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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Pain under right rib for two years


 kondar - Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:37 am

I have had constant pain under my right rib for two years, along with feeling that I have a constant cold, headaches so blinding they can put me out of commission for days, and an extremely itchy back which is embarrassing at work.
i have been to several doctors, have had x-rays and ultrasounds, bloodwork and a ct scan.One doctor said it was gallstones, was admitted to hospital for 4 days, given morphine for pain, and then released because a 24 hour urine test came back negative.
I have been diagonsed with chronic bowel pain?
It is to the point where I am becoming depressed with this because my whole life revolves around this pain.
Tired of going to emergency room, They do not know what it is so I am sent home with no relief.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:09 am

User avatar Hello -

The most reasonable diagnosis (and apparently the only one) you've received is the possibility of gallstones. The location of the pain is pretty much where it would be -- sometimes described as feeling as though a tennis ball had been shoved up under the rib line. The headaches can be reflex headaches related to cholecystitis (gallstones, inflamed gallbladder); the itchy back could be (this may be a stretch) due to mild jaundice caused by a stone or stones getting stuck in the bile duct, possibly passing one at a time.

The doctor who suspected gallstones should, I would think, have pursued this angle more thoroughly. A 24-hour urine test is hardly definitive for gallstones or cholecystitis. A cholecystogram with contrast, which can take one to two hours at times, would show the gallbladder and what's inside it (should be nothing opaque unless stones are present) or if it is full of stones and sludge it wouldn't visualize the gallbladder at all, which is pretty certain evidence the gallbladder is unable to function and probably needs to come out.

Of course I am just guessing at a distance, but the symptoms seem reasonable for chronic cholecystitis with occasional acute flareups. I would pester an internist or an ER team about this, as it can make you feel awfully sick and the pain can be quite severe. Unless the thing becomes gangrenous it may go on as it is for months or years (if, indeed, it is the gallbladder); "chronic bowel pain" is a meaningless term.

Get a second, even a third opinion. This needs to be resolved and I strongly suspect the gallbladder is the problem. Again, it's just a guess, but a pretty educated one.

Please follow up with us on this as needed. Good luck to you.

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