Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Severe Upper Abdominal Pain
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Severe Upper Abdominal Pain

I am a 33 year old female. It started about three months ago, after the untimely birth and death of my infant daughter..(whether that has anything to do with it or not, I don't know).
But I have been experienceing sever pain under my ribcage, going all across the whole thing..left and right side..sometimes it goes up into my chest area. Its very painful and the only way I can explain it is..labor pains in my upper body...that is what it feels like. I cant stand up or lay down..I get on my elbows and knees and there I stay rocking back and forth for hours. It seems to come after I eat beef, or something high in fat, or cucumbers, I havent really pinpointed it down..but these things I have eaten before this has happened..sometimes it happens right away..other times hours later..
The last two times this has happened it has lasted the whole day..sever pains coming and going...but a constant pain is there..mild then severe, I can't eat or really drink anything when this happens and also these last two times I have vomited profusly.
I experience no heartburn, sour stomach or anything like that.. just big pain and I do burp alot, I dont pass gas, but I burp, big burps.
I am afraid to go to the dr for financial reasons.. i have no insurance and I am no longer eligible for medical since I am no longer pregnant...Does anyone have an idea what this might be?? Please help.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Kelli,
The symptoms that you describe are quite frequent.  Usually, they do not indicate serious illness or conditions that require definitive therapy.  Unfortunately, evaluation is necessary to exclude the possibility of diseases that require treatment.  Evaluation of the stomach, small intestine and colon may be needed.  A gall bladder test may also be needed.  I suggest that you find a clinic or physician that will evaluate the problem.
14 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Kelli,
Several years Ago I had similar symptoms and it turned out to be gallstones.  The pain became much worse after eating especially fatty foods.  Itis not unusual to develop gallstones after being pregnant.  If you have not already had one you should consider asking your doctor for an abdominal ultrasound to evaluate your gallbladder.
Best of luck,
Marta
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
My wife had a similar problem after her delivery. The doctors confused the problem with postpartum related spasms. It turned out that she had a gall bladder problem. She had it taken out laparoscopically. However, I heard in some cases (like gall stones) it is possible to treat the problem. I suggest you see a doctor ASAP. An untrasound should reveal the problem. In the meantime avoid fatty foods at all cost (they trigger the gall bladder to produce bile). I would think of getting an insurance
or financial assistance.

I hope you get well soon

Sincerely

Sinan Batman
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Avatar_n_tn
Many years ago I had the same symptoms after a stillbirth.  I also noticed dark urine and light faeces after each attack.  It was before untrasound was used and I was also in a foreign country so no diagnostics were done and I was merely given pain killers which did not help at all.  Fortunately, after about six months the attacks stopped and have never returned. However, a recent ultrasound for another condition shows gall stones but my doctor does not advise any surgery.  I really feel very sorry for you and hope that you will be able to have an ultrsound and treatment.  The pain was the worst I have ever felt.  Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, I am extremely sorry for your loss.  Nothing I can say will make you feel better, but please know that I am praying for you and your daughter.

In regards to your message, I had very similar symptoms.  Burning, constant pain, sometimes sharper.  Nothing would make it go away, I have a child too, and I would compare it to labor pains in the stomach.  Sometimes it would last a day, sometimes 12 hours.  Horrible!  At times I could not even get out of bed.  I was afraid to find out what was wrong, as the symptoms started after I had a child.  It turned out I had gall stones, and had to have my gall bladder removed.  This was 3 months ago.  I have never felt better, no more pain.  Please consult your doctor, you need treatment.  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was just diagnosed with gallstones and it sounds like you have
the same symptoms I had. An upper abdominal ultrasound will let
you know if you have gallstones. Once you are diagnosed however,
it may be impossible for you to get insurance for your "pre-existing condition" so I would try to get insurance right
away. Good luck to you...I'm interviewing surgeons this week.

