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pain in left side under rib cage
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by clover91, Dec 20, 2002
I have had so many problems in the last couple months that I really don't know where to start.  My latest is a pain in my front upper left side right below my rib cage.  It's not constant and it's not a bad pain but just enough to bother me and worry me.  I am also having bad lower back pain that comes and goes.  I have had changes in bowel movements going back and forth from constipation to loose stools.  I recently starting having dizziness on and off throughout the day but the doctor thinks it's an inner ear infection.  I woke up this morning with nausea but it's hard to tell if it's related or just nerves.  I also lose weight in spurts, just recently another 7 pounds.  In July the doctor noticed my thyroid was swollen but tests show nothing and that is not even an issue at the time.  I also had an abnormal pap in July (ASCUS) but have recently had a repeat that was normal.  I just turned 30 in July and it has been one thing after another ever since.  Does anyone have any ideas on the pain in my left side?  I will start a journal to see if there is a pattern but it doesn't seem to be.
Thanks!!!!!!!
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Member Comments (52)
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by iamamy, Dec 20, 2002
Hi  clover91.  I know how you feel.  I am 33 and since September, I have been having one thing after another.  And the symptoms, like yours, go from one end to another.  I can't understand it.  But, enough about me.  Are you taking any medication, and how long have you been taking it?
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by clover91, Dec 20, 2002
I'm not on any medication except penicillin which I am taking because I had strep about a week ago.  The pain switches from upper left side to about mid left side to middle (belly button area).  It's not constant or extreme pain but like an annoying ache or dull pain.  I explain it as twitches or twinges of pain.  I'm sorry your having problems too but it's comforting to hear that I'm not alone.  Everyone thinks I'm crazy but it's not my imagination.  I really am having problems.  I'm so tired of going to the doctor and I feel like I complain too much.  Any ideas?  Have you seen a doctor with an answers?  I had red blood cells checked for anemia or infection and they were fine.  I had an iron test that did come back a little low.  It's at 52 when normal starts at 40.  My most recent thyroid test was also okay.
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by mas77, Dec 20, 2002
Hi,
You may want to look at some earlier posts on the board re: pancreatitis (or other pancreas-related problems).
I've sporadically experienced the dull, left sided pain for over five years now. About five months ago, a week before my 28th birthday, the left-sided pain returned, this time accompanied by severe fatigue, lower back/hip/flank pain that persisted almost two weeks, floating stools, and gas pains. My doctor checked my amylase and lipase and gave me a Spiral CT, thinking it was pancreas related. The blood work came back normal as did the CT. The symptoms continue(d). I was referred to a gastro doctor, who explained that if I'd been experiencing recurrences of mild pancreatic problems/insufficiency, my amylase/lipase wouldn't necessarily appear abnormal. I also learned that, despite being one of the best diagnostic imaging test, a spiral CT often misses pancreatic cysts, lesions, etc because of how 'hidden' the pancreas is in the body. So, now I'm being put on various medications, hoping someone consents to an MRCP or ERCP to find out what's really going on in there, and the left-sided ache, gas, floating stool, and occasional short, sharp pains below the sternum have become everyday. I've found that keeping my diet beneath 25 grams of fat daily and drinking a lot of water really help.
Take a few minutes and look around on www.google.com, might help you narrow down your symptoms, and again, this board is a great resource.
Important though, if you even suspect it may be pancreas-related after reading all of the info and stories, don't drink any alcohol, at all.
As you'll see from other postings, it's not easy convincing a doctor to even consider the pancreas as the source of a problem, unless you're actually turning yellow, vomiting bile and losing weight in front of his/her face. This goes double when you're 30 or younger. I've found it's helped me immeasurably to educate myself on the possible problems, what my symptoms may mean, and to go in prepared with questions and requests for various tests. If they say no, time to go to the next doctor.
Good luck!
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by iamamy, Dec 20, 2002
I have seen a Dr.  I have been to both my  reg. MD and to the Gastro Dr.  The reason I asked if you were taking any medicine is that I was on PPI's  for what they say is reflux and it made me hurt like that.  I know what you mean about talking with the Dr.  I am almost afraid to mention that I have been having cloudy urine because that has nothing (at least I don't think so) to do with all of the other problems that I have been having.  I have also been having a lot of sinus stuff going on.  I did get an antibiotic last week for that which really helped.  But all of these are problems that I have never had before.  I have never had any medical problems.  So it is hard to understand.   I check this board several times a day, looking for answers.  I hope you get to feeling better.  No one has ever mentioned pancreatic problems to me.
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by groundhog, Dec 20, 2002
A possible explanation for the back pains...If you find yourself arching your back to relieve pain in your abdomen (as I do), the constant and unconcious clenching of the back and rib muscles may be sharp fatigue pains.
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by debb, Dec 22, 2002
Do you notice a connection with the upper left side discomfort occuring when you have episodes of constipation (or if you've eaten a large meal the day before or are having gas)? The colon makes a turn from across your back to down your left side at that area and the discomfort could be due to gas or hard stool. Try drinking more water and including more fiber in your diet. The dizziness could be due to dehydration (from your episodes of diarrhea.
Has your doctor ruled out Irritable Bowel Syndrom? It may be helpful to read other posts about this disorder to see if your symptoms are simular. Take care.
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by clover91, Dec 27, 2002
Thank you everyone.  All of your comments have really helped ease my mind.  The pain does seem to get worse or better depending on meals and bowel movements.  I have actually felt pretty good the past couple days.  I do believe the dizziness might be related.  I have noticed that I am always thirsty.  I've been drinking a lot of fluids the past couple days and have felt very little dizziness.  The pains were also gone until today but it has been mild followed by constipation.  I have a lot of the symptoms of IBS so I am waiting another week, keeping track of my symptoms, patterns and going back to my doctor.
Thanks again everyone for your information.
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by Nana K, Jan 11, 2003
I am 60 years old and never had medical problems in my life.  Over the last few years I've become a solid pain.  Meaning my neck, my arms, my back, my legs, in other words everything hurts.  The worst seems to be my left side of my rib cage.  I've had quite a few severe attacks that have sent me to the floor in agonizing pain.  I can't move or get up tell it is gone.  I cry and scream it hurts so bad. Like someone just plunged a knife in.  The burning around my rib cage is constant whether I eat or not.  I am a vegitarian, so I don't eat fat of any kind.  I love chocolate but when I eat it I'm in for an attack.  My Doctor has diagnoed me with Fibromyalgia and IBS. I've had all the tests, Ultra sound, MRI, Up scope and down scope and blood tests.  I take Vioxx, Zoloft and Trazodone.  Love to hear from someone with help or comments.  Thank you....Kay
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by Natali, Jan 30, 2003
Hello mas77!!
Ive ben living with same kind of symptoms as you for 4 years...i feel something is wrong.Doctors use to tell me i have irritable bowel syndrome.And on other things such as pain in my upper left side they just close their eyes.I am absolutely agree with you-doctors are different!!! And of course its not enough for them if you tell what you feel,unless you are bleeding or change the  colour of your skin!!(lol its so true!!!)
I am going to see my doctor tomorrow,and before im gonna prepare a list of tests of what I would like to do!! Because they are dont care much!!