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Post appendectomy stomach problems


          I am 33 yrs old with no prior history of stomach problems. Last month I had an appendectomy for a ruptured appendix. I believe I had the appendectomy not more than 12 hours after the appendix ruptured. The surgeon did an open surgery, and I stayed at the hospital for 5 days on antibiotic IV, followed by oral antibiotics after I was discharged.
         2 weeks after the appendectomy, I was re-admitted for an abscess in my lower abdomen, about the size of a grapefruit, it was drained successfully (5 more days hospitalization), and I believe it hasn't come back - the hospital did a CBC blood count test a week after I was discharged and it turned out normal. I don't "feel" the pressing abscess anymore.
       One problem that hasn't really gone away is the dull tenderness and heaviness I have in my mid abdomen. I've been having heartburn-like symptoms ever since my appendectomy. Zantac and more recently prescribed Aciphex helps stop the symptoms. However, I still get a dull tenderness and heaviness inside my abdomen about a couple of inches above my navel. The tenderness is much more pronounced when I press on it. The tenderness sometimes increases and sometimes decreases. On top of that, I constantly feel that my stomach is "heavy". No diarrhea, no nausea, no fever (well except for a couple of days ago which the doctor says is just a brush with an external viral infection), and generally I feel well except for that tenderness, heaviness and "fullness" of the abdomen. My abdomen doesn't look like it's swelling, though, and the doctor says my bowel sounds through a stethoscope sound very normal. Bowel movements are normal too.
      I've dropped 15 pounds from a 150 pound weight before the appendix surgery.

I'm seeing a gastroenterologist next week, but want to know what to expect. I've done 4 CAT scans in the last 2 months, so the doctors are hesitant to perform more CAT scans.

What should I be looking at? Might this be pancreas or gall bladder problems? Or might the problem still be in the bowels?

3 Responses
Avatar universal
I had a really bad time last night, and almost had went to the ER due to the pain in my stomach. It's kind of like a cramping pain that comes and goes. As a last resort, I took a half dose of Peptol-Bismol (I'm on a one tablet pre day PPI) and surprisingly felt better in 5 minutes. So, I'm pretty sure the pain is in my stomach and not my bowels.

All this is becoming really frustrating - des anyone have any ideas refering to the first post?

82861 tn?1333457511
With the appendix rupture and abscess, you've had an awful lot of infection turned loose on your insides.  That causes inflammation of the surrounding tissues.  One result of that inflammation comes from the body's natural ability to try to heal and protect itself by growing scar tissue in the inflamed areas.  Get enough scar tissue (adhesions) on your intestines, and you end up with the symptoms you describe.  

Adhesions don't show up on tests, and since you don't yet have a fully obstructed section of intestine (as evidenced by the normal bowel sounds) you may only be able to treat the symptoms the best you can.  If your symptoms escalate to the point that you're very bloated, in a lot of pain and vomiting, then you may be a surgical candidate for adheliolysis surgery.  It's typically done laparascopically to damage as little tissue as possible and thus avoid the formation of more adhesions as a result of surgery.  Many surgeons refuse to touch adhesions patients, unless it's a medical emergency like a full obstruction, because of the recurrence problem.
Avatar universal
Thanks, Jaybay. Your comments were exactly the same as the gastroenterologist's. He's going to do an endoscopy to check for gastric problems, and ultrasound to check for gall bladder stones, but it seems he's convinced it's scar tissue too.

I hope this is not something that I'll have to live with for the rest of my life, but by the looks of things, it might be :( Funny how one little mistake (trusting my family doctor when she said I didn't have appendicitis) can lead to such a life-changing situation.
OH MY! I had an appendectomy 3 weeks ago and have these very same post surgery symptoms!
OH MY! I had an appendectomy 3 weeks ago and have these very same post surgery symptoms!
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