I'm a 40 year old male. I have had a chronic mid back pain since Dec '09, mild discomfort in the upper left abdomin (typicall worse when I stretch or twist my torso) and for the last 2 months have a yellow hue on my stool.
Recent Tests: Blood work, urine test, stool sample and abdominal ultrasound...all clear.
Are these signs of pancreatic problems?
Yes, could be you have pancreatitis or some other pancreas problem, particularly if your yellow color on your stool is accompanied by a bad odor. The back pain and left side abdominal pain increases the chances that it's the pancreas. However, could also be a liver problem, malabsorption, and bilary problems. If your urine is a strange color, then could be hepatitis is in the mix. And if you have giardia, then that takes either several stool samples or an endoscope sampling of what's in the small intestine. Also, let's say the gallbladder gets backed up with gallstones, it can block the duct where the pancreas releases its enzymes, and so pancreatitis becomes secondary to a gallbladder problem, so both problems have to be addressed, altho the ultrasound probably would have picked up that sort of thing. Scans are far better for finding stuff like that, tho.
Generally, yellow stool usually means something is amiss with the liver. Lots of times if people drink a lot of alcohol, this can cause a whole lot of problems with various digestive glands, not only the liver, but also the pancreas. But as for a problem just with the pancreas, there are about a dozen reasons for pancreatitis, and so the cause must be found and treated, in addition to treatment for the inflammation going on in the pancreas.
Assuming you have pancreatitis, the very first thing a doc would do is put you in the hospital and give you I.V. fluids and then you cannot eat and drink for two days. Since you cannot drink for two days, that's how come you need I.V. fluids. Anyway, by not consuming anything by mouth, this allows the pancreas to rest and thus controls the certain inflammation. Then you can drink clear liquids and eat a bland diet for a while. They also treat whatever has caused the problem with the pancreas, which often involves surgery.
As for finding out if it's your pancreas, they do a lot of tests you've already had done. They do blood and stool tests, scans, ultrasounds. But they would also need to test for some OTHER problems, in order to rule them out, like with giardia, they'd want to do an endoscope exam where they take samples of what's in your small intestine, and with the same exam, they could have a look at your various ducts, like for the gallbladder and pancreas.
So, I think you need to be referred to a gastroenterologist, with an eye towards deciding if it is indeed your pancreas, since you have back pain and yellowish stool together. And I think you need to see one VERY soon, because if you have ANY of the illnesses that are causing your symptoms, they can most definitely get a lot worse. Ask if your regular doc will fast-track this appointment with the gastro doc (preferably a gastro surgeon).
I hope this helps you. I answered your post mainly because I know what it's like to have back pain, and I've had some pretty wild indigestion, so I am sure you are miserable, and obviously since the basic tests came out normal, perhaps they are brushing you away. But insist on proper care for yourself, I do not like the sound of your symptoms at all. But keep in mind, could very well be your yellowish stool and back pain may be two different problems. And could be your pancreas is not in trouble at all. Still, from what I know about the pancreas, I wouldn't want to set aside the pancreas as a problem just yet.
Thank you so much for your detailed response. You are right, I am somewhat miserable. I just got married with child on the way so this is bad timing and is stressing me out.
I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist in early June, and I am on their cancellation list.
I have done much research, and pancreatic cancer is always in the back of my mind.
Some positives, I have a great appetite and haven't lost any weight.
The only relief I get from my back pain is lying down, in fact, this also relieves any abdominal discomfort.
Again, thank you for your response, it is always comforting to speak with someone.
Well, while pancreatic cancer can be a concern, I think it's just pancreatitis, IF your back pain is even connected to the pancreas. Plus, that yellowness in your stool may not be any real signal that it's pancreas-related, particularly since your tests so far don't show anything wrong. On top of that, you feel pretty good except for a little discomfort in your back and on the left side of abdomen. Even that can be explained. Could be your back pain is you just wrenched your back, and the nerves that come out of the spine, they go all the way around the abdomen, and if those back nerves get pushed on from inflammation and swelling, the front side of you can hurt, too. So, you might ask your wife to give you a few backrubs, also hot baths and hot water bottle put on your back help temporarily with muscle pain. I broke my back in three places in a car wreck, and so, like you, I also find that lying down is the only way I'm completely comfortable.
Think of it as a back problem, and remember that if it is the pancreas, it's more likely pancreatitis, which is fairly easy to fix. At least you have an appointment, and it's far enough away that you can sort of set aside those issues, let the doc handle that part of you. A person can get pretty involved in their bodily pains, they're reminded every hour of every day, so to rest your mind, go for easy walks with your wife thru the neighborhood or nearby park every now and then, spring is arriving. And I am so happy that you got married and have a baby coming, you shall be a family, a very pleasant time of life.
Thank you again. You are absolutely right, its easy to get involved daily with body pain. It can become quite a distraction. I will take your advice and focus on the positive exciting things that are happening in my life.
I can't imagine what you went through after your accident.
You made my day today, thanks for being a shoulder!
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