Stomach pain or rib pain!

Hi my daughter has been struggling for the past 15 months with severe abdominal pain and cold sweats, she was 1st sent to general surgery who found that the problem was not surgical ie any organs causing it, she then was sent to endocrinology who found her oestrogen levels to be that of a post menopausal women but she is only 22, this is down to having the contraceptive injection which she has now stopped, she was referred by the endocrinologist to Gastrenterology who she saw yesterday, when she told him how she was, not getting any sleep and when asleep being woken up with pain he basically laughed in her face the pain is similar to gall bladder pain but on the left side, she has also taken anti inflammatories with no stomach protection eg omeprazole he again laughed it off, he eventually examined her and said it wasn't her bowel which had never been in question, he went on to say it's your ribs pressing on your organs ie spleen, I asked if there was any problem with her spleen and he said no it's because she is a bit overweight (approx 2 stone) that was making the ribs press, he then said she was addicted to codeine and that its her body wanted more so her body is telling her brain that she has severe pain. He finished off by saying it wasn't his problem to go home only take paracetamol and exercise. She came away feeling like an overweight drug addict!! I do know that taking pain relief over any long period can start to make pain worse, what annoyed me though he told her to stop the codeine but didn't tell it would have to be a gradual stop, it's a good job we knew it had to be done slowly. To top it all off I tried to get her an appointment with her GP and was told she couldn't see him for around 4 weeks as it wasn't urgent.

Sorry it's a bit long winded but just wondered if anyone had any comments, suggestions or thoughts on this diagnosis.

8 Replies

  • Hi Sheryl,

    I can't advise you on the condition, it's not something I have any experience of, but I had to reply to let you know that your experience with doctors / consultants is not unique and it just infuriates me to read about how you've been treated. Your daughter is lucky to have someone on her side who, in my opinion, is doing exactly the right thing - do your own research and reach out to others to get support.

    3 years ago, I developed a sudden blinding headache which evolved in to neck, back and shoulder pain. It's only in recent months that I've found consultants willing to help. The first thing I would do is change GP! When my GP got tired of me asking for help (he actually looked at me one day, exasperated, and said "well what do you want me to do?"!), I registered at another surgery and that was the beginning of things turning around (they still didn't really know what to do with me, but they were willing to try).

    I've seen countless consultants who have dismissed me, laughed at me, treated me like a waste of time - I know how much that hurts. In reality, because your symptoms don't fit in to the boxes that they have worked with before, they are not willing to help. But you mustn't waste time thinking about those ones, put your energy in to seeking the one that is going to take you seriously.

    I kept notes of all of my symptoms over two and a half years, all appointments, and I put them all together and began to send letters to consultants that work in neurology and opthalmology. I had some very snotty responses back about how inappropriate that was, but I had made the decision to find someone to help and I did fairly quickly (much more quickly than having to do it through my GP).

    I suppose what I'm saying is, just don't give up. Don't rely on the opinion of someone who you feel, by instinct, is wrong. Keep pushing, keep asking, keep researching.


  • Hi Toni thanks for your reply I will defo do what you suggest over consultants, the problem isn't with the actual Drs at my surgery I have two really good ones, it's getting past the receptionist, I know they are probably doing as they have been instructed to do, but there does need to be a bit of discretion to the 'rules' right now it's either your on deaths door or you can wait 4 weeks with nothing in between.

    My daughter is also thinking of requesting her medical notes from the hospital to see what each consultant has written.

    I hope you are feeling better and resolved what is causing your headaches

    Hugs and love Sheryl

  • Thanks Sheryl. Stick around, I'm sure someone will reply to you soon with some idea of what might be happening (or at least with some keywords you can google!).

    Getting copies of your notes is a good idea, particularly if you happen to find someone outside of your area to help you - it will save time in tracking them down.

    I wrote a letter to my GP when I had the same situation as you with the receptionists. I marked it Private & Confidential, so it would go directly to him, and handed it in at reception. The GP saw me three days later. That might be worth doing. It is possible to be on a mission and determined to get help NOW and still be polite! - the important thing is to keep asking :)

    Really hope you get some help soon.


  • I'm not an expert, but if it's rib pain have you considered costochondritis? for the stomach pain have you considered overproduction of acid? For which I think omeprazole would be used. I have episodes of terrible pain which feels like it's in between my chest and stomach, the doctor says it's inflamed stomach lining/ over production of acid / reflux (although I don't feel like I have any reflux / heartburn at all). I take omeprazole on an as and when required basis. Hope this might be of some help to you.

  • Thank you for that we suspected it could be the stomach lining as she had been taking an anti inflammatory for a sprained ankle without anything to protect her stomach will look in to that with GP.

  • Hi Sheryl.I can totally sympathise with you over what you and your daughter have experienced.It makes me so angry when we get treated in this way by doctors and consultants.I have had the same issues for four years and laughed at.ridiculed and ignored bytrthem and whatever I told them the problem was got ignored ordismissed.I really hope you get some answers,all I have gotten in the last four years is you need to lose weight and do more exercise when diet isn't a problem and weight gain was abdominal and not in my control.

  • Thank you for that, I was hoping that my case was few and far between but it worries me that it's not !

  • Hi Sheryl. It seems that is the NHS care or empathy anymore.I recently got accused of "costing the NHS money"_for having scans and referrals which is totally out of order when its gp's decision not my asking.

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