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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: chronic left side pain

 annetteschleicher - Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:29 am

I am a 29 year old female. For the past 4 months I have been experiencing left side pain. It tends to localize below my ribs and around the side to my back. Sometimes I feel like there is a needle stuck in my abdomin about an inch to the left of my belly button. The pain seems to be tolerable throughout the day, and then at night it is most acute. I get constant stabbing pains. Sometimes my skin is sensitive to touch, almost like a rope-burn type sensation. It is completely localized to the left side. The pain does not change or seem affected by what I eat or by my bowel movements. I also have some sort or mass that pops when I apply pressure to the top of my left ribcage. For the first two and a half months I had daily diarrhea. I have had an abdominal and pelvic CT, a CT Urogram, multiple blood tests, stool tests, urine tests, and most recently a Colonoscopy. Every test has come back normal except for one blood test. I was told my white blood cell count was elevated and asked to repeat it...haven't done yet. I have been to a Gastroenterologist. I feel like I have had every test done with no results, and I am still in a great deal of pain. The last thing I was told was to see my Gynocologist. I had a check up a year ago and everything was normal. I feel like I am just being handed off. I am about to give up hope. When will I get any answers. Any help would be appreciated. :(
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:09 pm

User avatar Dear annetteschleicher,
Left hypochondrial pain usually refers to causes from the colon or spleen. pain/abdominal.htm" class="postlink">Click here for a list of causes.
If you look at the very end of that page you will also see a list of things to take into consideration when the picture is obscure. Those include a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. You are not being handed off. Abdominal pain is one of the most puzzling diagnoses.
Best regards,
 annetteschleicher - Thu Jan 27, 2005 4:14 pm

Well, I am still no further along. I have been waiting for about a month to get back in to see my doctor. During that time the area at the top of my ribcage on the left side...where the popping occurs has become very tender. It hurts all the time and gets more painful when I take deep breaths. I find it uncomfortable to even wear a bra. I also have pain on my backside in the same location. It almost feels like something is rotting under my ribcage. My colon looks normal. They have run every blood test I can imagine. If it was something with my spleen or pancreas wouldn't a CT or blood test find it? I guess my next step is to ask for an ultrasound. I'm still at a loss of what to do. I understand that my symptoms pose a challenge and that doctors are only human, but I'm tired of hearing "everything is normal". It so obviously is not. Soon I will have to stop the testing because I am going into debt even with my insurance. At this point I am open to any advice. I know it's difficult for you to guide me by just reading my words on the page.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Fri Jan 28, 2005 10:00 am

User avatar At this stage it is very difficult indeed for me to give you any other possible causes for your pain. However, if I was responsible for your case I would recommend a 'watch and wait' policy. It does not mean that you are being brushed off. This is a wise decision but you will have to stick to the follow up dates. The important question that remains is your pain. You need to be put on adequate pain control medication. Have you taken any pain killers and have any proved useful?
 annetteschleicher - Wed Feb 02, 2005 12:01 pm

My doctor put me on Levbid a few months ago, but it has done nothing for me. So far I have not been prescribed any pain medication. If it is a "wait and see" type process I would definitely expect some type of pain management.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Wed Feb 02, 2005 1:18 pm

User avatar Yes I agree. You should contact your doctor immediately and talk to him about pain management. This is one of the symptoms that can be dealt with adequately. If pain killers are unsuccessful ask him to refer you to a pain specialist.

