Discussions By Condition: Gastrointestinal conditions

Please help - mysterious chronic stomach pain?

Posted In: Gastrointestinal conditions 7 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • March 12, 2008
  • 06:04 PM

Sorry it's long, and I hope it's not confusing. I tried to get as much detail as possible.

In June 2004 (I was 18) I suddenly developed severe stomach pain that made me feel like my stomach was constantly bloated (despite not being about to eat or drink anything for almost a month) and it was extremely tender. I was barely able to walk two feet without feeling like my stomach was going to explode. I didn’t vomit (because I couldn’t eat) but I did dry heave, and it caused me to lose 30 pounds in about one month.
After about 3 weeks to a month later that began to clear up, but almost immediately afterwards my stomach began to burn constantly, and the tenderness never got better. I just figured it was a bad virus and waited to see if it would clear up on its own (dumb idea. But the tenderness was so bad that not only riding in a car, but even walking quickly would jostle my stomach so much it would get very upset, and still does, so I dont leave home too often :(.) Finally in September 2004 it began to feel better, although I did end up in the ER with chest pains, which was diagnosed as tachycardia, although now I’m beginning to wonder about that since every time I get bad acid or tenderness in my stomach, my chest will feel tight and hurt in that same way. I didn’t mention my stomach problems in the ER because I thought they were over. I still had some discomfort but for the most part I thought I was recovering.
Then in June 2005 it all began again, and it never got better. I kept thinking it was just indigestion and waited for it to clear up, but it never did, and I began to suspect an ulcer so I finally went to the doctor in December 2006. He tested me for h. pylori since my symptoms sounded exactly like an ulcer, but it came back negative to he gave me a combination antacid/proton pump inhibitor and told me to come back in a month. It helped clear up the acid considerably, but the tenderness was still there. He gave me another month, in which no improvement occurred, so he sent me to a gastroenterologist.
The gastroenterologist switched me to a new medication which didn’t help, and in fact made it worse, so I had an upper endoscopy in April 2007, and he took several biopsies. He originally suspected spastic stomach because it only takes a few bites of food before I feel like I’m totally full (also right after I eat I feel like my stomach is jumping and trying to reject the food…not necessarily vomit, but I feel the food rising up and down my esophagus several times before finally settling down. And I can only eat standing up…when I eat sitting down I fill up even faster and the jumping feeling is worse…I have no idea why, it could all just be in my head. I didn’t tell him these things because I didn’t think of it at the time. Also, I've had hiccups more frequently since this began.)
Anyway, after the endoscopy he mentioned that there was a small amount of bile in my stomach, and also he was going to look into IBS, which would make sense since I’ve been prone to constipation since childhood. Even now (especially after this problem started) I’ve had bad, frequent constipation or the feeling that I ‘didn’t get it all out’ about 80-85% of the time and diarrhea 10-15% of the time (a little more lately. I’ve been getting terrible diarrhea more often lately, especially at around 12 to 3am:confused:)
I went back for a follow up a month later, and he didn’t mention the bile again, but he said other than a little bit of inflammation, I ‘could be used as an example of what healthy is’, which was more frustrating than a relief, because now I have absolutely no idea why it feels so bad. He ended up giving me a one year Nexium prescription and told me to try stopping after six months. He also have me one year of hyoscyamine for the spasms, which help most of the time, but only when I use them for intestinal cramping or when I have diarrhea. Lately I’ve been experiencing nighttime nausea, and it helps a lot with that too. He asked me originally if the pain woke me up at night, and I said no because back then it wasn’t that bad, but it’s gotten worse since then so that I only get a few hours of sleep every night.
I did try to stop the Nexium after six months (November 2007) but found that it made it worse, so I’m still on it now, but I take it every three days instead of every day because I’m afraid that antacids are making the tenderness worse. Especially since I don’t even feel like I have bad acid anymore, but I can’t understand why it still feels so raw and inflamed if there is no acid (I did read that lack of acid can cause that, but then how does that explain the occasional burning and sloshing?)
