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Pain After Consuming Alcohol...Acid Reflux?...Pancreas?
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Pain After Consuming Alcohol...Acid Reflux?...Pancreas?

Hoping someone can help me figure this out.  I'm a 26 year old female who rarely drinks alcohol, maybe once every few months.  When I do it's usually a mixed drink like a daiquiri or margarita.  Well after finishing only one drink within 15-20 minutes I start experiencing somewhat severe pain in the upper portion of my abdomen, just under my breastbone, that radiates straight through to my back.  It feels somewhat like a cramp and is very uncomforable.  It usually goes away about 15-20 minutes after it started.  This has happened the last three times I've consumed a drink (August, December, and January).  After this last time I didn't feel very well for the next almost 2 weeks.  I had discomfort around the sternum area, would get full really fast after eating, and didn't have much of an appetite.  My doctor thought my symptoms could be related to acid reflux and possibly a hiatal hernia.  I did have my gallbladder removed 3 months ago due to a gallstone.  Currently I still have some achiness around my breastbone and my upper abdomen (sternum to just about navel) is somewhat tender when pressed on.  So I'm wondering if this sound more like to be a problem caused by reflux or could it be something to do with my pancreas?  Would you experience pain that quickly after drinking if the pancreas was involved?  I had taken PPIs for 6 weeks before stopping them last week.  I'm afraid to test things out and have a drink but would like to do so.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for your time.
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620923_tn?1393294254
Hi...if u have reflux it could be from the GB and then the surgery ...the drugs used during surgery can cause a flare, plus if u had an underlying issue it may take more then 6 weeks to get rid of it.

Since u do not know the underlying issues, u should see a GI dr for PH test along with the Barium swallow to see if u do have  a hiatal hernia and lastly since u had ur GB out get checked for H.Pylori too.

In the meantime, alcohol will agitate the condition  and u sound very sensitive to it, so avoid what will make it worse..http://www.medhelp.org/health_pages/list?cid=236

I pasted the Health Pages link so u can see a list of foods and lifestyle changes u can make to help with the pain....and flare ups.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm just so frustrated because I'm afraid I'll never feel good again.  It's not like I'm in a lot of pain all the time currently, just enough discomfort where I end up thinking/obsessing about it all the time.  While I want to find out what's going on I hate going to doctors.  I get nervous and I don't feel as though I do a good job adressing the issues that I'm having or asking questions.  My blood pressure always is always up, just because I'm anxious, and I can feel my heart pounding. Before all these issues started I had been in very good health.  The only times I've been to the doctor in my life is due to like strep throat or ear infections. Now I've had problems for the last 6 months or so and I don't know what to do.  I feel frustrated and somewhat helpless.  Maybe I will just go have a drink tomorrow and see what happens.  I'll make sure a hospital is nearby...kidding...well sort of.
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620923_tn?1393294254
Well if u want to have a drink  and wonder if it is excess acid...talk to ur pharmacist about using an OTC H2 blocker like pepcid....if u take it b4 u have something that causes excess acid to form. this should stop it.....BUT ask a Pharmacist about it working with alcohol....I know it works on food.....

Good Luck, and u know the more u go to the dr the more relaxed u get  : )
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Avatar_f_tn
I appreciate you taking time to respond to my message.  I did decide to go ahead and test things out the other night and thankfully didn't have any pain.  Made sure to drink slowly and also ate food right after.  Maybe it was reflux and taking the PPIs for six weeks  gave things time to heal.  Don't think I'll ever get used to going to the doctor though.  The last few times I've went by blood pressure has been over 150/90 when it is normally below 110/70. No matter how much I try not to, I freak out.
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620923_tn?1393294254
I used to be like that too, but as u find u trust ur dr and that u r in good hands and u r healthy...it is easy to go...the problem is when u let things go and ur imagination gets the better of u and u have no idea what could be wrong...u r expecting the dr to say the worst .

Now that I know what is wrong and it is being taken care of I do not get stressed out nemore...I was like that going to the dentist too.....

I am glad u were able to find a way to drink and not have a reaction.

I pray u find a good way to visit ur dr that it doesn't keep u from the help u may need.and remember that by going on a reg basis the dr may find something b4 it gets to the point it is diff to treat.

