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Old 03-26-2007, 03:52 PM   #1
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curmudgeon HB User
Stabbing Pain over Liver

Hi all. I'm new here and hope someone can help.

I got an incredibly sharp stabbing pain in my upper right abdomen over a week ago. It spread to my back and up into my shoulder and neck. It eased up a bit and for the next 4 days I lived with the pain. It was manageable but was worst when I would take a deep breath in.

I knew it wasn't my gallbladder since I had it removed a few years ago and have had no problems there since.

Finally it got so bad I couldn't stand it and went to the ER. They did an ultrasound and CT plus liver and urine tests. The only thing they could tell me is what it isn't. It's not a stone in the bile duct, it's not a kidney stone, it's not my appendix and it's not bowel or bladder related. There is a cyst in my liver but they didn't seem to think that was the problem.

My liver is inflamed and I have a fatty liver (something I've had for a while but never bothered me). My enzymes were high but not scary. My blood sugar and cholesterol are fine.

I do take prescription meds for chronic pain for a problem I've had for over a dozen years and I'll be seeing my pain specialist to discuss whether or not this is the problem.

My GP is going to order an MRI and refer me to a liver specialist.

But what I want to know is if there is something I can do to make the pain go away. A special diet maybe? And am I missing other possibilities here?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.

 
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:45 PM   #2
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danielm HB Userdanielm HB User
Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

Hello hun, good to hear from you.

I am in the same boat as you. I was diagnosed with a fatty liver about 9 months ago and had all sorts of horrible symptoms, one of which the 'stabbing pain' was one of.

I had my gall bladder removed about 2 years ago and have been tested a number of times for what might be causing it (including the cholangeogram that you've had to rule out stones in the billary tree).

My fatty liver was also accompanied by a cyst as well.

So basically, we're pretty much the same through and through in our symptoms

For me, the pain went away after a while after I started doing three things :

1 - Adjusted the diet. Low fat, low sugar. Plenty of green leafy veges and fruit, low carbs. Avoid all junk food, sugary drinks and the like. Drink PLENTY of water, it's excellent for flushing your liver. I usually drink about 2 litres a day which is through just fresh water and green tea.

2 - Exercise. I walked for about an hour a day. The fat in your liver can only be reduced by burning it off and the slow burn that walking gives (and low joint impact) was perfect. Combined with diet, I lost 30kg in 6 months. It made a big difference.

3 - Vitamin Supplements. I started taking B1 twice daily (helps manage the iron in the liver) as well as Milk Thistle Supplement 3 times daily. Take it from my personal experience that I noticed an immediate effect after starting the Milk Thistle! I was getting my ALTs measured over several months to monitor my progress and I was getting drops TWICE the normal rate as soon as I started taking the Milk Thistle.

Even though my last blood test was 3 months ago and read NORMAL, I still get the odd twinge in the liver region and have a little discomfort from time to time. This is normal and from what I've read can last several years. But the difference between what I felt 3 months after diagnosis and today (6 months after that) is phenominal. Apart from the odd tickle down there, I would never have thought I ever had liver issues at all.

So stick with it hun and stay the course. Giving up the sugar and fats can be hard to begin with, but your body will be better for it. On my bad days I usually would pop a couple pain killers to help, but don't take anything more than the recommended dosage. I also used a hot water bottle on that region to help ease the pain as well and found that to help too.

It takes time to get over this kind of condition I've found, but it seems no matter who you ask, they can't give a definitive answer. It mostly comes back to you personally and how your body works with these things. Removing the fat out of your liver is not a quick process and you need to take your time in getting there, but you'll be far better off for it.

After a fashion, getting a sick liver helped me to readjust my lifestyle and focus more on healthy eating and regular exercise - which is great for everyone.

I'm only 33.... I hardly need to be dead now because I neglected to look after my body!

Now that I've had my scare, I should live to a ripe old age simply because of the changes I've made to my lifestyle.

Best wishes hun and if you need any further advice or support, be sure to come by and let us know how you're getting on.

Cheers

 
Old 03-27-2007, 09:46 AM   #3
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curmudgeon HB User
Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

Thanks for the reply.

Can I ask how long you had the stabbing pain for? Did it last a few days, weeks?

Also, what it Milk Thistle? Is it safe? Are there other medications for fatty liver? Can I take Milk Thistle while still taking my other meds?

I do already take vitamin B complex, as well as extra vitamin E. So I can't really add anything there.

I appreciate your help on this. And I'm very glad to hear you were able to resolve things for yourself. Gives me hope.