Also lately I’ve been extremely thirsty. No matter how much water I drink, my face and lips are always dry and cracked and the inside of my nose is constantly uncomfortably dry. Could this be related? My mother thinks I should get tested for diabetes, but I’m not sure if that’s it. Although I do have alternating symptoms of both diabetes and hypoglycemia, but only sometimes. (thirst, increased urination, fatigue, but no hunger , and no weight loss….but when I don’t eat often enough I get extremely lethargic, nauseous, and a bad headache which is almost always relieved immediately by eating. My maternal grandfather had hypoglycemia “but only sometimes” (:confused:) and my paternal grandfather was diabetic)
I had been wondering if I should look into the bile in my stomach, even though the doctor didn’t seem too concerned. I’ve been tasting bile a lot lately when I eat. Also, when I was in the second grade I had to be taken out of school and be homeschooled because of frequent bad stomachaches, which I went to the doctor for and he mentioned something about ‘strange liver activity’ (I can’t remember what he said exactly since it was a long time ago) but he eventually attributed it to growing pains, and we never looked into it since I began to feel better not too much later. This entire thing began after I had alcohol for the first time, so I’m beginning to wonder if it is something to do with my liver or gallbladder.
Additional information:
-Diet doesn’t really seem to make a difference. At first I told my doctor that spicy foods, etc didn’t bother me, only caffeine and chocolate (which make me feel like I’m having the inside of my stomach slowly pulled away by a vegetable peeler and then having lemon juice squeezed on) but now not only can’t I handle spicy foods, but onions, tomato, and most raw vegetables get me too. What I mean by diet doesn’t make a difference is I can eat any amount of any combination of anything (carbs, fiber, protein…) and it doesn’t improve or worsen my symptoms, even the IBS. It’s as if my stomach is totally random in deciding how it wants to react to food every day. Could it actually be food allergies? I experimented with dairy and wheat, but didn’t really find a difference. I used to be lactose intolerant, but now it doesn’t bother me like it used to.
-I took asprin occasionally because I have a vein malformation on my left arm, which I used to help blood flow and prevent blood clots. I stopped after about a month, but this was within one year of the stomach pain beginning. I haven’t taken asprin again since then, but I was wondering if it could have anything at all to do with my stomach lining maybe breaking down and being susceptible to infections.
-My stomach pain seems to subside for awhile if I’m in an incredibly good mood (only happens about once every two years) Does that mean that it really is all in my head? I mean I don’t believe it is, but how else could that be explained?
-The tenderness used to only be located on my stomach, but it slowly began to spread out all over, down into my lower intestines. Sometimes I’ll feel as if I have constant menstrual cramps no matter what time of month it is. I also began to get lower back pain over the past six months because of this (mostly located on the right side, extending around to the front pelvic region). I’ve had a small lump in my lower left abdomen for almost ten years, which never has caused me any pain and sometimes even disappears, but when my lower intestines begin to feel raw and inflamed, that spot hurts to most. Any idea of what that is?
Any help would really be appreciated, since I’ve already missed four years of my life because of this. Also my family is getting really annoyed by my constant complaining and I think they are beginning to think I'm just making it all up.:p

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7 Replies:

  • Sorry it's long, and I hope it's not confusing. I tried to get as much detail as possible. In June 2004 (I was 18) I suddenly developed severe stomach pain that made me feel like my stomach was constantly bloated (despite not being about to eat or drink anything for almost a month) and it was extremely tender. I was barely able to walk two feet without feeling like my stomach was going to explode. I didn’t vomit (because I couldn’t eat) but I did dry heave, and it caused me to lose 30 pounds in about one month.After about 3 weeks to a month later that began to clear up, but almost immediately afterwards my stomach began to burn constantly, and the tenderness never got better. I just figured it was a bad virus and waited to see if it would clear up on its own (dumb idea. But the tenderness was so bad that not only riding in a car, but even walking quickly would jostle my stomach so much it would get very upset, and still does, so I dont leave home too often :(.) Finally in September 2004 it began to feel better, although I did end up in the ER with chest pains, which was diagnosed as tachycardia, although now I’m beginning to wonder about that since every time I get bad acid or tenderness in my stomach, my chest will feel tight and hurt in that same way. I didn’t mention my stomach problems in the ER because I thought they were over. I still had some discomfort but for the most part I thought I was recovering.Then in June 2005 it all began again, and it never got better. I kept thinking it was just indigestion and waited for it to clear up, but it never did, and I began to suspect an ulcer so I finally went to the doctor in December 2006. He tested me for h. pylori since my symptoms sounded exactly like an ulcer, but it came back negative to he gave me a combination antacid/proton pump inhibitor and told me to come back in a month. It helped clear up the acid considerably, but the tenderness was still there. He gave me another month, in which no improvement occurred, so he sent me to a gastroenterologist.The gastroenterologist switched me to a new medication which didn’t help, and in fact made it worse, so I had an upper endoscopy in April 2007, and he took several biopsies. He originally suspected spastic stomach because it only takes a few bites of food before I feel like I’m totally full (also