Gastroenterology Community
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Avatar universal

what the heck is wrong with me


I am miserable here. A little about me and my problem. I am a 30 year old male, overweight, out of shape, but work hard every day in construction. About a year ago, I went to the hospital complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. immediately thinking I was having a heart attack, they admitted me to the cardiac ward and started a rigorous battery of tests, and preventative measures. After a week of hell, CT scans, treadmill stress tests, and a cardiac cath. All was fine. No sign of a heart attack, or any other heart problem. I do have hypertension that is well controlled with Diovan.

But, I am still having daily problems, and they are getting worse. Here are some of my symptoms.

Pain in the center of chest, sometimes moving right
Pain, pressure, and tightness in the upper left abdomen (under the left ribs)
Often hard to take a deep breath
Pain occours usually after eating, or on an empty stomach
Excessive trapped gas in the left upper quadrant.
Slow digestion of food
Constant chest pain (feels like pulled muscles. Can lean back and muscles along chest are painful)
Sometimes I have nausea and vomiting
Less of a desire for food
Sometimes hurts to take a deep breath
Having problems of shortness of breath, sweating profusely when doing simple tasks like walking and mild pain in left upper abdomen (upto 4 hours or more after even a small meal)
Sleepless nights due to pain
Sometimes feels like I am having heart arrythmias especially after a meal or at night.

I have been diagnosed with acid reflux as well. I am on nexium for that.

I have also been to the ER about 5 times for the same symptoms thinking I had a heart attack, but ell tests came back normal. They also did an ultrasound on my gallbladder and it came back ok as well.

HELP!!!!! I am truly in misery, and my doctor thinks I'm insane.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
My dad had the same issue, the doctors told him that his chest muscles had tightened up and that he needed to take rest for a could of days and start off slow in order to get back to normal
Avatar universal
I feel your pain. I have also experienced symptoms like you are describing. Last test I was put on was a 4 week heart monitor. All was normal except after I ate a meal.
I have rapid heart rate for about an hour, stomach pain, gastroparesis-slow stomach emptying, and I feel like I am going to pass out. Eating is not fun.

I have had a Nissan Fundoplication for severe GERD.  I also have Celiac/Sprue Disease. I have had a bunch of blood tests and I do not have diabetes.

Possible Test Suggestions...(can look up on-line)
Celiac/Sprue (stomach pain, less desire for food, GI problems)
Asthma or other lung disease (Tightness in chest, shortness of breadth)
Hernia or growth in stomach (also stomach pain)
Profuse sweating (possibly due to being out of shape and overweight as you described)

I have been referred to a Gastroentrologist (GI Doc). I will see if he can figure this out.
My Family Doc is totally perplexed. My Family Doc thinks I am nuts also.

If you have not already, see a Gastroentrologist. Possibly a GI Doc might be able to help.
Good luck!  If I find anything out I will post a comment.
469934 tn?1333138882
Hi there:

I'm so sorry you are suffering!  You are NOT crazy.  You are NOT imagning things.  Your pain is very real and very debilitating.  You deserve answers and you will get them.  Have faith.  If you were a reasonably sane, honest person who wasn't prone to exaggeration before you developed symptoms, why would your personality suddenly change?  Sphincter of Oddi and Pancreatitis attacks can cause extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tachycardia (heart rate increase), sweating, blood pressure increase, etc., etc.  These things can also cause 24/7 pain.  I just answered a question about this, so I'm going to be a loser and cut and paste.  Please know that you can post or email me at any time and I'm happy to try to answer or help you with a link.

All the best,


I'm not a doctor and I know nothing about medicine except what I've learned through my illness.  If there is any way, request copies of all your test results, they could be very illuminating.  I've learned more through test results and reports than I ever imagined.  Doctors tend to compress information and sometimes they leave things out entirely.  Forgive the length of this post but I want to help.  If I had an eighth of this information when I first got sick, it would have made a world of difference for me.  Also, I'm NOT sharing my story here.  This is just good information that might help.

Your symptoms could be SO many things including sludge/stones in the common bile duct, gallbladder/gallstone problems, Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction, Small Bowel Bacterial Overgrowth, acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, autoimmune pancreatitis, minimal change chronic pancreatitis, etc., etc., etc.  Here are a couple of links to abdominal pain charts:

I know you've mentioned that CT-Scans and cardio tests but there are other minimally-invasive tests such as the Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) and MRCP-S (Secretin) which can image the pancreas and ductal system.  The EUS is the gold standard test for diagnoses, it does require twilight sedation and is similar to an upper endoscopy, it clearly shows more than any other test.  Less helpful but also VERY worthwhile is an MRI-S, which is essentially an MRI with the drug Secretin administered.  

You're probably going to wonder why I'm talking about stool next but regulation of bowel movements is a huge help when you have abdominal pain and nausea.  Metamucil or a similar daily fibre product is a great help for MANY people with abdominal pain.   It does not make you go, it makes you regular by adding fibre to the watery stools, making them firm.   Senokot is also a great product that acts like glue to bind everything together.  

Many people have great success with digestive enzymes and pancreatic enzymes.  This is something you can talk to your primary Doc about.  I'm told that they won't do any harm so really - unless you are contraindicated or have side effects - there isn't a downside to trying them.  Your Doc might even have samples.  This is something you can do now and it reduces the amount of work the pancreas has to do, which will also reduce any damage to the pancreas.  You can buy these at the health food store, too, but please make sure they only have protease, amlyase and lipase.  Here are some links:

A low-fat, fibre-rich diet can make a BIG difference.  If you eliminate fried foods from your diet and start with bland foods only, you may get to a point where you have no pain.  Then you can add new items to see how you feel.  Less than 30 grams of fat per day is a great starting point.   Some argue that high-fibre diets can be harmful but they never seem to have any evidence to support that.  Either way, potential diet changes require personal research and a chat with your Doctor before you actual undertake them.

Keep a complete log of everything that enters and leaves your body and be honest.  It can help identify patterns in your foods, symptoms, medications, bowel habits and pain level.   This is one of the best ideas here.  If you do nothing else, please try this.  Hindsight is 20/20 and it can honestly lead you to certain foods or medications that might be contributing to your symptoms.  I have a three strikes rule.  When a food bothers me, I stop eating it for a few weeks and try it again.  If it hurts me again the second time but I love it, I'll avoid it for a couple of months before trying it again.  Three strikes and it's out.

YOU are not alone!  Try to stay positive and reach out for support when you need it.  Talk to your Doctor, family, friends, co-workers, church or social service volunteers or anyone you feel safe with.   Don't let your illness take over your life.

One of the best sites for information is:  http://www.top5plus5.com/.  Their group is also incredible.  Search yahoo! groups for "Sphincter", you will find quite a few groups.  Both Michele's and Maddi's are worth joining, too.  There is a lot of great information there that might help. Here are a couple of links but find groups that you like:
Even if you don't think you need support, it's nice to talk to people who had the same symptoms and find out what they did to get through it.

I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with information.  I believe that knowledge is power and you are your own best advocate.  I've been undiagnosed for three years now but I'm getting closer to answers.  I want better for you than to wait and worry and wonder day after day, month after month and year after year!  At least my pain is fairly well managed and I'm seeing specialists in the appropriate field.  Take care, good luck and Godspeed.  Please post or email if you want to vent or ask any questions.  All the best,

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