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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Avatar universal

PAIN BELOW RIB CAGE AND TO THE RIGHT

FOR 3 WEEKS I HAVE BEEN HAVING PAIN IN THE RIGHT UPPER PORTION OF MY STOMACH...FROM THE CENTER OF THE CHEST UNDER THE RIB CAGE ON THE RIGHT...I CAN NOT EAT WITHOUT THIS AREA FEELING LIKE IT HAS SPASMS ABOUT 10 MINUTES AFTER I HAVE EATEN, THEREFORE I HAVE NOT BEEN EATING MUCH, AND AM LOSING WEIGHT..I SAW THE DR. 2 WEEKS AGO, AND HE SAID IF IT CONTINUES THAT I SHOULD HAVE A LAPAROSCOPY...MY CONCERN IS THAT I AM ON COUMADIN AND I WORRY ABOUT BEING CUT OPEN AT ALL...I ALSO HAVE PARKINSONS DISEASE AND AM ON MEDS FOR THAT...I HAD A STROKE IN APRIL OF THIS YEAR AND THAT IS WHY I AM ON THE COUMADIN...I HAD THE ULTRASOUND WHERE I DRANK THE BARIUM AND HAD THE INJECTION OF DYE...THEY SAID IT ALL LOOKED NORMAL...ARE THERE OTHER TEST I COULD HAVE THAT COULD FIND THE PROBLEM WITHOUT SURGERY? I AM A 54 YEAR OLD FEMALE...I HAD MY GALLBLADDER REMOVED IN DECEMBER OF LAST YEAR...I HAVE BEEN TOLD IT COULD BE ADHESIONS, ALSO.. THANK YOU
SANDIE121
10 Responses
Avatar universal
DO NOT overlook Chronic Pancreatitis. It is very hard to diagnose in some cases and causes extreme upper right quadrant pain radiating to the back. It cause a lot of symptoms, some different in different people.
This is so coincidental.  My wife has had major abdominal problems for 15 years.  

In September of 1998 she had her gallbladder removed because of upper right quad. Pain and trouble eating -- causing pain in that area.  She was semi-OK till February of 1999 and started having upper right pain much worse and when she ate anything but especially "heavy" foods it would be terrible pain.  (See copy from another post of mine)


My wife is completely debilitated and in tremendous pain and goes on IV Dilaudid every month or more for 5 days. It often gets worse as time goes by.

Don't fool around with local doctors! Go to a GI clinic, like Mayo, in Florida, Shands at Univ. of Fl is good, etc.

My wife spent 9 months with local GI doctors and was diagnosed with everything from Pelvic floor dysfunction to IBS and more. NONE WERE CORRECT.

Search the web for Chronic Pancreatitis and read up on it. It hits more males than female and often in the 40's age range. My wife never drank but drinking is a leading cause of Chronic Pancreatitis.

May not be your case but I'd look it up and get to a real "clinic"
Avatar universal
PS.  Not saying don't have surgery.  Nevertheless, Chronic pancreatitis can not be diagnoesed with a Laperoscopy.  Needs tests like ERCP, and doctors who specialize in Pancreatitis.
Avatar universal
If chronic pancreatitis is in question, it can sometimes even be detected by a simple bloodtest to check the amylase and lipase levels.  Often a CT-scan will show chronic pancreatitis, that's how mine was found.  An ERCP is good, too, but the patient needs to be aware that it is an invasive procedure and can actually cause a pancreatitis attack.

The symptoms of CP are very similar to what you describe, some people have pain on the right where the head of the pancreas and main duct is, others in the middle or on the left, it just depends where the problem is.  Back pain, nausea and vomiting often accompany this also.   Too many people get misdiagnosed with IBS.

There are some other good GI hospitals that Spike failed to mention, such as the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland and MUSC in Charleston, SC.  Also John Hopkins in Baltimore.

Nanny
Avatar universal
Also, if this persists and not other cause if found via ERCP, etc.  30% of all Chronic Pancreatitis suffers have a type like my wife has called Idiopathic.  That means there is no know cause for the disease but it is as real as any other cause and is often more painful.

