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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Avatar universal

Undiagnosed Persistent Upper Left Abdominal PAin

I am a 39 year old female. For the past 2 1/2 months I have been experiencing upper left quadrant abdominal pain.  It tends to localize below my ribs but above the navel, about 3 inches left of center.  My side also gets tender and my mid back gets muscle spasmy. The pain has sometimes feels like a very tender pulled muscle, but also will feel like a sharper twinge (similar to what I've experienced sometimes when jogging).  When the condition was most accute in 4 wks weeks ago, even my skin to the slightest touch was ultrasensitive - almost like a rope-burn type of sensation.  I also had a wiggly, twitchy feeling in the muscles there in the upper lft. abd. and into my left side/flank.

I have NO nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. I have not lost any weight and energetically do not feel sluggish. My oral temperature ranged from 98.8 - 100 F.  I also have pain in my left groin that feels like a groin pull and also near the front of of my hip bone.  I've also noticed that occasionally my left arm feels heavy and weak, with the grip in my left hand feeling weak as well.

I have had xrays, IVP, ultrasound and CT scan.  Initially my urine dip showed blood and it was thought i might have a kidney stone, but in further testing the urine showed 0 - 3 red blood cells, which I am told are normal levels, and the IVP did not turn up anything.  Only the ultrasound turned up a very small (1.6cm) hemmorhaggic cyst on my left ovary. The gynocologist did not think my pain, being up so high,  was caused by the cyst, and instead felt the cause was visceral and definitely not gynocological or musculoskeletal.  The CT scan also showed normal, although I was told there was some fluid in my pelvic area, which was attributed to the cyst.  All of my blood work has returned completely normal, including amylase / lipase levels.

I was then sent to a Gastroenterologist who asked me some questions, concluded it was muscular and sent me home to take ibuprofen.  She did not do a rectal or scope me.  Stool sample results came back normal:  no e coli, no giardia, no parasites, no blood.

I have been prescribed darvocet, levsin, ibuprofen and naproxen, none of which have made any difference.

Also - have eliminated dairy, alcohol, caffeine from my diet and added extra fiber. I eat no red meat and haven't for approx. 20 years.  I have smoked on and off for approx 20 years, most recently less than 5 / day, but have been smoke-free since 1 / 1 / 2000.  I do have GERD, but treated myself with herbs and diet and have not had a reccurrence in about a year.

I am at a loss for which way to turn for help next.  My primary care physician seems to be at a loss as well. I also had some thoracic and cervical xrays to see if I might have a pinched nerve causing the pain - nothing apparent showed.

Can you help with any suggestions as to what might be the diagnosis, or references to someone in my area (Boston) who might be able to help? I am also concerned perhaps something was missed on the CT or KUB xrays.  Should I have a chest xray?  Ultrasound of my spleen / pancreas area?  Did the CT scan cover this?

I appreciate your time and consideration and any advice you can offer.
89 Responses
Avatar universal
Dear Carol D,
It is impossible to shed any light on your symptoms via the Internet.  Your symptoms are not suggestive of a gastrointestinal problem.  If, however, your symptoms persist then you should yalk to your primary physician and express your concerns regarding the possibility of gastrointestinal disease.  Your primary doctor could arrange for stool studies as well as decide if any type of endoscopy is needed.
Avatar universal
I, and many others, have been experiencing these exact same symptoms for many years...
very very frustrating with no end in sight...

Rob
Avatar universal

   HI JUST A SHORT NOTE TO TELL U I HAVE THE SOME TROUBLE.  HAVE HAD ALL THE TESTS U CAN HAVE AND NOTHING IS SHOWING UP.  THEN AFTER A WHILE THE DOCTORS THINK ITS IN UR HEAD CAUSE THEY DONT KNOW WHATS WRONG.  MAKES ME FEEL BAD I KNOW ITS NOT IN MY HEAD.  LET ME KNOW IF U FIND OUT ANYTHING.  I WILL DO THE SAME.

    THANK U
Avatar universal
I have similiar problems that Carol has. I am a 48 yr. old female, that recently quit smoking(after 26 years), I thought I was attributing all of my problems to that. I also have hypothyroidism, and with the lack of nicotine present, my dosage was increased and then this problem arose. I have been to my surgeon complaining of severe pain underneath my left rib cage, also, and sometimes it protrudes around my side almost touching my backbone. I had a gi series performed and it showed that the barium drank stayed right in my stomach and took 4 hours or so to pass through, that's when my dr. started treating me for an ulcerated piloric valve. Medication prescribed--300mg. zantac a day, with the latest drug being dolobid. I go for more catscans this coming week. Maybe this has helped you?? And Lord only knows this pain is certainly NOT in my head.
Avatar universal
Your symptoms, sound just like mine, I've got 3 gastro-docs scratching their heads.... I've had an endoscopy, a colonoscopy a CT scan, Tons of blood work stool testing urinalysis etc. They know I have esophageal spasms and reflux, I take prevacid and LIBRAX, I've lost about 38lbs. I have good days and bad days, I just had a bad time last weekend, they did the amylase and Lipase testing-Negative this coming week I am having an MRCO, which is an MRI of the pancreas, I'm so scared that I could have Pancreatic cancer, I'm in my early 40's and I have a 4 year old child, so the prospect terrifies me. My brother lives in the Boston area and he raves about the LEAHY CLINIC in fact he want's me to come up there, I just might have to... Good luck to you
Avatar universal
I noticed in the previous post that I misspelled the name of the test I'm having it's called an MRCP-Magnetic  Resonance Cholangio Pancreatography.  I have been having my problems since July. and I am reaching my wits end....When they did my CT scan , they did find that I have a small kidney stone on the right side and though they do not think it really has anything to do with my pain , they are sending me to a kidney specialist. Just curious, have you noticed any tie in to your menstrual cycle??When I ask if it could be hormonal or enzymatic , they look at me like I am nuts....Good luck to you...MMN
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