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IBS - pain under left rib coming and going - misery!

Hi all, I have only just recently been diagnosed with IBS - though I think I have probably had it for a long time…!

Right now - its causing me misery…… And yes - its much worse in the evenings. I tend to get relief from it overnight.

I am also a real stickler for not taking too many meds, I don't like adding crap to my body, but have realised I have no choice..

I also suffer from physical pains from anxiety, brought on from losing my daughter through leukaemia 10 years ago - I get bouts of it after a stressful situation. For my anxiety pain I take Propanalol - which in fairness - works.

I get burning pain under my left rib, and occasionally on my right rib too, up my back and indigestion pains too. I get burpy with it, and have about 4-5 poos a day - and have done since I can remember.

I have had the pains on and off for years, literally, been docs numerous times (one of which whilst I was sitting in tears was more interested in taking a pic of my Casio watch. Admittedly, its a cool watch but COME ON! ;-) ) And one gave me Diazepam. WTF?!? I have never taken them.

One doctor about 4 weeks ago felt under my rib, and had a good prod round my vital organs, no nasty lumps or anything - everything was spot on. She was very thorough and the first to be thorough, and take my anxiety and pain seriously. She gave me Colofac, which within 20 minutes seemed to work brilliantly, and this lasted for about a week, I felt on top of the world, my anxiety was down (I often imagine awful things are wrong with me when I get pains - part of my previous stress I guess and I know some of my pains are stress related).

But slowly they don't seem to be doing the job anymore. I use paracetamol as Im told Ibuprofen can exacerbate the symptoms? Occasionally I take co-codamol - but nothing really seems to work, and I don't want to pump myself full of pain killers!!

My life is reasonably stressful, but nothing out of the ordinary, I guess I just don't deal with it as well due to my past.

I am after some advice on the following - and wondered if you kind people would help?

1. Is there a pain killer anyone could recommend that is not addictive that I can take as and when, and not every day (my pain comes and goes but is more frequent these days .

2. This burning rib thing - its freaking annoying and wondered if others experienced it?

3. Diet - my doc told me not to change my diet as such - what do others think? (I LOVE and eat a lot of spice, and cook everything from scratch. Even my own pasta. I would cry a lot if I had to give up spicy food - food is such a big part of my life :-(

4. Alternative pain relief:

a) accupuncture - anyone tried this?

b) natural painkillers - is there such a thing!?!

5. Does anyone else get discomfort from simply reaching over and grabbing the remote!?

Its a long one - sorry - but just sick to death of feeling in pain, and not feeling like I can keep moaning about it. I also like a few of you I have seen, get the sense no one really believes I can be in that much pain through irritable bowel syndrome, and Im sick of talking about it so I keep stum!!

Thanks all

Hev xx

15 Replies

Hi Hev as I reply to you I am lying down in agony with pain under both ribs searing pain round belly button and just generally feeling terrible so totally understand where you are coming from! I tend to take buscopan for spasms which does help a bit but not a complete solution I take codeine when pain really bad but like you don't want to keep popping pills! Have you had tests done to rule out other things before your ibs diagnosis?

Best wishes

Lucy x


Hi Lucy, thank you for your reply, and sorry you feel rubbish :-(

I may try Buscopan, not one I have tried before! Thank you.

I am currently with a crap doctors surgery, honestly, they are a joke, so I am moving surgeries, but no - no other tests done, no one takes me seriously due to my history with anxiety. Im fairly confident that I have the correct diagnosis now, as it all makes sense, but the anxious side of me that feeds the IBS wont chill out until I know 100% that thats what it is. So I am going to push to see a specialist, and get some tests done. My chest is clear according to doctors, who have listened to it numerous times, and the pain isn't in my chest as such, its under my ribs, and my back - but I also have a bad back so some of the pain is from that. But I know there are other inflictions that could be causing this.

Have you had other tests done and what for if you don't mind me asking?

Thank you so much - big hugs hope you feel better real soon xx


Hi Hev. Your symptoms are almost identical to mine. I'm at the very start of my IBS journey having just been to the Dr after 6 months of blood tests , stool tests, ultrascans and tablets and being told it's IBS. Bloating and 4 or more toilet visits a day are my main issue. I can't recommend any pain relief as my pain isn't chronic, but I've avoided ibuprofen all year opting for paracetamol instead. I've had osmeprazol recently thats made my stools more predictable and solid, although the Dr gave them originally as they thought i had an ulcer, so unsure if your doc will give you them. I have been to the Dr regarding anxiety before, so i think it's linked so will mention the drugs you mentioned when i see her next week, so thanks for mentioning thename of the drugs you tried. one thing i want to try is the FODMAP diet that helps with bloating. I'm convinced the bloating and wind is behind my side pains, so may be the same for you. If i can eleliminate the bloating foods I'm hoping to reduce the pain. Hope this helps.


HI ya, no problem, its worth mentioning that Propanalol only relieves the physical symptoms of anxiety, not whats going on in your head, but saying that, because they help with my physical pain, it stops me thinking about them and then in turn - helps whats going on in my head!?

Hope that makes sense - I am going to start getting some tests done to be sure its nothing else, change surgeries to a doctor who is actually interested in what I have to say.

