Ongoing RUQ pain - scared hypochondriac

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Hello, didn't know whether to post this under liver or gallbladder, the liver is bigger so it wins LOL A small precursor discussion I started a while back: https://patient.info/forums/discuss/pain-is-scaring-me-is-this-normal-for-ibs-647460

(I cannot believe I posted that 2 months ago, as I thought my problem started a month ago...)

Today was a day where me, a health anxiety sufferer, went to A&E with a heavy heart. Luckily I spoke to the admin ladies and decided to not waste their time as they couldn't offer me any scans or similar. 

Last night I couldn't fall asleep for a solid 3 hours because of twinging pains in my right upper quadrant, where obviously both the liver and the gallbladder is. It seemed that the pain was the lowest only when I was on my back and elevated - guess what, I'm a front sleeper so that wasn't ideal haha

I have a seemingly constant, mildly dull, sometimes burning pain under my right ribs. But sometimes I get a sudden sharpish, twinging pain that only lasts maybe a second or two but it scares the living daylight out of me and now I am constantly on the edge waiting for the next one to happen sad 

Prior to this pain localizing itself I had a plethora of pains going on with my stomach - I believe I had indigestion, heartburn, sometimes felt like there was a lump in either my throat or my sternum - I am surprised I have somehow managed to get this under control by taking a probiotic yogurt each day, I hope I don't jinx this! This was started by a quite stressful day for me and just went downhill. Maybe I have/had a hernia, an ulcer because those seem to be stress related? 

Anyway so that has subsided but now I'm left with this constant ruq pain that is either there or comes in waves. Health anxiety is a £$%^ I wish it on NO ONE, all my brain is saying is I have either liver or gallbladder c sad 

I think a month and a bit ago I saw a doc for this. They palpated my stomach, no pain or swelling, they sent me for liver/gallbladder blood work, that came back normal. I know that's a good sign but why the pain sad I remember eating a pizza and wondering well if it's my gallbladder surely this will show it! No pain from that. Ate a single plum, and I was so bloated it was unbelievable lol

I saw another doc yesterday and they are sending me for an ultrasound to check my gallbladder and another unrelated thing so two birds with one stone. But now I am literally worrying my head off, I had ibuprofen and it's not helping the pain and I don't want to end up eating medicines like candy, I try to avoid them as much as possible!

Some things to note, my diet the last few years is abysmal as I am quite addicted to sugar/junky food. I'm sure people with mental health issues will understand where I'm coming from! I do want to change this as I know it doesn't do any good in the long run. I have not had a single drink in over 3 years, and before that I'd only have a rare drink. Could my diet have killed off my liver or something, is it too late to save myself? sad Also could this be a late side effect of antidepressants? I apologize if I sound very negative, I am just quite terrified!

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  • Posted

    P.S. forgot to mention the pain does tend to sometimes travel to my right shoulder area, as with liver or gallbladder issues sad Mind you, specifically my right shoulder is always tense as my hypermobility causes it to compensate for my lack of back muscles, so some people are saying this might be muscular but I doubt it sad 
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  • Posted

    I have ongoing RUQ and also back pain. Mild though. I found sometimes cheese and spicy food make it worse. I’ve done several ultrasound but nothing found. I wish you would make clear the actual cause. Good luck!
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  • Posted

    Hey Someone,

    If your bloods are coming back as normal, then there is a difficulty in diagnosing something that in reality may not exist. I fully understand and admire you admit you suffer from hypochondria, but at some point you may have to accept there isn't a problem. That said, we're all on here to try and help, so....

    Firstly, I have to stress I (like many others on here) am not a medical professional. I have had long term liver problems, resulting in a full transplant so the following is just from my years of going through problems.

    With that said....as the bloods are coming back as normal, it's best to have the scan you've arranged to confirm there's nothing visibly / physically awry. The scan can help determine if there is any:

    1.scarring (cirrhosis)

    2.fatty /enlarged liver (NAFLD - non alcoholic fatty liver disease)

    3. Gallstones (causing blockage in the gallbladder)

    If it were cirrhosis, there would probably be an abnormality in some of the bloods like bilirubin, ALT, AST, GGT are just a few.

