Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Upper Right and Upper Left Abdominal pain
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Upper Right and Upper Left Abdominal pain

I have been having these pains for the past few months now. It first started off on the upper left side of my abdomen, the pain would be very mild, mild enough to the point where I wouldn't notice it, then it would gradually get painful enough for me to notice it. I didn't think much of it and just ignored it.

Then the pain started to appear on the upper right side of my body, it would range from the bottom of my ribcage (where the galbladder would be located), then the pain would radiate a little bit higher (right behind the right breast/breastbone), move to the side where my arm is, and then eventually make its way to my back. The pain seems to happen almost every single day, at random times and have random range of attacks, I think the worst I have felt (if I rate from 1-10) would be a 6 so far. Most of the time, the pain seems to appear after I eat, and it doesnt matter WHAT I eat, I eat anything and the pain either appears very shortly afterwards, or a few hours after I eat, or rarely when I wake up in the morning.

I've been researching things online to see what this possibly could be.  I see things ranging from Gallstones, to Hepatitis. One thing that did catch my attention is the stool colors, the light-colored or clay-colored stools. What would you consider Clay-colored?

my recent bowel movements for the last month and a half almost have never been the same, sometimes they would be this wierd, spongey-like dark green stool that would have these little white specks, sometimes i would have the same spongey-like or semi-soft light brown to what I would guess is a slight yellowish color stool, there will be rare moments where I would have normal looking stools.  I would say sometimes my food doesnt look like it ever fully digested, but not always the case.

I have more gas than normal, everytime I eat my stomach seems to react to it a little more violently than normal. Sometimes I would have massive stomach pains (as if someone was stabbing me in the stomach). I know I have a slight intolerance for dairy, I rarely drink/eat dairy products, tho I admit I never cut that out of my diet. I have also sorta experienced a slight increase in Acid Reflux too.

My roommate told me I may have gallstones, others have told me I may have IBS.

I had a blood test done to see what was wrong and nothing appeared to be wrong.  I however havent seen a doctor since. I do have an appointment with a doctor sometime in January (the soonest they could get me in).

So pretty much, the pain doesnt always happen in one spot, sometimes it would start mildly in the upper left, then migrate to the right, radiates to back, down to my ribs, etc.  I did earlier today feel a slight pain down in my lower left abdomen, but I dont think that would have anything to do with what I'm currently experiencing. What do you think this may be? I hope this is enough information to at least give me a few ideas of what to look for when I visit my doctor in January. Thnx
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233190_tn?1278553401
There are many potential causes for the symptoms.  This can include various upper GI disorders - like ulcers, inflammation of the upper digestive tract, or GERD.  RUQ pain can be caused by liver and gallbladder disease.  Clay colored stools are suggestive of biliary obstruction, and can be evaluated with blood tests looking for the serum bilirubin.

As for testing, I would consider an upper GI series/upper endoscopy as well as an abdominal ultrasound.  These tests would evaluate for many of the aforementioned causes.  A CT scan can be considered if the initial tests are negative.  If negative, more specialized testing can be considered.

These options can be discussed 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.
kevinmd_
7 Comments
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82861_tn?1333457511
Are you seeing a family doctor or a gastroenterologist?  I suspect you have many tests in your future before your problem will be diagnosed.  Put your seat belt on and get ready for a ride through the lovely world medical testing.  There are many things that can cause your symptoms, and don't be surprised if a colonoscopy and endoscopy are heading your way.  If your doc just tells you it's IBS without doing these two tests at the very least, run away!  IBS should not be diagnosed before exhausting all other alternatives.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am so glad I found this site. I read all about other people with this symptom in another thread but it had been closed to comments.
I too have been suffering extreme pain under my right rib when I bend over. I bend over and it feels as though my lower right rib is wrapped or caught on something. I am unable to sit straight again unless I push along the bottom of my ribs from my side inwards. This seems to 'unhook' whatever is caught.
Today this happened and I could totally feel something on the outside of my rib. Freaky.. I pushed or massaged the charlie horse type lump (appx. 3 inches long, 1 wide) and it went back where it belongs and the pain subsided.
I notice when commuting to and from work, I have back pain directly behind the spot this happens and It feels as though my ribs on right hand side are 'cutting' into me. Very frustrating.
I booked an appointment with my dr, but the soonest I could get in was Jan. 2.
I'll post updates as they happen.

YukonChick
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Avatar_f_tn
Has your doctor done a calprotectin test? This is non invasive and can delineate between IBS and IBD. It is an easy non invasive test - just a stool sample. I have Crohn's and have thins done peripodically when my Crohn's flares, before I have a colonoscopy.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yeah, I have been reading about other peoples experiences with misdiagnosis' and told they have one thing when really they have something else...I thank you for your advice guys!

I do expect more testing to be done, in fact, I want more testing to be done to make sure I know what I have, and if its treatable to get it treated!

This just scares me because I'm 20 year old Female, and at this age, I shouldnt be experiencing these kinds of pains!
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Avatar_n_tn
My gall bladder was removed several years ago and I am now also suffering from something getting caught under my right ribs.  I have this feeling when I lift something heavy with my arms extended in front of me.  It caught back before X-mas and I thought I was going to need to go to the ER. I was having spasms of something, but finally the pain eased up some after I was able to relax and apply a heating pad.  I don't feel anything from the outside but I certainly do on the inside.  I have had every test you can think of run and they can not find anything wrong.




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Avatar_n_tn
I have been feeling pain on my upper right side of my body ever since I have had my gall bladder removed earlier this year. I have been to my GP twice regarding this pain but they have dismissed the fact that it has any thing to do with the removal of my gall bladder. I have done a blood test but I won't be getting the results until five days time as they suggested that maybe my liver is infected but not likely. If I was to pin-point the pain I would point at my back or just beneath my right breast.  Recently I've felt the pain on my left side now I'm a little worried as this is the side my heart is on.  The pain is mild but consistent.  On a scale out of 10 I would give it a 6 as I do sometimes take pain killers.  I feel it mostly in the evenings to nights, sometimes for comfort I would rotate my right arm but this doesn't take away the pain.  I am hoping to see my GP again soon and pray that I will be recommended for an x-ray as I would really like to known what's happening.
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Avatar_n_tn
As the doctor says you need to have a scope in there to see what is going on. This way most of the serious stuff can be excluded. In the mean time ask to have every blood test under the sun and a feces test as well. And if you are female have a gyno check for all those funny std's that can silently hurt you like chlamydia.

I am just getting over the worst 8 months of my life due to ac chamydia infection. Was told I had Colitis, but my symptoms were alot like yours.

Good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

YukonChick, can you please let us know what your doctor figured out? My husband had a similar or actually 3 incidents. He has Cron's or and IBS the doctor was not absolutely sure even after the blood test and CT. He was told that is was just a normal flare up, bur ever since he is not very comfortable with that solution and thinking about going to a different doctor. He has been on Colozal for years and that seems to help him a lot.


As far as me - I have heard about a good weight loss diet with apple cider vinegar and tried it for about 4 days last week 8 days ago. And for the last 4 days I have been having a dull pain in my upper right side of my abdomen.  Today after dinner (2 hours later) I thought I need to go to ER for tha pain. I read that gallblader (gallbladder) problems and cramps can be eased with sipping icy water, so I did , and it seemed to work for now. But I am going to see my doctor tomorrow and hoping that there is no even more serious underlying problem.

Please let me know if you guys had any problem while using apple cider vinegar.
Thanks!
Krisz0805
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