Best regards,
 annetteschleicher - Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:23 pm

The end determination was that I have a spastic colon. My doctor did prescribe Donnatal, and the pharmacy gave me a generic version. It's supposed to work great as far as controlling pain. The only problem I have is it will make my birth control pill less effective...which was not mentioned to me by the doctor even though they are aware that I take OrthoTriCyclen. Since I don't plan on having a child ever this is obviously an issue for me, especially if this medicine is going to be long-term. I am waiting to hear back from the doctor to see if there are alternatives. If you have any suggestions that would be great. I want to thank you for all of your help.
 nichademus - Sat Mar 26, 2005 5:29 pm

How are you feeling? After reading your description I've noticed that it is pretty similar to how I have felt (minus a few things, and the fact that I am male). I too was diagnosed with IBS (or a spastic colon) and I take Robine Forte 2x a day... so far it has not helped.
 annetteschleicher - Wed May 11, 2005 2:10 pm

I haven't really changed much since the last time. I am currently on Dicyclomine for the spastic colon...can't really say I've noticed a difference. The last time I saw my doctor he told me he had come to the end of the road. He said he was stumped! I appreciate the honesty, but I don't' know what to do now. I still have intense pain in my left side, anywhere from the back to the front, under my ribcage and between. This is a daily thing. It hurts when I exercise, when I breath deeply, when I'm laying still. It never goes away. The only thing that has gotten better is the diarhea, probably because I'm taking a fiber supplement. I still don't have regular bowel movements. It has gotten to the point where I've accepted this is how I have to live. I have been told all of my organs are operating normally. I don't really understand how that is possible, but I don't know where else to look. As always, any advice would be welcomed.
 amberpaul - Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:20 pm

I can't believe the similarities betwen you & I. I just happened to enter 'left side pain' in the browser and this came up. I am also a 29 year old female with chronic left side pain under my rib cage. I too had a sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy with only normal findings. The difference is that I do not have diarrhea very often. I feel as though I have the worst side ache imaginable at times and can hardly breathe. I have also been having chest pains and had numerous tests done,...all normal! I keep wondering what else to do, as I am glad things look 'normal' test wise but, they are not....I need answers here. Any new news from your doctors? The only other thing I have been diagnosed with is hypothyroidism (for over 10 years now), which does not seem related but, I thought I would throw it out there. Good luck to you, pleae keep posting, I will as well.
 annetteschleicher - Mon Jun 13, 2005 12:20 pm

I'm sorry to hear you have the same symptoms. It is a horrible thing to live with. I also have been having chest pains. I can relate to your pain, especially when I have to breath deeply. I have gotten no answers from my doctor...everything is normal :roll: The next step I am going to take is seeing an Internist. I really don't know what else to do. Please keep me posted if you find anything out, and I will do the same. I appreciate your response. It's nice to know I'm not the only one struggling with this mystery.
 Japan - Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:32 pm

I had severe left pain too. Mine was to the point where they hospitalized me for pain control. I was diagnosed with everything from IBS, endometriosis, "in my head"- very popular diagnosis. The funny thing is when I first went to the ER the dr, had a relative with Celiac and she said the symptoms looked and sounded the same. Once my dr. was completly stumped he decided to do all the tests for it sure enough that is what it is. This might be something to look into.
 annetteschleicher - Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:48 am

I want to thank you for responding and sending me this information. I believe I have already been tested for allergies to wheat and other things. I am in the process of starting over with a new physician...Internal Medicine. I hope I will be more successfull. I will definitely mention this to my new doctor. Thank you again!
 flipflopgirl - Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:36 pm

I have had a pain on my left side towards the front. It is in one spot. It has bee hurting about a week and the doctor told me it could be mild diverticulitis without doing any test. He prescribed Amoxi/Clav. Should I be feeling relief? The pain is not getting any worse, but it doesn't appear to be getting better. I have had the pain for about a week. It is possible that I could have pulled a muscle, but I wouldn't think that would be just in one spot. How long should I wait before I try to go back to the doctor.
 pyb927 - Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:04 pm

I have consistent pain in my lower left side. Whenever I stand or walk for more than 10 to 15 minutes, I begin to hurt in my lower left side. The longer I remain on my feet, the worse the pain becomes. This is not a sharp pain. It is more on the order of what a toothache would be. And, when I get off my feet, either sitting with my feet up or lay down in the bed, the pain subsides and goes away.

