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Vague Constant Pain Left Side Abdomen
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Vague Constant Pain Left Side Abdomen

For the past 2 months I have had bouts with vague constant left sided abdominal pain. I am 30 years old, with no significant medical hx and no hx of abdominal pain. About 2 months ago I started having left sided abdominal pain - at first the area under my left rib was really tender. After a few days the pain stayed constant but switched between my upper abdomen, back and side (all on the left side and stayed constant). I felt bloated all the time and had lots of gas; I felt like I needed to have a big burp or pass a lot of gas but couldn't. After about a week it finally seemed to subside. I went to the MD anyways because we were going out of town and she did KUB and told me it was gas in splenic flexure - probably from eating a lot of sugarless gum a few days before the pain started. That night I ate onions at a restaurant and woke up in the middle of the night with mid upper abdominal pain, bloating, gas and onion taste in my mouth. Threw up a few times which brought temporary relief and by noon felt much better except had pain on right side now - like a side stitch. It was constant and worse when I inhaled. After 2 more days had fever for one day and after a few more days symptoms subsided. 2 weeks later left sided symptoms started again - tender pain under left rib, gas, bloating... After a few days it started alternating between back, side and mid abdomen. Always constant and vague. Also noticed a tender spot mid left abdomen when I leaned on a counter, shopping cart, or over the crib rail. Sometimes when I bent over to pick something up, it felt tender in the same spot, almost like something in my left side. This lasted 3 weeks during which I went to GYN to rule out ovarian cancer (gma died of ovarian cancer). GYN did left side pelvic exam and said he thought everthing felt normal. Went to Gastroenterologist at end of 3rd week (took that long to get the appt.) and by that time felt mostly better so he didn't do any tests except feel my abdomen and tell me I probably have irritable bowel.
Since then my symptoms are mostly gone except I have a vaguely tender spot mid left abdomen still. It is constant and I also kind of feel like I'm stopped up on the left side though my bowel movements seem pretty normal (maybe a little constipated).
Does it sound like irritable bowel or should I go back to regular MD or gastroenterologist to pursue this further?
Thanks.
Related Discussions
233190_tn?1278553401
Causes in the upper left quadrant can include the various causes of dyspepsia - ulcer, GERD, or inflammation, or problems with the spleen.  

An upper GI series or upper endoscopy can evaluate the upper digestive tract.  I would also consider blood tests looking for H Pylori.  

If negative, an abdominal CT scan can be considered to evaluate for organ dysfunction.  

Irritable bowel syndrome can be considered if the tests are non-revealing.  

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_
23 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
It could be IBS.  Unfortunately, though, a lot of these things have similar symptoms.  I have the same thing plus a few other symptoms so they did an ultrasound, a CT, and am scheduled for a colonoscopy and cysto--something.

When I was reading yours, though, and saw that it was affected by what you ate (mine isn't), I thought of a hiatal hernia.  I guess the bottom line is--if you are still worried--pursue it further.  I know mine actually gets aggravated when I am stressing over it.

Did anyone do a simple urinalysis on you to check for a urinary tract infection?  That's a pretty low key, inexpensive exam--and UTI's are very common and will produce back pain.

Good luck--keep us posted on what you find out!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I see you are over here too! My symptoms are also aggravated by stress rather than what I eat.My hubby thinks I am tied up in a knot and he is probably right :-)

Linda J
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Avatar_n_tn
Stress is a killer--that is for sure!  I am hoping you get some resolution with your procedure!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the replies. Actually, except for the onion incident, it doesn't seem to be affected by what I eat.The first MD I saw (7 weeks ago) did do a urinalysis and CBC and both were normal.
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Avatar_n_tn
In addition to what everyone else has suggested, you might consider possible pancreatic problems. I've had a lot of the same symptoms, and developed a severe case of acute pancreatitis which developed into chronic pancreatitis.  It causes me pain in the left upper quadrant of my abdomen and radiates around to my back.  It also can cause nausea and vomiting during a flare up.  There are certain foods that aggravate mine. Did your doc check your amylase or lipase with blood tests? That can usually detect problems with pancreatitis.. It is a bit rare, but wanted to let you know that could be a possibility! Hope you feel better soon!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the advice. MD hasn't done any tests yet (except CBC and urinalysis almost 2 months ago). When I went to the gastroenterologist last week, he didn't want to do any tests since I was feeling mostly better that day. I went ahead and made another appointment with him for Wednesday.
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Avatar_n_tn
Good.  Hope you get some results!
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Avatar_n_tn
Im thinking maybe gallstones?? i had abdominal pain, very tender...had an abdominal ultrasound done, sure enough stones...had the gallbladder removed 5 weeks ago! good luck....
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140029_tn?1393301742
i'm in the same boat with vague abdominal pain on the left (but my upper right comes and goes too)

for sure test for a ulcer/h.ploryi - also pancrease blood test.  UTI/kidney and also *maybe* spleen with mono or some inflamation (inflammation) of the spleen.

Hope we both figure it out!
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Avatar_n_tn
I went to Gastroenterologist today. He scheduled me for a colonscopy next week - no other tests. Does this sound right? I was kind of surprised. He mentioned possibility of Crohn's last time and I'm assuming that is what he wants to rule out, but all I've read about Crohn's mentions the right lower side and diarrhea - neither of which I have.
Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
I went to GI DR today to get set up for colonoscopy.  He said it is "NOT" adhesions--could be colitis (which he later decided, probably not), could be IBS--or just stress.  He said "most cahnges in BMs are due to stress."  Has anyone else heard this?

