Gastroenterology Community
31.5k Members
Avatar universal

Undiagnosed discomfort in upper left abdomen/chest


I'm a 23 year old male who has always been in good shape. I don't smoke or do drugs however I did party and over drink once in awhile in college. I started to have discomfort in my chest last November (2008). It felt like someone was just lightly pressing on my left pectoral. It didn't hurt, it was just annoying, I would adjust and it seemed to go away, but it would always come back. Once in awhile I would get a sharp quick jabbing pain just underneath my left pectoral. It didn't seem like it had anything to do with breathing. Over the next month or so the pain began to get worse, I started belching very deeply, dizzy, and fatigued.  I went to the doc and described the symptoms. He did an ultrasound of my heart, chest x-rays and EKG. He also did a pulmonary embolism. From this he was able to rule out anything wrong with my heart and lungs. He also did a lot of blood work dealing with the kidneys, liver and pancreas and misc blood sugar levels. All returned normal. From here we did an upper GI (barium swallow), the only clue to my pain was that I may have is possible inflammation of my duodenum (signaling peptic ulcers). However, to me it doesn't make sense to have peptic ulcers because I have no "gut" pain. The doctor doesn't even think the chest pain is related to the upper GI results. The doc then did a ultrasound of my abdomen. Pancreas, gall bladder, liver, and kidneys looked good. I have seen a gastro specialist now and have described the symptoms. I'm set up for a scope to be put down my throat this Friday (the 23rd of Jan) and x-rays of my intestines. If they don't find anything then, I think I'm going to lose it. I've tried to remain very patient but it's starting to get to my head.

Other symptoms I've had are: pain at times seems to go into the back, very dry mouth and throat, weird looking stool (looks somewhat undigested at times, possible blood, oil on top once), symptoms were extremely worse after drinking one night (sense then I've completely stopped drinking). Just weird feelings all over my body (maybe this is just the stress).

There are so many symptoms yet still no diagnoses. Can anyone help me please.

Thank you

6 Responses
701334 tn?1262857103
all still sounds like panceas problems brought on by your heavy drinking,,you know your 10x more likely to get pancreas problems then liver?..true though.
to rule out pancreas,you have to be having a "attach" with the pain exct,and have them draw an amalyes/lipase test and see if there elevated,,if they are,,bam you know you got pancreatitis,,and that would explain alot of your issues.
a simple but usualy NOT used test is to simply do a ultrasound on your pancreas and look at it!!!,,most say its not,and never realy look at it!!
i too get the pain in chest ,that goes through to my back,i too get everything you do,and oddly enough,they all say the same thing,nope its not this or that!,,but we both know its got to be something and theres only a few things that will give us the pain that radiates to the back,,,,and thats usualy gallbladder and pancreas.
it is REALY hard to diagnose pancreas problems..but do yourself a favor and lay off the sauce if you have not!!!,,if you do have pancreas problems and continuue to drink,,your only going to elevate it to chronic pancreatitis,and that sh-t kills people!
701334 tn?1262857103
please let me know what you find out,,,i bet we are one in the same on this one!!!
Avatar universal
Thanks for the replies

they already did an ultrasound of the pancreas. They said it looked normal. Actually, they said they usually can never get as good of look at a pancreas than they did on mine. I rarely get an "attack," although some days are a lot worse than others (that is when I do feel a small sting in my back). I'm not ruling pancreatitis out but shouldn't it start to go away on it's own, or at least get better? I've had this for almost 2 months and during that time, i've only drank once. I guess the next time it's really bad I can go to the E.R. and get some blood work done.

After a long nights rest, the pain is minimal. It seems to do a lot with what I eat. However, I haven't been able to figure out what it is, or if it's just food in general that aggravates it. They are going to take a biopsy from my stomach/intestine during the endoscope and send it to a pathologist. Out of many, they are checking for Celiac disease.

Also, here are the symptoms for peptic ulcer disease from the mayo clinic: Symptoms:

"Upper abdominal pain usually just below the breastbone.  You may sometimes feel a pain in your back.  The pain usually comes on an hour or two after eating.  It may also wake you at night. Other symptoms include: BELCHING, heartburn, General discomfort in the abdomen, bloating or fullness after eating, feeling sick, vomiting, lose weight without trying to, a reduced appetite, seen blood in your vomit or bowel movements.  If the bleeding from the ulcer is slow, you might not get blood in your vomit or faeces.  However you may develop anaemia."

I've lost about 10 pounds, without trying. (say goodbye college weight!). The most common cause for peptic ulcer disease is H. pylori (a bacteria in stomach), which I tested negative for. However, the site noted that if you have been taking prilosec 2 weeks or less prior to the test you will test negative. I was taking prilosec heavily for 2 weeks up to the test. My sister has H. pylori so it wouldn't surprise me if I still have it. Will find out this Friday for sure with the biopsy.
701334 tn?1262857103
did they do a ct scan,barrium swallow anything like that?
did theysend the scope down into your belly to look?
a ulcer would stick out like a sore thumb,and i know they would have to had seen it.

as far as pancreatits,,not saying you got it,but say you did,,,it does not realy ever get better,it might stop for awhile,but if it is and it was brought on by your drinking,,,it only gets worse.
the weight loss would also be ecplained by gullbladder or pancreas problems,,as the pancreas excretes enzymes to help digest food,well with pancreatitis,,it doesnt excrete them,they activate inside the pancreas,and basicly eat itself,,,thats the bad pain people get!!...makes since huh?
and if you tested neg for pylori,,i seriously doubt peptic ulcer.
pancreatits when chronic is a progressive thing,,i just wouldnt want to see ya hurt yourself worse by not getting the proper daignosis....either way,like i said are symptoms sound very much the same,,so if you do find out,let me know,,,im prob suffering the same way!!
Avatar universal
I had the ct scan done of my chest when they did the pulmonary embolism. It sort of kills two birds with one stone. It checked to make sure I didn't have any blood clots in my lung and it also showed the internal organs in the chest. All was normal. They did a barrium swallow and they noticed I may have duodintis (inflammation of the the duodenum). They couldn't say for sure if I had an ulcer though, that can only be verified with the scope. This information will be available Friday.

Pancreatitis? Damn, I'd rather have an ulcer. I'll let you know what I find.
Avatar universal
So I had my endoscope as well as my lower Barium Swallow tests completed last friday. So far the doc said everything looked fine from the endoscope. Still waiting on radiology for the Barium thing as well as the pathologist from the biopsy they pulled from my stomach.

I doubt I get any clue from those tests. I also had a quick ultrasound of my spleen last thursday. The doc called today to tell me that it was mildly enlarged (nothing too extreme). Now he wants to get me in touch with specialist in that field (I forgot the correct title) to rule out any other type of cancer.

All and all im beginning to feel like this is all stress induced. I notice it hurts worse when I'm in more stressful positions. I just graduated from college and now I'm sort of in a transition in my life. I don't have to report anywhere until June 1st for my career so I think my body has had a hard time adjusting to this new routine.

That's the update for now, I'll post the results to my other test when I get them.
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Learn which OTC medications can help relieve your digestive troubles.
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
Discover common causes of and remedies for heartburn.
This common yet mysterious bowel condition plagues millions of Americans
Don't get burned again. Banish nighttime heartburn with these quick tips
Get answers to your top questions about this pervasive digestive problem