Undiagnosed Abdominal Pain
Q: I feel relief just in knowing that there is a female doctor out there who
is going to listen to me, as I cry every night not knowing what to do or who
else to go to in regards to my problem. I read every article you had on your
web page about abdominal problems, and none of them seem to apply to me.
I have been experiencing a tightness or fullness on the upper left side of
my abdomen, right under my ribcage, and when I sometimes move, it feels liquidy,
almost like I have a small water balloon in there, and other times it feels
gassy and is better when I release gas. When I eat, a lot of the time my stomach
gurgles and feels gassy. I have bowel movements sometimes 3 times a day, and
sometimes once a day. When I put pressure on the area, it feels better for awhile
and when I put pressure on the upper left side of my back, it makes it feel
a little better. I did sprain my back on that side years ago, and just recently
it acted up, but I had this before it acted up.
I had a colonoscopy last year, an MRI of the abdomen and pelvic area, and all
they noticed was cysts on my ovaries, so I followed up with a thorough pelvic
exam and pap smear, which showed all was normal. Then I had a CAT scan and ultrasound,
and the only thing that showed up on the ultrasound was a hemangioma. I also
had an x-ray of the small bowel and x-ray of the left ribcage, and again, all
was normal according to my doctors. I am overweight and have significant belly
fat, and on my left side I feel little lumps which my doctor called papilomas.
(I think that is what he called them.) Could they cause this feeling and could
this problem be caused by my bad back on that side since that is the side my
back gives me trouble on?
Nobody I talk to seems to have ever heard of my symptoms and I am at my wits
end. Please help me.
Dr. Donnica: The good news is that you've had "the million dollar workup"
and all the tests show that you don't have any significant, identifiable medical
conditions that need intervention or treatment. The bad news, however, is that
you said that you're overweight and have significant belly fat. Not only could
this be the cause of your problems/symptoms, but this can be a significant increased
risk factor for heart disease (the number one killer of women) and type 2 diabetes.
I strongly recommend a good diet and exercise.
Taking small steps toward improvement will yield big results. Any diet that
works for you is fine, but if you want a recommendation, I strongly recommend
both the Atkins Diet and Weight Watchers. All I ask is that you fully commit
for 2 weeks to start. Once you see the improvement in how you feel (forget the
scale!), you'll be committed for life.
With best regards,
Donnica L. Moore, MD
Created: 2/8/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.