I had a 22 pound tumor removed about three years ago, and last year had two hernias repaired. One of the hernias was on the left side. My doctor sent me for scans, but there was absolutely nothing in the scans. Everything appeared normal, and there was no indication of any problem. He had given me muscle relaxers to take, but those did not help, and even though nothing showed on the scans, I still have the same problem. I am to see my doctor again in about 6 weeks, and he indicated that he is inclined to take a look around inside with a scope, but he was really at a loss right now as to what the problem might be.

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
 MunchkinCPC - Fri Aug 05, 2005 1:28 pm

The only difference between my symptoms and yours appears to be my age. 46. I began having left side pain, localized beneath my left ribs and radiating across my chest and back, a year and a half ago. Of course, my first thought was cardiac, which became exacerbated by shortness of breath because it scared the mess out of me. Like you, I've had every test known to man run, including a full cardiac workup, heart scan, treadmill, CT of the abdomen, countless ultrasounds, pulmonary workups, and the list goes on. No definitive diagnosis. Like you, what upsets me most is the dismisiveness of my physicians that this is nothing because all of my tests, like yours, have come back normal. How many times have you been offered antidepressants or seratonin uptake inhibitors? "It's all in your head" "you know, you could be going through peri-menopause" "your hormones may be acting up" though my hormone levels were normal, and the best yet "you had a scare and now your mind is over sensitive to any symptoms you have." Yep, lone survivor on an island comes to mind. I've stopped going to the doctors, and stopped taking the mind numbing antidepressants. It's not in your mind. It's real. The pain is there every day. One day, maybe someone with MD behind their name will actually listen, quit treating the symptoms, and find the cause. May that day come soon for all of us.
 CoolSingh - Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:29 am

H i I am female 32yrs old I have been having pains on the left side of the rib cage, and sometimes the pain goes in the left side back (around back shoulder) and at other times it is under my left arm and sometimes under my left breast (lower end).

My doctor says its nothing and gives me normal pain killers like paracetamol or brufen, but this does not help me much.

The pain is dull at times and then becomes sharp and un comfortable.
I have been searching the internet for answers and ended up here.

Any suggestions would help.
 HighMount - Fri Nov 25, 2005 12:34 pm

Could somenoe please tell me how to create a new topic on this forum?? I can't seem to find it anywhere! Thanks
 mk1000 - Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:22 am

annetteschleicher, can you please let me know if you stil having the same pain. I have exactly your symptoms and I been to every doctor and I have done every test possible, and all normal. All they can say maybe IBS. I have been having the pain now for 4 months, and it is just not going away. Please let me know what happened with you. Thanks
 birdlady - Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:58 pm

I was wondering if anyone here had any relief from their symptoms. I had very horrible bloating, IBS, constipation, and what I thought celiac. What it all was...parasites, worms and a very clogged colon.

To the woman worried about her birth control. I have been taking BC since I was 16 and always had horrible migraines. one day I decided to get off of it to see what would happen and I haven't had a headache since about 2 weeks after I got off of it. It is unhealthy to be on estrogen like that. It makes your body unable to produce its own healthy estrogen. ANYWAYS...
 thinx2much - Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:56 pm

so i get this side pain every other week or so too. similar symptoms to the others on here. gluten seems to bother me more and more everyday, and got the celiac blood panel. it came back negative though, possibly since i really didn't/don't eat that much gluten already. but i cut it all out and now get constipated more often (never really had that problem before, other than with peanut butter or yogurt)

but the side pain gets kinda bad and real sharp, like a pulled muscle on the side. i workout frequently and have a decent 6-pack of abs and such so i think i'm in good shape muscularly. pushing on it, stretching it, etc doesn't make it better, but kinda feels good at the moment of doing it. but when i stop it usually feels worse afterwards.

