i am 36. For the past 3 years, I have been getting an ache on my right side. Location of ache has moved over the 3 yrs. First manifested itself on my right flank halfway up my rib cage. Tends now to be the small of my back on the right hand side, and a general ache right flank starting about 5 inches above my hip (although sometimes seems to be under my right chest and sometimes in my shoulder). The ache seems, primarily to come on when drinking alcohol - after about 15-20 mins of drinking . It is not solely experienced after alcohol and has been experienced less frequently at other times. Tends to last upto 12-16hrs and then subside. Although the ache has lasted on and off for 3 yrs or so there have been numerous periods of remission, for months at a time. These do not appear to totally correlate with changes in my lifestyle.
Have seen my General Practitioner on numerous occasions regarding this, but have had no resolution. Have had liver function tests (about 10 sets). All but one of these was normal. The abnormal one was, according to a hepatologist, caused by a viral infection I had contracted. 2 abdominal ultrasounds - both absolutely fine. Seen and discharged by hepatologist. Full blood count done twice - again all fine.
I also have Cronhs disease, although this is in remission and these symptoms appear different to the Cronhs symptoms. Had a endoscopy and colonoscopy in December 2009 and all was fine.
Have scoliosis, and a mild kythosis on the right side, but doesn't feel like a muscular pain to me.
I realise that if alcohol is causing the issue, i could stop, but I would like to know the cause of the problems to determine how serious it is. Think it is probably either:
- Alcoholic liver disease / pancreatis disease (although surely this would have shown up on the ultrasound - or I would have had continually elevated LFTs)
- Alcohol affecting my Cronhs disease (although the ache is not in the same place as typical Cronhs pain)
- An ulcer (although wouldn't that have showed up on my colonoscopy/endoscopy?)
- Psychosomatic pain. I have found that I start getting a bit of an ache just reading about these things and am a bit of a hypochondriac. Also, I get the ache nowadays very quickly after starting an alcoholic drink, but on the rare occasions that I have recently drunk to inebriation, I do not get the ache. This would seem counter-intuitive if it was an alcohol related symptom.
However, I do have a number of diagnosed chronic conditions (cronhs, congenital contractual arachnadactyly (beale's syndrome), psoriosis, kyphosis, scoliosis etc..)
During the past 6 months I have been drinking under the UK recommended level of 21 units a week (apart from 2 heavier weeks before Xmas). As I get the ache again after half a glass of lager shandy (approx 0.5 alcohol units) on New Years' Eve (after abstaining for a week) I have voluntarily quit alcohol, until I can get a resolution to this.
I have no desire to go back to drinking a few pints every evening as I did in my 20s, but if it is not going to kill me, I would like to drink occasionally within the Government guideline levels. Any advice on whether this is possible/advisable and what the cause of my malady is would be warmly welcomed.
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