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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: 9 months - stomach and chest pain - getting desperate


 nichademus - Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:34 am

Hi,

I am a 27 yr old male, non-smoker, social drinker, 6'0" 160 lbs., in decent shape though I have not been able to exercise for the past 9 months. I have been in constant pain in one form or another for the past 9 months. The pain began one day after I worked out (doing situps). I had mild chest pain and pain in the lower left side of my abdomen just below the ribs. The pain persisted for about two weeks until I finally saw a general physician. They diagnosied me with a pulled rib muscle and proscribed ibuprofin.

I gradually got a bit better but the pain never went away completely. I went back to my general physician 4-5 more times over the next 3 months. I had chest x-rays, stomach x-rays, complete blood work (general blood work i think it was called CBC + more bloodwork for rheumatic illnesses + checking for allergies), checked my urine, EKG, and a complete physical. The EKG showed a possible LVH, which turned out to be negative when I follow up and had an echocardio done. My heart is a-ok.

The pain never fully went away. Then the past two months have been awful. I have pain (an ache, not a stabbing pain) on both sides of my stomach, my entire rib cage, my back both lower and upper, and even shoulder and upper arm aches. The pain hurts a little bit more when I breathe deeply, but I have no difficulty breathing. Food or what I eat does not affect this pain at all. If I eat a lot though it does tend to get worse. On days where I've even skipped lunch it still hurts to the same degree. I've seen a gastrologist and he has re-diagnosed me with IBS and put me on Robinul Forte. A few weeks ago I had a colonoscopy because of small amounts of blood in my stool. Nothing showed up and my gastrologist said I had internal hemerroids. I have to follow up with him again in May, but I am not optimistic.

I have had IBS since 1991, and I know how that pain feels. This pain is very different. I tried to stress this to my docs, but they don't seem to get it. My day usually goes as follows: very little pain in the morning, by lunch I hurt mildly while I sit at my desk, by the time I get out of work I am in a lot more pain... I come home and take hot baths or apply heat to my ribs and I feel better. Then by the time I go to sleep the pain has usually returned. It has gotten to the point where it has affected my lifestyle greatly, as I used to be pretty active and now I'd rather stay at home and rest than go out. I never get a good night's rest anymore and it seems sometimes the longer I sleep the worse I feel in the morning.

I am completely stumped and going to see a new general physician next week to see if I can talk him into some other tests (MRI, CT scan or something). My family has a long history of various health problems which I put in my bio if you have time to read... the short version is (father with esophegeal/lung/stomach cancer, mother with Lupus, all family members with high blood pressure/cholesterol).

I am very scared and seeing how I've been to the doctor's 8-10 times the past 9 months and I feel worse I am not too optimistic. If anyone has any input on what it could be it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 sapphoq - Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:12 am

ask for referral to a bone doc or pain specialist. lots of tests without seeing a specialist is a waste of money imo
 nichademus - Tue Mar 15, 2005 6:54 am

Thank you, I will try that.
 nichademus - Sat Mar 26, 2005 5:04 pm

Well I saw a different doctor last week and after I told him what was going on he immediately ran me through a bunch of tests. This time, however, I had a breathing test as well as bloodwork, x-rays, and EKG. He says that I have asthma, which would explain why I feel like it's been hard to breathe lately and possibly the chest pains. He also put me on an anti-inflammitory med, to see if the pain in my chest and stomach will get any better while on it.

He also set me up to get a bone scan done, a CT scan of my abdomen/pelvis, and a stress test. He was shocked to hear that my gastroentrologist diagnosed me with IBS without running any tests. He said IBS is usually diagnosed by first excluding the other possible problems first.

I guess I don't understand how two doctor's methods could be so different? I guess that is why they recommend getting a "second opinion". I feel worse every day and the other day I had a bowel movement with an inch long black/grey chunk in it along with white-like pebbles. Thats the first time I've ever seen anything like that. I'm trying not to panic, as I have to wait another month until I can see the doc again.

I hate taking all this time off work as I just started a new job in January and I don't want to get fired. :(
 maiden75 - Sat Mar 26, 2005 6:46 pm

Try getting a prescription for Nexium...I had all of the same symptoms you had...normal stomach X-rays, Upper GI...Nexium worked for me, no more pain. Keep in touch.
 nichademus - Sun Mar 27, 2005 8:43 pm

Thank you for your reply... I will mention it when I go back to see the doc. In the meanwhile I am just crossing my fingers and hoping my tests all come back ok. Just hearing that someone else had the same symptoms as me and turned out ok is a big relief.

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