RUQ pain with more and more symptoms. Can anyone offer advice?

For 20 years I drank to excess.

I have a good job, nice home, lovely husband but every night after work I would reach for a bottle of wine (or 2) my stupid way of winding down. I knew I was drinking far too much, my husbands drinking habits were the same and as I never went to bed drunk or woke with a hangover didn't consider changing my habits. Then I discovered I was pregnant and stopped drinking immediately.

This was 7 years ago. When my daughter was born my lifestyle completely changed and alcohol was no longer part of my daily routine, maybe a glass of wine on a Saturday night.

2 years later when on holiday enjoying a glass of wine I felt a stabbing sensation on the right hand side in the liver area. A dull ache remained for the rest of the holiday and when I returned home I made an appointment with my GP. He examined my abdomen, ordered LFT's and an ultrasound scan suspecting gallstones. LFT's were all normal and ultrasound normal. However the pain persisted and I also felt sick regularly. Saw my GP again and mentioned my private health insurance so was referred to a consultant who ordered CT Scan and endoscopy. CT revealed 2mm kidney stone in left kidney and mild diverticulitis. He told me my liver was "fine". Endoscopy normal.

2 years later I picked up a nasty stomach bug which when cleared left me with a feeling of a lump stuck in my throat. It's always there and causes me to cough. Blue veins have also appeared in my neck. Yes, I am concerned about varices. Since having my daughter I have had awful hemorhhoids, I realise these happen after giving birth but they have got a lot worse and will not clear up. My RUQ pain is still there, in last 2 years my GP has arranged LFT's each time they have been normal. For the last month my entire body has been aching, in particular my legs, neck and lower back. My GP says I have pulled a muscle. My medical notes read I "panic"

My mouth pours with blood when I brush my teeth, I get cramp regularly and have difficulty sleeping, literally I can be awake for a week. My periods became non existent a couple of years ago (I am now 41) my GP put me on the mini pill and I dont have periods at all now which can be a side effect of the mini pill but periods I understand also stop when liver disease is present.

My G.P tells me it is not possible to have a clear ultrasound, CT, endoscopy and LFT's with liver disease....something would show. These tests were 4 years ago and I have asked to be investigated further but they advise its not an option given my test results.

I feel I cannot go back again, I know they think this is all in my mind and I am wasting their time. I feel like they think I am attention seeking.

Sorry for rambling, I'm so desperately worried and feel dreadful, just don't know what to do :(

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

11 Replies

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  • Morning Shishi I wished I could answer some of your questions but not really sure only to say to keep pestering, if that what the GP thinks. I also was labelled at my old GP and although I was told 2 years ago that I had NAFLD which had same symptoms as you, but told that I had rib pain syndrome, It was only when my symptoms got worse that I was referred to QE hospital. You say you have private health insurance? I would go private and get it checked out. I am not sure what you weight is but I know when I lost weight and got fitter my symptoms are better.

    I changed my GP end of 2012 since then I have been told I have high blood pressure high Cholesterol, Gout and Vitamin D deficient. I have never been a drinker so this was never a problem with stopping the odd glass of wine. If I did I was always sick so obviously my body does not like it.

    I hope you get some good advice soon? You know your body best so hang in there.

  • Shishi

    Cant answer your questions I'm afraid, just wanted to say sorry you are feeling so rubbish, there is obviously something going on.

    Sorry but what does ruq mean?

    I have had stabbing pains in the liver area for about a year, itchy skin, pins and needles,back and hip pain red palms all of which point towards liver disease. Like you I have had lots of lft's ultrasound and most recent in January fibro scan which have all come back clear. I saw a specialist last week who thought it might be bowel related. See my recent posts if you like. He also said that some of it may be in my head and it could be stress and anxiety related.

    This is probably of no use to you but thought you might be interested in my story.

    I hope you feel better soon and get the answers you are looking for, please keep us up to date.

  • Thank you Dustyday and Sunflower1 for your advice and concern. I realise no-one can give me the answers I am looking for, I am just at my wits end with worrying. Sunflower1 - ruq means "right upper quadrant" a term that I have come across a lot when looking at various sites, scaring myself silly. Pain over the liver area is quite often described as RUQ pain. I have spent a lot of time looking for solutions on the internet and I know I shouldnt do this as not all sites can be trusted. Could I ask where you had your fibroscan? Were you referred for this or did you opt for a private consultation, I understand this procedure is next best thing to a biopsy and there is no way my GP would send me for a biopsy with my test results which I understand. I will look at your recent posts. Thanks again for both your input, still mulling over what to do but your replies are much appreciated.

  • OK, not heard of that term before. I understand your worry.

    I had the fibro scan done on the liver trust roadshow, they do one every January I think and they were in my town.

    I have heard many different opinions on them to be honest, some good and some bad but what the experts keep telling me is that something WOULD have shown up by now on these tests if it was liver disease.

  • Hi shishi. A CT scan is about as good as it gets (short of an MRI and a liver biopsy) of picking up abdominal abnormalities. If your liver was enlarged, fibrotic, cirrhotic or had any cysts or lesions on it, the CT scan would have picked this up. Combined with your normal LFT results I think you can rely on these results as conclusive that you dont have early stage damage to your liver.

    But your body is clearly struggling. Sunflower is a similar case. No clinical diagnosis of liver damage but feeling unwell with symptoms that could be indicative of a number of different problems.

    There is a common but nasty bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) that causes stomach bug issues and can go on to cause digestive problems. Have you been tested for it. Treatment is with antibiotics and ant-acids.

