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Wed, Aug 21 10:56am · Constipation/pressure in Digestive Health

This post made me look twice — sounds a little like me, actually.

Eons ago I had my GB out as it was very diseased and I'd had numerous very bad pain attacks in entire abdomen that would come on fast and end some four hours later. After it was over, each time I felt absolutely fine. Some people vomit or feel sick but I just had a rock hard abdomen and major pain. People say it's like the pain from kidney stones.

My other GB symptoms were annoying little ache under right rib cage, and similar ache in upper right back just below the shoulder blade. Those are classic GB symptoms.. Ultrasound confirmed GB stones/sludge and I finally had the surgery after putting it off for over a year.

After surgery, I almost immediately developed obvious reflux and now, years later, learned via upper endoscopy that I have a medium sized hiatal hernia among other problems (in esophagus plus stomach irritation from bile).

Many people say that hiatal hernia itself can cause pain. Had a routine colonoscopy months ago (everything was fine with the colon), BUT GI doctor said I have a "redundant/tortuous" colon. That means it's too long and has extra loops and twists. Many people have this but don't know it. And it can cause discomfort/pain and constipation, which makes sense. Studies show that many constipated people have redundant colon and it's usually a congenital condition. It is not an uncommon finding – many have this redundancy.

Ever since that colonoscopy I've had pain, sometimes significant, across mid to upper abdomen, nearly always occurring ONLY during a BM. Doc thinks it's from constipation but I do 'go' pretty regularly. It seems the act of just slightly 'pushing' (NOT straining) brings on the pain. Then for days I 'go' but feel no pain at all. It varies. I think 'pushing' even a little brings it on. It seems like a mechanical issue. But pain is felt in the areas YOU describe as being painful to you at various times..

The admin here is right — it's very difficult to ascertain reasons for pain in abdominal area. So often it's a real puzzle to figure out. Agree yours could likely be from constipation and/or gas pockets — or perhaps you have redundant colon like many of us. Sounds like just another abdominal mystery — and there are many. So many organs in the area and it's frustrating for doctors. Note: I also had a CT scan of the entire abdomen recently and it revealed absolutely nothing so I know that while pain can be annoying it is often meaningless. I am one who dwells on 'ailments' so I find that trying to totally ignore weird pains and such is actually helpful and lessens the annoyance. Sounds crazy but I have a lifetime of evidence that I can, with my own mind, make just about anything feel worse than it is. Good luck to you!

Mon, Aug 12 11:33am · Diverticulitis? Diverticulosis? IBS? Muscle tear? in Digestive Health

Hi tennisgolf: You sound kind of like me, even your age, 70+. My complaint is somewhat different but I see similarities.
Many years ago I had hysterectomy, 1988, and then gallbladder removal in 2005. At time of GB surgery I was told I'd had loads of adhesions to get through, and I assume that was due to the earlier hysterectomy.

Now I was recently diagnosed, after several years of reflux and other digestive complaints, with Barrett's esophagus. It has no symptoms in itself, but was found during endoscopy and typical symptoms of GERD are what I feel. Along the way to this diagnosis I had many medical tests because I began unintentionally losing a lot of weight and internist and an ENT got concerned. I also have a raspy voice that comes from GERD often, and one vocal cord is messed up so ENT wanted to be sure nothing bad was pressing on it; hence another scan.

I had no appetite to speak of and those reflux symptoms and had just slowed my eating way down. I also became depressed/anxious about all things medical..

Anyway, re the pain you feel in left side since your GB surgery. I get it, an the way you describe it. I have always had typical digestive pains, suggestive of IBS, but this colonoscopy, which was my first recent test, revealed nothing except for newly found redundant (too long) colon. It is also called 'tortuous.' Never knew about that before and it 'can' be acquired over time, they say. I did not hear 'redundant/tortuous colon' when having my first colonoscopy many years ago and I was not 'sore' for weeks after that one but I am much older now.

A routine pelvic exam I had last year just about killed me, too. I was sore from that experience for weeks and in years past (numerous years ago and many pelvic exams), I never had that reaction. They say older people tend to feel pain LESS but you and I seem to be exceptions to that and are encountering pain now.

