Upper left abdominal pain after eating. ALL tests normal.

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So here’s the story…

33 year old Male, lengthy history of GERD, 6’2 190 lbs, been on Dexilant for approximately 5 years. Exercise regularly.

October of 2016, I started getting a pain in my upper left abdomen after eating. Basically exactly where my stomach is. The pain is nothing extraordinary. I have described it as a 3 on the 1-10 scale. At times it presents on the right side as well. No food in particular makes it worse than any other food.  Over the course of the 8 months I have lost approximately 12-15 pounds. No diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or vomiting.  I went to my primary care initially and she prescribed Carafate thinking it may have been ulcers. No luck there so I was referred to a gastroenterologist. I had seen this particular gastroenterologist several years prior for my GERD related issues. Here is the list of things that have been tried thus far in order.

-          Indigestion supplement called “FDGARD” – no effect

-          CT Scan- all abdominal organs normal

-          Endoscopy- Showed LA grade B esophagitis and mild gastritis (even with those findings, the doctor did not believe the pain was coming from that). No H pylori, no barret’s esophagus, no celiac.    

-          Blood work- All normal

-          Stool Sample- All normal

-          HIDA scan- All normal

-          Abdominal ultrasound- All normal

-          Changed PPI to Aciphex- symptoms became worse including chest pain

-          Repeat Endoscopy- Same findings as first

-          B-12 blood work- levels normal

-          Colonoscopy- Actually located a polyp but doctor advised it is completely unrelated to the abdominal pain. Nothing else found during procedure.

-          Irritable bowel supplement called “IBGARD” (currently trying)

So, I am fresh out of tests and yet the pain remains. As I said, the pain isn’t crippling, but it isn’t the greatest knowing every time you eat, it’s going to hurt.

Sorry for the lengthy post but just wanted to be detailed to try and answer questions. If anyone has any other ideas or experiences they can share, I would appreciate it! 

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  • Posted

    It might be IBS.  Pain can be mild, moderate or severe.   It can shift about your stomach too.  You can get different types of pain:  dull, deep grinding, stabbing and sore to touch. Keep an eye on your bowel habits to see if they change. Sometimes you can get a subtle change and don't realise it.

    Pain after eating is common with IBS.  Try a food diary to see if any food triggers appear; it can take a while to identify them.  Worry can trigger weight loss and also if you are eating less.   If all your tests are negative IBS can be diagnosed.  Avoid fatty, greasy or spicy foods which are gastritis, GERD and IBS triggers.  Dairy, fructose, and gluten can also be irritants. GERD goes along with IBS.  I have both although the GERD came first.  Perhaps try the Low Fodmap diet.  Have you had any recent stress?  Stress is a major cause.  IBS can start six months after a recent stressful event.

    See a different doctor and ask sbout IBS.  You may need to try several medications to find one that works for you.  Everyone experiences IBS differently and response to treatment varies.

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    • Posted

      I actually did a food diary for a while but I could not pin point anything in particular. It seems to be eating anything at anytime. As far as stress, there wasn't a stressful event in particular but I do suffer from anxiety regularly and obvioulsy there is a correlation with GI problems and anxiety. 

      Do you know of any IBS medications? Or have you tried any that seemed to work better than others? 

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    • Posted

      I find Buscopan helps my IBS along with Nurofen.  I am a very anxious person and it was months of non stop stress that triggered IBS for me.
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  • Posted

    This sounds just like me. Every time I eat I get pain in upper left abdomen. Af first I thought it was air, somehow I convinced myself that I was swallowing too much air when eating. But just today the pain woke me up. Obviously I’m not eating in my sleep and if I was I’d be in a whole different thread haha. I’m also a very anxious person.  

    Drew has anything changed with you since your last post? Where you able to figure out what it is? 

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    • Posted

      Hi! The frequency of my pain has decreased but it does come back every now and then. It seems to come in waves. A week of the pain and then a few months without. Unfortunately, I was never able to narrow down a cause nor did the doctors. I just continue to try to eat healthy and continue to treat GERD with Dexilant. Sorry I don’t have any answers! The last word from the gastroenterologist was basically that it was a form of IBS and nothing more serious. I’ll actually be following up with him sometime in April. 
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  • Posted

    I would google MALS.

    This is how you diagnose it (apparently):

    https://gastroenterologen.no/2013/11/the-celiac-ganglion-artery-compression-syndrome-cgcs/

    Good luck with your search.

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