"selma"
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been pretty successful in my life avoiding doctors until recently.  Prior to getting strep throat back in July I hadn't been to a doctor in about 6 years.  Then I developed the gallbladder issue so I've had to deal with doctors for that cause I knew it wasn't going away and I was afraid of dying the pain was so severe. Now I'm just at the point where I'm not in a lot of pain just discomfort, which I am freaking out about, but not badly enough to overcome my fear of doctors.  You're right, I shouldn't keep putting this off.  I know that but while I'm afraid of what they may find, I'm also afraid they won't find anything, and where will that leave me?  I went from never having a major medical issue to having surgery, which was a huge deal for me.  Now, I'm still not better and I don't want to have to deal with this but I guess I have to.  I know, I sound completely crazy.  
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620923_tn?1393294254
No..u sound so much like many people I talk to...and myself yrs ago...I felt the same way...and the fact u go to a dr and don't get answers is very disheartening...one can lose faith ...but u have to push for the answers....and if u let this go it could get worse...and that i y u have to go.....treat it while it is easily treatable.....as Barney Fife would say....nip it in the bud....lol.....
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for taking time to read my posts and I appreciate your advice.   I was just needing to get all my frustrations and worries out to someone.  You're right, I need to find out what is going on.  I tried to call the doctor's office earlier today and didn't get an answer.  I plan on calling first thing in the morning.  The gastro doc had said if I was still having issues after a week, which I am, she would order an upper endoscopy and possibly an MRI of my pancreas and biliary ducts.  Doesn't sound like much fun but maybe it'll give me some answers or at least put my mind at ease that nothing serious is going on.  Thanks again!
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620923_tn?1393294254
No worries...I am glad u decided to call the dr...and know I am here if u want to vent : )

I totally understand how u r feeling, u r not alone.

"selma"
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Avatar_f_tn
Decided to test my luck again with drinking last night and it didn't go so well.  Had one drink and when I finished it my back was aching slightly.  About 15 minutes later I was having what feels like a really bad cramp in the center of my back.  It finally went away after about 25 minutes of pain.  Not fun at all and I'm officially done with alcohol.  It's stupid to keep putting myself through that.  I wonder if this really does have anything to do with reflux since the pain was strictly in my back which is still achy today? It's weird!  So I did call the doctors office the other day and now have to wait almost 3 weeks for another appointment.  So frustrating!
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Avatar_f_tn
When I was 16  I couldn't eat much of anything acidy with out taking ranitidine (acid reflux medicine). I never drank alcohol (I was only 16 lol) but I had a friend who did, spent the night over there and decided to drink a little, and afterwards I had a sharp pain in my left side under my ribs (kind of where you said), and to top it off I had forgot to take my medicine that day. Every other times I drank after that between 16 and now (I'm 18 now, & VERY few drinks) I had the same outcome if I didn't take my medicine, and when I did take it I felt fine. So my advice to you is to try it one day while on acid medicine (you can get ranitidine over the counter) and see if it works.

If you have pancreas problems, it would be on the left side, and the doctor could easily diagnose this with a physical exam (your pancreas would be enlarged and easily felt), also if you felt on your left side just under your rib cage it would be tender.

Look up Pancreatis (pancreatitis) (SP?) and the symptoms and causes with that, I don't think it's your pancreas.

I understand how you feel with worrying about never feeling good again, I am also in the same boat as you, problems that the doctor hasn't fixed :(

BUT as said before, if you feel it's your pancreas a physical exam can quickly role that out.
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Avatar_f_tn
BTW , 3 weeks before you get a doctors exam? Call around, check out other doctors! Try those doctors that are in small buildings, even if you have to go to not see YOUR doctor. You should not have to wait 3 weeks..
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Avatar_f_tn
Maybe it is an acid reflux issue, I don't know.  The thing that concerns me is that it's been 2 days since I had that drink and I'm still having pain because of it.  Got home last night from work which my back had been a little achy all day after I ate dinner last night it really started to bother me.  Same deal with today.  Actually had heartburn today, my upper abdomen is pretty tender to the touch, and I've had some chest pain.  The 3 week wait is for an appoinment with a gastoenterologist.  I had an appointment with her a couple weeks ago but was not having as many issues at the time.  Had actually just finished a one month prescription of Nexium and I thought I must have been having some side effects from it as I felt much better after a few days of being off of it.  I've had enough of this.  I'm going to my primary care doctor tomorrow to see if there is anything he can do.  If he can't then at least I have an appointment with a gastro doc in a couple weeks.  Honestly am starting to  think there is something seriously wrong with me!
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