I have all the celiac symptoms and such from gluten, plus so many other sensitivities: RAW fruits and vegetables [gluten-like IBS reaction...cooked is just fine], corn [acne], nuts [IBS], purines [gout], alcohol and vinegar [acne, itchy, dandruff, hair loss], dairy [IBS and cheese = migraines], fungi [mushrooms = ITCHY!], chocolate [migraines] , sulfites [wine = ITCHY and migraines], chemicals and perfumes [migraines], idiot doctors [pain in the rear, decreased patience (and patients), etc]. it's possible that it's a "spastic colon" or something stupid vague like that (well duh it's spastic). How to fix it is the challenge.

if it helps, i've noticed that i am also apparently sensitive to aluminum. I can't eat from those little travel fruit cups (aluminum cups), or cook in an aluminum (or teflon) pan. My mom has this condition bad. starts throwing up and all if she does. Might help some of you figure out something weird: maybe not the food, but what the food is in (too).

I just can't function as a normal person anymore. i've lost the active and full life i had since i can't go out to eat, or travel, or attend most social events that last longer than i can go without public food.

i really would like to know more about what birdlady said though since it's an avenue i haven't explored:
birdlady - Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:58 pm "What it all was...parasites, worms and a very clogged colon."

I can't seem to contact her through this, so if she, or anyone else can explain this more, please do so. Anything else would be appreciated.

P.S. i had poor bone growth and a fractured vertebrae due to underdevelopment that led to a back fusion on '05, as well as alopecia areata (hair loss) all over my whisker-area of my face. WTF, eh? *grim smile* i tend to think that if i really am celiac and wasn't getting the nutrients i needed while growing up, that it would explain a lot of this. except this damn pain on my side...
 thinx2much - Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:20 pm

...BTW - i know it's a little off from our original topic of side pain, but to continue my previous post: i just figured out that the "acne" i thought i was having is actually dermatitis herpetiformis. This is a rare facet of gluten-intolerance. if you have it too, be aware that iodine makes it worse (if your thyroid is in ok shape, get non-iodized salt instead) and that Dapsone can be used to treat it (with side-effects of course)...

now back to your regularly-scheduled disorders...
 heluis99 - Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:38 am

I've been having pain on the left side of my chest underneath my ribs. The amount of the pain can range from a dulling to sharp. It sometimes accompany by shortness of breath. I also have been experiencing faint or ligthheadness as well with a yellowish skin tone when I drink and smoke.I have been feeling nausated and have blood in my slivia occasionally when i vomit. My bowels have a mucus look to them. I have had a Chest /lung Xray, EKG, and Chest MRI. Nothing came up on the results or test. Had extensive blood work ,which showed that my B12 was low. Thyriod test show fine, blood sugar was ok as well. These symptons have been ongoing for about a year.
 Madisongirl - Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:47 pm

I have had a pain in the upper left side of my abdomine for about 4 years now. I have had an ultrasound, been put on acid reflux meds, and just recently had a CT scan. After talking about this to anyone and everyone who is willing to listen, I'm thinking it is my pancreaus. Hopefully, the CT Scan will show something. My pain hurts the most as the day goes on and mainly after I eat something (anything). My abdomine actually has a numbing feeling if I touch it. Unfortunatley, not numb enough for me not to feel the pain. If I bend over the wrong way, it feels like something is bulging out of me and I have to push on my stomach to hold it in. I was told that it wasn't a hernia. A nurse (my friend) swears it is my pancreaus so we'll see. I feel everyone's pain!
 Madisongirl - Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:22 pm

Well I got the results of the CT Scan and everything looks "normal" so what do I do now. Just like the rest of you I have been suffering with left side abdomine pain for a while now (4 years) and it seems it must be in my head. As I sit here typing, I can feel the pain, sometimes it goes around my back. I'm at a loss now and don't know what to do. Any suggestions?
 Dr.M.Aroon kamath - Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:21 am

User avatar Hi annetteschleicher,
You say that the pain is just to the left of the belly button.
Pain increases on breathing.
Also you say that there is some burning sensation of the skin on the left side of the abdomen.
Based on the above history, i would tend to think of a radicular pain [arising from irritation of a spinal nerve, possibly 10th (D10) on the left side.]
It may be worth investigating you along these lines.
Good luck!

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