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Crohn's Disease Forum » General IBD Discussion » Left Abdominal Pain Questions


07-30-2011, 02:54 PM   #1
allieinwonder
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Left Abdominal Pain Questions

Hello Everyone!

I have been wondering about this for a long time, and I have tried to figure it out on IBS forums (since right now I'm stuck between IBS and IBD), old threads on here, etc...and I have decided to just present my question lol.

As most of you know, I've struggled for a year trying to figure out why I am sick. As my siggy states, I have had SO many tests, all normal except for a vitamin B12 level being "on the lower side of normal" (I drink red bulls and take liquid vitamin B12...it should have been higher than that!). As I have said in the past, I have had so many doctors tell me different things. Over the past year, in order of time....1st GI said crohns or colon cancer (I had lost 12 pound in a week), 2nd GI here in in Germany did colonoscopy, literally said "take an antacid and you'll be fine", GP said "you tests are fine this is all in your head here are some antidepressants you will be fine in a few weeks", 3rd GI at first said severe IBS while looking at my test results, then over the course of 6 months said "damn this looks like crohns", and my current GI (that AWESOME GI moved back to the states...stupid military!) again looked at my test results and said "This is IBS, you must not want to accept your condition" and wouldn't let me show him symptoms or state my case. Just wanted to give you an overview of my crappy year with Drs!

OK, here is my real question. My main symptom is pain. Bad pain. It is a pain like I have been shot or stabbed in the upper left quadrant, and the pain NEVER moves. It has been in the same place since this all started June of 2010. Its severity changes of course, generally if I eat raw veggies and fruits, spicy food, and anything high fiber. Lately I have also noticed that my ribs seem to make the pain worse; if I am in certain positions it feels like my ribs are poking into whatever is causing the pain. Is this normal for Crohns? Does anyone else have crohns/pain in that area? My SBFT showed that there is a lot of small bowel in the area that my pain is in, and not a section a scope can reach. I looked on IBS forums because I just can't really believe that irritable bowel would cause terrible pain in one place, and one place only, for an entire year. My GI (the one that moved and believes its crohns) perscibed me tramadol for it once he took the time to understand my situation. Without it I cannot function the pain is so bad...it is at a 9 on bad days.

Another Question: how many of you had normal test results until their pill cam? I know there are several here, so I know it is possible that this finally will show the issue. I would just love to here from you guys, I'm getting so nervous about being let down again!

Sorry that was so long....a year of frustration shows here! I am so anxious over this pill cam coming back normal that it is driving me insane. I CANNOT be on tramadol for no real reason the rest of my life!
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07-30-2011, 03:24 PM   #2
rygon
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I was diagnosed with chrohns colitis straight away. I do have the same pain as u describe. Although I feel tired all the time I find anything high in sugar and caffeine to make it worse.
07-30-2011, 03:26 PM   #3
allieinwonder
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What test gave you your diagnosis? I feel tired all the time too. I avoid caffeine since it makes my D much worse, but I don't think I have an issue with sugar. I also have issues with anything raw (which sucks because I used to eat fresh fruits and veggies all the time), spicy foods, and anything whole grain or high fiber.

Thanks for the input!
07-30-2011, 03:41 PM   #4
rygon
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I thought red bull was pure caffeine lol. I had a colonoscopy and they took some biopsies to tell.
07-30-2011, 03:43 PM   #5
allieinwonder
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Oh it is, but for awhile I drank them for the 250% vitamin B12. I just dealt with the D it caused. After my blood tests came back the way they did I stopped drinking them.
07-30-2011, 08:53 PM   #6
scoutfinch
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I have Crohn's and my pain is pretty much localized to the left side - usually in 2 spots, in the left mid-torso (approximately and inch or so below my heart) and the left belly (about 2 inches below my belly button, on the left side).

The diagnostic tests have been small bowel series and colonoscopies, which showed a long narrowed area in my small intestine (I'm guessing this is what causes the mid-torso pain) and ulcers in my colon (belly area pain).