May God bless you and your family on the loss of your child. I
can't imagine the pain you have been through. Hang in there, I
do believe, as hard as it is, everything happens for a reason.
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Avatar_n_tn
Kelli.
I am 33 years old too and I also have had the same symptoms and was diagnosed with gall stones.  I am scheduled for laprascopic cholecystectomy tomorrow and have heard from many people that it isn't too awful.  And their pain is relieved.  Best of luck to you.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had the same exact symtoms (symptoms), even the cucumbers!!  Orange or Lemonade also set it off.  After a year and a half of being misdiagnosed as having panic attacks, a doctor did a ultra sound, and I had a gall stone the size of a quarter, and also an infected diseased Gallbladder.  Basically rotten the doctor said.  This all occured shortly after births of my children. Please get back on medi-cal and get the medical attention you need.  A exploding gall bladder is deadly.
I have to also mention that I suffer from Reflux which is also very painful, and am given Prilosec for that, and works wonderfully.  But this started just recently, and I am 39.  Gall bladder was removed in 10+ yrs ago.
Good Luck to you!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I just wanted to thank everyone for replying to my post..
I am going to get the medical attention I need...This happened again three times this week...but it only lasted like a half hour each time..and the one I had last nite wasn't as severe as the other times...
I have cut out about everything from my diet and practically living on water and peptobismal...I have become afraid to eat anything and have realized that it doesnt take much to set this off...I think even cold drinks do it...even water if its real cold!!!!..no matter what it is.
I can't live like this..so I have no choice but to go and get it taken care off...
Thanks again all.. I got more info from you all then I did the Dr. LOL!!! Who basically said it could be nothing or it could be something... geeze.. what a diagnosis..LOL
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Avatar_n_tn
After reading your e-mail - I am truly sorry for your loss and life is certainly not made any easier having to suffer these problems.

At last I feel that I have potentially found out what is wrong with me.  2 years ago I started with this problem, but it seemed to come on approx. every 2 mths.  I then became pregnant 18 mths ago and the problem got increasingly worse with all the symptoms you described.  my doctor seemed to think it could be an ulcer - although when I vomited it was not at all acidic and my food did not seem to be digested at all.  Anyway, he put me on to Ranitidine for a mth and this seemed to clear it up.  I hadn't had the pain for 8 mths until last night and it came back with a vengence.  I'm puzzled because I wondered if it was possible to have a gall bladder problem that could come back after a long time.  If anyone can answer this question - please let me know.  I am becoming quite scared about eating anything in case it sets it off again.

Thank you

Colleen
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Avatar_n_tn
Gall bladder problems, if it is stones, can be recurring, which would be considered acute,... but chronic pain and symptoms should not be ignored and treatment should be sought immediately... also might I add: ultra sounds are only known to be 95% accurate in the diagnoses of gall bladder related problems, if caught the right way you can miss stones and if the gall bladder is foul or sludgey it will not show this, if you suspect a problem with your gall bladder the best way to pin point it is to remove fat from your diet for a couple of weeks if your stools become of normal consistancy and the pain lessens then you best research this area with a specialist....you may have foul play with your gall bladder..
Linda
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Avatar_n_tn
Susie,

   i read ur message...and  im curious about the panic attacks...y did they think that?

Im experiencing pain in my upper abb. always tender to the right...pain in my chest. mid back, and shoulder blades..all tests normal for gallbladder...but i still seem to think that its my gallbladder....but the thing of it is ...is that when this all started...i started to experience what seems like panic attacks...has anyone experienced panic attacks....had their gallbladder out...and the attacks were gone?????? thanx for any info. michelle
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Avatar_n_tn
I have fibromyalgia.  For many years since l990 while I was pregnant with my son I began having sever pain in my upper abdomen just below my sternum.  They have done ct scans, EGD's, 24 hour probe, removed my gallbladder thinking that was the problem.  There is no certain thing that sets this off.  No pattern, no burning in my chest.  The pain radiates into my chest and back.  They said I have esophogeal spams, yet there is no burning only sever pain and I have to go and have a pain shot.  I recently got out of the hospital having more test done.  They have tried all of the antacids such as prilosec, etc.  Nothing prevents these episodes.  I also have migraines and TMJ.  Can you tell me if this is a problem they are not aware of.  I have seen 5 physicians on this and they all seem baffled.  This pain is not in my head.  Can sever stress cause such problems?
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Avatar_n_tn
i have alll the same symptoms as you and the doctor has put it down to indigestion , i know t is ,ore than that as i am in so much pain.
what can i do......i am worried.
also  i admire you for your courage through the bad patches you have had with the loss , my friends little boy died at 9 weeks and i helpr her through it.
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Avatar_n_tn
hi, i to have been experiencing severe pain just under the rib cage for about 2 years, the pain will last for about 30 min. to a couple of hours, once the pain goes away i end up running to the john to either puke or have direahe, i can`t even manage to digest almost anything i eat and go from major constipation to major direahe,   please HELP!!
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