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Pain on left side under rib cage

I am 51, non smoker and been in fairly good health but been overweight by about 60 lbs.  I have had a pain on the left side under rib cage for 3 years on and off.  This past summer I changed my diet and lost 40 lbs and been doing fairly well.  Pain went away until yesterday after a big and fatty Thanksgiving meal.  I am returning to my diet!  I have doing over 200 crunches for the past 3 months, some cardio exercises and stretches to keep a back pains away and strengthen my core.  I need to cut out the bad fats, low carbs and drink plenty of water.  Hopefully this will keep this pain away that usually came in the middle of the night as I slept on my right side.

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Avatar universal

I was having real pain, nausea, constipation, loss of weight and lack of interest in eating in July of 2008. I pushed through many doctors (internists and gastroenterologists) until I found a doctor willing to actually order tests to delve further into diagnosing what the problem was as all the other doctors (without doing tests of any kind) blamed it on GERD and wrote me prescriptions for Nexium/Achiphex/Carafate all which did nothing. I went for a stomach emptying test which is a 4 hour deal - the radiology tech gives you microwaved egg whites and a piece of bread and then takes images every hour to see how fast your stomach pushes the food down your digestive track. Results: no problem there.

I then went for a liver biopsy because I am an overweight woman with type II diabetes and was diagnosed with fatty liver disease in 1999. The liver biopsy came back positive for non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. I truly was devastated. Truly.

I totally changed my diet. I stopped eating any and all fried food, butter, margarine, oil, I hardly eat red meat, do not eat much chicken (personal preference), so most of my diet is honestly fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grain type products (including pastas), fish and anything else that is high in fiber. I have lost 10 pounds in a year (I know it is not a lot, but I have kept it off). I watch out for useless carbohydrates that turn instantly into sugar (junk food) and skip juices (high in sugar). Peanut butter is a big help for diabetic crashes but it is high in fat so you have to watch it.

In July of this year, I began having excruciating pain in my left side under the rib cage and in the middle under my sternum (breast plate). I could not eat, move, walk - I was totally incapacitated. My gastro dr gave me tramadol for pain and that has worked for me in the past but not this time. So, she gave Darvocet and it helped alot but I was totally useless.

When I went to see her, she asked her partner to come and talk with me. After talking over the symptoms, he and I decided that I needed to have an ERCP. This is a procedure where the doctor goes through your mouth with a small scope and down in to your pancreas. He/she checks the pressure of each of your bile ducts that connect with the live. If your doctor finds that the pressure is too high (which was the problem with me) he/she will cut the duct open and possibly place a stent there (it's a little plastic thing that opens up an area in the body and eventually falls out to where I do not know). For me, the doctor had to cut what is called the "Sphincter of Oddi" and also had to place a stent in another duct.

After surgery, when I was sent home, I was worse than when I went in. It was sheer utter agony. I was on a liquid diet for abou five days and had to go to the emergency room the day after surgery to get pain relief (the doctor there took pitty on me and gave me quite a large dose of morphine). When I finally woke up, I began the Darvocet right away to keep the momentum even though I do NOT like taking these drugs for problems such as addiction, I really was desperate.

I tell you all this to let you know what I went through. By the way, the tests the gastro dr ran for indication of pancreatitis and liver enzyme elevation were within range so if it weren't for my gastro hearing me loud and clear, I would still be walking around in agony. Lesson learned: do NOT take one doctor's excuse of "you have GERD or it's what your eating or it must be your nerves, etc." as law. You know your body best and if it hurts, unfortunately we as patients are our only advocates. Keep pushing, if it doesn't sound right, move on for another opinion.

Lastly, I still suffer issues now. I gain weight  because ascites in my body accumulate in my abdomen at times and make me bloated. It is important to weigh yourself daily to make sure you are not gaining weight really quickly. Also, in my observance of my own body, my spleen becomes enlarged (left side under rib cage) when I have issues with my pancreas or liver. So, don't be surprised if you feel pain starting on the left and then radiating out to the middle and right upper abdomen. Also, I have found that I produce dark urine now and have severe lower left and right back pain that acetaminophen seems to help. I am not ignoring it, though, just taking a breather from all the doctors. I will go back to see a doctor (not sure who, yet) but you can be guaranteed I will return!!!!  Please do not loose faith, keep pushing and advocating for yourself. I know it is VERY hard when you're sick and can't function, but take "baby steps" and if anything, try the liquid, low fat, low simple carbohydrate, high complex carbohydrate, fruits, veggies diet and see what that does for you. If you cannot even stomach eating the skin of fruits or veggies then don't do it. To me, it was a try it and see if you can tolerate it.

Good luck to everyone. I hope my story helped someone, anyone.

Avatar universal
Your post helped me more than anybodys. I have been sick going on week three. so far I have small ulcers .I had an attack thought it was gallbladder but all test negative . now I hurt in left rib cage an hour after I eat . all blood test are normal ,no gallstones .next week I am set for colonoscopy then on to a stomach md . peanut butter sandwhich  and mountain dew started this .last pm tried snickers with peanut butter hurt all night still hurt in left rib cage . some family says my eyes are a little yellow in sun light  . md has done a liver panel and more blood work than I know, these are all normal . waiting on colonoscopy to see if that may show something .... I am tired a lot and cant work. I am on  nausea med and low dose of lortab other wise would not be able to eat ....hope something shows up soon ....Cancer runs in family but not at age 47 . never been sick and thought I was healthy . I was probably 25lbs over weight ....I am not a pill taken person . but I have to take these two meds to mask this pain and nausea . my food does not digest right .I can tell by my bm ...my bm has changed since I have been sick . hope this helps someone . I will let everyone know what colonoscopy shows and when I go to stomach md .
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