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Rib pain and constipation
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Rib pain and constipation

Hi there...I'm a 26 year old female and I've been having pain in my left rib cage area off and on since June.  The pain is mostly around my lower left rib cage, although it can sometimes radiate down to my middle left side abdomen, or up to the middle of my left ribs.  Sometimes lately I have this feeling on the right side as well, but not as severe.  

My dr. has done an abdominal ultrasound (normal), blood tests (normal), thyroid tests (normal), chest xrays (normal), pelvic ultrasound (normal), and abdominal xrays.  The abdominal xrays showed extensive amounts of stool in the colon.  My dr. says that this is the cause of my pain, and that some of the pain is due to the stretching of the colon.  I am on Milk of Magnesia and increased fiber to help "flush it out".  

My husband and I would like to start trying to conceive, but I want to make sure there is nothing more serious going on first.  My dr. said the only things in the area of my pain are my spleen and colon, and that my spleen is fine (normal abdominal ultrasound and CBC's), so it's definitely my colon.  He also says that there is no tumor, cyst or ulcers.  However, I just can't believe that this "back up of stool" can be causing this much pain.  Does the colon really go that far up underneath the rib cage on the left side?  Would it be wise to ask for an abdominal CT scan?  Or should I just take a deep breath and trust my doctor?  Any information or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks much!!!!
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Dear Mikki,
The colon winds throughout the abdomen.  It is found along the left abdomen and does reach just below the left ribs.  The transverse colon is that portion from under the left ribs to the region umder the right ribs.  The ascending colon lies on the right side of the abdomen.

Abdominal pain can be due to excess stool and/or air in the colon.  Irritable bowel syndrome is a constellation of symptoms that includes abdominal pain that is relieved by defecation with constipation or diarrhea.  

The best way to exclude colon disease is a barium enema or a colonoscopy.  Symptomatic treratment with fiber is often effective to relieve the pain of irritable bowel.  A CT scan of th eabdomen is usually no that helpful.

This information i spresented for educational purposes.  Ask specific questions to your personal physician.
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