I've had 9 episodes in 26 years of severe/extreme pain/cramping immediately below sternum. Three times to emergency room with no diagnosis. Three doctors ruled out diverticulitis; one doctor disagreed saying diverticulitis can occur anyplace in the "plumbing." Oranges, almonds, and hot spicy foods seem to trigger it. During the 24-36 hour bout with agony I'll be constipated and it feels lik food has just backed up to that location just below the sternum and is stuck there and moves ever so slightly. Finally, when I can have a BM, and then another, I get relief. I have a coloscopy every 3 years because polyps were removed on my first and subsequent colonoscopies. I explained this problem to my new Doctor and he suggested he look with an endoscopy. He didn't find what he thought might be the culprit but he did find another larger polyp which he removed today in a second edoscopy (didn't have the proper tools to remove the polyp three weeks ago.) What he did discover was pretty rough lining (redness, seeming red lines in the upper abdomen and, of big concern, what looks like to me, as a varicose vein with a balooning in one section.) Doctor said "If that ruptures, it's all over!" His prescription is exercise, stop alcohol (I was a beer drinker, about two cases a month, infrequent wine with dinner, and no hard alcohol,) and prilosec for three months. I have quit alcohol, started an exercise program, and will watch the diet and increase fruits and veggies. I believe I can get a handle on the pain episodes. My big concern is the varicose looking vein with the big cherry on it ready to rupture...will the prescription (alcohol, exercise, diet) reduce or eliminate that vein problem? Is there better therapy/prescription. Doctor says he's never seen anything like it.
You need to get a second opinion right away. I'm not comfortable with what he is suggesting to help this, please see a second GI. Trust me there are good and bad ones, and I've dealt with both. But this is too concerning to leave up to this one doctor.
I agree about an immediate second opinion, but instead of a second GI doc, you may want to consider seeking the opinion of a surgeon. What you're describing sounds to me a little like an abdominal aortic aneurysm and if that's the case and what you're doc is telling you about it looking like it might rupture is correct, then you need immediate surgery. If, in fact, it is an aneurysm, and it does rupture, your chance of survival without immediate surgical intervention is very very small.
I AM BY NO MEANS A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL OF ANY TYPE. My grandmother had an abdominal aneurysm (discovered on a routine pre-op chest x-ray for a totally different surgery) and the information I've given you here is exactly what the doctors told us about her.
At the very least, I would contact your primary care physician and relay the information your GI doc gave you about the endoscopy and see if he/she can suggest your next step. Personally, my next step would be to a surgeon, but obviously, you have to make that decision along with your doctor's advice.
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