Posted By CHRISTOPHER on July 15, 1999 at 09:58:53
I am a 37 yr old male. I have had upper right quadrant pain that comes and goes for appx 10 years. The pain in not sharp but more of a dull pain, a tenderness or fullness. I also seem to have many soft or loose stools that come and go also. No fever, nasuea, or weight loss is involved. I do not drink much (mabey once or twice a month). But the pain always presents itself the day after I have had a few drinks and stays there for 2 or 3 weeks and then fades away. I have been to my doctor and had normal liver function results and a clean upper GI so he says everything is ok. My concern is if there may be an enlarged or fatty liver, gallbladder problem or pehaps a problem with the intestinal track. The pain is basically always in the same place, the upper right quadrant. Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Posted By kat on July 18, 1999 at 12:09:25
I have the same problem as you--I can't decide if the slight discomfort in my right quadrant is my imagination or not. My liver enzymes have always been normal, and I'm generally not sick. I'm sorry that I can't answer any of your questions, but I'm glad to know someone else feels that exact discomfort (especially after they drink).
Posted By HFHSM.D.-D.M. on July 18, 1999 at 15:06:56
I found your situation and questions interesting and Id like to make a couple of comments. Youve had right upper quadrant abdominal pain for 10 years, soft stools and you note that the pain seems associated with alcohol intake.
Well theyre are a couple of possibilities that are worth thinking about. Alcohol use (even relatively small amounts) can cause marked deposition of fat in the liver and the liver can be enlarged as a result of this. In some circumstances, this can cause stretching of the capsule that encloses the liver (Glissons capsule) and this can cause a vague abdominal tenderness.
Another possibility is that you have an ulcer or inflammation of the stomach (gastritis) that might be exacerbated by the alcohol use. This can especially be a problem if there are other factors that are also hard on the stomach (cigarettes, anti-inflammatory medication, bacteria). This would be easy for your physicians to evaluate. I agree that there is some potential for the symptoms to come from the gallbladder although your symptoms are not classic for gallbladder colic. Typically an ultrasound is a good test to exclude gallstones and to look for other anatomical problems in the liver.
Finally, there are a host of other, more unusual causes, some of which can be serious. One possibility is that youve caused inflammation to your pancreas (pancreatitis) which we see with marked alcohol use. This pain can persist after alcohol is stopped. The pain is usually more in the middle than to the right but there are always exceptions. It is easy to test for pancreatitis with blood tests.
Good luck getting things sorted out. Abdominal pain can be frustrating to the patient and physician. The patient is frustrated by the amount of pain and the physician is frustrated by his inability to pin it down. However, often a condition will announce itself. If the symptoms are really substantial, your physician may want to do additional tests especially if you are losing weight.
It sounds like you would benefit from a visit to a thoughtful physician. I hope this information is helpful to you. Good luck with your situation. If you have additional information or questions, I would invite you to post the material to MEDHELP. The direct number to our Liver Clinic at Henry Ford is (313) 916-8865. We have an active group of liver specialists and gastroenterologists.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
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