Posted 8/4/2014 8:12 AM (GMT -7)
Hello, I am new to the forum. I am 35, male and an academic. I am about 30 lbs overweight but otherwise have been in good health the past few years. Family history of colon cancer (paternal) and diabetes (maternal). Possibly sensitivity or intolerance to gluten, but past biopsy for Celiac Disease negative. I have been dealing with some GI issues the past six weeks, and I would like to get some insight and opinion from members of this forum. I recently changed jobs, moved and am still in the process of unpacking. Medical insurance should be set up this week and I hope to schedule an appointment soon with a GI specialist.
A few days before a professional meeting, I had a bout of lower GI distress that I attributed something I had ate. I didn't think much of it at the time, as I experienced typical symptoms: some abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, etc. They solved within a day or so. At the meeting, I indulged in a few too many alcoholic beverages catching up with old friends. The lower GI distress soon returned but with more severe abdominal pain and cramping (5 out of 10 on the pain scale). The abdominal pain was throughout my entire abdomen but after two days localized to the upper right quadrant and also my right flank. On occasion, the pain seem to migrate or radiate along my lower right ribs toward the sternum. I continued to have yellow, loose stools but they slowly improved. On occasion, I would also feel have right back pain and more rarely pain along the left lower rib and back.
Fast forward a couple weeks later. I had to work for two weeks straight in the field (I am a biologist). I seemed more dehydrated than I usually get while active outdoors (mainly several hours a day of hiking) and I became constipated. Before this bout of GI distress, I was very regular every morning like clockwork, but this transitioned to every 48 to 60 hours. After an initial solid bowel movement, I would experience yellow, loose stools then back to the constipation. I also was experience the same strange abdominal pains, which were more cramp-like or it felt like being pricked with a needle: short, intermittent pains that primarily occurred along the lower right ribs but also the back. I also began to experience these pains in the epigastric region and again along the left lower ribs and back. At points, my right lower ribs would be very tender to even touch and I could localize pain in my right mid-back, near the right kidney but slightly more anterior.
At this point, I began to do a considerable amount of research about possible causes of these pains and scheduled an appointment with my GP four weeks ago. After a urinalysis (to rule out kidney) and a short discussion and examination of my abdomen, the GP thought that I might have an intercostal muscle strain that is irritating the nerve causing the intermittent pain. She also thought I may have some bad flora, possibly Clostridium difficile or H. pylori, which perhaps is the underlying culprit. She prescribed Prilosec and a muscle relaxer, which I took for about five days without any noticeable change in my symptoms.
Over the next couple of weeks, my symptoms improved but I continued to have intermittent bouts of abdominal and lower rib and back pain, constipation, more yellowish stools, but no diarrhea. I then visited by chiropractor who noted that my right 10th rib was slightly dislocated at the spine and that I two areas of torn cartilage along the base of my right ribs, which he believed explain largely explain my right upper abdominal pain but not constipation, left side abdominal and rib pain, and yellowish stools.
Fast forward to today and I still have the following symptoms:
-Mainly upper right abdominal pain along lower ribs and back that occasionally also occurs on left side and even epigastric region. The pain does not seem at all to be correlated with when or what I eat, although I have greatly improved my diet over the past month basically eliminating wheat (which causes some GI distress if I eat too much over a period of few days).
-The pain in the epigastric region is usually very short, intermittent and needle-like. Pain along ribs feels more like a dull cramping feeling. Pain the left and right back also feels like a dull ache, almost like gas is trapped, although pain doesn't seem to improve much with a bowel movement.
-Abdominal pain much more noticeable when sitting for prolonged periods (i.e., in the car) rather than when walking or laying down
-Some constipation (every 30 to 48 hours now instead of 24 hours before); however, also bouts when food seems to go straight through me in less than 12 hours.
-Solid stools (yellow to yellowish-brown) but no diarrhea; occasional mucous in stools; a bit more odoriferous than usual
-Feeling more tired than usual
My personal feeling is that I have two health issues occurring (I know this goes against Ockham's Razor):
1. musculoskeletal 9-10th rib problem (torn cartilage and slight dislocation)
2. separate GI ailment that is colon related, possibly IBS?
However, given the location of most of my abdominal pain, I am concerned about gallbladder or possibly pancreas but I don't think my symptoms necessarily fit with issues with these organs (i.e., pain not severe, not associated with eating, no jaundice), but the yellowish stools do. I just wanted to get some insight from those on this forum who perhaps have experienced similar symptoms. Thank you for your time.