I would like to ask a question of the collective wisdom of the group.
I also very much apologise for what is probably going to be a long (but thorough) post and thank you before you begin your quest The Recent History
For about three months I have been taking 2 x 25mg Voltaren tablets twice per day to help treat an episode of "periodically chronic" neck pain. I was also getting treatment for this from a physiotherapist. During the three months there was a few periods of about a week or so in duration when I was not taking the Voltaren tablets. I have subsequently found out that Voltaren can be liver toxic in some people.
Also during this period I was working very intensely on a project. This could mean 16 hours per day for 6 or 7 days per week. I work in IT so this meant sitting at desk for extremely long periods.
Three or four nights per week (on the more stressful days) I would take 1 or 2 Valerian Forte (herbal) tablets to help me get to sleep. I have also found out that Valerian can be liver toxic.
My alcohol intake also increased a little. It went up from 1 glass of wine 4 or 5 nights per week to around 1 or 2 glasses per night 5 or 6 nights per week. This is probably best described as going from a very low to low level of alcohol consumption.
I was also drinking 2 or 3 espresso coffees per day. This is up from what would have been normally 1 or 2 espresso per day.
My weight is OK but could be better. My BMI hovers around 25 - just on the border of overweight according to some measures. I could lose about 5kgs (10lbs).
While I have not had it tested for about 18 months my blood glucose and cholesterol levels have always been mid-range normal. My diet in the past 12 months or so has actually got a little better so my next tests are likely to still show normal or possibly better. The Symptoms
About one month ago I got quite bad indigestion and reflux after taking my regular dose of Voltaren. The next morning the same thing happened. I knew that the Voltaren tablets can cause symptoms like this and thought that I may have given myself some sort of gastric ulcer. I stopped taking them immediately and went to my doctor that afternoon. He prescribed some Losec tablets to reduce my stomach acid and booked me in for a Gastroscopy.
The gastric symptoms started to subside after about a week.
Two weeks after the onset of the gastric symptoms I started to get a pain in upper right abdomen between bottom of ribs and top of my pelvis. The evening of the first day the pain started it progressively got worse and I went to the ED because I thought it was something serious. After a number of tests (details below) it was decided that there was nothing critically wrong with me and I should seek a follow up consultation with my doctor.
The pain intensity varied from day to day. At its worst I would also get some sort of referred pain in my right testicle (all guys reading are now wincing). The pain has subsided in the ensuing two weeks so now that is about a 1 out of ten (a dull ache that occasionally is not noticeable). The Test Results
Full Abdominal CT Scan - Normal study. No significant abnormality demonstrated.
Full Blood Screen (Not Fasting) - Everything was within what the report considered the normal range
Upper Abdominal Ultrasound - Normal examination apart from suggestion of hepatic steatosis.
Gastroscopy - Visual inspection shows nothing remarkable. Awaiting results of a couple of biopsies for presence of H. Pylori and Celiac Disease. What do my Doctor and GI / Liver Specialist say?
Nothing to worry about. Fatty liver found in ultrasound is mild and no worse than many people have today. The results don't show anything serious or anything that could be causing the pain. It is probably muscular and will just go away.
What do I think?
All of the things outlined in my history add up to me being guilty of low to moderate level liver abuse for a shortish period
This has resulted in my fatty liver and probably the abdominal pain. What am I doing about it?
I reduced alcohol when stomach symptoms started and have had no alcohol since abdominal pain started.
Started to exercise regularly (nothing like a scare to focus the mind)
Virtually cut out the coffee. Now only 2 or 3 cups per week.
Started taking Liver detox capsule (as directed on packet) that contain lots of milk thistle and dandelion root, etc.
Drinking lots more herbal teas (e.g. dandelion, mint, green, etc)
Drinking lots of water (I have been doing this for years anyway. 2 - 3 liters / day)
Scheduled a fasting blood test to confirm that blood glucose and cholesterol are still normal. My questions to the group
Does my non-medical diagnosis as to the cause of my symptoms being me doing too many little unfriendly things to my liver for the last 3 months make sense? Or are the doctors right about it being muscular?
If my symptoms are liver related how long do you think it will take for my liver to recover? 3 months? 6 months? 12 months? Longer?
Is there anything else I should do or any other tests that are worth asking my doctor for?
Sorry for the long post but I thought to get a valid answer I needed to give the full story?
Thanks in advance to all who take the time to read my little story.