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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Avatar universal

pain in left side under rib cage

I have had so many problems in the last couple months that I really don't know where to start.  My latest is a pain in my front upper left side right below my rib cage.  It's not constant and it's not a bad pain but just enough to bother me and worry me.  I am also having bad lower back pain that comes and goes.  I have had changes in bowel movements going back and forth from constipation to loose stools.  I recently starting having dizziness on and off throughout the day but the doctor thinks it's an inner ear infection.  I woke up this morning with nausea but it's hard to tell if it's related or just nerves.  I also lose weight in spurts, just recently another 7 pounds.  In July the doctor noticed my thyroid was swollen but tests show nothing and that is not even an issue at the time.  I also had an abnormal pap in July (ASCUS) but have recently had a repeat that was normal.  I just turned 30 in July and it has been one thing after another ever since.  Does anyone have any ideas on the pain in my left side?  I will start a journal to see if there is a pattern but it doesn't seem to be.
Thanks!!!!!!!
80 Responses
Avatar universal
I too have been having pain under my left rib cage. Usually a feeling of fullness with some sharp dicomfort. My bowel movements usually after I eat are mucus/diarea , my doctor wants to do a sigmoidoscopy he thinks its colitis. i was worried about colon cancer, the doc said its possible but rare at my age. im 33. Im a little worried but after reading everyones symptoms on this board i dont feel alone in my fear and symptoms
Avatar universal
Hi all,
I am new here. I also have pain in my left side and front. Still doing test. For those of you that may not know, because I did not. There are some new test out. 1. a test for bacteria in the body that you have to take anibiotics to get rid of. I showed negitive for that. 2. Is a test that shows if you have an intalorence for frugtose(fruit sugar) I showed positive for this one. All you have to do is to blow in bags and they test evey half hour or so. It may not be the whole answer but it is a start. Hope this helps.  Katieb
Avatar universal
Well I've had pain in my right side, beneath the rib cage.  So maybe I should be in the "right" side thread.  Also have had occassional sharp, stomach pains.  I was first prescribed a prescription antacid.  That didn't seem to help, as the problem seemed to be more prevalent in my right side.  I also had blood work done to check for liver problems.  Everything appeared pretty normal.  I have just gone for an ultrasound and am awaiting the results of that.  When I press my right side, between the rib cage and hip, it's very tender, a little pain, and just feels harder or more tense than the left side, which is soft and fleshy.  I've also had lower back pain.  My side doesn't really hurt.  It's just sort of a dull, sore feeling... a feeling like "something is there."  The last three days I've had just a touch of light-headedness as well.  Not sure if this is related to what anyone else is suffering from, but figured I'd contribute my story.  It's frustrating.
Avatar universal
I am a 29 year old female with a lot of the same problems.  They have persisited now for about 9 months and seem to be getting worse.  What started as one episode is now a few times daily and no one knows what is going on.  To get to the point...I have a regular pain on the left side, just under the breast, but unlike the other comments made I don't have the lower back pains.....instead I have pains in my neck and shoulders.  Huge knots from "stress".  At night when I go to sleep just before dozing off I experience a flushing, burning sensation from the tips of my toes to the top of my head which immediately startles me awake.  This happens until I am completely exhausted and finally fall asleep.  All blood work has come back negative.  I am so frustrated.  The pain on the left side is dull, then excruciating.  I was in the Dr. office when I had an "attack" and the left side of my body went ice cold and the right side was hot and sweaty, it was like someone had drawn a line down the middle of my body and the temperatures were opposing each other.  The Dr. noticed and said I was a medical anolomily(sp?).  He had never seen anything like that before.  When we did the ekg the pads stuck to my left side, but not my right.  I am rambling on but I am so frustrated with my situation that I need help...my body is acting so strangely that I feel like I am going crazy.
Avatar universal
Hello Ladies' I was surfing the net, I had typed in my symptoms and this web site popped up. I am so relieved to see I am not alone. I am only 20 years old & do I have some stuff to tell you.
I always had pain in my stomach, I always had to run to the bathroom and I had a dozen bowel movements ! We'll the doctors diagnosed me with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). none of the meds work. so i dont go to the doctor for it. but I lately have been having cloudy urine (which means your dehydrated), rib spasms off and on. lower left back pain/also on my hip/down toward my pelvis. I have lost weight in the past 5 or 6 months. from 134 pounds to 118 pounds. I have god awful periods. I am so emotional and mean 2 days b4 my period. so im not sure if what i have is IBS or endometriosis or what? I have had kidney stones 3 times before. when i eat something in the morning when ih avent eaten anything or if its the first time i eat anything at all i get a bad pain in my stomach. i also get pains in my left breast and shoulder blade (all left side pain) and hurts more wheni  breath in.I am not sure if I can post my email addy on here, if i can let me know? I have aol. im 20 female alabama. please send your comments and opinions. thanx so much !!! good luck ladies'
Avatar universal
Bamabone- Have you had any look in finding the cause of your problems?  I too have pain on my right side under the ribs and down the right side.  Same kind of thing, tender to the touch, feels a little bit more tense than the other side of my abdomen.  Been going on for six weeks now.  I just started having some low back pain as well.  I had an ultrasound, it was normal.  Liver function tests are all normal except for ALT which is elevated.  GP does not know what it is and has referred me to a Gastroenterologist, who doesn't have an appointment until Nov. 5th.  I'm busy looking for possibilities myself.  To no avail.  Anybody have any ideas.