 
Old 03-27-2007, 03:57 PM   #4
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danielm HB Userdanielm HB User
Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

The pains lasted for a while to be honest. I had them for about 4 months myself. I couldn't sleep on my side at all which was quite disconcerting and the discomfort through the day was pretty annoying too. It DID go away in time, but it wasn't a quick thing for me I'm sorry to say. The pain ranged from a sharp, stabbing sensation through to a sunburn type feeling in that area. It's caused by the liver swelling against the membrane that it's encased in, rather than the liver itself (which actually has no nerve endings).

Quote:
Also, what it Milk Thistle?
Milk Thistle is a herb supplement. 100% natural and one of the only proven remedies for Liver problems. It's a plant extract that has been used since the Roman ages for the treatment and protection of liver cells.

Quote:
Is it safe?
Assuming you are not allergic to it, it's quite safe. As I said, it's a natural herbal supplement, not synthetic.

Quote:
Are there other medications for fatty liver?
There are no medications for Fatty liver in itself. Milk Thistle is taken to protect your newly formed liver cells, not cure existing problems. The liver regenerates cells all the time and the Milk Thistle helps protect them. For a fatty liver, there is no medications you can take - period.

Quote:
Can I take Milk Thistle while still taking my other meds?
Absolutely. I have taken it for nearly a year now with other herbal supplements and medications like anti biotics when I'm not well or pain killers when I'm under the weather without a problem.

Quote:
I do already take vitamin B complex, as well as extra vitamin E. So I can't really add anything there.
Sounds like you're doing well then.

I would suggest you get your ALTs measured before you start with the Milk Thistle and then get them checked again about a month after you start taking it, you'll definitely get results. Make sure you drink a lot of water as it's a requirement when you take Milk Thistle, and it also helps flush the liver.

Regular exercise and good eating are the keys to beating fatty liver disease.

Best wishes!

 
Old 03-28-2007, 11:55 AM   #5
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curmudgeon HB User
Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

Thanks for the great info about Milk Thistle. I'd never heard of it before. I'm seeing my doc next week so I'll discuss it with him and get my enzymes tested then.

I'm not thrilled to hear your pain lasted 4 months. Ouch! I've only had the stabbing kind of pain, not the sunburn type you described. Did your pain radiate up into your shoulder? Or around into your back?

Was it worse when you took a deep breath? Mine is and I'm thinking it's because the diaphragm is pressing on the liver when I inhale deeply.

Also, you mentioned you had a cyst in your liver too. Did your docs think this made things worse? Do you know what causes that? And can the cyst develop into something worse that I should be worried about?

I really appreciate your patience with all my questions. Thanks.

 
Old 03-28-2007, 03:45 PM   #6
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Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

Hello all, I just joined and this is my first post. I also have been getting severely painful shooting pains generating from beneath my second to the bottom right rib. It is going on 8-days and counting since they started. It seems I can only take shallow breaths as inhaling triggers the pain. The pain I get from yawning is the worst! So bad I can’t help but cry out from the intense pain.

The first thing I thought of was my liver since I was diagnosed with hepatitis C some 17 years ago. However I was treated with interferon back in the beginning and have been in remission and virtually symptom free (until now??). I do get blood work done annually to keep a watch on the liver enzyme levels and they have always been at “normal” levels.

I am completely distraught about this pain and whatever could be causing it. It is also triggered by bending and/or twisting my torso in certain ways, but mostly from inhaling a big breath of air. About 4 days after this started I started to get other symptoms. Now I do not know if it’s related or perhaps I am coming down with the flu at the same time. But the pain and the other symptoms have not lessened since they started. The other symptoms are:
• General low energy and exhaustion
• Fever, including hot or cold sweats (and I mean sweat – I get totally soaked!)
• Sore throat with dry mouth and lips, causing constant thirst
• sinus congestion and running nose, but just the right side (phlegm is clear to white)
• low appetite

I have seen a couple of different doctors, been for two sets of chest x-rays, an ultrasound, and had one doctor actually do some physical poking around the area in question. Unfortunately I have not been able to have any blood work taken. Not for lack of trying, just have extremely bad, almost-nonexistent veins. Have been to 9 different blood labs since Jan 3rd, this year. Tried drinking lots of water and using hot compresses prior to the injection attempts but nothing works. Seems even the most experienced nurses that have had success with me in the past have also failed this time around. So I have not been able to get my annual liver enzymes checked as well as checking on this present issue. I am waiting for a doctor to get back to me who is checking around for a specialist who can deal with my “bad” vein dilemma.

