I'm a 30-yr. old male, non-smoker, do not do drugs, am not overweight (5'11", 169 lbs.), am a social drinker (usually 3-5 drinks during the course of a weekend), and exercise moderately each week. For the past few months, I have had a dull ache right underneath my right rib cage in I guess what is referred to as the "upper-right quadrant". In fact, the discomfort is focused on an area under the rib cage almost directly beneath my right nipple. The discomfort is more noticeable as I sit, and less noticeable when I stand. Twisting towards my right side aggravates the discomfort, much like when I lay on that side or sit.
My stomach does not hurt when pressed nor is it hard. It almost feels like a pulled stomach muscle or a knot. Occassionally the pain radiates towards my lower stomach on a line even with my belly-button. I have lost 27 lbs. during the past year primarily on the Atkins diet. Prior to going on this diet, I'd say that I ate ok, with occassional splurges on fatty/greasy foods. I experienced this discomfort for months along w/the IBS symptoms below before going on my diet, and as I ate better, my discomfort gradually went away as I lost the weight.
However, this past Christmas, I gained a few (3-5) of these pounds back. I ate more carbs, and drank a bit more than usual given the various social functions I attended. Also, I noticed that the IBS-like symptoms that I experienced when I was heavier a year ago were back, specifically, the alternating bouts between diarrhea and constipation, typically brought on by stress and/or a heavy meal or any alcohol I may have consumed. I always felt like the amount that I "moved" was never commensurate with the amount I felt that I had to "move". Bloating and a feeling of tightness are common. I especially noticed a sudden urge to have a bowel movement after consuming my usual 20 or so oz. of coffee in the morning. I have NEVER experienced the following: blood in the stool; itching; jaundice, or back pain.
I have never tried any over the counter antacids or other related stomach medications. Further, I am on Claritin, and have been for years now. Given my age, sex, the above history and the symptoms listed, is it possible that I could have gall or kidney stones? It seems to me that pancreatitis is unlikely, as I have not ever had a gruelling centralized pain or a fever. Further, I don't believe that I'm a heavy enough drinker for this to be any type of alcohol related liver disease.
I have never been to the doctor for this. My guess is that I have an ulcer that I am irritating with my food/beverage choices and my bodily movements/positions. Or that I have IBS. It should be noted that I have an extremely demanding job (I'm a trial lawyer). In the past week I have begun to really watch what I eat (low-fat, high-fiber meals), am laying off any alcohol for a while, and have reduced my daily caffeine intake to 6-8 oz.
I appreciate your thoughts.