Has anyone experienced upper abdominal pain after completing chemo?

A week ago Sunday/Monday, I awoke with the most severe pain just below my rib cage. Labor with my children were less painful than this! I went to the ER on Tuesday when it didn't get any better and nothing showed up on CT scan but a small amount of fluid in lower abdomen. Came home and just ate broth and easy food and by Thursday I was back to normal but still had no idea why. It is exactly one week later and yesterday got hit with this same severe pain, same place. I am really trying not to get spooked by this but it has only been since June that I finished chemo for the first time, I was diagnosed in January. The only difference between the 2 is I had vomiting with this one. Sorry this was so long. I just want to know if anyone else has ever experienced abdominal pain following chemo? My once and her nurse are not the most helpful or forthcoming with information. I usually find out about things after the fact instead of before it happens!

14 Replies

  • You poor thing that sounds horrid. Despite your oncologist and nurse not being user friendly it might be best to seek their advice or maybe your GP if they are usually more helpful.

    I hope you get sorted soon.


    Zannah x

  • Well after talking with the nurse again...I am headed to the hospital to be admitted and be more thoroughly checked out. I still welcome anyone's input and I will post what the outcome is.


  • Yes: I have had exactly the same: just under my rib cage on the right hand side. It started just after my 3rd session on carboplatin and is still with me (my 6th and last was in June). I mentioned it to my onc and GP and neither seemed too fussed; they suggested it may be gall stones, which don't show on a CT, but I haven't pushed for an ultrasound (which would show this) as I'm quite averse to going for any more surgery... However I am surprised by the amount of women who seem to have OC and gall stones; does anyone else know if these (or chemo) are linked? I would advise you get an ultrasound if you think it's gall stones, but the only treatment is surgery if it is that.

  • I had gall stones and would get pain on the right side just under the ribs and I would also feel sick. I had my gall bladder removed earlier this year it was a very simple procedure and I am glad I had it

  • I would agree with the gallstones theory, I had gallstones but a long time before I had OC I was in excruciating pain,nausius, and sick. it went way after I had my gallbladder removed, sometimes gallstones don't always show up on an X-ray, mine did because I had one very large one and it was made up of calcium not cholesterol (fat) ( apparently it is the cholesterol ones that don't show up ) best wishes love x G x

  • Hi, I would also agree it is probably gallstone or stones. I have the same pain at times and last year after finishing chemo I mentioned it and the Oncologist said "that'll be your gallstone". I was flabbergasted and she said that it had been showing up in my scans - why didn't they mention it - different part of body. anyway it resulted in several visits to the gallstone consultant who decided not to operate as there was no guarantee that he could do it by keyhole with all my scar tissue and he didn't want to open me up as that would have a detrimental effect on my immune system etc etc. I am living with it, most of the time it isn't too bad and when we go for a curry - I ask for no extra oil and they always oblige.

    I hope it is as simple for you, best wishes, I will be thinking of you.




  • Sounds horrible you poor thing. My experience was while on chemo and an infection - but the main learning was that in the main hospital system you often have to FORCE connectivity with the chemo team - I was nearly given a whole range if unnecessary, invasive gastro tests until I spotted a Macmillan nurse passing by and asked her for help. The chemo team arranged to rescue/transfer me so that checks could be made in context... Make sure you get the cancer team involved on site if poss.


    Sue xxx

  • I have had similar episodes of severe pain in upper abdomen. They started about 6 months after my first chemo treatment and I ended up in hospital doubled up with the pain. I was given morphine and kept in overnight. The pain disappeared overnight and the Dr suggested it was probably due to adhesions around my bowel following my surgery. His advice was not to eat heavy, or very spicy, meals in the evening to keep my bowel working smoothly and whenever I felt the pains coming on to take strong painkillers and to have only liquid food for 24 hrs. A CT scan showed nothing sinister. I have had further episodes, one or two of which have been extremely painful, not helped by having had further surgery in Dec '12! I now try and eat little and often and ensure my bowel (I now have a colostomy) is working smoothly and does not get constipated. Neither GP or Onc have ever suggested the pain might be caused by gallstones and I didn't know that they might not show up on CT scans.

    Anyway, I hope you get your symptoms sorted and that it isn't something requiring surgery.

    Good luck

    xxxxxxx Colette

  • Hi there i hope you find out what this is , my mum had her gall bladder removed she said the pain of the stones was outrageous and apparantly is extremely like a heartattack. I had chemo almost

    A year and a half ago and to be perfectly honest everything aches its like I feel drained i had breast cancer and im on Tamoxifen but im so happy im clear but keep thinking will i ever feel normal again im38 and feel like my body is 80. Dont mess about with regular staff they dont understand ? Get the cancer team involved . I.e My daughter is diabetic but if she gets admitted theres no point the ward staff looking after her as they do not all understand the complex needs ive gone there somedays and shes not had any insulin to eat her food and when ive checked her blood sugars they are sky high . Keep on going to the cancer team as im hoping they will be more supportive good luck

  • Wishing you well, I have a very dear friend who is suffering from gallstones at the moment and she says the pain is worse than labour at times (she has 4 children). She is OK as long as she eats a fat free diet. Maybe your GP will be more helpful? I do hope this is sorted out quickly for you. xxx

  • Well I am glad to report that this is a gall stone. I know that is a strange thing to be glad about but having a reason for the pain now is a relief. Now I know for sure it isn't cancer and for the first time in over a week I can relax. What a load off my shoulders. I will be meeting with my GI doc in the morning to discuss my options or what's next. I want to thank all of you for your help and support and suggestions. This is such a loving, caring site and I appreciate your inputs, thoughts and prayers. Sincerely, Tracy

  • Must be such a relief! I had my gall bladder out 5 years ago and if that's what they suggest the surgery was really straight forward and recovery was pretty swift. I think I was only in theatre for about 25 mins. Hoping they can get you sorted quickly- I remember the pain well!


  • I have had this pain, off and on for 2 years, this is how they found a huge tumor in my abdominal cavity. I have gone in for CT scan, ultrasound, blood work you name it I have had it. Upper right abdomanl area with vomiting. I can’t eat for at least 2 days after because I am so afraid of the pain coming back. I vomit a lot of bile and this last time It sent me to the ER. They did an ultrasound while I was in so much pain and everything looked ok. I wasn’t given any meds and was un able to stop vomiting the whole morning with nothing in my stomach. It is the worst pain ever I feel like I’m going to die when I get it. I am unable to eat heavy foods cause I think my stomach can’t process it. I think it’s my gallbladder even if they tests show nothing. I had a friend that had gallbladder issues and the only way they found it was by putting a scope down her throat.

    I wish you luck.... you are not alone.

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