Avatar universal
From what I have been told by gastro. doctors, the alk phos. will be elevated if something is going on in the biliary tract.
You may want to mention that on your next visit.  Good Luck. Also type it in doing a search on the web.  You will be amazed what kind of information you will have with you on your next dr. visit.
Avatar universal
You may have a small bowel or colon tumor in that area they don't hurt alot but cause all of those symptoms.  Try a Gi specialist or if you are having any problems with anemia associated with this see a hematologist.  It needs to be worked up asap.  A ct scan and upper gi and colonscopy are all possibly helpfull for diagnoses.  Don't ignore it and don't let them tell you it's nothing, persist!
Avatar universal
I'm 33 - fulltime working mother of 2.  The left-sided pain under rib cage radiating through to my back just started 2 nights ago.  I've acid reflux for the past 4 years but haven't religiously taken my meds.  You just get sick of taking drugs for birth control, hip joints, depression/anxiety, bla bla bla.  Anyway, this new pain woke me up in the middle of the night. It was like a clentching pain, then a release.  My normal family practioner is sending me for the whole gastro area ultrasound November 18th.  She thinks it's gall bladder, but I was confused as the pain is on the left side.  I suppose it's all connected some how.  Has anyone out there had a resolution to his/her pain?
Avatar universal
I'm 33 - fulltime working mother of 2.  The left-sided pain under rib cage radiating through to my back just started 2 nights ago.  I've acid reflux for the past 4 years but haven't religiously taken my meds.  You just get sick of taking drugs for birth control, hip joints, depression/anxiety, bla bla bla.  Anyway, this new pain woke me up in the middle of the night. It was like a clentching pain, then a release.  My normal family practioner is sending me for the whole gastro area ultrasound November 18th.  She thinks it's gall bladder, but I was confused as the pain is on the left side.  I suppose it's all connected some how.  Has anyone out there had a resolution to his/her pain?
Avatar universal
I am so glad to have found this site. I am a 29 year old female having the same problems, as most listed here. My pain in my left side, just under my rib cage started about a week ago. I feel like I am falling apart. I had mono last spring, problems with my stomach for ever now and it just keeps getting worse.
I am going to make an appointment with the gastro Dr. - i have to find one that is good around here. Another interesting problem is that I can't drink alcohol anymore. I thought it was becasue of the mono lingering, but i have no taste for it and when i try to drink i feel very ill. I wasn't a heavy drinker but went out on the weekends. Now my social life is as miserable as my physical health!!
If anyone has any input or has found anything out please feel free to e-mail me directly.
***@****
Avatar universal
I am so glad to have found this site. I am a 29 year old female having the same problems, as most listed here. My pain in my left side, just under my rib cage started about a week ago. I feel like I am falling apart. I had mono last spring, problems with my stomach for ever now and it just keeps getting worse.
I am going to make an appointment with the gastro Dr. - i have to find one that is good around here. Another interesting problem is that I can't drink alcohol anymore. I thought it was becasue of the mono lingering, but i have no taste for it and when i try to drink i feel very ill. I wasn't a heavy drinker but went out on the weekends. Now my social life is as miserable as my physical health!!
If anyone has any input or has found anything out please feel free to e-mail me directly.
***@****
Avatar universal
I was wondering why my post (which I thought made the most sense)was deleted?
Avatar universal
oh wot a relief it is 2 finally find some where that people are experincing the same problem as me.. i have since may been experincing pain across my chest into my left brest and down into my left side under my ribs ....i have bouts of constipation or diahoria with exessive wind ..my doctor as me on acid tablets which don't help at all ....i have had a endescope which showed i had the h pyloi virus and a small stomache ulcer which iw as treated for with antibotics ....i feel like i am in constant pain ..i have periods where the pain is so bad i could cry the pain is like a constant dull aching that never lets up i am at a loss wot 2 do with myself if i try 2 talk 2 my doctor he simply says acid reflux and cope best i can ....but how do we cope when we feel like we are always in pain ..i am beging to think i could have ibs as my symptoms are very close 2 that .... wot really scares me is i have eposides where i will be come really hot and sweaty and dizzy where i feel i will pass out then i get a urgent need 2 empty my bowels and the pain in my side becomes unbearable i dont know wot 2 do anymore i have 2 kids who are now suffering as i feel so ill all the time i dont sem 2 ever have time 2 spend real quality time with them ....if any one as any ideas as 2 wot would help me plese let me know it dosent matter how trival they are i am at a stage now where i am willing 2 try anyhting 2 end this misery i feel in
thanx wendy xx
Avatar universal
Male. 38 years old. Good health. Non smoker. 6"3, 185lbs (i.e. not overweight). Desk job. Experiencing low grade, dull, ache just below left ribcage, off and on throughout the day. Ache is aggravated whenever I maintain a forward leaning position for an extended period of time (for example vacuuming, giving kids a bath). When aggravated, the ache/pain manifests itself as being more towards the surface and being a very localized pins and needles type feeling. Also feels like everything in that area of my body is being overly compressed. Straightening up almost immediately relieves the pins and needles feeling however the dull ache continues. That being said, trying to find a pulled muscle by bending different ways and doing situps etc reveals nothing.

