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Unexplained Abdominal/Umbilical Pain

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Old 12-10-2006, 02:51 PM   #1
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Unexplained Abdominal/Umbilical Pain

After my herniorrhaphy in January earlier this year to repair a ventral hernia (including mesh reinforcement), I started experiencing pain around my umbilical area. My general surgeon (through his secretary) reasoned that it could be due to nerve endings attempting to heal, my bodyís slowness at healing from wounds in general, or the hernia mesh possibly agitating the surrounding abdominal tissue. Prior to my visit with my general surgeon this past Friday, December 8, 2006, he had only seen me a few weeks post op from my herniorrhaphy to remove bandaging materials and again on June 29, 2006 to remove a piece of hernia mesh suture that was causing discomfort near my umbilical area. These intermittent bouts of pain that Iíve been experiencing since that time have not greatly interfered with my daily activities.

However, I started experiencing a severe pain around one week ago to the right of my umbilical area while sitting which almost prompted a visit to the Emergency Department at the hospital where this year's surgeries/procedures have taken place at.

The pain subsided, and I decided to hold off seeking treatment for the moment. Recent ďtraumasĒ to the abdomen (i.e. occasional stomach virus, persistent coughing due to the common cold and/or croup), havenít produced this sudden, sharp pain that Iíve been experiencing over the past week. My body has had a great deal of time to get used to the hernia mesh, but I do realize that some people take longer to heal from surgical procedures than others, and I am obviously one of those people. I feel somewhat confident of the location of my uterus, but I donít know if this pain is originating from the uterus or the surrounding reproductive organs. I do experience occasional pressure where my ovaries are located, but I will, of course, be discussing these and other related concerns at my routine gynecological visit at the end of next month.

The pain occurs while sitting down but is more pronounced while attempting to bend or sit. I visited my general surgeon's office this past Friday, December 8, 2006 attempting to schedule a late evening appointment in the near future, as I will be returning to the workforce this week after managing my household for the past 9 years.

I was informed that he had an opening after 2:30, and I was given an appointment. I conceded and explained to his staff that I didnít mind waiting at the hospital until my appointment. While still in his office, I attempted to sit in a chair but was not able to due to the sudden pain that occurred in the right side of my abdomen, to the right of my umbilical area. A member of his staff witnessed my discomfort but did not offer any suggestions as to what could be done about it. It did pass, and I was able to comfortably sit in a chair a short while later in the hospitalís cafeteria. If we were medically insured, I would have immediately visited the Emergency Department within the hospital.

During my visit with the doc, my abdomen was thoroughly examined, but he (nor I) could elicit a pain response on the fly. However, a few minutes before he entered the room, I experienced a severe pain while attempting to bend and informed him of this. Obviously, I could not explain the ďwhyĒ of it. After his examination, he remarked that he didnít feel that any hernia defect had reoccurred but did mention some other possibilities including a possible torn/pulled muscle, another ovarian cyst, or even IBS. Prior to my herniorrhaphy, I felt that I had IBS but have never been officially diagnosed.

He and I both realize that an accurate diagnosis cannot be made based on physical manipulation alone. He mentioned performing further testing (more than likely using CT or MRI sonography) should this persist and/or further management of my condition. I am planning on enrolling in my companyís health benefits program as soon as possible. However, I will take immediate action if the situation worsens before the benefits become effective.

His prescribed regimen of taking 200 mg of Ibuprofen 3x daily has not shown any difference in my pain level. As mentioned earlier, it is sporadic, and there is no definite ďpatternĒ to it. I might be able to comfortably bend or sit one minute and be in excruciating pain the next. I am concerned how this might affect my job performance. My job does not involve lifting, which Iíve been advised NOT to do by the occupational health physician at the medical center who examined me last week regarding pre-employment testing, but I am concerned that these sudden bouts of pain will cause my co-workers concern and possibly warrant a visit to the [local] emergency room. These sudden episodes cause me to clutch my side, and I donít want to scare anyone that might be witnessing one of my attacks. I am not 100% confident that what I have is a strained and/or pulled muscle, so I cannot reassure anyone that my problem is related to this.

I do realize that the recurrence rate of having another ovarian dermoid cyst is low, but hopefully this is not the cause of my problem.

I have thought that I might have costochondritis, which is characterized by pain around the ribcage, but I've not been officially diagnosed. I think a rheumatory specialist is the doctor to consult for this but am not 100% certain.

Any ideas as to what things might be causing this (w/out having underwent any new diagnostic testing for confirmation?)

Thanks in advance,


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Old 12-10-2006, 03:09 PM   #2
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Re: Unexplained Abdominal/Umbilical Pain

I sometimes get this. My doctor also told me IBS. He said that it messes with your intestines so bad that it can cause you to feel pain in odd places. Mine causes me to be lightheaded. I've had an ultrasound of my stomach done. They didn't find anything wrong. Try taking something to help you go to the bathroom a little easier. Good luck.

Old 12-10-2006, 03:15 PM   #3
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Re: Unexplained Abdominal/Umbilical Pain

Originally Posted by shaunsgrl
I sometimes get this. My doctor also told me IBS. He said that it messes with your intestines so bad that it can cause you to feel pain in odd places. Mine causes me to be lightheaded. I've had an ultrasound of my stomach done. They didn't find anything wrong. Try taking something to help you go to the bathroom a little easier. Good luck.

Thanks for the quick reply! I shudder to think that IBS could have this drastic effect on my health! I was getting "accustomed" to the fact that I possibly had it over the past few years, but I didn't notice my abdominal pain w/diarrhea, etc. flareups after my herniorrhaphy, so I thought it might've been related to the hernia.

If I continue to experience pain, I will try to hold off getting further testing done by means of a CT or MRI scan, but I don't know how I'm going to deal with these sharp jabs of pain that cause me to clutch my stomach! Yikes!

IBS can be difficult to diagnose. I think that IBS is used as a "last resort" when it comes to abdominal/GI problems. I don't know of any definite testing that can absolutely prove that IBS is the culprit, but all I can do right now is hope that the flare ups keep to a minimum while I'm at work.

Again, thanks for your reply.


Old 12-16-2006, 01:41 PM   #4
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Re: Unexplained Abdominal/Umbilical Pain

I'm still having more frequent pain issues, and I'm at a loss as to how much I can physically tolerate while waiting almost a month for my [new] employer's health benefits to kick in. Simply put, I can barely move most of the time without eliciting a pain response. It's terrible. My spouse wants me to try to tough it out until the health benefits go into effect.

I called the ER dept. a while ago at the hospital where my surgical procedures took place at. Of course, they cannot offer medical advice. I don't know what an ER visit would cost by just looking at me and not performing any diagnostic testing, but I'm a professional patient, and I know that they'd have to perform some sort of scan to see what's going on in there.

This entire situation makes me want to SCREAM!!

I'll post back as things develop. I sent a fax to my ob/gyn last week, but I didn't make it imperative in the fax that I expected him to call me to discuss this. I'm just giving him the heads up in the event that I end up visiting his office before my scheduled visit with him at the end of January.

I think it could be adhesions/scar tissue. I don't think it's IBS as there's no correlation between the pain and bathroom/bowel habits. LOL

As far as the new job is going, it's stressful, and I'd really like to find something in healthcare (that's a funny one, now, sn't it?! ), but I cannot go to college at this point in the game to pursue medical assisting.

Happy holidays to everyone!


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