Mild right abdominal/flank burning?

Posted , 21 users are following.

So everything I read on this forum is severe pain - going to the ER. I don't have anything that bad but I'm wondering if it's something that might be leading up to being that bad. I've always had what I assume to be a little IBS where I eat something (non specific), later on I cramp in the lower abdominal region and within minutes I'm having diarrhea. As soon as i have diarrhea the pain is gone and I can go about my business. This happens MAYBE 1-2 times a month.

A few months ago I went to the doctor after a random bout of what I assumed to be indigestion (never experienced it before so I'm not sure). I ate lunch one Sunday (unfortunately can't remember what it was) and then immediately lost my appetite for 3 days - probably from feeling something I've never felt before. I panicked and ended up at my regular doctor's office on Tuesday. He asked me some general questions and I had very vague answers unfortunately - no blood in the stool, no nausea, no vomiting, cramps aren't due to a certain type of food, I hadn't eaten anything new at this point that could affect me differently. He pushed around on my stomach but I had no pain other than him pushing on my stomach pretty hard. The best news he told me is that he didn't think it was a form of IBD. He put me on 40mg of Omeprazole 1/day 30-60 min before breakfast, and told me to start taking a probiotic (suggested Align but said generic would work as well) - never said why or what he thought might be the cause. I started taking it throughout the week and he scheduled me for an upper GI series with lower bowl follow-through. Sometime last year during my last physical, he also told me to start taking 2000mcg of Vitamin D and 1000mcg of Vitamin B-12 as my levels were low. I never really did as I am horrible at remembering to take pills daily but for some reason decided to start taking them with the probiotic. I would take the Omeprazole when I left for work with water, and then by the time I got to work and got my breakfast prepared it would be 30-45 minutes later and I would take the other pills with my food.

I started having some morning sickness due to the medication although I started getting my appetite back. I went for the test - results were normal. I did have a bit of reflux laying on the table (barium went back up into the esophogus once, I didn't feel it but you could see it on the x-ray) but the tech or results didn't say that it was anything to be concerned with.

After those results were normal, I asked for blood tests just in case and all came back mostly normal. From what I remember, they tested for diabetes (2 tests), liver function, pancreas function, CBC and a few other things that I can't remember. Only thing that was "abnormal" was my plateletts were slightly elevated (411 I beleive). I think I also just had my period so they told me to stay on the omeprazole and have more blood work done in 2 weeks.  I didn't take the omeprazole for two days (first day for fasting for the upper GI and second day for fasting for the bloodwork). After going back on it, the morning sickness feeling seemed to subside - maybe too much at once in the beginning? Not sure but it went away so I didn't think anything of it.

Went back 2 weeks later for my bloodwork and that all came back completely normal (didn't have to fast for that). At this point my normal doctor had left for Florida and the doctor that originally owned the practice had taken over. When they called saying that the test results were normal, they referred me to a GI specialist. At this point, I didn't feel the need to call because the only problem I had was ONE instance of possible indigestion. Other than that I felt fine - plus I'm on high deductible and specialists aren't cheap.

After taking the omeprazole for a month without feeling any different (didn't really feel bad at all in the beginning anyways) and my test results were normal, I decided to stop it after reading horror stories of being on it for too long.

About a week or two later I had my regular OBGYN appointment and wanted to bring up the fact that I have completely lost my sex drive (my poor boyfriend). I have previously been on the nuvaring for many years and a side effect is decrease labido. I still don't understand why it was fine for so many years and then if it was the birth control, it started affecting me recently. She told me to go get some blood taken and they tested my thyroid and testosterone levels which were normal. She switched me to the pill saying that it MIGHT help since it is technically a different type of hormone but its still basically the same hormones so don't be surprised if it doesn't help. So I started taking them - no big deal.

Unfortunately I can't remember exactly when I started having weird abdominal discomfort but looking at my calendar of appointments, it looks like about 2 weeks after starting the birth control pills and over 4 weeks of being off the omeprazole. It was in my upper right abdomen and it wasn't "pain" by any means. It was just there and more of an annoyance than anything else. It was slightly crampy at times, slightly burning at times. Then the following Sunday I ate a new recipe we tried - pasta with a spicy alfredo and to kick it up a notch we added some homemade venison italian sausage. The burning got worse that night after eating and again, it wasn't anything too horrible. The thing that bothered me most is that I couldn't find a good position to sleep in. I either found a good position or it went away because I ended up falling asleep at some point that night.

Panicking again, I called the doctor's office and they told me to call the specialist and try to get in there. I called and set up an appointment - of course since I'm new and not urgent, I couldn't get an appointment for another month. Still panicking, I called my normal doctor back and they agreed that I shouldn't wait that long just in case so they squeezed me in the next day. He too pushed on my stomach a bunch and nothing hurt yet again. Since I said I had sausage the night of the discomfort, he immediately assumed gallbladder and scheduled me for an ultrasound the next day and told me start a low fat diet - no fats, creams, sausages, etc. After I told my dad all this, he decided it would be nice to mention that his sister and his mother both had their gallbladders removed - yey for heredity!