    NAFLD is a bit tougher, as sometimes there aren't any pointers in the blood tests. Things that can contribute to this condition are general obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, excess belly fat, high tryglicerites. Doesn't mean that if you have any of them then you'll get NAFLD, they're just possible contributing factors.

    You say you have been heavy on the sugar and junk food, so do you know if you're diabetic (maybe pre diaberic) and / or overweight?

    Hopefully the following may make you feel a bit better!!!

    As I say, I've had cirrhosis, I'm diabetic and had my gallbladder removed as part of the liver transplant, BUT I still get the exact same twinge / sharp brief pain in the liver area. My bloods are all fine and my scans are perfectly normal and I still get what you describe occasionally!!!

    So, I'd try not to get worried about it whilst you wait for the scan. Easier said than done, I know, but please try.

    In the meantime, I would take a good look at your diet and try to cut out all that excess sugar and junk food. It will go a long way to avoiding diabetes which can be a right s**t to live with, believe me, especially if (like me) it's coupled with looking after your liver and kidneys (I had to have a kidney transplant as well because of the damage caused by total liver failure).

    Please try not to worry. You can't do much until the scan and if your bloods are ok, try to see that that is a really positive start.

    Good luck, hope it's all fine.

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    • Posted

      Hello Matt and thank you for such an in-depth reply. I understand where you're coming from when saying there might not be anything wrong at all, it's just very, very difficult to believe so when pain is localized and it's been there for a while now! I can bet there are so many people out there with actual conditions that are just rolling their eyes at me, but in reality how am I supposed to know if this pain isn't THE pain this time, know what I'm saying? Anyway that's cyclical thinking for you but hey. 

      I think this is what kinda scares me, that even though the bloods are fine, tumors of any kind usually don't show in bloods. I've been trying to palpate the area where the twinges happen and see if anything's there, but I'm pretty sure I can only feel some oddly placed fat tissue and that's it. 

      I wanted to say, cirrhosis is commonly known to be due to alcohol overuse, isn't it? With my history, I doubt that would be the case. Unless diet can have a say in that, then, well...

      Fatty liver does worry me though, as my diet has not been the best as I think I've mentioned. And I have a close family history of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. And sadly due to few years of daily stress, new medications and bad diet, I am around 10 kilos overweight now. I think a few months ago I had bloods done for something else and I asked whether they could check for diabetes as well, the doctor was quite pushy so don't actually know whether that was done or not but bloods came back clean. So as far as I know I'm not diabetic, but I am not 100% certain.

      I've read about people having this type of ruq pain, getting their gallbladders removed and still having the pain, it is so so odd! I think I wouldn't worry so much if it was the odd twinge, but this is a daily occurrence. It could still be muscular, but I think I'd get pain with movement then and my pains seem to have no real pattern. Only today the pains where a bit stronger as my period started, which kinda scared me because then my health anxiety screamed 'oh yeah this is probably referred pain from ovarian cancer'. Like, thanks brain, I thought we were a team.

      Trust me I'd love to lead a healthy diet, but I just have no idea how. My anxieties are such a massive roadblock, you can only think well if I die in three months, I'll have my piece of cake I don't care what's the point in eating healthy, you know? I know it's a stupid argument but it's very difficult to argue with a brain that does not want to cooperate with you. 

      By the way I'm so sorry you had to go through your health struggles and hope you are feeling ok today, I am very glad that you as a person with experience in this can give people advice. It's really appreciated!

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    • Posted

      Hi there. Cirrhosis can also be caused by fatty liver disease if it goes untreated. There is another type of non alcoholic fatty liver disease called NASH...non alcoholic steatohepatitis and that can lead to fibrosis and cirrhosis, so its not just alcohol!!

      Good luck with the tests.

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    • Posted

      You kind of can't help but feel helpless when you know no one's protected from stuff like this...I'll try to keep this updated when I do get my scan, so far haven't even got the referral letter, hopefully it comes through next week. 

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    • Posted

      I really do hope it's nothing irregular. Ive been through it and wouldn't wish it on my enemy (even though I was in a medically induced coma for 5 weeks so nothing felt!!).

      Let me know if you can. Ang again, good luck.

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