Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Upper Left Stomach Pain
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Upper Left Stomach Pain

I am getting very concerned about upper left stomach pain. It started as a stomach flu, it came and went for about one week. At the end of one week, I got a stomach ache so severe I could barely move. The next day I started vomiting. The vomiting only lasted for one day, but since then I have not been able to eat hardly anything except for toast and bananas. Here is the pattern: One hour after I eat, I get sharp stabbing upper left stomach pains starting just under my xiphoid and to the left rib cage. It burns and throbs and then progresses along my left rib, and drops down about one inch. The severe pain lasts for about 5 hours, never less than 4.5 hours. Somedays when this happens, I can not get out of bed, I can not move, and I have had to go to the emergency room twice. All foods affect me, but some foods seem to make it worse: some, but not all dairy, fatty foods, meats, basically, anything that is not bread. Caffeine does not bother it much. If I drink only water or juices, I am fine. I have had many tests, including: XRays, Ultrasound, Bloodwork, CT with color and without, they have ruled out pancreatitis, gallbladder, diveticulitis, no sign of ulcers (barium CT)In order to function, I have to plan my day around when I eat my toast. It's the worst in the late afternoon and evening, Mornings are the best.My energy has dropped considerably, I am guessing b/c I'm constantly on guard. The actual act of eating is not a problem, I have an appetite, and food tastes good, it is only one hour after I eat. I have been on Levaquin and Flagyl, for possible infection, but the pain is still there. I am on Prevacid, it doesn't help. Antacids don't help. Prior to this I have had zero health problems. I am not overweight, but I recently lost 20 pounds on a weight loss program that prescribed phentermine. The doctors I have been to do not seem to think this is relevant. I look healthy but a little tired, I function fine to the outside world as long as I don't eat, and so everyone thinks it's some weird virus. I know it is something else, a virus doesn't last for 6 weeks,  and I'm getting scared.
At it's worst, I couldn't even drink water w/out getting severe pain. I only got diarrehea at the very beginning, and my food, what little I eat seems to be digesting.  I don't drink or smoke. It seemed to be getting better for a few days, when I ONLY ate bread and rice. PLEASE! Can anyone help me?
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Hello - thanks for asking your question.

Causes of left upper quadrant pain include dyspepsia (ulcers, gastritis, esophagitis), pancreatitis, or splenic diseases.  

You have had Xrays, ultrasound, and abdominal CT scan, ruling out pancreatitis or splenic disease.  

Although you had a normal barium swallow, it is not completely sensitive in diagnosing ulcers.  One test you should have is a gastroscopy - this can look thoroughly for ulcers, inflammation (either gastritis or esophagitis) or masses.  

I would also obtain testing for H Pylori, a bacteria associated with ulcers and gastritis.  Treatment is with antibiotics.  

Another test to consider would be a 24-hr pH study to evaluate for GERD.  If this is positive and medication is not helping, then surgical options may be considered.  

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.

Thanks,
Kevin, M.D.
3 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had a problem for years, no doctor or test has been able to identify the pain. It comes for a while lasts anything up to months. I wake up in the morning with a pain just under my ribcage on the left side, its a deep pain inside and hurts more if I push in that area. With the pain also comes pain in my left testicle, swelling. Doctors say it is an infection but I don't understand why it keeps returning. I have no burning sensation when I urinate. It feels like I have swelling inside my stomach, if thats where my stomach is? I find when this occurs it feels less painful once I get up and by about 10.00am I am not too bad. I have lived with this for about 5-7 years and wish I could find the the problem and get it fixed.

Please help.....
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had a problem for years, no doctor or test has been able to identify the pain. It comes for a while lasts anything up to months. I wake up in the morning with a pain just under my ribcage on the left side, its a deep pain inside and hurts more if I push in that area. With the pain also comes pain in my left testicle, swelling. Doctors say it is an infection but I don't understand why it keeps returning. I have no burning sensation when I urinate. It feels like I have swelling inside my stomach, if thats where my stomach is? I find when this occurs it feels less painful once I get up and by about 10.00am I am not too bad. I have lived with this for about 5-7 years and wish I could find the the problem and get it fixed.

Please help.....
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Avatar_n_tn
hi am seeking some information with this problem i;ve been haveing that took me to the ER last night i have had this pain under my left breast directly  under for months off and on now for the past 2 weeks i have and stomach pain that goes all the way across my upper stomach  also  that goes all the  up my chest up into my throut burns spasma,s i guess they are from acid  and lots of pain it even goes around to my upper back into my shoulder blades it burns and stabbs  i feel feverish but no fever .... nausea vomiting and diarrhea like water it doesn,t matter if i eat or if i don,t eat this happends either way ... i thought it  was just acid reflux but can,t fiqure out the pain on the left side all the er done was blood test checked for infection checked my liver and pancreas blood test was fine... really the er didn,t check me out good i don,t think they were busy busy tramua unit there should of went to diffrent hospital was there 6 hours!!! but he did give me a perscription to have a ultra sound on my gall bladder and prevacid 20 pills 100 bucks geeze,s .. which for 2 weeks i have been taking over the counter zantac 75 that does not help the pain on the left but the acid yes  does anyone have these symptoms can gall stones  make you have these problems acid reflux ? and the pain on the left it feels like someones in there sqeezing and stabbing me sometimes the pain is so bad i think i;m gonna die ... i need a full work up but right now i don,t have no insurance self pay with four kids and my husband got hurt at work just had back surgery so i haft to be here for him and kids  can,t work  moneys tight just wanna know what anyone thinks it could be ...gall bladder ??? maybe  or what could it be thanks for any replies would be greatly appericated i feel terrible
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello, I have been taking prevacid for about a month now for GERD cause by hiatal hernia.  Since I started taking the prevacid, I have gotten some major stomach aches, which I almost never have.  Im just wondering if there is a connection, or if this is something to keep an eye on.  Thanks
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