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Old 08-11-2008, 03:39 PM   #1
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Still trying to diagnose problem

I posted about this a while back, but now that I have a little more info, I'm hoping somebody might know what this is. I've been to two doctors, both of which just wanted to throw some anti acid pills at me and get me out of their office. I don't have insurance, so I can't afford to keep going through that with doctors.

For a couple of years now I've had what I call 'spells' that last about day or two. The first day is the actual problem, and then it pretty much cures itself after one night, with just some basic discomfort the next day.

It's happen about 6 times in the last 2 1/2 years or so, but I will list the symptoms of the last two episodes, as they were both basically identical, so I feel they're the best examples of what's happening.

I eat fairly healthy... I don't eat a lot of spicy stuff, I haven't eaten red meat for 20 years... I don't drink coffee, soda or alcohol. I don't smoke and I'm not over weight. In the last year (due to this problem) I've also eliminated any rich things like heavy sauces, super sugary deserts, and deep fried stuff. Except for an occasional typical upset stomach, this is the only major problem I've had. Though I've had some heartburn in years past, I haven't felt anything like that for at least a year.

Yesterday morning I felt fine... I had a turkey sandwich on rye and some cereal for lunch. Soon after, I started feeling a building of pain under my ribcage. I instantly recognized it as the problem returning... It's uniform across and doesn't favor a side. At first it feels like air pressure, but then builds to a burning sensation. It becomes very painful, but I've learned that if I can lay in bed in an upright position very still and try to relax, I can get it to go away. It definitely seems to be irritated by movement. It's very difficult to stay still though, because it's hard being still when you have a lot of pain. I did this yesterday and finally got it to go away. I made the mistake of getting up and trying to do a few things too soon, and it returned... I had to lay still again for at least a couple hours before it started to go away again. During this time I still felt hungry when dinner time came, but was afraid to eat. When I did eat just a little bit, it brought the pain back, but in more of a bloated kind of feeling, not so much the burning feeling. During all this I took my temp and it was normal. It was also the same temp today. This morning I felt better, just a little weakened from the experience and had a very empty feeling from not eating much. Once I ate I felt about 90% back to normal.

The above symptoms happened almost exactly the same way the last time this happened, which was about 10 months ago... Right after eating, same time of day, same pain. In fact, it may be a total coincidence, but I was having a sandwich on rye bread both times. But otherwise I was eating the same stuff I've eaten thousands of times. When I tell people about this (doctors included), I think they tend to assume it's just a stomach ache or heartburn... Believe me, I consider myself a fairly tough person, and this is not just a stomach ache. I consider a typical stomach ache to be much lower in the intestinal track, and it's usually associated with an eventual bowl movement. This is completely different. Also, if it is stress related, it doesn't seem to make much sense... I was recently working very hard doing construction for a month going non stop, and just taking a quick break to eat when I could. During that time I never had a single problem. Recently I haven't been running around much at all and just staying at home, and I had the problem. Also... Could doing pull-ups aggravate an ulcer? I recently started working out again and thought maybe that could mean something.

I would love to find out what this is, because it really sucks wondering if every time you eat, this will be the time it comes back. If anybody has any ideas, I'd like to hear them.

Thanks,

Dave

 
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:37 AM   #2
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Re: Still trying to diagnose problem

im wondering if it could be your gall bladder. how soon after eating does the pain start?when i was having gb attacks the pain, when i had them, would start about 30 mins-1hour after eating, usually in the evening and i was pretty well symptom free between attacks, also the pain was high up behind my rib cage mainly on the right hand side but radiating out from there. it felt like a squeezing pain and was the worst pain imaginable. it was not relieved by belching even though i felt like it should be. typically the pain would disappear about 1-2 hours after starting.
dont know if you can relate to this with your episodes, but if you can it could well be gall bladder related as that was the cause of my problem.

 
Old 08-12-2008, 01:13 PM   #3
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Re: Still trying to diagnose problem

Thanks... I think I've read the symptoms for most of the things this could be, and I agree that the gallstones one probably comes closest. It doesn't match perfectly from the versions of symptoms I've read in different places, but it's pretty close. A few versions say that it can happen after a "greasy meal". I'm not sure how the greasiness of a meal would have an instant impact to cause it, but compared to me, there really hasn't been any connection with the food I'm eating being greasy. Other than that, the only other thing is that the pain is pretty centered for me, which I guess most people it seems to be on the one side for gallstones. But it does radiate through the back sometimes and seems to make me breath rapidly, which they say is another symptom of the gallstones. The pain both these last times started to build about 1/2 to an hour after eating, like you said.

So what did you do to avoid it happening? Did you change your eating habits or anything? I guess lowering cholesterol is supposed to help.

 
Old 08-12-2008, 10:44 PM   #4
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Re: Still trying to diagnose problem

Gallbladder is the first place I'd look too. I was recently diagnosed with a poor functioning gallbladder and my symptoms didn't fit the norm either.

They can spot gallstones with an abdominal ultrasound (which would also look at your liver). It might be worth the money to know for sure. For other gallbladder problems you'd need a HIDA scan which is a lot more expensive.

It always worries me when people don't have health insurance. You should also check with local insurance companies to find out about low-cost insurance programs in your state. If your income is low enough, you might even get it for free.