    If your liver passed the CT scan test, its very unlikely you have varices. Veins on the outside of your neck wouldnt be varices.

    I have that similar stuck in the throat sensation and it seems likely its acid reflux. Dietary changes will help, or you might like to try a mild over the counter product like Gaviscon for a short while to see if it makes any difference.

    My suggestion to sunflower, and to you, is a complete rethink of your lifestyle and diet.

    We all think we know what a 'healthy' diet is, but with todays convenience supermarket shopping its difficult to avoid sugar and salt, 2 of the biggest culprits of gastric discomfort and poor health when consumed in large quantities.

    Its probably way to drastic to say 'cut out sugar, salt and gluten from your diet', but I moderate a uk hepatitis suprising how many people there with liver damage and other health issues like arthritis, digestive problems, skin problems, etc have benefited from cutting down on the sugar and salt.

    Overall body aches and pains can be caused by a Vitamin D3 deficiency. We're only just beginning to understand the importance of Vit D3, how it affects our calcium uptake, and how much we need in the this northern hemisphere when we get barely any from the sun! Even Australians are now Vit D3 deficient as they cover themselves in sunblock.

    There is a Vit D3 council website on the internet which is good. If you have private insurance, get your levels checked and then go from there. You need way over the RDA of 600iu to get levels up. By the way its D3 cholecalciferol not Vit D2.

    With gut issues it also helps to take 'friendly' bacteria, as courses of antibiotics etc wipe out all the good stuff along with the bad. Any decent health food store will have acidophilus along with the Vit D3 supplement.

    Diet may also help the diverticulitis. I assume a low fibre diet is best for diverticulitis, not sure if you can follow the FODMAP diet and be low fibre. Needs some research. Unfortunately low fibre wont help with the haemorrhoids. Sometimes a gentle laxative like Lactulose (safe on the liver) can help if you are struggling with bowel movements.

    Has your dentist given you any advice on the gums. Mine bleed, and my dentist recommends a decent anti-bacterial mouthwash and flossing. I still dont clean them properly apparently.

    I'd be interested to see a few days 'food' diary. Sunflower posted a diary on their thread and it was suprising how much sugar and salt was in it and how little fibre and fresh foodstuffs.

  • Dear Shishi,

    I was so sorry to learn that you are suffering from so many symptoms, and quite naturally, you're feeling a tad fed up with it all.

    It's a shame that your GP won't put you forward for further tests, due to the fact that previous results showed no abnormalities. However, these tests were a long time ago, and I feel that you should be investiaged further. Were you not even given a follow-up appointment regarding your kidney stones?

    As you probably know, the LFT is NOT gold standard, and the results can all be within the reference ranges and look 'normal' even though there may be some irritation or activiy etc., going on in the background, but not reflecting in the bloods 'enough' to influence the readings.

    Bolly's comments and advice above is very good, so please look at your diet very carefully and take on board the suggestions.

    If there isn't a different GP at your practice hat you could see, then do consider changing practices - it's very simple. Just take yourself along to another practice and ask if you could register with them. If they have a place for you then they will do all the paperwork and you won't ever need to return to your present practice ever again.

    If however, there isn't another GP at your current practice, OR it's not possible to change practice's, then you are going to have to return to your GP and persuade him to organise some blood tests and an ultrasound scan for you. Can you take a friend or family member along with you for support?

    Please click on the following link to take you to our list of hospitals that have liver units - these hospitals are where you will find hepatologists:

    79.170.44.126/britishlivert...

    You could ask your GP to refer you to a hepatologist, either as an NHS patient OR as a private patient.

    I have just re-read your question/comments again Shishi, and feel that you should get the ball rolling as quickly as possible.

    I would be more than happy to talk to you on the Helpline Shishi, so please do consider giving me a call on: 0800 652 7330, or email me directly at: sarah.tattersall@britishlivertrust.org.uk

    Good Luck!

    Best wishes,

    Sarah Tattersall

    Patient Enquiry Officer

    British Liver Trust

  • You have right to be referred to a specialist (Hepatologist) not everything shows up on blood tests and scans! Pain is your body;s way of saying something is not right. I have had fatty liver for nearly 20yrs, sometimes by bloods and scans are normal as well but I still have the pain/ache. It is worthwhile pursuing your symptoms, you may find a femaale doctor is willing to investigatre your symptoms in more depth. Its your body so seek a second opinion if you are worried. Your panic may be related to not getting to the root of your problem! I wish you well.

    Angela

  • I am interested to find out which test will actually show a problem, there such a thing. My specialist said that stabbing pains were not a symptom??

  • Thanks all, in particular Bolly for taking such a lot of time and thought into your advice. I am feeling a bit down at the moment so not much else to say right now, only I really do appreciate your feedback. Bolly, my diet is pretty bad I have to say - I'm not a major fan of fruit or veg, eat a lot of carbs to be honest. I am going to look to address this and see if there are any improvements, I also dring masses of tea with sweetener and I have learned sweetener is an enemy so have cut this out aswell. Will seek further advice from Sarah when feeling up to it, just very low today :(

  • Hi shishi and sorry to hear you are so down. Give Sarah a call, - the B L Trust and Sarah have been really helpful to me in the past when I have been worried about things. It will help to talk and to offload a bit. A problem shared is a problem halved, and if you need a box of tissue to hand,so what, we've all been there.

  • I would ask to be referred to a specialist at a liver transplant clinic.

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