I've suffered with upper tummy pain for many years (which comes and goes) it's slap bang in the middle and when it's bad it radiates to my back and I'm sometimes sick and rather hot. The pain is like a dull burn/ache which will wake me up. If I eat the pain always gets worse.

Doctors gave me an ultra sound scan which didn't show anything and I did have blood tests a while ago. I have a history of being anemic and also had an underactive thyroid (neither affect me now). Anyway I keep looking at the symptoms of pancreatitis and it sounds very similar. But doctors have said it's IBS? This has always puzzled me. IBS is meant to be tummy cramps? Also buscopan does nothing at all, like most pain killers, stretching, etc. Nothing helps!!

Anyway should I mention Pancreatitis to the doctor or will they think I'm being OTT? Surely they would have thought of it and I've heard it can be tough to detect? I'm only 30 though so maybe they just assume I'm too young? Or do I just accept the IBS diagnosis?

Any thoughts are appreciated! 

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27 Replies

  • Have you also asked Dr Google what causes pancreatitis?

  • Yes it says mainly alcohol and I don't drink alot....

    But can also be auto immune diseases or sometimes they don't know why.

  • Yes but more usual to be alcohol. If you don't drink and your GP says IBS than that would be my thought too.

    IBS is far more common than people realise. There is no reason and no real cure. Just one of those things.

    It can be severe and chronic and even with all the tests available nothing can show as to why.

    Your GP could prescribe a low dose of Loperamide to be taken daily if yours is severe.

    Please don't go looking for self diagnosis. Dr Google is good but can never replace your GP or consultant.

  • I just thought IBS pain is described differently to what I get. But fair enough. Thanx for the replies! 

  • Can only advice not diagnose.

    IBS is not nice on any level. My husband has severe and chronic.

    Take care


  • Have they ruled out stomach ulceration?   That would be the most common cause of upper abdominal pain radiating through to the back.  An ultrasound wouldn't show what is going on in the stomach - you would need to have an endoscopy for that.   If you have been anaemic with it, then I would think coeliac disease would also need to be ruled out.  I'm surprised they are saying IBS if its upper abdominal pain.  I don't think pancreatitis is actually hard to detect, as it will show up as raised amylase in blood tests.  I wouldnt try to suggest a diagnosis to your doctor, but maybe you could just ask if its more likely to be something going on in your stomach rather than your bowel, as it is quite high up and in the middle, and because eating aggravates it, and also because buscopan doesn't help.  Also ask how you would be able to find out for sure whether it was your stomach.  

  • Have you been checked for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)? Also common and also causing chronic stomach pain. important to find it - hard to treat it but they should check you for it. 

  • Herbal mixtures can treat this better than antibiotics.  If you feel it is this then see a fully qualified herbalist but get a diagnosis first.

  • I thought the diagnosis was IBS?


  • If she has heliocobacter then my advice stands.  If she has pancreatitis and wants to ask the doctor  then she can of course ask.  What she needs as I have said is a firm diagnosis.  It is so easy for Docs to say quickly it is something.  She and anyone must go to the GP or any doc and write down what to say.,  If she wishes to ask is it.......then list the items and say.  Someone put helio is difficult to treat.  Yes it is with antibiotics but with herbs it takes 2 months.  That was how I was treated.  But again it is a firm diagnosis that is important.  We can only assist on this site often from personal knowledge.

  • Oh I have been around this site long enough ot to give diagnosis.

    You go to your GP presenting symptoms. He does tests etc and makes a diagnosis. It can be wrong they aren't infallible

    Searching through Dr Google yourself as you think it may be something else is not a popular past time.

    I have had pancreatitis after an accident which then created a pancreatic cyst. In and out of ITU for 3 years. It was painful beyond words. Not easy to miss.

    By all means return to GP if pain persists as IBS usually settles between bouts But probably not armed with list from  your own self diagnosis.


  • No I agree.  I can legally diagnose and I know if given a list it is very helpful but not all people think like I do.  You also cannot diagnose on this site cos I am not seeing the person, and no clue where they lived, even if I wanted to.  I don't diagnose unless someone is in front of me.  No telephone diagnosis either.  She did ask if it was worth asking the doctor.  Yes it is, is still my reply.  It would put her mind at rest if it wasn't and if it was then the doctor could think up that route. 

  • I was  thinking more of herbal medicine.   But this does depend on a persons constitution, in that I know I am allergic to some cos they contain salicylates.  One has to be so careful these days.  I disagree with people giving a diagnoses.  The whole point is to treat each person as an individual.  At the end of the day, a list to a doctor of fears, why not?  I have an ailment that was in the Mail Yesterday.  Not seen it before.  Yes I shall take it to the GP and say "is this what I have"? 