I went and got that done and boy was that painful. I'm on the heavier side so the tech was really pushing into my abdomen to try to get images. I cringed in pain once and she said she was trying to get images of the gallbladder so that just made it more clear to me that it's most likely that. Forunately but frustratingly, the results came back normal - whatever that means and my doctor told me to keep the appointment with the GI.

I was sore for a few days after that from the ultrasound - or so I assume as I was getting the discomfort on my lower right side as well now. By the weekend, it was clear that it was more of a burning sensation that seemed to originate in the upper right abdomen - more so on the side than near the center - and it radiated down (gallbladder usually radiates up so I thought). I would feel it on my lower right side and when I would go to squeeze in the area, I would realize that I would end up on my upper right side below the ribs is where the sensation was really coming from.

I started doing more googling (horrible, I know) but I came to the conclusion that I might have an ulcer. So on Monday morning I started taking the omeprazole again. Burning seemed to go away for the most part until Friday when I apparently thought I was SuperWoman and tried to eat a piece of breakfast pizza with sausage, bacon and ham - just one little piece! By the afternoon the burning was back. Yet again, not dibilating, hunched over, can't move pain. Just annoying. I went home from work at my regular time, laid in bed on my left side for a few hours with my right leg stretched out which seemed to help a bit. Decided to hop in the shower as it was feeling a bit better and I've noticed that the hot shower water usually helps. At some point in the middle of soaping up, I felt a minor pop in my upper right abdomen and didn't think too much of it. By the time I was done with the shower, the burning was gone and I felt great.

Over the following weekend (last weekend) I started feeling nauseous again in the morning and actually started having nightmares and was sleeping horribly. Remember that the nausea was caused by the omeprazole the first time, I stopped taking it (last dose was on Sunday morning). I felt nauseous most of the day Monday and Tuesday but started sleeping better. Today (Wednesday) I woke up feeling pretty much normal after having a normal nights sleep (I can never actually sleep the entire night, I'm always waking up and flipping over at some point or boyfriend's snoring wakes me up).

At this point - I have no idea what went on, what could be going on, or if it'll get worse or go away. The low fat diet seems to be helping as I haven't had any more instances of bad burning sensation. I either feel it or THINK I feel the burning every once in a great while - all along my right side for the most part. But if I start to do work or get my mind off of it, it seems to go away. It could be completely mental at this point and I'm doing my absolutely best to not stress out about it. My GI appointment isn't until 9/2 so hopefully then I can get some answers - or rules more things out.

Also in my googling spree, I found out that birth control pills put women at a greater risk for gallbladder problems. It's also ironic that I just switched methods and am wondering if this could be causing the problems.

Sorry for the lengthy post but the more information, the better - right? I was just wondering if anyone else experienced this, figured out what it was and cured it, or if it ended up getting worse in some fashion? As I mentioned - I am technically "obese" - 28 yr old female, 5'6", 225 lbs. I'm sure my weight doesn't help anything as gallbladder problems happen in obese women so now I'm out to lose some weight (SLOWLY!). Any input or peace of mind is appreciated.

2 likes, 31 replies

31 Replies

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  • Posted

    I have the same issue and i need help!
    • Posted

      I got my gallbladder out in October of 2016 and it's been the best decision I've ever made. I feel fantastic now! If you have any questions, let me know!

    • Posted

      Hi, I've been dealing with burning, tingling and cramping for months. I've had several ultrasounds on my gallbladder (all normal) and a HIDA scan showing 72%. They told me this was normal as well. I've never had nausea or vomiting. Greasy and oily foods do not seem to bother me. Salt, wheat, corn, cane sugar, beef, nuts, rice, oats.. etc seem to bring on the burning. My pain isn't just on the right, but it started with an "attack" of very intense pain that lasted almost 2 days. I'd never had this level of intense pain again, but I have not been the same since. I've had scans and MRIs. It's so exhausting and scary. 

    • Posted

      Hello silvermoth!

      Have you found the solution on your problem? I will also never bee the same again i had severe burning for 72 days under the navel and deep inside. Please let me know if you found a solution. I have just got a second child and they need their father. Dan from Norway

    • Posted

      I've had the burning and pain in upper right part of my stomach, under the ribs. I've had my gallbladder out and I was diagnosed with gastroparesis and gastritis 9 years ago. I have flare ups that last up to 3 months about every year or so. Let me know if you have any questions.

    • Posted

      Ashlee- how did they diagnose you with gastritis and gastroparesis (what tests) and how are you coping? Are you on meds?? 
  • Posted

    Did you ever find out what it is?? Your story is pretty much exactly like what I am and have been going through for almost two years. It's so depressing being in constant pain. 

