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British Liver Trust
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Pain in right side of abdomen - elarged liver with normal blood levels - thoughts?

Hi all! I'm new to this forum - seeking some advice while I wait for my upcoming MRI.

I'm a 29 year old female, active and with a normal BMI. I'm not a heavy drinker - I'll maybe have a few glasses of wine or a beer with dinner once or twice a week at most.

I noticed pain in my right abdomen in May. At first, I only really noticed it while running, but would start to feel it more regularly. It felt like a dull ache below my ribs on the right side of my abdomen, but occasionally it would get sharper and also felt a bit like something was "pulling" inside. Then it went away. I mentioned this pain to my doctor at my regular checkup in July, and she gave me an ultrasound referral in case I felt it again. It came back in August, and I went for the US.

The ultrasound showed an enlarged liver - apparently it's "non-fatty." Gallbladder and spleen were both fine. My doctor felt around on my abdomen to see if the liver was enlarged and I was in a lot of pain from this for a few days after that appointment. My doctor then sent me for blood work and she had a phone consultation with a heptologist. My blood levels are all normal. Back in September, my doctor requested an MRI for me, preferring that to a CT to avoid unnecessary radiation. The earliest appointment I could get is Nov. 9th. So thankfully it's now less than a month away, but still feels like ages!

Since August, the pain hasn't really gone away, but comes and goes in terms of severity. However this week it's gotten worse. It's much sharper at times - before it was more of a dull ache behind my right rib. Now it feels like I'm being stabbed!

I went back to my GP today to see if there's anything else I can do while I wait for my appointment. I have a prescription for pain medications. She advised that if the pain meds don't cut it to go to the ER in order to expedite the scan. I've also been advised to go if I develop a fever or can't eat. So far the pain is the only symptom.

While I wait it out - I was wondering if any of you more experienced people had some suggestions or advice about things I can do to manage the pain? It's obviously a shot in the dark without knowing what is causing this - but any insights as to what the problem could be?

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this!

5 Replies
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I have no idea what is the cause hopefully your specialist can help. The following are just ideas that might help.

Be careful about some things some web sites say. Without the knowledge of your specialists it is easy to get scared or inadvertently follow potentially useless or potentially harmful practices.

Might not be a bad idea to skip alcohol for a while, see what your gp says.

It might also be a good idea to eat smaller regular meals but more often to try to help the liver. So you eat the right amount over a longer time. This is simply thinking about processing.

Possibly ask your gp if anything in your diet could help or should be avoided.

Keeping a record of what you eat and drink might be useful.

Watch out for health supplements, check them out with you gp and your specialist.

Fresh fruit and vegetables and home cooked meals are easier to control salt and sugar than ready prepared meals. Read labels about what is in the jar, bottle or tin etcetera.

Also going on the British liver trust site publication about food and the NHS about portions is useful even though you are a healthy bmi. I wish I'd looked long ago as apparently my troubles started decades ago, and it is not decades ago that I went over my bmi boundary.

Make sure you check your meds for what does and doesn't need to be taken with food.

Also check if some meds should not be taken at the same time as others. I found out some of mine needed a two hour gap from each other.

Try to eat slowly and not rush your food.

Don't rush to do heavy exercise straight after eating, but do some gentle exercise.

Try and get good quality sleep patterns at night.

These are all basic ideas that might help . The specialist should be able to give you more help. I would always advise you to check things out with them first.

Best of luck

Gx

1 like
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Thanks Gx! I appreciate you taking the time to offer those suggestions and will certainly give them a go. If nothing else, this experience seems like a good push to look at all factors in my life and see what I can be doing to take better care of myself :)

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Sometimes a wake-up call that isn't too scary but is enough to make us rethink is a good thing. I wish I had taken more notice of some of mine in the past. The other thing I didn't mention before was thinking about your stress levels and how to deal with them. They are probably the main factor that caused me problems. If you can get stress into perspective and make sure your life is in a healthy balance, you are doing your best to look after the life you have been given.

All the best for a long, happy, healthy future.

Gx

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Feel like this too. Gnawing pain (but not intense) pn my ribs too. Aside from that no other symptom. Except that i have noticed i have been burping these past two days. However, i was diagnosed with hepb,prob had it since birth.

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Exactly! A gnawing pain. I wish I knew why... 😞 I tested negative for the hep viruses, though my doctor said that it's possible that my liver was enlarged from another virus. Hopefully we get some answers soon! Be well

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