Crohn's Disease Forum » General IBD Discussion » Upper abdomen hunger pain

11-20-2017, 12:25 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Billingham, United Kingdom
Upper abdomen hunger pain

Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the problem we have been dealing with the past couple of years. A bit of background first:

My girlfriend Tracey, 26, was diagnosed with Crohn's 8 years ago. Needless to say she has been struggling with it ever since, had to stop working after a while and hasn't since.

She has tried mezavant, mercaptopurine, azathioprine, infliximab in the past, and was most recently on Humira. She had her gallbladder removed about 2 years ago and a stricture in the sigmoid colon half a year ago. They've also removed her appendix during the last surgery.

Tracey has been experiencing ongoing hunger pains in the upper abdomen, at the centre where the stomache is. She's had an endoscopy before the surgery but they couldn't see anything abnormal. These pains are ongoing, but some days are just better than others. These pains can also happen even after she eats. She describes it as a feeling of emptiness that leads to pain. Since this started she's also experienced a lot of wind, normally coming through the upper passage.

Now the reason she's had her gallbladder removed was just because of these pains, only that they occurred on her sides rather than the centre as it happens now. Since then she only found the problem to be increasing rather than resolved.

We've talked to her GP, Gastro, Specialist nurse about this issue but don't seem to be getting an helpful response. Does anyone here have had any experience with this, or knows someone who did?

My best wishes to you all,
11-20-2017, 01:56 PM   #2
Jess_inToronto's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Toronto, Ontario

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I don't know if this is helpful to you or Tracey, Orestis, since my symtoms are not as severe as you describe, but: I had my gallbladder removed last year, and since then there have been a few occasions when I've had stomach aches that last for several hours, though it has never lasted for longer than that. The pains are more centered than the upper right abdominal pains you'd have with a gallstone attack, as you describe. I had an endoscopy after a few of these instances which also showed nothing.

One of these stomach aches, though, led to severe vomiting and a bowel obstruction. When I got the same symptoms recently, I went to the hospital but was told there was no obstruction, and the best thing I could do was switch to a liquid diet for a few days. The stomach pains went away within 24 hours.

My best theory (based on my obstruction experience) is that the removal of the gallbladder and reattachment of the bile duct to my intestines left some scar tissue that may be causing or impacting a narrowing of the intestine. The emergency room docs told me that this could cause further stomach aches in the future, just from digesting food. Maybe this is what's happening with Tracey. I hope you can find something that works to relieve those pains; they are no fun at all.
11-21-2017, 06:04 AM   #3
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zHassanz's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Alexandria, Egypt

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First of all I'm really sorry she has to go through this, but I have been experiencing the same pain for over 3 years. When I first had this pain, I was prescribed PPIs (drugs for ulcers) and I literally tried every single active ingredient out there until I found my good match. When the pain aggravated (that was 2 years in) and the gas problem started to show up (mostly burping) I had an upper endoscopy which showed Crohn's manifesting in my stomach and not just my ileum.

That's when my doctor prescribed me Dexilant (Dexlanzoprazole; a strong PPI) along with something that increased motility which was Itopride and of course I had to alter my diet a bit to avoid anything acidic or anything that is not easily digested.

The key was for the food to spend the least amount of time in my stomach, and to be as light as possible for those ulcers to heal and the annoying pain associated with hunger bangs to go away. I'm not going to say that I don't experience it now, but it has lessened A LOT now that I take this combination of drugs and follow the altered diet.

I really hope she'll find this of help, and if you need more information don't hesitate to ask.

Sending hugs!

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