Abdominal cramping, could this be something serious?

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About a month ago I noticed that my stomach seemed a little more bloated/distended than usual and immediately began freaking out. I did two pregnancy tests (more than a week apart) and both came back negative (I don't get periods due to Endometriosis medication/contraceptive pill). Now, for the past week, I've had left sided abdominal pain. When I tried to locate the source by prodding around I couldn't feel any tender spots, but my back was extremely tender at either side of my lower spine. I started to wonder if it was my back causing the pain, but then I started having pain under my left ribs around my pancreas but only while sitting. The rest of the pain (a burning pain) continues while I'm in bed, and this has been going on for around two weeks.

I'll be honest, I have terrible posture and tend to sit like this: http://tinyurl.com/jm3ytj8 and I've had abdominal pains before due to my posture, so I wouldn't be surprised if anyone suggested it could be related. Right now I'm not as bad as I have been, the only issues I have is that my lower abdomen looks more distended than usual (could be due to coffee), my stools are loose, dark and smell foul and I'm getting a sharp twinge in my lower left abdomen. I will also go more than a day without a bowel movement at times. After I have a bowel movement I will feel an internal burning in my left abdomen, near my pelvis. I visited my doctor yesterday and had a blood test and h.pylori breath test done and am waiting for results. Depending on the results I may also be having a CT scan to see if it could be my pancreas. My last CT scan was around a year ago when I was suffering from something very similar (left side pain around ribs). The CT scan found nothing, but then my doctor told me he could see that my ribcage was twisted and this might be the cause, prescribed me muscle relaxers and cracked my back for me which seemed to do the trick).

To make this as simple as possible I'm going to list all the symptoms I DO have and all the symptoms I DON'T have that I know can be related to possible causes.

DO HAVE

- Abdominal pain/cramping

- Distended lower abdomen

- Loose, dark, foul smelling stools

- Mucus in stools

- Heartburn

- Back ache

- Pelvic pain/burning

- Belching

DON'T HAVE

- Nausea or vomiting

- A loss of appetite

- Urinary problems

- Trouble swallowing

- Fatigue

- Yellow skin

- Any skin issues

- Visible blood in stool

Also, a list of medical problems:

- Hypermobility/arthritis

- IBS

- Endometriosis (diagnosed without laparoscopy)

- Twisted ribcage (likely due to trauma)

- Fibromyalgia

- Anxiety

- GERD

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, I've had very similar symtoms for nearly 2 years.. I'm interested to know why you're having your pancreas scanned? Did a blood test indicate that there could be something wrong with it? I've not had mine scanned nor has it even been a suggestion. I have pain right around the left side just under the rib cage which is worse when there is more passing around my bowel (including trapped wind).. I wouldn't worry about having a bowel movement every day, I sometimes don't have one for 5 days and the doctor isn't even concerned about that. Some people just have lazy bowels.

    I did hurt my back in summer 2014 trying to move something really heavy and something gave in that area but it seemed to get better over time (at least that's what I thought).

    I've had abdo CT, abdo mri, kidney ct, kidney renogram, heart ct, chest xrays, 2 colonosopys, 1 camera down throat, numerous blood tests and nothing discovered to date yet the discomfort persists.

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    • Posted

      I have no issues with fullness when eating either but I do have a problem with my lower adomen swelling and trapped wind which gets right into my chest cavity sometimes. You would not believe the trouble trapped wind can cause, even had me rushed to the best heart hospital in an ambulance because they thought I was having a heart attack! I was rushed into theatre only to find nothing at all wrong, just trapped wind.

      This all started with loose bloody stools with mucus on them and I was convinced I was in trouble but I've had everything looked at and even diagnosed with Crhon's at one point (from the colonosopy) which they later revoked when they didn't find a certain bacteria in my stool. I used to sit at a terrible angle at the computer which caused a crease like scar just above my belly button.

      I really hope you find out what is going on soon and don't end up wasting 2 years of your life being sent for all the wrong tests.

