Liver Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

Severe upper right quadrant pain

I was a previous heavy drinker on and off for five years after I lost my daughter and got divorced. Lately I've been having pain in both my back, under the from ribs and on the flank on my right hand side. In April I went for testing (blood work and ultrasound) both were normal but the pain continued.

I was in the hospital last night as my pain went from dull and achy to severe four days ago. The dr tested my iron and my blood. It all came back normal except for slightly elevated white blood cell. I also have a fever of 38.0 that hasn't gone away for four days. I have a headache, I feel constipated and my urine is slightly yellow.

The DR doesn't seem too concerned but is giving me an ultrasound on Monday.

My question is, could I have liver failure/disease and still have all my blood work come back normal multiple times?

Also, what do you make of this fever? My fave feels like it's burning off and it's giving me headaches.

3 Responses
144586 tn?1284669764
Sounds like a gall bladder issue, secondary to alcoholism. You have to stop drinking.
Avatar universal
I haven't been drinking in years, I wrote that in as part of my history to give a better understanding.

Today (like yesterday) I had no fever during the day. Early evening came andt fever came back. The pain on my upper right side disappeared when I woke up this morning and now it's on the left. I'm starting to wonder if this is some type of severe constipation and the upper right pain went away after a bowel movement.
4851940 tn?1515698193
Sorry to hear of the sad loss of your daughter and the break up of your marriage.   You clearly were suffering from severe depression that lead you to drinking, which unfortunately long term does not help.

Congratulations that you were brave and strong enough to stop the heavy drinking which no doubt was not easy to do.

With regard to the pains that you explain that was in your back and side and front area under the rib cage, has anyone considered kidney problem and kidney stones?  Just a thought.

As well as having a liver and a gall bladder on the right hand side, we also have a kidney on each side just under the rib cage at the back.  It will depend which kidney is the one that is not well or has the stones, to which side you will feel any pain.  

You do not mention what the blood tests were checking for.  If the blood test was to check for liver function, then if there was a problem, it is highly likely that it would have shown up on the blood test results.  

Kidney stones can be as small as a grain of sand and you would not know that you have one, unless it was found on xray or ultrasound scan.  
Kidney stones can form from dehydration (alcohol causes dehydration) and also from some types of foods and from infections.  But when a stone starts to move, this is when you will feel excruciating pain, may have a raised temperature, an infection, vomiting and/or diarrhea.  If and when the stone passes through the urethra you would also feel pain when urinating and may notice dark, cloudy and/or very strong smelling urine.  These symptoms can vary and can also settle down.  Having a light coloured urine is normal, dark coloured urine can indicate a problem, but can also be a sign of dehydration.

Of course, the fever and the headaches (which are because of the fever) may have no connection with the rest of the symptoms and could be due to a bacterial or viral infection anywhere in the body or your sinuses.

I am glad that the doctor has referred you for an ultrasound scan to find out what is going on and hope that he has ordered the scan to check your kidney and bladder too as well as the liver and gallbladder.

You will not know until you get the results.

In the meantime, take pain relief medications as directed by your doctor if he has prescribed any.  Drink plenty of fluids (diluted fruit juices and plenty of water).  2 litres is usually recommended, but your doctor may tell you to drink more, so follow his advice.

Severe constipation with trapped wind can also cause a lot of pain, but not usually with a fever.  Make sure that you eat a healthy and well balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, eat high fibre foods like wheetabix and shredded wheat (these do not have any added sugar) and drink plenty of fluids.   This is very important whether you have normal constipation or have any kidney issues.  You probably do not feel like eating much at the moment, but do ensure that you get those fluids down you (not alcohol, of course).

When you see your doctor next (as long as it is not too long to see him) tell him about your constipation and ask him for a stool softening medication.  You can buy these from the pharmacy and the pharmacist will be able to help you with regard to that.  Laxatives are OK short term, but not for long term use.  

You can also purchase (or doctor can prescribe) suppositories that you insert into the anus to help ease the pain of passing hard stools.  You can also purchase these without a prescription as well as glycerine suppositories that will help to pass any constipated stools.  If you suffer from haemorrhoids because of straining, you may also need a cream to apply to the anus - Proctosedyl is the one used in the UK, your pharmacist will advise or the doctor may prescribe that for you.  Sometimes these products can be cheaper to buy from the pharmacy rather than on prescription, so do ask.

Hopefully, the ultrasound scan will show any problem that there may be so that you can get the appropriate remedy.   If no cause is found, your doctor will have to consider other tests to be carried out (this will depend on what he suspects it may be).

Let me know how you get on.

Best wishes.

As elevated white blood tests where found, that means that your body is fight some type of infection or illness.  
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