After meals the pain can be (but not always) aggravated by sitting. I often find myself rubbing the lower rib area in an attempt to message the pain away. Seems to have some positive effect. Pain doesn't seem to be affected by what I eat or drink. Have had this problem for almost a year. Am often constipated. Constantly burping, even when I haven't eaten anything. Lots of bloating and gas, worse after eating of course. Belly seems very distended at times even though I haven't eaten much in those cases. Light nasea at times. Light relfux at times. No weight change. No pain when eating. Healthy appetite.

A recent CT scan of my abdomen revealed nothing. Excellent physical in the last year. Comprehensive blood tests reveal nothing our of the ordinary. Doctor prescribed antacids but they didn't change anything. Doctor prescribed anti-gas pills and they help relieve the bloating but do nothing to eliminate the pain. Doctor doesn't believe it's anything life threatening but is referring me to a GI specialist.

Some additonal comments that may or may not have any relationship to this situation: in the last year I've drunk more coffee than I ever have before. I used to not drink much coffee (1 to 2 cups a week maybe) and now drink 3 cups a day. I often have tense neck muscles and related tension headaches for which I take Alleve or Anacin. These probably occur once a week. I've heard Alleve's active ingredient (sodium naproxen) is very hard on the stomach. Is this related? I have no idea. I also have chronic sinusitus for which I take daily nasal corticosteroid spray (much of which is swallowed). Is this related? I have no idea.

Anyway, sorry for the long posting. Maybe someone else has experienced the same and can offer some words or experience and advice.
Avatar universal
Hello, I'm a patient from Canada and I've been reading alot of posts. I require some feedback regarding the seemingly similar symptoms that are listing in this forum.
I've had (2) episodes of pancreaitus.  Since then I've been diagnosed with "Pancreatic Divisum".  The way this has been explained is the slow drainage of enzymes from the pancreaus which causes pressure and pain around the left under rib as described in this post.  In my case, I've been diagnosed after having an MRCP done.  The physician seems to be an expert in this field and suggests that divisum is often overlooked.  I'd like some feed back from anyone in a similar situation.  I'm thinking of having an ERCP done to cannulate the minor duct.  If anyone needs some additional information on "Pancreatic Divisum", simply google it.  There's tons to read.....but I am actually looking for first hand experiences as I am about to have this done and would love to get a feeling of how many others out there have similar diagnosis done.