  • If it is relevant then go ahead.  He can always say yes or no.  I did just this today, it worked and yes it is; but not recognised by the GP who said why he didn't.  I am happy, Ok nothing can be done at present but so what at least I know what IT is now.  When my husband goes to see a consultant tomorrow, he has a letter form me and a list of things wrong, and why he feels they are wrong.  His secretary suggested this to happen.   It cuts time, saves going 'round the mulberry bush' and above all has it all written down so my husband does not forget anything.  Yes he needs an operation.  This is essential.  GP knows it, my husband knows it and the secretary knowns it from GP to them correspondence.

  • Thank you, 32 times to the loo at night is not joke and GP sent him for a blood test.  Pay a consultant £200 and magic happens.  Why should sleep for almost 7 months except in between the loo trots.  He is lethargic, zombie and sleeps when he can even for a few minutes.  GP last Tuesday told him "you are 74, I shall send you for a blood test".  Big deal.

  • There is no harm is saying "Is it pancreatitis"?  cos they have to answer yes or no.  No chance of saying anything else.  I think is not an answer.  Pancreatitis normally comes on the right side under the booby, but does radiate.  I know cos my husband had it and had to have his gall bladder out etc.  I am not saying you will, BUT NO there is no harm in asking.  In short tell the doctor all your fears, he has to say yes or no.

  • GERD, Gastroenteritis, and gallbladder can ALL cause these symptoms. As your symptoms appear in upper torso. The imaging would have disclosed anything on pancreas or gallbladder.

    But best to check with doctors in your area, as internet diagnosed illnesses can inhibit treatment. 

  • I have had similar pain to you but originally on left side and was told by a and E it was stomach ulcer but wasn't confirmed by endoscopy, I was quite poorly the day after Xmas and lasted about 6 weeks, I had and ultrasound followed by a contrast ct scan and I was told I had more than likely pancreatic cancer but a biopsy has shown no cancer cells, this pain is from the middle to the right side, I just wanted to let you know these things are really hard to diagnose, I'm really glad I had prepared for the worse case scenario but in reality any problem with the pancreas is classed as serious, the other thing I had was weight loss I lost 3 stone from Xmas which is why it triggered fast diagnostic procedures for cancer if it was something like that or even gall bladder pain you would know about it, rather than seeing Dr with could it be this or that it would help them more by keeping a diary eg what you eat each meal how much pain you get after each meal score it say from 1-10, you could also keep a weekly check on your weight, also write down any time you get pain and position of pain not after eating ie at night when lying down.

    Please don't start thinking the worst about my original diagnosis it's not that common with the pancreas, but the diary is the key, the 1st thing I was told was stay away from Dr Google it's a drs worst nightmare and can really confuse things.

    I hope you get things sorted but be patient and get the right diagnosis.

    Sending hugs Sheryl

  • Thank you for all the replies. I probably won't just go in and say "is it pancreatitis?!" But I do think IBS is dished out too much by doctors who don't really know why you're getting paid and yes my pain is rather high up so the diagnosis has always bugged me. Always felt like they came to a dead end if that makes sense and I didnt want to be too pushy. 

  • You are entitled to be assertive and ask for further investigation I do agree IBS  is used as the answer to a lot of gastro problems these days and there has just been an article about meds given out for IBS etc can cause problems with the kidneys so it is important you get the right diagnosis, keep the diary as I suggested and at least you are giving the drs something to work with.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.

    Sending hugs Sheryl

  • I was diagnosed as IBS and it turned out to be multiple gallstones. Hope you get a definitive answer soon. Nothing worse  than pain and not knowing what's causing it.

  • I'll be 'brutally Blunt' here....Get a check from your Doctors/Consultants!  No really- I have a 'feeling' about you.  Am I a 'silly old man' maybe, but will you prove it for me please?

    Sorry to be so blunt, just had to!


  • Not sure how to reply to that :-) but yes I shall be going back to the doctor.

  • Daniel87 has just asked me, about this 'feeling'.  Please do read my reply bellacoral-sorry I can't be more specific.

    Without wanting to be patronising, in any way whatsoever, I hope that you feel better soon.


  • I honestly don't know Daniel, stupid as that sounds!  I guess it is just a 'feeling'-the funny thing is that sometimes (fairly often in fact) I have actually been right.  I can assure you that if you are confused by this, and since you have asked the question I assume that you are, then so am I!  Sorry that I can't explain this further-I wish that I could.


  • Look, I don't think I'm going to drop down dead but it's clear to me and others that my pain is not the same as IBS so I think it's worth me pursuing it and having more tests. Google is there to use and doctors aren't always right. I do know someone that took their doctors first diagnosis and ended up in hospital because the doctor got it wrong. Shock horror. It does happen you know? I didn't really come on here to read patronising comments about not using Google. It's there to use and I'm not screaming "oh no I have cancer I'm dying."

    Sorry if this seems OTT but I'm sure most people who are registered on an online Health Forum do use Google. 

  • It might be obvious, but it isn't heart burn or reflux is it?

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