For two months, I have been experiencing several bouts of mid to upper back pain at night which then radiates to my upper right rib area. About the fourth time this happened (and the most painful), I started running a low-grade fever and started to have bouts of diarrhea/and or dark, oily stools every day. I saw my family doctor who suspected problems with my gallbladder. My white blood count was a little above normal that day.
In the last two weeks, I've had an ultrasound, a HIDA scan, and complete blood work while continuing to have the above sypmtoms. All tests returned perfectly normal.
So now I've been prescribed Protonix, and if that doesn't help, they will refer me to a gastroenterologist.
I seem to be a bit better now - the fever has gone down, and my stools are a little better. However, I still have some upper right rib pain and abdominal pain even though I've tried very hard to avoid fatty foods in the last few weeks.
Although I'm glad the tests were normal, I'm frustrated because I still don't know what's wrong with me. Is there something else that should be checked out?
Oily stools and the description of the pain can be suggestive of pancreatitis. Obtaining blood pancreatic enzyme levels as well as imaging the pancreas can be considered.
Testing the stool for infection and malabsorption can also be considered, along with a colonoscopy to rule out inflammatory bowel disease. Blood tests for celiac disease should also be considered.
An upper endoscopy can evaluate for various causes of dyspepsia - such as an ulcer, inflammation of the upper digestive tract, or GERD.
These options can be discussed with your GI physician.
Followup with your personal physician is essential.
This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
Thought I'd update in case anyone else is struggling with the same thing.
Blood tests for celiac disease came back negative. Stool samples for bacteria or parasite infections were also negative. I continued to run a fever for over a month (with a few fever-free days here and there) but thankfully it's gone now, as well as most of the bowel problems. Naturally, when I'm feeling fine is when my gastroenterologist appointment finally fell. He suggested a colonoscopy to rule out Crohns, Colitis or cancer, but left it up to me to decide.
I still am having sporadic, but painful upper right rib area pain always in the very early morning hours (3:00 - 6:00). I have no idea of what to do at this point - I may start keeping a log of what I'm eating. Maybe I can find a pattern or something. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be really grateful.
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