right after I eat I feel like my stomach is jumping and trying to reject the food…not necessarily vomit, but I feel the food rising up and down my esophagus several times before finally settling down. And I can only eat standing up…when I eat sitting down I fill up even faster and the jumping feeling is worse…I have no idea why, it could all just be in my head. I didn’t tell him these things because I didn’t think of it at the time. Also, I've had hiccups more frequently since this began.) Anyway, after the endoscopy he mentioned that there was a small amount of bile in my stomach, and also he was going to look into IBS, which would make sense since I’ve been prone to constipation since childhood. Even now (especially after this problem started) I’ve had bad, frequent constipation or the feeling that I ‘didn’t get it all out’ about 80-85% of the time and diarrhea 10-15% of the time (a little more lately. I’ve been getting terrible diarrhea more often lately, especially at around 12 to 3am:confused:)I went back for a follow up a month later, and he didn’t mention the bile again, but he said other than a little bit of inflammation, I ‘could be used as an example of what healthy is’, which was more frustrating than a relief, because now I have absolutely no idea why it feels so bad. He ended up giving me a one year Nexium prescription and told me to try stopping after six months. He also have me one year of hyoscyamine for the spasms, which help most of the time, but only when I use them for intestinal cramping or when I have diarrhea. Lately I’ve been experiencing nighttime nausea, and it helps a lot with that too. He asked me originally if the pain woke me up at night, and I said no because back then it wasn’t that bad, but it’s gotten worse since then so that I only get a few hours of sleep every night.I did try to stop the Nexium after six months (November 2007) but found that it made it worse, so I’m still on it now, but I take it every three days instead of every day because I’m afraid that antacids are making the tenderness worse. Especially since I don’t even feel like I have bad acid anymore, but I can’t understand why it still feels so raw and inflamed if there is no acid (I did read that lack of acid can cause that, but then how does that explain the occasional burning and sloshing?)Also lately I’ve been extremely thirsty. No matter how much water I drink, my face and lips are always dry and cracked and the inside of my nose is constantly uncomfortably dry. Could this be related? My mother thinks I should get tested for diabetes, but I’m not sure if that’s it. Although I do have alternating symptoms of both diabetes and hypoglycemia, but only sometimes. (thirst, increased urination, fatigue, but no hunger , and no weight loss….but when I don’t eat often enough I get extremely lethargic, nauseous, and a bad headache which is almost always relieved immediately by eating. My maternal grandfather had hypoglycemia “but only sometimes” (:confused:) and my paternal grandfather was diabetic)I had been wondering if I should look into the bile in my stomach, even though the doctor didn’t seem too concerned. I’ve been tasting bile a lot lately when I eat. Also, when I was in the second grade I had to be taken out of school and be homeschooled because of frequent bad stomachaches, which I went to the doctor for and he mentioned something about ‘strange liver activity’ (I can’t remember what he said exactly since it was a long time ago) but he eventually attributed it to growing pains, and we never looked into it since I began to feel better not too much later. This entire thing began after I had alcohol for the first time, so I’m beginning to wonder if it is something to do with my liver or gallbladder.Additional information:-Diet doesn’t really seem to make a difference. At first I told my doctor that spicy foods, etc didn’t bother me, only caffeine and chocolate (which make me feel like I’m having the inside of my stomach slowly pulled away by a vegetable peeler and then having lemon juice squeezed on) but now not only can’t I handle spicy foods, but onions, tomato, and most raw vegetables get me too. What I mean by diet doesn’t make a difference is I can eat any amount of any combination of anything (carbs, fiber, protein…) and it doesn’t improve or worsen my symptoms, even the IBS. It’s as if my stomach is totally random in deciding how it wants to react to food every day. Could it actually be food allergies? I experimented with dairy and wheat, but didn’t really find a difference. I used to be lactose intolerant, but now it doesn’t bother me like it used to.-I took asprin occasionally because I have a vein malformation on my left arm, which I used to help blood flow and prevent blood clots. I stopped after about a month, but this was within one year of the stomach pain beginning. I haven’t taken asprin again since then, but I was wondering if it could have anything at all to do with my stomach lining maybe breaking down and being susceptible to infections.-My stomach pain seems to subside for awhile if I’m in an incredibly good mood (only happens about once every two years) Does that mean that it really is all in my head? I mean I don’t believe it is, but how else could that be explained?-The tenderness used to only be located on my stomach, but it slowly began to spread out all over, down into my lower intestines. Sometimes I’ll feel as if I have constant menstrual cramps no matter what time of month it is. I also began to get lower back pain over the past six months because of this (mostly located on the right side, extending around to the front pelvic region). I’ve had a small lump in my lower left abdomen for almost ten years, which never has caused me any pain and sometimes even disappears, but when my lower intestines begin to feel raw and inflamed, that spot hurts to most. Any idea of what that is?Any help would really be appreciated, since I’ve already missed four years of my life because of this. Also my family is getting really annoyed by my constant complaining and I think they are beginning to think I'm just making it all up.:pHave you ever had a colonoscopy? Or has your GI doctor ever suspected diverticulitis?