Thanks
Avatar universal
WOW, I am so glad to have people who are also befuddled about the same condition. Mine has started as left upper back pain, but occasionally radiaites around the bottom of my rib cage to under the ribs. I also have tenderness under the sternum.

Under the rib cage feels "full". I have had lung and bone scans as I had cancer  in the right breast a few years ago and they were worried it had metastized. I also had an enlarged thyroid, which they biopsied and it was fine as well as the t4-t3 stuff. The condition is a chronic one, but occasionally becomes a very acute type overbearing pain.

Pain killers and  muscle relaxers put me to sleep, but don't take care of the pain
I think about my pancreas, and that's the next step, but no jaundice or digestive troubles. Hope we can all find our answer.
Avatar universal
I'm a 37yo female.  Pain under left ribs for 3 years now, intermittent.  It started off with severe pain that sent me to the ER, never that bad since.  Palpable inflammation, tender to touch.  No direct correlation to food intake -- sometimes it helps, sometimes it makes it worse.  Life-long history of IBS, depression, and arthritis for past 7 yrs.  Last week I had an edoscopy which indicated GERD and possible Barret's Esophagus (will get full results next week.)  I wanted to let ya'll know a few things I have found out:

First, DONT take NSAIDs like Alleve, Motrin, etc -- VERY BAD for the stomach.  I had been eating these like candy for a few years prior to rib pain thanks to yet another ignorant md -- a orthopedist who was very doomsaying about my arthritis. (Which nonetheless gets BETTER every year!)  Then I found out they cause ulcers due to to severe acid production.  Also, I just went off of antidepressants after a year on -- they seemed to make it worse.

One thing is for sure -- docs know a lot about a few things, and almost NOTHING about the whole, and all my life I've had to PUSH, PUSH to get them to do their job and not just throw pills at me and dismiss me.  (Including this G-Entrologist.)  So far, my intuition has beat out their initial diagnosis every time.

I have a hard time believing this under-rib pain is just my esophagus, as the GE expert says.  Although I may have GERD, the GERD-like symptoms I've had are differnt from this pain.  I wouldn't be surprised if there's more than one thing going on, as GI stress is certainly a SYSTEMIC issue.  Here's something I just found that might interest you: http://www.emedicine.com/MED/topic1721.htm

History: For most patients with chronic pancreatitis, abdominal pain is the presenting symptom...

Clinically, the patient experiences intermittent attacks of severe pain, often in the mid or left upper abdomen and occasionally radiating in a bandlike fashion or localized to the mid back. The pain may occur either after meals or independently of meals, but it is not fleeting or transient and tends to last at least several hours. Unfortunately, patients often are symptomatic for years before the diagnosis is established; the average time from the onset of symptoms until a diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis was 62months,, add or subtract 4 months. The delay in diagnosis is even longer in people without alcoholism, in whom the average time is 81 months from onset of symptoms to diagnosis.

The natural history of pain in chronic pancreatitis is highly variable. Most patients experience intermittent attacks of pain at unpredictable intervals, while a minority of patients experience chronic pain. In most patients, pain severity either decreases or resolves over 5-25 years. Nevertheless, ignoring pain relief with the expectation that the disease eventually will resolve itself is inappropriate. In alcohol-induced disease, eventual cessation of alcohol intake may reduce the severity of pain. Variability in the pain pattern contributes to the delay in diagnosis and makes determining the effect of any therapeutic intervention difficult.
Other symptoms associated with chronic pancreatitis include diarrhea and weight loss. This may be due either to fear of eating (eg, postprandial exacerbation of pain) or due to pancreatic exocrine insufficiency and steatorrhea.
A small percentage of patients (7%) have painless chronic pancreatitis and present with signs or symptoms of pancreatic exocrine or endocrine insufficiency.
Physical:

In most instances, the standard physical examination does not help to establish a diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis; however, a few points are noteworthy.
During an attack, patients may assume a characteristic position in an attempt to relieve their abdominal pain (eg, lying on the left side, flexing the spine and drawing the knees up toward the chest).
Funduscopic examination may reveal a milky white hue in the retinal blood vessels when hyperlipidemia is present.
Occasionally, a tender fullness or mass may be palpated in the epigastrium, suggesting the presence of a pseudocyst or an inflammatory mass in the abdomen. Patients with advanced disease (ie, patients with steatorrhea) exhibit decreased subcutaneous fat, temporal wasting, sunken supraclavicular fossa, and other physical signs of malnutrition.
Avatar universal
I cryed realizing that there are more people out there that have the same problems that I have. I have had my  Gall badder removed in 2001 and started having pain on my left side under my ribs in December of 2003. I went to the hospital and they said it was my spleen and then said it was IBS. and sent me to my doctor I then went to the doctor and he gave me meds for it and I can't take it cause it worse syomptoms.

My pain is off and on and it worsens if I move. I feel like I have a fever when I don't. and I feel nausua all the time I don't know what to do I KNOW SOMETHING is WRONG but my doctor just won't listen.

He put me on a High fiber and low fat diet and it doesn't help, I also have been drinking alot more water and it doesn't tonch the pain.

If anyone has any ideas of what tests I should ask for please E-mail me at ***@****
Thanks
Avatar universal
I cryed realizing that there are more people out there that have the same problems that I have. I have had my  Gall badder removed in 2001 and started having pain on my left side under my ribs in December of 2003. I went to the hospital and they said it was my spleen and then said it was IBS. and sent me to my doctor I then went to the doctor and he gave me meds for it and I can't take it cause it worse syomptoms.

My pain is off and on and it worsens if I move. I feel like I have a fever when I don't. and I feel nausua all the time I don't know what to do I KNOW SOMETHING is WRONG but my doctor just won't listen.

He put me on a High fiber and low fat diet and it doesn't help, I also have been drinking alot more water and it doesn't tonch the pain.

If anyone has any ideas of what tests I should ask for please E-mail me at ***@****
Thanks
Avatar universal
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1275866 tn?1271008017
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1549941 tn?1297855345
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Avatar universal
Hi.......I recently had my gallbladder removed about a month ago and now I h. ave a pain on my left side, under rib. It kind of feels like air. I explained it to my surgeon who removed my gallbladder and he said I just have to give it time for my stomach to feel back to normal. I don't have any other symptoms....so