Due to my history of a present liver disease plus two previous cancer operations (1982 & 1984) and I high occurrence of death by cancer in our family – I do not want to mess around and get the prognosis, or at least find out whatever is causing such intense pain whenever I try to take a deep breath. None of the doctors want to prescribe anything for the pain due to my hep C. And it is because of the hepatitis that they cannot risk trying to take blood from one of my arteries (like my from my juggler, or similar).

The location of the pain does not radiate at all. I can pin-point exactly where it is, it same location as where my two liver biopsies were taken from back in 1990. If anyone has any similar experiences I would be very interested in knowing about it and what ended up to be the cause. Anyone??

 
Old 03-28-2007, 11:47 PM   #7
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danielm HB Userdanielm HB User
Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

Quote:
Thanks for the great info about Milk Thistle. I'd never heard of it before. I'm seeing my doc next week so I'll discuss it with him and get my enzymes tested then.
Absolutely. Some doctors can be a little iffy about it because it's not a synthetic, but I can say for sure it worked well for me and I've been taking it ever since.

Quote:
I'm not thrilled to hear your pain lasted 4 months. Ouch! I've only had the stabbing kind of pain, not the sunburn type you described. Did your pain radiate up into your shoulder? Or around into your back?
Both, yes. Mind you, I had similar symptoms when I was having a gall bladder attack (when I still had one too). Phantom pains post gall bladder removal are not uncommon, but when your liver is inflamed, it rubs on other things too. There's also a theory in pain displacement as well where you experience pain in regions other than those directly affected.

Now I don't know about any of that but I can say for sure that I did experience pain just as you described and still do on occasion. Liver disease takes a loooooooooooooong time to get over sadly, but that's also a good thing because it teaches and forces you into new, healthy habits for your body. (because the experience is such a poor one!).

Quote:
Was it worse when you took a deep breath? Mine is and I'm thinking it's because the diaphragm is pressing on the liver when I inhale deeply.
Absolutely. Inflamed liver is definitely tender, even at rest. Move other stuff around in your tummy and you really notice the discomfort.

Quote:
Also, you mentioned you had a cyst in your liver too. Did your docs think this made things worse? Do you know what causes that? And can the cyst develop into something worse that I should be worried about?
The doctors indicated that the Cyst puts extra stress on your liver and interferes with the function somewhat, so yeah, it can be partly to blame.

That said, my cyst turned out to be a fatty deposit, which is common with people who have a fatty infiltration of the liver.

The chances of a cyst turning into something else is something I am personally not aware of. When I had my CTs done, my doctors just wanted to confirm it was fat and once they'd done that, they didn't seem to worry about it anymore.

Quote:
I really appreciate your patience with all my questions. Thanks.
Anytime hun. I know how it is when you go through these kinds of things because it's downright scary and the information out there and online is sketchy. It can go into the medical detail quite heavily, but doesn't give you much in the way of treatment that definitive or gives you that little ray of sunshine you need to make it through another day.

I was in your boat about 9 months back. Scared and afraid and dealing with a lot of sickness that made you feel yuck pretty much all day, every day. Coming here at least and chatting to people who'd been through it gave me the hope and motivation I needed to start moving in the right direction and keep me going.

I will say right now it does take time and each person is definitely different, so there's no specific timeframe involved. For me, it's been NINE MONTHS and I've still got niggles (I feel about 85% well), but it gets less each day and I feel like I'm recovering well. I still avoid the fatty foods and sugars (as I feel crap after eating them) and exercise regularly where I can. I find as long as I am distracted doing something else I don't even notice my liver and that's a pretty big leap from where I was even 3 months back.

But as with all things, people here are only moral support and part of the equation. You need to ensure that whilst we can give you the friendly hand and big hugs you need, you really need to also focus on what the medical practitioners tell you. The tests can be exhausting and scary, but you have to do them just to ensure that you get better and nothing gets missed. You can't live without your liver hun, and it's imperitive you do everything you can to ensure you pull through this okay. You'd never live with yourself if you had something go wrong or get missed because you grew tired of the tests and didn't get them done.

Be strong. Stay positive and get motivated. I have never been more sick in my entire life than when my liver started to choke, but I pulled through and I'm getting stronger every day.

You will too, okay?

*hugs*

 
Old 03-28-2007, 11:50 PM   #8
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danielm HB Userdanielm HB User
Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

hurtinbaad, start a new thread with your info mate and we'll look at it there.

Cheers

 
Old 03-29-2007, 10:21 AM   #9
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curmudgeon HB User
Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

Thanks danielm, I feel better already!