And as has been said, 70% of GI doctors will try to pass it off as IBS, tell you to get of all pain meds, and just live with it.  Had an "idiot" doctor tell my wife that, we just walked out and shook our heads at how "uncompassionate" and just plain "stupid" some doctors are!

hang in there and keep looking for a compassionate doctor, there are a few, and probably women.  I am a man saying this.
Avatar universal
Help! I had my gallbladder removed 1 year ago and I have had RUQ pain since July. It feels just like my gallbladder attacks. I have had an ultrasound, upper GI, Hida Scan, and a lot of lab work. Everything has been negative. I see my GI doc on 10/7 for a follow-up and he already said that if the scan was neg he would probably have to do an ERCP. I thought about living with the pain but then it flaired up again! The docs tell me it can't be my pancrease because my blood work was normal but my labs were normal when I was in a full-blown gallbladder attack too. My gallbladder was FULL of stones 2-3 cm in size and was both chronically and acutely infected. I have high cholesterol and was on high dose birth control pills for 12 years(just came off them in March). I don't know what to do next. Any suggestions?
Avatar universal
This is a situation I understand well!  I just spent 7 days in the hospital for pain like described - URQ, follows the rib cage up to the middle of the body and then radiates into the back.  The best way I could describe it to the doctors is having someone punch me in the diaphragm and then not removing their fist.  The pain is worse with food intake - ususally starts like spasms in the right and then the pain increases from there.

I had such severe pain that co-workers had to take me to the ER.  I was on morphine because the GI coctail, Demerol and Phenergan didn't touch the pain and nausea.  I was admitted so they could "find the problem" without having to endure the pain for the time it would take to schedule the tests outpatient.  At the time I went to the ER I had not eaten since the day before and was vomiting bile at the time.  I have been living on Coke heated in the microwave and then stirred until it is flat because it seems to be the only thing that settled my stomach.  I was on either on a clear liquid diet or NPO (nothing) for six of the seven days I was there.  Only the last day was I given a "liquid diet" for two meals and then solids for the last meal.

My amylase and lipase levels were not elevated, my hepatic function tests were normal as was my urine sample.  I went through abdominal x-rays, gastric emptying test, small bowel follow thru, and a MRI that zeros in on the bile duct (the specific name escapes me at the moment).  They were all normal.  

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depends on how you look at it) my Gastro practices in a group with three others.  I never did see my specific Gastro in the hospital.  I did see all of his partners. (I'm a little upset about this - I had to repeat my info every day - like they didn't even bother to review my chart).

Once they ruled out that there was "sludge" blocking the common bile duct (by the MRI) they seemed to decide that that was the end.  I did ask the Gastro who visited me about chronic pancreatitis but he just pushed me off saying that my A&L levels and hepatic functions were normal and that "you don't want chronic pancreatitis".  I guess since I have "perfect cholesterol levels" and am not a heavy drinker he feels that this is not a possibility.  TRUST ME I KNOW THERE ISN'T ONE PERSON OUT THERE THAT "WANTS" CP.  Unfortunately some do have it.  I had pancreatitis when I presented to have my gallbladder out - it took four days to control it.

The pain still continues.  The admitting MD finally put me on Reglan to try to get me to keep three meals down without vomiting.  Once that was accomplished I was discharged.  I was at the point I would have lied and said they stayed down even if they didn't because it was obvious the doctors I had were not going to go any further.  They want to blame it all on the severe gastritis I was diagnosed with.  They have increased the Nexium to 2X a day, Librax to 5X a day (for IBS) and added the Reglan (1/2 hour before every meal).  Luckily I have an appointment with MY GASTRO on 10/15 and plan on it being a long visit.  I WANT SOME ANSWERS.

The surgeon who did my gallbladder surgery (he's a colon and rectal specialist) seems to be more interested in what's wrong than the doctor's in the hospital did and he really doesn't have a lot to do with my care at this point - the surgery is over.  He did want to review my latest CT himself and want's me to return in four weeks (I saw him 3 days before I ended up in the hospital).

I know this is a long post - but part of me just had to vent.

The other question I have for anyone out there is ERCP.  I understand it's not a test that doesn't have potential side effects - they were all explained to me when I was in the hospital in July to have my gallbladder out. I was just wondering if anyone has run into any of the same problems and not had their doctor proceed with an ERCP?

My surgeon even asked if I had had one done.

Thanks for any help.



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