If you're going to get insurance in the near future, hold off on getting the ultrasound until your coverage takes effect. They sometimes exclude coverage for preexisting conditions.

 
Old 08-13-2008, 12:49 AM   #5
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Re: Still trying to diagnose problem

to answer your question dave999, i had my gall bladder removed. it was full of stones and chronically inflamed. i dont think a fat free diet would have helped in my case. the first gp i saw here tried to fob me off with tablets but after the 3rd gb attack i saw another doctor at my gps practice who referred me for an ultrasound and then to a surgeon.

 
Old 08-14-2008, 06:49 PM   #6
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Re: Still trying to diagnose problem

Great... Well, I hope I'm not too far gone to not need the surgery. I would love to have insurance, but it seems like something always happens when I'm close to being able to get it. I'm the typical kind of low income, but not quite poor enough, stuck in the middle person, like so many people are now.

So if I understand how this works... Fatty foods = gallstone creation in the first place... Once they're created they have to come out at some point somehow. Then when you eat fatty stuff, it increases the potential for the stones coming out, because your gallbladder releases the stuff to try and break down that fatty food, and then the stones come with it. Or at least that's the way it sounded when I read about it.

I'm glad it worked out for you. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it if it's that. For now I think all I can do is improve the diet as best I can and hope for the best. I'm worried about even getting the ultrasound, because then it would be on the books. I have no idea if they could find out about that later or not. When I did have insurance, the very first time I tried to use it they denied me because they said it was preexisting, even though it wasn't.

 
Old 08-14-2008, 10:29 PM   #7
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Harry HB UserHarry HB UserHarry HB UserHarry HB UserHarry HB UserHarry HB UserHarry HB UserHarry HB UserHarry HB User
Re: Still trying to diagnose problem

Dave,
A gallbladder that is not functioning well could cause all of your described symptoms.
It does not take just fatty foods to make an event like you are having happen. It just does if your GB does not work well every time you eat.

Another possible condition is trapped gas during digestion that needs to be released. Just swallowing air during eating can cause it. The esophagus is an extremely unique functioning organ -- no other organ in your body functions like it does. Spasms or cramping could cause the same symtoms -- a cheap remedy to try is a homeopathic remedy --Magnesia Phos 6X potency taken when needed -- it kicks in-- in about 35 minutes -- so you will know if it is this. And, it can be repeated. It can be bought at most health food stores in your area.

I wish you well---Harry

 
Old 08-14-2008, 10:58 PM   #8
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Re: Still trying to diagnose problem

Thanks... Well, never thought I'd say this, but I hope I have gas. Part of me thinks it must be stones. But then I also think, wow, the only thing that could be connected with me and gallstones is genetics. That's it... I don't have a single other typical condition that improves your chances at getting them. Not to mention that I'm a guy, so that's pretty unlucky. Plus, there's the long duration between attacks. Right now days later, I still feel a kind of a soreness in the same area, like the kind of slight soreness you would get from stressing a muscle, but it's on the surface, not really inside. I don't know, it can't hurt to try the remedy. I hope you're right. I've also had what I assume is an IBS type of thing for many many years. I've learned to control it pretty well, but I've noticed I can almost predict when I'm going to get it. It will happen after I eat with a kind of pensive hurried feeling. Even when I try to slow down and relax, it's almost like once my system decides it's in that mode, there's no stopping it... then an hour later all hell breaks lose. So maybe the upper pain is another version of that. The fact that I am somewhat able to get the pain to stop by immobilizing myself and just trying to relax, I guess would also make it lean more towards an indigestion type of thing. I assume that if a stone is passing, just sitting still wouldn't really change anything. I don't know. It's cool that the internet is here for people to talk about stuff like this though. You would basically be at the will of doctors if it wasn't for this. I've always preferred trying to figure things out myself, and I've always been amazed at how often you can, compared to 'professionals'.

Dave

 
Old 06-04-2012, 02:31 PM   #9
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Re: Still trying to diagnose problem

I just wanted to follow up on this, since most people never do. Maybe somebody can learn from it.

After not having this intense pain for a couple years... it came back towards the end of 11. Only this time, it wouldn't go away. I had also been experiencing a dull annoying pain/sickly feeling in the broad upper portion of my stomach in the mornings, for months. When the real pain kicked in right below the breast bone, it stayed for two days and would not go away. I finally couldn't take it anymore and went to an urgent care. The female doctor there listened to me and gave me some simple tests. She said that from her experience, she felt it was typical ulcer symptoms. She gave me an inhibitor for the acid. I forget the name of the drug, but it was the worse thing I have ever taken in my life. It gave me allergic reactions to food... depression... nausea... and a host of other bad reactions. I was only able to take it for a few days. But it did stop the pain. After I stopped, I just tried to eat the most bland, easy to digest foods I could think of. I changed my diet and eliminated any greasy stuff, dairy, hard to digest foods, and basically anything I thought would aggravate it. It's been about 7 months, and it seems to be in check. I attribute the ulcer coming back, because I sort of fell off the wagon and started eating greasy stuff again. But of course, I never knew for sure it was an ulcer to begin with.

Unfortunately, this could have been completely avoided if one of the doctors I first went to year ago, had just taken the time to properly diagnose me, instead of throwing some heartburn medication at me and pushing me out the door.

 
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