However, I also have ulcers in my right side colon but rarely have right side pain. My doctor has said that my left side pain may also be caused by "referred pain" which is feeling symptoms of pain in an area that is not the diseased area.
07-31-2011, 09:23 AM   #7
allieinwonder
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Yeah, it is really weird that the body emits pain in one area for a problem in a completely different area...so confusing! I'm happy that I'm finally getting a test that will finally look at the entire thing from beginning to end...because this pain has to have a cause! It is getting so bad...I just can't believe that an irritable bowel would cause such unbearable pain. Or all the other symptoms I am having...I have 5 ulcers on my tongue at the moment, and it is swollen, along with a massive ulcer in my mouth. I have a skin rash above my eye that has been there the entire current flare.

I am just getting so frustrated! When they keep saying IBS because of the test results I try my best to treat it as such, and I am just getting worse and worse. And then the doctors just get meaner. At the point I am at today, and my pain level and where it is...this has to be crohns. And that pill cam has to show something, or maybe my doctor will see how I am and how much pain I'm in when I go in for the pill cam on Wednesday morning he will realize something is really wrong and try and help me..but I doubt it. Doctors don't ever seem to care.

Sorry for the rant, but I am at the end of my rope today. 14 months of this has completely exhausted me, and I can't handle the pain. Thanks for the input guys.
07-31-2011, 10:38 AM   #8
25times
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I highly doubt that it's ibs. I was misdiagnosed with ibs too, at first. When the pain became unbearable, I realized it had to be something more. I have crohns colitis. My pain is severe, stabbing, excruciating, throbbing, radiating, cramping.. You name it. It is usually in the lower right quadrant, which my GI told me was "crohns pain." Last month, I started getting lower left quadrant pain. I was confused, because at that time I was only diagnosed with crohns. After tests, I was informed I actually had crohns colitis, and the left sided pain was from the colitis.
To be honest, I have pain everywhere. On my bad days, even my hair hurts. My nails, my bones, everything. I have a very high tolerance for pain, and I often think back to these bad days thinking "how the hell did I get through that?"
Crohns is a very, VERY difficult disease to diagnose, and I completely understand your frustrations. I've been having symptoms since I was 6, and was just diagnosed this year. It seems like you're doing everything you can to get some answers, which is good. Don't give up. I did for a few years, and now I have severe crohns, R.A, A.S, strictures... Amongst others I'm being tested for. It sucks. I hope you get a diagnosis. It does sound like crohns, so I think you're on the right track. Good luck
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07-31-2011, 11:08 AM   #9
allieinwonder
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Thanks Samantha. I completely agree, this is SO not IBS. I have actually been going back and looking at my progress this past year, and I have actually been stuck since December when my colonoscopy came back normal. It has taken so long to get this pill cam, and all because doctors told me it wouldn't be worth it. Even the GI I am seeing now, who ordered the pill cam, pretty much thinks I'm a joke. It is so hard to fight this long when people are emotionally breaking you down. I'm also sad that it took this long, because it is now happening at the completely worst time...August 13th I fly back to the states, and it will be hard to get to a military base to get treatment if I finally get diagnosed. But, I have to look at the bright side, I would finally have the ability to get this fixed.

I agree with you, I have gotten much worse over the past year undiagnosed. My flares were a week ish when this started, and the current flare I am in has lasted two months so far. The pain is more severe, and overall all of my symptoms are more severe. The entire week before my last GI appointment I had D 15-20 times a day, 20 minutes after eating. I ended up going on a liquid diet for relief, which was a good idea because the ensure and milkshakes I drank kept my weight from dropping, which usually happens during a flare.

I remember when you first joined the forum and was undiagnosed as well..I'm so glad you are doing better now. I hate what some of us are going through in trying to get treatment because of the bad apple patients that make us all look crazy...>.<
07-31-2011, 11:12 AM   #10
allieinwonder
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Oh, and currently the spot I am in pain is much warmer than the rest of my body, and swollen as well. The first flare that had these symptoms sent me into the hospital because it sounded like there was a severe issue going on. They said they could feel the inflammation by hand because it was so bad, but never did a test to confirm it (I got fed up of the way they were treating me and the language barrier so I asked to be discharged). I have tried tylenol for the fever but it isn't helping. IBS would NOT cause that. I'm kinda glad it has come back so that the pill cam can see it! I don't like the extreme pain though.