Within a week of that recent colonoscopy, leaving my insides extremely sore I found that I had a searing pain just above the navel and across upper abdomen in a straight line when 'pushing' (NOT straining) during a bowel movement, most of the time, not all. Afterwards, I would feel no pain. If I sat back on toilet and pushed again, when NOT having a BM, I would not feel the pain at all. I asked the GI doc about it but he brushed me off, said it could be due to constipation, and with all other scans (due to weight loss) showing nothing in any of the abdominal organs, he seems to think I'm nuts. He is a good and well respected doctor but can be less than personable and is dismissive.

This was all several months ago now and the pains when, not before, not really after, but right during the act of pushing (sorry about the TMI) itself brings on this searing pain that now covers entire upper abdomen. I have no idea if it's from any adhesions, as you are wondering about in your case, or if during colonoscopy the doc 'did something' to the colon when manipulating that scope around, or the loops and twists in extended colon worsened and that's what I'm feeling.

I finally got another appt. with this doc since a GI seems to be the right specialty to address this, but it's not for three weeks. Like I said, he is well known, considered excellent, and even other docs go to him. So every time I need to have a BM I know I will have this tearing/searing pain across upper abdomen . It seems odd that nothing showed up on any of the CT scans I've had. I dread the doc's reaction when I see him again in three weeks. Wondering if I should change doctors or see some other type of specialist or what.

Believe me, I feel your pain and understand your dilemma re who to see and where to go! I do know that gall bladder and any other abdominal surgeries leave us, most of us, with adhesions that can be extremely painful. In fact, doesn't even have to be surgery. Any trauma to an abdominal area can cause adhesions to form. I just didn't think the pain of adhesions would occur or worsen during something 'mechanical,' like having a BM. You mentioned something similar on your left side that sounded similar.

I look forward to hearing your next report. I'm about to throw myself on the mercy of UCLA here in L.A. and try to get a diagnosis. With you near NYC and great facilities and me near UCLA we both SHOULD be able to get the attention and care we need. I hate to say this but I hope we aren't being brushed off due to being over 70! My best to you.

Sun, Jul 7 12:27pm · Self diagnosed Laryngopharangeal reflux in Digestive Health

sanchopanza: Your doctor is correct; you need to see a GI doctor, a gastroenterologist. It sounds like you may need an upper endoscopy to sort this out. I put it off for a long time and finally did it — very easy procedure but do make sure to be totally 'out' for it, i.e., general anesthesia. It's an out-patient deal, painless, and only takes a few minutes. You will need a ride home, however, because they don't want liability of someone driving right after anesthesia.

I had been taking Tums myself for years on occasion but within past year it was nightly. There are so many symptoms associated with indigestion and sometimes people have 'silent' GERD as well so they don't really know anything is wrong.

I am over 65 as well and life catches up with us. My GI doc wanted endoscopy plus abdominal CT scan. The scan was fine except it found several small kidney stones in one kidney. Totally surprised by that and have to deal with it now, too.

The endoscopy was not expected to show much but doc found Barrett's Esophagus tissue in lower portion (you may need to research that); a growing problem around the world and can in some cases turn to adenocarcinoma of esophagus . Chances of having this happen are small but it's good to get the upper endoscopy to check, especially after age 50. These days, though, this problem is being found in people in their twenties and thirties, too.

I would go see a GI doc and get the endoscopy if it is recommended. My best to you.

Tue, May 21 8:35am · Redundant / Tortuous Colon in Digestive Health

Similar situation here — had 1st colonoscopy at about 55 and just had second one at 70. Nothing deemed "wrong" either time except that now, at 70, I was told I have a redundant or tortuous colon. Who knew? I thought this was a congenital and rare condition, not something somehow acquired over the years. Interesting that you, too, seem to have 'acquired' the tortuous colon. What is going on?

My problem is that suddenly, months ago, I started having constipation, like I had as a youngster, so I had the 2nd colonoscopy to see if there was a problem. But, like you, I can have 'normal' BMs too. Trouble is, I get "backed up" and then have the opposite problem: huge loose BMs accompanied by loads of lower region cramping/pain. Not fun.

I don't remember this happening since those episodes of more than 35 years ago. I'm seeing the GI doc this week but I'm sure he will say it's IBS and throw Miralax packets at me. I also have GERD so feel like I've got double-trouble.

Oh, and my gall bladder was removed in '04 due to horrible pain attacks and 'sludge,' not stones, but I never got the post-cholecystectomy 'dumping' (frequent diarrhea) syndrome that so many experience after that surgery. I have heard that many years later problems crop up for some people for the first time. Perhaps I'm one of those people and will now be plagued with this into old age.

Hope you are feeling better and have gotten some answers to your own questions.