Anyhow, he also said there is the risk of 1 in 1,000 colonoscopies rupturing the colon and requiring surgery.  I asked, jokingly, "have YOU ever had any?"  And, he said, "every doctor who does enough of these has some."  So now, I'm not exactly feeling all warm and cozy.

What do you think?
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140029_tn?1393301742
I had no problems on my colonoscopy, the worst part was the "prep".  They did tell me about a rupture and possibility of death ect.. little scary but the odds are way out there.  Better to be tested instead of dealing with pain that can be fixed but I understand the fear.
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Avatar_n_tn
Had the colonoscopy today--all clear.  Glad of that, but still no resolution to what is going on with the pain.
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Avatar_n_tn
Had colonoscopy today. All clear. Was really disappointed with the MD though. I thought for sure he'd want to do bloodwork and a CT scan and H. pylori test to make sure it wasn't something else, since the only testing done was a colonoscopy. He just said I have irritable bowel syndrome. I told him I don't have diarrhea or constipation and no relief with a bowel movement, but he still said I just have irritable bowel. I think I'll go back to my family doctor for help.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am with you.  Am in the same boat--colonoscopy showed nothing, but two days later I'm back in a lot of pain on left side.  I have to find out what this is.  Definitely keep pursuing this--and let me know how it turns out for you!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks Thuney, hope everything turns out ok for you.
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Sir,

I am married man age 36 staying with wife and 1 kid.For the last 2 days i have very very mild pain when I am pressing gemtly my left testis.Also I have pain aorund lower left abdoman.Urine is going regularly absolutely without any pain in penis or in urinal tube.

Yesterday the pain was in front lower abdoman, today the pain in back side.

Some times when you are sitting in office chair i feel mild pain in my left testis bottom.


Other than this I don't see any abnormal symptoms.I am quite normal.

I meekly request your commenst for the cause of pain.


Thank you sir.

Vijay
Bahrain
  



    
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Avatar_n_tn
Lucky for me I found this forum by accident and was relieved to see that I am not the only one dealing with this puzzling problem. I have had vauge pain in my left side for a while now.
I have seen my MD and had a CT scan which showed nothing but slight constipation. All tests were normal. Yet I am still having this pain. It helps to know that I am not alone.
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Avatar_n_tn
I started off years ago with a dull pain under my left ribcage. I have undergone several tests, upper GI, colonsocopy, 24 hr parastalsis and GERD test, Barium xray, cat scan. Not for the dull pain but severe random attacks.  I had my Gall bladder taken out about 5 years ago. With the dull pain on my left side it never seemed to be a cause for concern and always disregarded. Reading several of these questions and comments it's interesting to hear of others strange symptoms. The dull pain has subsided for the last year or so but I think it has been replaced with a much more sever symptom. IT has take me to the hospital on several occasions and a pink lady would sometimes help (Gaviscon and Laidicane). But other times it would have to be dioloted(sp?) It starts with a hard twisting pain usually a little to the left and then would radiate to the upper middle back and into my neck, throat area, sometimes into my jaw. I don't believe it is heart related. My tests have shown that I have esohpegal chourse folds, and small intestinal inflammation. The docs think I may have GERD, IBS and/or esophegeal spasming. These are not definite diagnoses but guesses. The pain is getting much more frequent and painful but some times a back rub may subdue it for a while. This is getting worse and I worry it's going to take more than a guess. I am not sure if this is a subsitute for the achy feeling I would get on my left side but I had that for at least 10 years on and off and I don't seem to have it anymore. I was wondering if you had any symptoms such as these.
paige
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Avatar_n_tn
I had the same pains you are describing.  You won't believe what was causing it!  I was at a chiropractor appointment and when I was adjusted-the pain went away.  Seems I hunch over the table when I eat, especially when out because the seats are so far away from the table.  A rib shifts and is poking into me.  Once the adjustment is done the pain is gone.  
May not be your answer, but it's worth a thought.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was just diagnosed with diverticulitis and I am 30 years old.  Had a sharp pain in my lower left side and after a week of tests including tests for cancer of the ovaries, they finally did a CT scan and saw the cause.  I guess it didn't occur to them someone so young could have this.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had the same simptoms as all of you for over a year without a correct or conclusive diagnosis. I recently read that the simptoms associated with an ENLARGED SPLEEN are similar to those that we all feel, and because the spleen has nothing to do with digestive or gastric functions, we all may be visiting the wrong specialist. In my next visit to the doctor I will ask for specific exams to detect an enlarged spleen.

I will keep you posted on the results of my exams.

You can write to me at ***@****

Visit http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec14/ch179/ch179b.html if you guys want further information.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you all so much for your input. I have looked all over the map to try to figure out what this is but it's best to hear from those who experience it. I do go to a chiropracter on occasion. I will make an appointment and ask his opinion on this. I know it's hard to try and get the doctors on the ball without sounding like a hypocondriac, or feeling like one anyways. I made another appointment with a specialist as it turns out he wanted to see me last year but I couldn't get an appointment till next January. Somedays when I have the spasms so bad I don't know if I'll make it till next year but here's hoping the chiropracter will figure it out.
I will be checking in to see if you have found anything about your spleen.
Thank you
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Avatar_f_tn
I m having the same problem. I did have uti symptoms but i do drink lots of water and cranberry juice. My upper left side of the abdomen hurts esp.while im urinating.it just started last night and now even side and back. Plz help. I dont want to go to the hospital:((
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