    Beth56 272 Replies Flag this Response
  • I believe you should look into porphyria as a possible problem; perhaps along with another illness. http://www.porphyriafoundation.com/about_por/overview/index.htmlhttp://www.porphyriafoundation.com/about_por/types/index.htmlhttp://www.porphyriafoundation.com/pat_stories/index.htmlhttp://www.noah-health.org/en/kidver/liver/diseases/Porphyria.html In June 2004 (I was 18) I suddenly developed severe stomach pain
    TaylorDeelwithit 382 Replies Flag this Response
  • No, I've only had done what I mentioned in the first post...because at that time it was only my upper abdominal area that was bothering me (and still is the biggest problem) so I didn't mention that to him. As for porphyria, thank you for the suggestion, I looked into it, but I actually feel BETTER when I've been in the sun for a little while (perhaps a vitamin D deficiency.)
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hina, are you still checking the board? You sound EXACTLY like me except that I've been going thru it for 8 years. I also have a lump that's been there for about 9 years and I think it created a blockage. :(
    woodrock 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • It seems to me that you have several symptoms that can be caused by acid reflux. One helpful medicine that you could try, that would decrease the feeling of your stomach "rejecting" the food would be metoclopram (metoclopramide) or reglan. This drug is used to aid in emptying your stomach of its contents. This might also help the feeling that you get too full after only eating a few bites. It might also be helpful to switch to a different PPI (Nexium) to a drug like Protonix. Sometimes just switching the drugs around can help the symptoms.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 19, 2008
    • 05:41 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I don't know if you still check this board, but I have read some boards in the past, due to having some strange digestive issues. I remember reading a girl's post about Bile Reflux, Bile refluxing into her stomach, I believe that others were suggesting she have her gallbladder checked. I can't remember what the board was to go back and check and there is so much threads on these type of boards to choose from. I looked up some info, because I don't believe your supposed to have any bile in your stomach. Bile is supposed to be released after eating by the gallbladder. It isn't supposed to back up into the stomach, so it's a good symptom to start looking at. Here is one link, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bile-reflux/DS00651 It says bile in your stomach from bile reflux will inflame the stomach, and that when you have it you will also have acid reflux, and so it's easy to think your problem is just acid reflux. It also says something about drugs for this problem, and that it can be the pyloric valve of the stomach not closing correctly or gallbladder related, or peptic ulcer related. But it specifically talks about stomach pain and stomach inflamation.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • November 20, 2008
    • 10:52 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • hi that sounds so awful I too have had lots of digestion issues until with IBS over many years. I have to suggestions for you that are all natural may help you tremendously number one juicing. Raw fruits and vegetables, massive my pro entrance that allow your body to heal itself from the inside out. Number 2 , a decision from yoga called the extended puppy pose. looks like the child's pose but your stomach is flat on the floor and youR buttocks is in the air I had massive pain in my stomach thought it was going to explode caused by a 24 hour bug No pills would help but within a minute of a long getting my stomach the pressure was liFted. I slept like this, with a pillow under my stomach, which was the only way I could sleep and I was able to sleep through the night sounds toO simple to be true but really worked..best of luck to you
    amymarie 1 Replies Flag this Response
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