Sorry if I repeat myself with anything...I'm on pain meds and I'm not quite feeling like myself.
08-02-2011, 07:37 PM   #11
sorchapatrix
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I have the same thing! It's an upper left abdominal pain right along my ribs, just a tiny bit under my breast. It's a stabbing pain and it hurts alot when I lay on my left side, walk around, or touch the area. sometimes it wakes me up at night if i roll over. I had my gallbladder out and I'm very suspicious it may be the pancreas. . . have you had yours checked? its possible this may be a biliary duct issue.
08-02-2011, 07:43 PM   #12
sorchapatrix
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p.s. this is definitely not IBS. the only way IBS could cause upper left quadrant abdominal pain is through trapped gas, and that pain would be sharp but fleeting. Rome III diagnostic criteria for IBS states that "pain and discomfort are relieved by a bowel movement."
08-02-2011, 11:03 PM   #13
Kordain
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no real help here sorry but just wanted to say good luck with the pill cam. hope they can find something and put your mind at rest at least.
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no meds for two years but got slowly worse
meds now - Salofalk enema (5-aminosalicylic acid, 5-ASA or mesalamine) worked well
more to come next week
08-03-2011, 06:32 AM   #14
25times
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Looks like your pill cam is today! Yay!
Let's hope they find something and you can finally get some answers. Have you been tested for c-diff? It might be something to think about, as a c-diff infection can mimic the symptoms of crohns. It's very possible that you have both. I got c-diff because I had crohns, and I was immuno-suppressed. The pain from c-diff is generally on the left side as well, so it kind of fits your symptoms.


Hope everything goes well today. Let us know how it went!
08-04-2011, 05:28 AM   #15
allieinwonder
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Thanks everyone! The pill cam went well, and it took 55,000 pictures, so I am hoping at least a couple pictures show the issue.

In terms on the left side abdominal pain, it has gotten worse and worse as time has gone by. Tuesday morning it had gotten so bad I was screaming into my pillow...the prep I had to do for the pill cam later that day did not relieve the pain, even with my intestines being cleaned out. When I swallowed the pill and let it do its thing, I could feel when it was passing through the intestines on my left side...I was still in the GI's office at that point, and my pain spiked and got better about 15 minutes later. This happened a couple times after that while we were walking around trying to get the 8 hours to go by fast.

The main reason I keep struggling between IBS and Crohns is the doctors. I know from talking to so many people on here that when doctors tell you "its all in your head", "there is nothing wrong with you", or even, in my case, "you just dont want to accept your condition", that you should walk away and don't let them get to you. But since I have been stuggling with this for so long, since I was 15, it is hard to not let them get me down. I know this cant be IBS, but when doctors don't listen to me when I'm being reasonable with them (I'm very polite with my doctors, and I show respect and patience. I of course do not act like I'm crazy like they assume), its hard to not give up and just listen to them. :/

Samantha, thanks for the c-diff suggestion! I will definitely look into it.
08-04-2011, 02:23 PM   #16
outlier
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I posted a similar question last week. about pain in my lower left side below my ribs. and the answer seems to be yes this is most likely crohn's related and part of the deal.
if it's your rib... I have a lot of rib pain because of arthritis (related to crohn's)
good luck!
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08-04-2011, 02:26 PM   #17
allieinwonder
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yeah sometimes it seems like my rib hurts in a tiny place, but its usually the intestine next to it. At this point you can feel the intestine because it is so inflammed..it is so weird! My wrists really hurt when I flare, and they think it is from the possible IBD as well. What a sucky side effect!

Thanks by the way. I had posted this just to see if the pain was similar to some of the diagnosed, because I had been wondering for so long if it wasn't!
08-05-2011, 11:15 AM   #18
DarrenM
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I'm having similar pains right now. I was diagnosed with Crohn's last year, but this is the first time I'm feeling this kind of pain. It's on the left side of my body near my waist line. It's not the sharp stabbing pains I usually feel, but a deep dull pain that has been there since yesterday. This pain doesn't come and go, it's constant. It's making me a bit nervous.