Avatar universal
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Hi i am having pain on my left side at the Rib cage & sometimes i feel it on my right side as well. At first i started having these really sharp severe pains in my sides,stomach,&pelvic area then it got severe to the point where tests were done non stop. I had a colonoscopy & endoscopy done. All tests have came back fine. Then i was told i had fibryminigia???? & ibs. But other concerns i am having are back pain with fullness of bladder,cannot stop going to the bathroom and burning with urination but nobody can find anything out. I think it  might all be connected some how has anybody had the same problems.....
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Avatar universal
I'm experiencing the same type of pain as all of you. I had several test done and they came out normal. I decided to try the gall bladder/liver cleanse & I was amazed at how many stones I passed. I plan on another gall bladder cleanse this month. This cleanse is simple & painless. The cleanse is called The Amazing Gall bladder/liver cleanse. I recommend you research before you try. I will make it a habit to cleanse twice a year. This cleanse was recommend to me by a physicians wife. She tried it and recommends this cleanse for everyone & anyone. This is after I was told that my gull bladder was fine. My pain did subside. I have also noticed that my body goes through different types of pain, especially before I menstrate or when I ovulate. I find that my pain starts at the mid section of my stomach near my ribs and it travels to my left side. Gasy & bloated. The pain start in the morning and usually subsides or stabbing needle spasm occur. I am wondering if any of you has had a colonoscopy? Or are having digestive problems. I also find that the pain becomes more intense when I eat surgerless items containing Aspartame. Processed foods jack me up! So I stay away from those items like the plague. I find that I have to pay attention to things that I consume. Soy, whey & diary also cause problems. So I'm lactose intolerant & diagnosed with IBS. But this pain is different. Please let me know if any of you have had a colonoscopy because that is one test I haven't had done. Thank you
Avatar universal
I'm experiencing the same type of pain as all of you. I had several test done and they came out normal. I decided to try the gall bladder/liver cleanse & I was amazed at how many stones I passed. I plan on another gall bladder cleanse this month. This cleanse is simple & painless. The cleanse is called The Amazing Gall bladder/liver cleanse. I recommend you research before you try. I will make it a habit to cleanse twice a year. This cleanse was recommend to me by a physicians wife. She tried it and recommends this cleanse for everyone & anyone. This is after I was told that my gull bladder was fine. My pain did subside. I have also noticed that my body goes through different types of pain, especially before I menstrate or when I ovulate. I find that my pain starts at the mid section of my stomach near my ribs and it travels to my left side. Gasy & bloated. The pain start in the morning and usually subsides or stabbing needle spasm occur. I am wondering if any of you has had a colonoscopy? Or are having digestive problems. I also find that the pain becomes more intense when I eat surgerless items containing Aspartame. Processed foods jack me up! So I stay away from those items like the plague. I find that I have to pay attention to things that I consume. Soy, whey & diary also cause problems. So I'm lactose intolerant & diagnosed with IBS. But this pain is different. Please let me know if any of you have had a colonoscopy because that is one test I haven't had done. Thank you
Avatar universal
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Avatar universal
Patients with chronic abdominal
pain represent a diagnostic enigma.
Because of the many potential
causes for the pain The list of
possible diagnostic tests is
extensive. IN your case many
structural causes have been
excluded. It may be necessary to
repeat some of the tests in an
attempt to make the diagnosis.
Before reaching such a decision,
your physician should repeat a
detailed history and physicial
examination.
Many causes of left side abdominal
pain made worse by lying down:
could be hiatal hernia, ulcerative
colitis, IBS or Irritable Bowel
Syndrome; adhesions from previous
abdominal surgery; Chronic
pancreatitis -hx of prolonged
duration; constipation,
diverticulosis, PID or Pelvic
Inflammatory disease.;STD or UTI
( urinary tract infections) ; bladder
and kidney infections; bowel
obstruction.
Gastric ulcer pain typically gets
worse after eating, for instance,
while pain associated with a
duodenal ulcer tends to subside.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
(GERD) is often linked to alcohol,
caffeine, or chocolate and may be
exacerbated by lying flat shortly
after eating
If your patient is a woman, pain in
either the right or left lower
quadrant could also be caused by an
ectopic pregnancy or a ruptured
ovarian cyst. Similarly, pain in the
suprapubic or lower abdomen could
be the result of a urinary tract
infection, mittelschmerz (ovulation
pain), or pelvic inflammatory
disease.
Regardless of the patient's gender,
diverticulitis is a possible cause of
lower left quadrant pain. If the pain
comes from the left upper quadrant,
possibilities include acute
pancreatitis, gastritis, and injury or
inflammation of the spleen
Hypoactive or no bowel sounds may
be the result of peritonitis, paralytic
ileus, mesenteric thrombosis,
narcotic overdose, bowel ischemia,
or hypokalemia.
The typical pain of acute pancreatitis
is exacerbated by lying down and
relieved by sitting up. Pain that is
relieved by eating or taking antacids
suggests duodenal ulcer disease,
whereas diffuse abdominal pain
that appears 30 minutes to 1 hour
after meals suggests intestinal
angina.
Other causes of left lower abdominal
pains could be gastroenteritis,
polyps and colorectal cancers.and
bowel obstructions.
Avatar universal
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I found out I was bipolor when I was a teen, I learned to cope without treatment and am working. For a while now I been having trouble working due to depression from finding out I have I.B.S. and fibroidmylasia. So when I am at work im always sick and in alot of pain always. Ive missed alot of work and am close to losing my job. Some days I cant get out of bed, but I do to pay the bills. Im losing control and I can no longer take the pain and the stress. Do you think I am able to recieve disability.  I get really bad pain on my left side under my ribs.  The pain hurts so bad sometimes I get sick and sweat real bad. I have to lay down because I will pass out.  I get really dizzy and I have to move my bowels and I fill like vomitting and passing out at the same time.   I feel the pain on my side all the time  on and off.  Can someone help? Has anyone been through this
Avatar universal
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