Anonymous asked in HealthOther - Health · 7 years ago

Source of abdominal pain?

What causes severe upper abdominal pain?

I am a 31 yr old woman, no pertinent medical history to speak of, other than I have been on a gluten free diet for 4 months, due to a gluten sensitivity (tested negative for Celiac).

For the past few weeks, I have had intermittent abdominal pain directly below my rib cage and right in the center. It started out just a gnawing, dull pain. I also had occasional diarrhea, but nothing too bad.

Last night, I began having the gnawing pain again, but this time it was also a burning pain, sometimes sharp. It did not go away and increased in intensity throughout the night, making it hard to sleep. When I did fall asleep early this morning, I was awakened with the pain, considerably more severe. I also had really bad diarrhea several times.

The pain is still there this morning, and continues to be severe. The pain itself seems to be making me a little nauseous. I have not eaten anything for fear I would either get sick or it would go right through me. When I stand up or stretch, the pain seems to subside a little, although it does not go away.

I am trying to determine of this is just a little bug. Have picked up, or if it is something worth calling my doctor about, i did have a similar spell, with less pain, about three years ago, and was referred to a surgeon who contemplated taking out my gall bladder, but felt it was okay, based on my HIDA scan (sp?)

Does anyone have any idea about what this could be, or a similar experience you have dealt with? I would like to know more before proceeding through a barrage of tests I may not need. Although if the pain continues to get worse, I will have no choice but to go to the doctor. Nothing really seems to help

1 Answer

  • july
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The area directly below your rib cage, in the center, is your celiac (solar) plexus. The nerves from your digestive organs (gallbladder, liver, pancreas, intestines, etc.) bundle into this plexus.

    When you have issues with a digestive structure, the pain impulses go to that plexus, which then sends the impulses to your spine and brain. Your brain sends the impulses back to that plexus.

    So pain in the solar plexus can be caused by issues with just about any digestive structure.

    Even though you had a normal HIDA scan (this measures the ejection fraction of bile from your gallbladder), you may still be having gallbladder issues. You may also be having pancreatic issues.

    The gallbladder and pancreas send digestive enzymes and bile into the duodenum. If these organs aren't working properly, or if their ducts aren't working properly, signs/symptoms just like you describe can occur.

    You may want to think about:

    1. Endoscopy. Not fun, but helpful. The doctor can see your stomach and duodenum, and take a biopsy.

    2. Another HIDA scan.

    3. MRCP, which is an MRI of your pancreatic, hepatic, and gallbladder ducts. Duct abnormalities and issues do NOT always show up on ultrasounds or CT scans.

    4. Pancreatic and liver (blood) function tests. Simple and often helpful.

    5. You may be unintentionally ingesting gluten due to cross-contamination. Remember, you must avoid barley, wheat, and rye. (If you see "malt" listed, it's barley. Maltodextrin is not barley, but "malt" is.)

    6. If you had enteric (small intestine) damage from gluten sensitivity, it can take months for your small intestine to heal.

    7. If you live outside the United States, or have traveled outside the United States, ask your doctor about the chance of intestinal parasites. These often cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.

    8. Think about adding probiotics (in capsule form) to your diet. If you have enteric damage from gluten, your "good bacteria" in your gut may be low. There are many, many different types of probiotics; you may want to ask a pharmacist or nutritionist for advice.

    I am a celiac, and I had pain like yours last summer. I ended up hospitalized with pancreatitis, lost 50 pounds, and became very ill due to malnutrition. I also had my gallbladder out, but my HIDA scan showed it wasn't doing much besides just sitting there.

    It sounds to me as if you do need a barrage of tests, since often a problem with one digestive structure can cause the others to domino.

    Take care of yourself!

    Source(s): Healthcare teaching assistant.
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