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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: upper left abdomen pain, now going toward my back

 baba1938 - Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:23 am

The pain started yesterday. There is a continuous dull pain in the upper left side of my abdomen, just below my ribs, with additional flare ups of sharper pains that are so bad I feel naseaus (is that how you spell it?). The skin over the area doesn't look any different than anywhere else, but it feels very sensitive to the touch, if touched lightly. Almost like a scalding feeling. But, if you touch it more firmly, the skin doesn't have that feeling.
The dull pain seems deep and now has begun to radiate around my left side toward my back. The sharp pains sort of feel as if I am being stabbed with a hot ice pick. Its better if sitting, but not much. I can't lie on the left side at all. Standing and walking takes major effort. I don't feel bloated or gassy. I can't really tell if the left side is more distended than the right. And it is difficult for me to decide if it is more firm than the other side.
These pains are new. I have chronic back, knee, and hip pains, but they usually are easily managed with advil or similar meds. No changes in urine or bowel movements. No heart burn or anything like that.
About 2 years ago, I had a different, but similar pain, (I know that sounds weird, but its hard to describe) but in the mid-abdomen area just below the breastbone. That was so strong that I felt like I was going to pass out, broke out into a cold sweat, and had chills. My doctor at that time ordered blood tests, a sonogram, and CT scan, The only thing he found was what he called "enlarged red blood cells." I don't drink except on very rare occasions, which is the only thing he asked me about. Oh, he did say there was some "sludge" in the gall bladder, but no gall stones. There was never any diagnosis or treatment provided. I have had several blood tests since then and my current doctor has never said anything about "enlarged red blood cells" or "sludge." I had a physical several months ago that included an EKG and that was normal. My blood pressure is checked monthly, and that's normal.
I am now on a relatively low fat diet, eat mostly whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
My doctor has prescribed me meridia, nasonex, simvastatin (I think that's how you spell it...for high cholesterol), and zyrtec.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:27 pm

User avatar Hello -

Your symptoms warrant a medical evaluation, which of course is impossible here, on line. However, I can tell you that the symptoms most resemble those of either a kidney stone or gallbladder flareup (the classic gallbladder presentation is in the right upper quadrant rather than the left, but atypical, opposite side presenations are seen from time to time). Since you were told you have sludge in your gallbladder, and that sludge will eventually form stones, your symptoms could be due to a stone or even some sludge having moved into the bile duct, and could be referring to the "wrong" side. It would be worth having a cholecystogram and/or HIDA scan done to determine if this is the case. If not, then ruling out a kidney stone could be in order. There are, of course, other possible causes, but these are the ones that come to mind first.

I believe you may have posted the question about "enlarged" red blood cells in another thread. I don't know if that was prior to this episode of pain, but I did answer that in another thread.

I hope this is helpful. Please see a medical provider soon, even if the episode resolves spontaneously.

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