My pain has actually eased up a tiny bit over the last couple of days but I've been stringent about my eating and I've been at home resting. It seems that the more I do, the worse I feel but I guess that's to be expected when such a major organ is involved.

Thanks again for all your help. It's great to know someone out there has had a similar experience and you've helped me more than you know.

I'll let you know once I've seen my pain doc next week. I'll probably have a whole new batch of questions by then.

*hugs back*

 
Old 03-29-2007, 03:06 PM   #10
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danielm HB Userdanielm HB User
Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

No problems sweetie, glad I could be of some help.

Bear in mind, with your liver under stress feeling tired is quite normal so be sure to take it easy. That's why I took up walking to slow burn my excess fat because it's low impact on the joints and not as strenuous, but it does chew calories nicely. Swimming is also good if you have the means.

It often helps to have that little bit of moral support behind you in such a stressful time, especially from people who've been there and beaten it. Like I said, I'm still in recovery myself, but I'm doing a LOT better now and have a much more positive outlook on my life so I'm happy.

Stay strong and you'll get through it too.

Let me know how you go with the doctor.

(((hugs)))

 
Old 04-04-2007, 06:56 PM   #11
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Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

Well I saw my pain specialist yesterday and he felt that while my meds might be contributing to the stress on my liver, any others he might give me would do the same thing. And I run the risk of additional side effects with a new medication.

So for now, it's status quo. Unless I have another episode of the excruciating pain and then we'll reassess. Meanwhile I'm waiting for a referral to a live specialist and for an MRI.

On the upside, my pain has subsided to smaller stabs that don't last as long and aren't anywhere nearly as bad. Plus I can take a deep breath again. Who knew I'd enjoy breathing so much?

About the milk thistle. How much am I supposed to take? And when do I take it? Is it better to take it in the morning or at bedtime?

Thanks again!

 
Old 04-05-2007, 05:04 PM   #12
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danielm HB Userdanielm HB User
Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

It's great to hear your symptoms are starting to settle so quickly! It's been about 10 months now since I first got sick and I'm still having smaller episodes, but nothing like before. Like I said, everyone is different and depending on what's causing things to happen dictates your recovery time. I already know I'm on a long road to recovery, but I still feel a little better every day so my confidence is good.

I try to avoid synthetic (ie man made) medicines where I can because it does put stress on the liver. I tend to opt for natural remedies where I can because I've been advised by my heptologists they won't hurt my liver at all as long as I stick to the recommended dosages. I've become something of a naturpath as a result and feel really good for it

The milk thistle I personally take 3 times daily as per the dosage on the bottle (I get it in pill form). Once in the morning, lunch and dinner. I don't find the time of day matters at all. When taking milk thistle you have to remember to keep your water intake high. Plenty of green tea and plain water for me and it works a treat. I still take the milk thistle 3 times daily even now... and probably won't stop for a while yet. It's not that expensive and the fact that I know it's doing my liver good gives me all the encouragement I need to continue.

Hang in there hun and see what the MRI concludes.

best wishes!

Last edited by danielm; 04-05-2007 at 05:06 PM.

 
Old 04-15-2007, 10:07 AM   #13
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abatra_75 HB User
Re: Stabbing Pain over Liver

Guys,

Thanks a lot for the helpful info. Here is my story :

Say about 2 months ago, i discovered mild pain in the lower ride of the stomach. First 2-3 days i did some home remedy but at last i went to hospital. Gastro doc did all the blood test and found a) Bacteria infection H. Pylori b) Slightly elevated ALT - 58 ( upper limit for that lab was 51 ).

For H Pylori they gave me anti biotic and for ALT reducing they suggested diet change and exercise. While taking antibiotics - there was no pain in the stomach and after 1 month i went to doc again to chk my liver enzymes - this time ALT was normal.

But again since last one month, i am having pain at the same loctaion, pain is very mild. I went to ER and again they found my ALT was slighty high. My other symptoms are like - feeling weak, sometimes very weak ( may be coz of my diet change - i quit all the sugar, fat and strictkly on home made "good" food ), eye pain, lack of energy, fatigue, restless, low body temp ( 97 degree Fraunheights ) but sometimes i feel okay with good strength. These things making me crazy.

About this ALT enzimes, can i take Milk Thistle. If yes, from where can i get this and how much tabs. Thanks in advance guys. (REMOVED) if you guys can.Pls help me. I am really worried about this weakness episodes and these slightly high ALT elevation.

Regards

Last edited by moderator2; 04-15-2007 at 10:34 AM. Reason: please do not ask members to violate the posting policy

 
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