ER could not diagnose my right abdominal pain

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I'm an 18 year old female, previous smoker, drink alcohol on occasion. My mom has non-genetic breast cancer, history of ovarian cysts, and had to have her gallbladder removed as it was functioning at 9%. Father is healthy.

For a few months now, I have had an issue with eating. Everything I eat, even if it's fresh and healthy, makes my stomach feel upset and makes me kinda nauseous. Especially greasy foods. It hasn't made me throw up, but it's been enough that I can't eat as much as I used to be able to. I just feel generally crappy after eating. Not a huge deal, but then I had an incident.

2 nights ago, I was eating dinner at my boyfriend's house. (We had steak if that matters). About 10-20 minutes after eating I started getting pain in my abdomen. All over. At first it felt like trapped gas. It made sense, because I suddenly felt severely bloated. But I couldn't pass gas, and the pain started getting far worse than gas could have caused. Although it was a terrible pain all over my abdomen, it started becoming a severe pain on the right side, over my right lower belly area and up to below my right rib cage. It felt worse with deep breaths and when I brought my legs up to my abdomen. After about an hour or hour and a half, the pain subsided. It didn't fully go away, but it became more of a slight annoyance than anything. I went to bed.

Yesterday I woke up because my abdomen was hurting badly again. I no longer felt severely bloated, but my whole belly area had a strange pain, and a sharp pain below my right ribcage that worsened with breathing. It was tender to the touch, but oddly enough, the pain was worse about an inch to the right of my bellybutton when pressure was added.

My boyfriend took me to an immediate care and waited about 3 hours to be told they couldn't help me and I needed to go to the ER. The ER waiting room was only about a half hour wait, only to begin an 8 & 1/2 hour emergency room visit. They were concerned about apendicitis or gallbladder issue and began testing.

Urine sample came back normal.

Took my blood for testing.

One of my blood vials congealed so they redrew a vial.

Pain got so severe they gave me dilaudid via IV.

Blood tests came back completely normal.

Took a CT scan of my abdomen.

CT came back normal.

More dilaudid via IV.

Ultrasound on my liver, gallbladder, right kidney.

Ultrasound came back normal.

Began vomiting.

Was given an antinausea medicine via IV.

Was discharged with enough Norcos and antinausea meds to get me through one day. Was told to follow up with a doctor.

Today, the pain was less severe, but still there. Norcos have been helping.

Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong? I'm wondering what the hell could be wrong if an ultrasound, blood test, and CT all came back completely normal. The pain is bad enough that I KNOW something is wrong.... I'm just not sure what it could be...

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  • Posted

    Sienna - you seem very mature and grounded for your age (congratulations on quitting smoking!). I'm sure it was a frightening experience!  It seems like they would find it if you had gallstones, but I wonder if they checked the function of your gallbladder the way your mom was tested...when my sister had her gb removed, she had an episode a bit like yours.

    Then again, my son has Coeliac Disease, so I'm also inclined to wonder - did they test for that?  It wouldn't show up on the scans you had, only from blood work and and biopsies of your stomach/intestines (duodenum where the small intestines meet the stomach is the usual place, but there could be several sites tested).

    10-20 minutes after a meal, it's still in your stomach, so would that affect your entire abdomen, or a whole side of it?  You know greasy foods make it worse but it's not like changing what you eat has made it go away. Maybe log your food in a diary for the next few days and see if there are any other connections? 

    Did the hospital give you suggestions? A GI to follow up with?  

     

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    • Posted

      Aveline- Thank you very much! And yes, I'm thinking I'm going to get tested to see how well my gallbladder functions. I have read gallbladder issues appear to have a genetic link, so perhaps this is my problem. And I never thought of Celiac! I will have to ask my doctor about that. The doctor who helped me at the hospital was far from helpful. But I won't get into that. Anyway, they didn't give me anyone to follow up with, so I scheduled an appt. with my primary care physician for tomorrow. If she doesn't help, I'm going to try and find a GI that can get me in quickly. Thank you for your very very helpful advice!!!
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    • Posted

      You're quite welcome, Sienna, and good luck! I was thinking about you and also wondered if maybe it was lactose intolerance?  Or a food allergy? I hope you find your answer quickly and it's an easy fix!
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