Hope your symptoms lessen and thank you for your reply xx


I have had lots of tests at my drs, two stool testing for bacteria and inflammation, one ultrasound, blood tests for kidney, liver and thyroid and finally a prostate test by dr, eugh! Sounds like you need a new dr who can start looking at your case right from the beginning again. Good luck and i hope it goes okay. Remember, there's lots of us out there, sites like this are great to discus our problems and share ideas. I'm happy i saw your post and joined up. :)


Aw poor you! Yeah calling a new surgery this morning. This site has already made me feel better in the 24 hours since I joined!

I'll let you know how I get on.. Thanks again x


Hi Hev

I've had a quick read through your post but immediately thought I should reply with a question about your gall bladder. I've had mine removed but the symptoms you mention aware very similar to the ones I had. Even though on prodding me they couldn't find any gallstones they did an ultrasound and there were some tiny ones in there so they removed it. When I got the results they told me a big one was stuck in the neck and that's the one causing all the pain. Might be worth asking about this. I have to say it was the best thing I've ever agreed to. The pain is horrific and does get worse at night. I was taking a stronger version of Zantac (sorry can't remember the name now) and it worked until the op. Hope you get some resolve from it, but also try eating a low fat diet if you can. I was ok with spicy foods it was just overly fatty ones that disagreed with me. Good luck hope you get it sorted x


Hi ya, thanks for your reply! My doctor who finally diagnosed me did mention my gallbladder, but the pain is predominately round my left rib, and I think (I mean - I think..) that the gallbladder is under the right rib...? But when I go to my new doctors, I will start from scratch and ask them to investigate this again.

I eat extremely well, I buy no ready meals ever, but since visiting my physio (for my back) this morning and mentioning how bad IBS was yesterday, she brought up about the fact that I went to Dublin at the weekend and drank a silly amount of beer (which I dont normally) and so the issue may be wheat...? Until I get my appointment I will try and avoid it as much as I can. I dont really put weight on, Im 5'8" and 8.5 stone, always been a waif, so I generally feel free to eat fatty foods when I want, not that its that often. I have also started cutting down on eating meat as much, and generally feel healthier. I am also very active 4 mile dog walks every day with out fail!

Think its a trial and error exercise over next few months.

Thank you all the best x


Hi again Hev, I have had every test going, colonoscopy, endoscopy and also capsule endoscopy when you swallow a camera and it moves through your bowel taking pictures! All came back fine which is very re-assuring but how can that be when I am in agony when have these flare ups! I think it is really worth you having some further tests and also look at your gall bladder which someone else mentioned on here as it can cause symptoms like yours, mine was checked and was fine.

Really hope you can find out what is causing it and a solution, as this is all very unpleasant :(


Lucy x


Blimey poor you! I think I'll end up becoming a pin cushion and being prodded a lot too! Still - if it gets me answers it'll be worth it!

Will let you all know how I get on! x


Hi Hev

I think you definitely need to push for a thorough diagnosis, I was diagnosed with IBS years ago but didn't really suffer til about 12 months ago since whe it hasn't let up - I also suffer with gastritis which gives the rib and back pain, like you I just want a proper diagnosis so I can learn to

live with it. I have had chest X-ray abdominal scan blood tests and am now waiting for scopes. I am on colofac but also follow a low fodmap diet which definitely seems to have helped with the bloat and wind - a bit of a pain but I was in so much discomfort I think it's worth the hassle. Good luck and find a doctor who will take you seriously then push - firmly but politely for tests and referrals to diagnose properly xx


Hi ya, thank you for your reply!

Someone else told me to get tested for gastritis - so as I mentioned need to go to a new doctor and start from scratch...

How do you get on with colofac? Do you just take it twice daily 20 mins before a meal? Or before every meal..? Also do you take it every day or as and when? I find sometimes its a great relief, and sometimes does sod all. Only been on it for a few weeks though.

I need to check out this Fodmap diet - though I am terrified its going to stop me eating all the wonderful foods I enjoy....!

Thank you for your support and help x


Hi - worth asking about gastritis - although that puts more limitations on food and drink :( low fodmap is a bit of a bore but I don't follow it if we are eating out or at friends particularly (I do suffer a little sometimes) I know 100% I can't eat onion or garlic so I do avoid those - take a look online at it - it's really random what you should and shouldn't eat - to be honest I was suffering so much I would try anything! X


I have something similar only mine discomfort is under the right rib, had blood work, urine screen, and ultrasound done (for gallbladder) everything came back normal. in place of ibuprofen you can take ginger capsules, they really do work to reduce inflammation. Also peppermint oil helps with IBS, you can get it in capsule form. Do a google search for natural remedies for IBS and you will find a lot of helpful info and avoid all the pharmaceuticals.


Sounds a bit silly but have you tried doing yoga or stretching when you have these pains? I get pain under my ribs and in my chest which although very painful is just trapped wind. If I do yoga and stretch (even though its the last thing you feel like doing!) it usually moves and gets rid of the pain. I suffer from anxiety also, and it definitely increases particularly with the chest pain, slow movements and yoga also helps with the anxiety for me :). May not help but is worth a try :)


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