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Digestive Disorders

Long-term and increasing pain in upper left

12/22/2008

Question:

I live in a remote fishing village in Alaska and medical care is expensive and I have to leave town to get it. I REALLY would APPRECIATE any guidence you might have to offer. 

I have had a dull pain in my upper left quadrant, it has been increasing for years and is now quite uncomfortable and scary. It seems to move around a bit, mostly at the bottom of my rib cage and sometimes around to my back on left side. It is worse when I take a deep breath or raise my left leg when sleeping on belly, like there is an inflamed mass that doesn`t like pressure. Can`t seem to connect it to food at all. As it has worsened in past few months, I seem to have low grade slight fever and feeling a little tired. I had full upper and lower abdominal cat scans two years ago, and colonoscopy then, but symptoms are worse now. I am somewhat overweight, pre-diabetes, so I thought maybe pressure was just fat or something, but it is only and always on left side. Palpating abdomen doesn`t hurt much, and it seems that epicenter is up under ribs a little anyway. Any ideas of what to do next?

Answer:

From what you are telling me, your symptoms do not necessarily sound GI in origin. It sounds more muscular or worse case heart related. I would try some medication like Motrin for a little while, and if that does not help, I see no other option but to see a primary care doctor who may want to investigate your heart.

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Response by:

Annette  Kyprianou, MD Annette Kyprianou, MD
Senior Clinical Instructor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University