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Reflux, gallbladder or costochondritis?

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Old 12-23-2012, 06:31 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: perth
Posts: 4
cloudy77 HB User
Reflux, gallbladder or costochondritis?

Hi everyone and Merrrrry Christmas!

I'm a lean 35 yr old bloke and I have a deep gnawing pain, like someone punched me, in the middle of my sternum and usually to the right, deep behind ribs.

It came on suddenly two months ago after doing my weights. I actually went to the ER! It started as a tightness feeling in the sternum. I took some gaviscon, it did nothing. Then it just grew from there to engulf my whole chest area like it was being put through a vice. Breathing in and out was fine. Funny though how no medication helped at the time. Since then I have had the breath test, blood work, ECG and ultrasound. All normal however ultrasound found possible numerous polyps on my gallbladder which was supposedly not unusual or important. Its now a dull ache around my sternum.

So the options I can think of.

Possible Reflux? - its in the family, I burp a lot which "seems" to relieve the soreness, I had been on these protein shakes for a month prior and found then to cause pain if taken with food. i had one before the weight session. I then tested the protein shake weeks later and felt the pain coming back after a glass of it. So I don't touch them anymore. In the height of the initial pain at ER I burped loudly and this gave me great pain in the lower oesophagus like I was burping pins. HOWEVER liquid antacids did nothing. Even nexium and now pariet medication, which I have been on for a month now, are not helping. The pain isn't burning either, but like someone punched me as I said.

Possible gallbladder issue? - the pain sits around this area, I have felt nauseas at times, possible issue as seen on ultrasound, HOWEVER I feel better after eating, does not radiate to shoulder or back, I feel better after burping sometimes, alcohol usually alleviates the pain!!!!! the pain does not come in episodes or wake me up

Possible costochondritis?
- it occurred after that weight session (not suddenly though like a pulled muscle but gradually after I stopped) and the pain now can appear after movement. When i sit down and do nothing I usually feel OK but once I get up or and twist my body I can feel the bruising type pain. Strangely, alcohol also alleviates it (just one glass). Although the pain feels like its inside the body, the muscles between the ribs in the area do feel a bit sorer than the ribs on the left. HOWEVER I burp a lot and sometimes feel the acid from the stomach burn my throat.

You can see why the doctors are stumped. I may try a pain reliever and see if the pain goes away. The alcohol trick is really strange. I had another last night and I felt fine! Why would this help reflux? Would taking ibuprofen be a good indicator here, if it goes away it must be muscle related right?

Thanks for reading, throw me your thoughts!

Last edited by cloudy77; 12-23-2012 at 06:39 PM.

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Old 12-23-2012, 08:07 PM   #2
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Re: Reflux, gallbladder or costochondritis?

hi, I too am dealing with some right upper quandrant pain and have gone thru lots of tests. One you could try is to eliminate fat as much as you can from your diet for a couple of weeks and see if that helps. Not sure if you know but the gall bladder secretes bile to break up the fat that we eat so if there's a problem there, stones, slowness, sludge or whatever it will help diagnosis. when yous said you had a ultrasound what was it of?

I had a upper GI and colonoscopy, gallbladder ultrasound, they tested for bacteria in the gut and celiac disease and I had stool sample tests everything normal. Last week I ended up in the ER all day and had a CT scan w/ contrasts all normal. Last wed I had a MRCP (MRI of Gall bladder) and thur a HIDA scan of gall bladder (checking for bile flow) but no results back yet.

Today I ate a tiny tiny piece of chocolate fudge pie and had an attack, GB pain, diarrhea, nausea. there was right much fat in it, stupid me, huh? but it was good!

There are so many things in our gut that can cause our pain, that is the problem. gastritis, diverticulitis, the GB just so many. Try the low fat diet for a couple of weeks see if that helps. did they do an upper GI on you yet? where they put the camera down into your tummy?


Old 12-23-2012, 09:34 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: perth
Posts: 4
cloudy77 HB User
Re: Reflux, gallbladder or costochondritis?

Hey Cathy, thanks for the reply.

The key to your issue is the fact that eating that pie made you sick. I just had lunch. A meat pie (an aussie tradition) and a chocolate eclair. Very nice! I feel no different now. Which makes me think its not my GB.

However I rarely eat fatty foods.

I had an ultrasound of the kidneys, gallbladder and generally all over my abdomen.

No upper GI yet. Had it done 10 years ago and barium swallow however - all good. I'll ask for another one next time I see the doc.

I am leaning towards it being a hiatal hernia. I've had this kinda sore feeling all my adult life, so has my Dad, but maybe the weight training worsened it. I just remember when the attack happened that time two months ago, I was amazed how nothing soothed it like gaviscon, mylanta.. even the ER gave me this numbing liquid to swallow which did nothing.

When I burped and it hurt my oesophagus, maybe this was due to the gas escaping past the hernia area which at the time was aggravated?? The key is here somewhere I just need to find it.

I want to try the ibuprofen like my doc suggested as tried to rule out costo but I'm a little worried it will make it worse, especially if this is a reflux or ulcer problem (although the breath test said otherwise).

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