity in my duodenum that the doctor thought might be ulcer. Oh well. He didn't seem to think the duodenum thing  was serious.

My only reservation about the gall bladder is that my pain is mid-right abdomen and mostly gall bladder pain is upper right. I have also thought it might be related to kidneys, but ultrasound, blood tests and urine test all say everything is fine there. One thing that did reduce the pain for me was valerian root. It's an herb that you take in pill form that helps you sleep. A side benefit is that it reduces disruption and pain in the bowel. It has not eliminated the pain, but it is 50 percent of what it used to be. Mine also started with constipation -- and after a party (Thanksgiving Day) where much wine was drunk. I thought for a while I was poisoned by undercooked turkey or simply had a bad reaction to something in the wine. I have found with wine-drinking that red brings on the pain sharper than white. If that's any consolation.

Keep posting and let me know how you are doing.

Mark
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Hello Mark,
It seems obvious that you and I have the exact same thing. I wonder what the heck it is?  It started with constipation. You'd think that a DR would say "Ah Ha" upon hearing that, but no.

I have been taking Aciphex for about 3 weeks now, and it is doing nothing. I have begun to notice that if I stick to a low fat diet of mostly grains, vegetables and fruits, the pain recedes.

Yes, you are right about the location of the pain - if it was gall bladder it would be higher. Nonetheless I continue to feel as if the trouble is there.

I have not yet tried the gall bladder flush that I read about on the internet. I have been drinking a lot of apple juice, which is the preparation for it.

I will try valerian, though the pain is not very severe, it's just steady if I eat or drink things that aggravate it, and I'm now adding meat and fatty foods to the list, which makes it sound even more like gall bladder.

Good luck!
Bonnie
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A related discussion, Right sided abdo pain with wine drinking! was started.
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