  • Posted

    After reading many of these replies I just want to chime in that I have had these symptoms off and on for over 10 years now. And it is possible to have what’s known as chronic gall bladder disease as well as chronic appendicitis. When I was at my worse I had testing done for gallbladder disease and was told this by my doctor when it came back as “no stones and lining not thick enough to be considered acute”. It can come and go for years before it gets bad enough to warrant removal. I know that isn’t the answer you were looking for and I apologize. But for relief I would recommend fasting for a day or two and drinking just clear water. It can help your system a little rest and allow inflammation, which is causing pain, to subside. I hope you can finally find the relief you need. There is nothing worse than suffering and being unable to pinpoint the cause of it. 
  • Posted

    I’ve been following this discussion and was wondering what everyone’s prognosis was. I have had this same burning in my upper right abdomen for about a year now. Had hpylori test run...negative. Had an ultrasound of my gallbladder and complete blood panel...negative. Then in September last year had an Endoscopy...diagnosed with 3 tiny polyps in my stomach...all benign. Ever since I had a polyp removed and 6 biopsies on my stomach...when the burning starts, I get acid reflux and then I can feel exactly where the biopsies were taken. I can’t seem to get my stomach lining to heal now. I go months without any pain and then another flare up where I’m back on the Xantac. Doc put me on PPI’s but they made me worse. Along with the burning I have terrible gas constantly and my bowel movements are a little yellow colored. I don’t want to get my gallbladder out because I’ve read where the burning can get worse and never subside due to bile dripping in the Duodenum. Any feedback would help.


  • Posted

    Your symptoms are really common, look on here at the threads.  You were put on a high dose of Omeprazole which again takes time for your system to get back to normal, why your doc did not reduce your dose slowly seems bewildering.  When you take PPIs your system 'ups' its acid production the best it can to counter the PPI, hence you come off and wow.  Many of us have experience the same pain in the same area for years with no clear diagnoses. Its clear you have at least reflux and whilst you can try and live free from meds you'll also run the risk and chronic damage.   Try and find a low dose PPI or better still if they work for you Ranitidine.  Heres the NICE guidelines for PPIs. ;

    ?I started with the same as you at the same age, in fact when younger I needed to take anti-acids all the time.  I've now been taking PPIs Low dose for years and they've saved me to be honest. I do have other tum probs but sorry to inform you the chances are you probs will get worst as you get older.  I could have years without meds and then bang.  Good luck. 

  • Posted

    Sorry for some reason the link does not take you to the dose page, just search for NICE guidelines on PPI dose. The low dose is Pantoprazole 20mg once/day, Omeprazole 10mg once per day etc.  So in essence its a 75% reduction on the 40MG you were taking. Big difference in side effects etc, yet still managers the problems in most cases.    
    • Posted

      Thanks for your feedback Dave. I’ve been taking Ranitidine again and it’s helping. I think it’s a little safer long term but I’m afraid it may stop working at some point. I think if it does...I’ll go back on the PPI and take your advice and get a lower dose. I’ve also changed my diet too. Let’s hope we can all heal! 
  • Posted

    Its true, they do seem to 'stop, reduce' working. But like you have said you can move from one to another.  I was taking 40 mg Om for years and not one doctor said "oh let see if a reduced dose will be suitable and sufficient for you". So I researched myself and armed with the info went to the docs. And I still do, Ranitidine? at 1300mg/day does not help me one little bit and like you have said is far better long term. The pharmacists will tell you again that all PPIs are the same, not true, they all might work in a similar way and that's all. If they were the same they would be under the same license.  I have to move from Pantoprazole, to Omeprazole and back again from time to time due to side effects and reduction in their effects. Lansoprazole doubles me over in pain, how can they be the same?? Some people seem to manage by diet or both.  But we are all a tad different and what is right for one is not for another. Good look to the people who post on here and tell everyone that its what you eat that causes the probs, rubbish. For them ok, it worked because they had a crap diet in the first place maybe. But some of us for various reasons produce more acid then the norm and can trace it back over past generations.   Its in our DNA period and we have to live that fact. So, what do we do,let the acid over years burn our stomachs and associated parts which can lead to cancer, ulcers, etc??  Been there and I'm not going back. Of course all meds have side effects, so does the air we breath, the water we drink, that's life. But I'd rather live my life taking a low dose med that works for me and ensure I manager the meds on-going. ok, if you can have a reprieve from time to time by taking no meds, fine, do so.   On a lighter note: Obese, here's a good one for you to end with. I went to see a consultant who was large, no very large indeed.  She told me I was obese at 6ft with a 46" chest at 15 stones, I told her I could loose one stone taking me down to 14 (at this weight I look unhealthy) .  She came back and told me 12 stones was right for me!!!!  Really, I would look like a bean pole,  how about her loosing 10 stones and she would still be obese lol. I did tell her: 'Physician, heal thyself' lol it went down like a  tonne of bricks.  Always nice to end with a laugh hey smile Good luck and don't worry. Oh forgot, Omeprazole can give you bad sleep patterns and nightmares like you commented on. At 40mg I've experienced it, even at 20 mg I've seen people who have really bad dreams night after night, the answer is find the med and associate dose that works for you with minimum side effects. Something that many docs seem incapable of doing.  

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