Hope you find out something from your pill test.
10-24-2011, 08:47 PM   #19
Staceyscarlete
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Hi,
I'm sorry to hear about what your dealing with. I was diagnosed with Crohns nearly three years ago. Mine is in my colon and so I didn't notice it until my stool became irregular. Generally your GI I he is good will be able to diagnose via a colonoscopy patchy means Crohns solid inflamation is colitis but again it depends where in the digestive tract it appears. A CT scan will show any back up that may be causing pain in that area. You upper left rib cage houses your colon and tail end of your pancreas. A sharp pain in my case generally mean my bowel is extremely backed up or else there is a sore or ulcer in that area of my colon that hurts as it contracts attempting to push food down. Your pain may even be an ulcer in your stomach if none of these symptoms seem right to you. I find that pain moves throughout my digestive tract based on where food is sitting and until I have a bowel movement.
While Crohns causes weight loss it is generally due to a crohnies choice not to eat because they know what the out come will be or else a lack of vitamin digestion which means Crohns in the small intestine.
Good luck in attempting to find a diagnosis. Being sick is never fun an dealing with difficult doctors is frustrating. I hope this has helped
10-24-2011, 11:59 PM   #20
sunflower
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I had a doctor tell me once that a chronic pain in one spot, usually means there is something there. Too bad he was a sinus doctor, and he now only does head and neck cancers - but it was an awesome statement! Hang in there. Surely out of those 55,000 pictures, there will be something.

I had Crohn's for a long time before being diagnosed, but by the time they finally decided to actually look at my colon, it was uclerated all the way through, so then the only choices were CD or UC. Small bowel is the hard part because they can't really see. -Oh and my pain is lower left quadrant.
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10-25-2011, 01:04 PM   #21
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I had been diagnosed with crohns May 2010, after they had done multiple tests...the one that came back conclusive was through biopsies....I had been complaining of lower left abdominal pain for quite a few years on & off & my doc sent me for u/s for ovarian cysts & then when she couldn't find any sent me to phsyio for a pulled groin!!! (Even though I was adamant it was my bowel & NOT my groin...)..complained for a few more years & finally developed bloating & excessive D...so finally got into a GI & got diagnosed...but always have had LLQ pain & still to this day I do, even if I am not in a flare I have a constant dull ache in my left lower abdomen...& when I flare it's excruciatingly painful & I can't stand up....my GI has no explanation as to why my pain is localized in my LLQ because my ulcers & blockages have been no where near there....Good luck
10-25-2011, 01:21 PM   #22
allieinwonder
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Thanks everyone. This is actually a really old thread! My road to diagnosis has completely changed.

I still have the left abdominal pain, which can sometimes be swollen and warm to the touch. I had the pill cam and it was normal...which was absolutely devastating. At that point I scheduled an appointment with a Rheumy to see what other autoimmune diseases it could be.

I went and saw the Rheumy on October tenth, and he gave me about 5 minutes to explain my long history and symptoms. He immediately said lupus, gave me an RX for tramadol every 8 hours for the pain, and flexeril (a muscle relaxer) at night to try and improve my sleep. He ran a ton of blood tests looking for Lupus and possibly RA. He said if I was ANA postive he was going to diagnose Lupus, and if I was negative he was going to diagnose fibromyalgia and continue looking for Lupus.

Well, I got news from the Rheumy yesterday. I'm ANA positive. I know being ANA positive doesn't mean you have Lupus, but with my symptoms and history it makes it that way. To be diagnosed with Lupus you have to have 4 out of the 11 criteria, and I now have 5 with the positive ANA. So, we have finally found whats wrong. It wasn't Crohn's after all.

Lupus can cause the lining of your intestines to be inflamed, just like Crohn's does to the inner portions. This can cause GI symptoms that look like IBD! I was looking in the wrong place the entire time. I am so glad I kept going and went to that Rheumy, who finally figured out my medical mystery. No more feeling like a hypochondriac...THANK GOD!

Hope everyone is doing well. Once I have an official diagnosis I'm going to create a thread on here, just don't want to jump the gun.
10-25-2011, 07:23 PM   #23
Kordain
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So good to hear you finally go there. Wishing you all the best on the road forward. Just knowing makes things so much easier.

Well done
10-25-2011, 08:52 PM   #24
sunflower
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Glad you found your answers! Yes, Lupus is the great pretender. it pretends to be many diseases. Stay out of the sun! And, take care.
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