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    • Posted

      Interesting! I have the crease too. Because of my hypermobility I find it really difficult to sit with my legs down, they need to be bent at all times and I have terrible circulation in my legs, meaning I always have cold feet, which then makes me want to keep my feet off the floor even more! Vicious cycle..
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    • Posted

      Oh and in response to your question about the pancreas scan.. I just have a doctor that doesn't like to waste time and would rather waste my money lol. He didn't even want me to wait for my h.pylori tests to come back before having the CT scan, but I'm going to anyway, because I don't want to find out I have a stomach ulcer after wasting hundreds on a CT scan.. 

      Your syptoms sound exactly the same as mine though, which makes me feel a lot better. I feel pretty okay today, just the occasional sharp pain but I always get that anyway due to my IBS.

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    • Posted

      I also take magnesia.. Milk of magnesia as it gets the bowel working. I'm really careful how often I take it as I only have 1 kidney (born with 1). I only found this out last year because of this issue as it was noticed in a scan.

      Please keep us posted on the results of the pancreas scan and progress. 

      A question.. Do you happen to take any prescription painkillers reguarly?

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    • Posted

      I don't take any painkillers since they usually cause me a bit of stomach upset, but I take muscle relaxers at night, usually only when needed. I've only been taking the magnesia for the past 4 days, but I'm still pretty backed up rolleyes
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    • Posted

      Ah I see.. How much are you taking of Magnesium? In the liquid form I take.. I take around 40ml if I want to ensure I go within and handful of hours.. Lots of water is required with it for it to work well. Also Senna stimulates the bowel and it's natural.

      Those relaxers you're taking would also relax the bowel muscles I imagine? I know most people wouldn't like using them but glyercol suppositories really helped me no end.. It's more the case that my bowel is so lazy that it usually won't push to the final hurdle and even 10 minutes after using a suppository I'm going... Also.. This position either way up helps. As does a hot water bottle on my left hand side front and back. 

      https://d1hekt5vpuuw9b.cloudfront.net/assets/a8bf0753849f04f2f15bb88525f20b3b_do-yoga-300x300_gallery.jpg

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    • Posted

      I take two tablets at night like the bottle instructs, and I've been taking double the dosage of muscle relaxers for the past week but not had much luck with it relaxing my bowel, maybe because I only take those at night too.. The only thing that seems to help is coffee, but I prefer to avoid coffee as it does upset my stomach and give me caffeine headaches. I might have to crack my hot water bottle out tonight!
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  • Posted

    Lower left sided pain could def be colon.  Maybe there is some inflammation....hopefully not an IBD though. The dark bowels indicate bleeding high in the digestive track so you may have an ulcer.  The bloating and pain could also be caused by an Ovaraian cyst or tumor.  Just throwing different things out there to consider.  I read that a lot of ovarian issues are missed because people think they are digestive issues.  However, your loose dark bowels to me indicate that it's probably something high in the digestive system (stomach, duct, or pancreas)
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  • Posted

    The H.Pylori test was wise.  If that comes back positive, I would guess that it is a ulcer.  This would explain the pain, and the dark stool (possible blood in the stomach).

    Ulcer pain could be radiating down to your lower left side as well.

    Please follow-up, and post your H.Pylori test results.

    From WebMD

    What Are the Symptoms of an Ulcer?

    The symptoms of an ulcer include:

    Burning upper abdominal pain, particularly between meals, early in the morning, or after drinking orange juice, coffee, or alcohol, or taking aspirin; discomfort is usually relieved after taking antacids

    Tarry, black, or bloody stools

    Bloating

    Heartburn

    Nausea or vomiting

    Early feeling of fullness

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    • Posted

      The only reason I don't think it's a stomach ulcer is because I don't really have the symptoms of one. I am getting heartburn, but only occasionally, yesterday I didn't have any, and I've always had bouts off heartburn due to GERD. I always wake up feeling great, the discomfort begins later in the day, and I have no problems with fullness when eating.
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    • Posted

      I should also add, I am taking magnesium supplements right now to "cleanse my colon" which I  heard can cause dark stools. I want to emphasize that my stools are not black, they are dark brown like a chocolate color. When I was having these issues before I was convinced that there was blood in my stool since those WERE actually black, but my doctor took a sample and it came back negative for any blood. Another time when I had black stools was when I had an Ovarian cyst which eventually went away by itself. I have read that constipation can cause darker stools.
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