Abdominal pain - IBS?

Since about 2012, I've been suffering from right-sided abdominal pain concentrated just under my right rib cage, but sometimes is also present just under the sternum or lower right side between the ribs and pelvis.

When I'm just going about my daily life, it only exists as a mild dull ache; sometimes I barely notice it, but if I ever press on that area under my ribs, it's very painful. It feels as if someone's taken my colon or liver and punched it several times, resulting in it becoming bruised and swollen. I've had some bowel issues too, I had episodes of constipation, which caused recurring fissures.

I've seen maybe three or four e doctors since it all started. I've had a liver function test (normal) and a couple of other blood tests which were also normal. 2 x-rays and 2 ultrasounds, both showing no abnormalities. I was put on fybogel to help with the constipation/fissures, which worked, but occasionally the fissures do come back. But nothing has helped with the pain, and I've not been able to identify anything that makes it worse/better (ie diet, posture etc).

Given this history, two doctors at my GP have both been unwilling to refer me to a specialist or more tests, despite my asking, basically telling me "it's just one of those things". Weirdly, the suggestion of IBS has not been brought up once by either of them; one suggested costochondritis, which I am unconvinced by.

Is this sort of pain typical of IBS? I'm considering returning to my GP in the new year and exaggerating symptoms to prompt a referral or going through my work's private cover (I'm not yet sure if I can as I don't know the policy). I'm just very unconvinced that this pain is nothing to worry about.

11 Replies

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  • I too suffer from exactly the same sort of pain as you describe & similarly imagined the worst but on googling these symptoms it does sound quite common for ibs sufferers so I try to ignore it mostly, it comes & goes, I feel it is anything sinister it will get worse & at the moment it's just the same.

  • My doctor did say something along the lines of "if it's not getting worse it's nothing to worry about" but it's hard to be convinced when it's something that doesn't go away!

    I've had this type of pain pretty much constantly for 3 years, and its intensity varies throughout the day, though bowel movements/eating has no influence as far as I can tell, which is what puzzles me as this is usually the hallmark of IBS.

  • I get this too, have just assumed there is inflammation but not necessarily IBD. It hurts more when I'm bending over and squashing my abdomen.

  • Sore/Inflamed is how I'd describe the feeling/pain when I press on my abdomen under my right ribs (though I'm the opposite; it hurts more if I stretch out rather than bend over) and 'dull ache' when I'm just going about my business.

    But inflammation would surely let up after 3 years!

  • Right side just under the ribs sounds like gall bladder . Have you had that checked out? A small stone or infection there could cause the symptoms..

    I had some twinges there myself, but not over the last month..

  • At my first ultrasound, the doctor made a passing comment that he thought he saw a 'fold' in my gallbladder. I've looked that up and it just seems to be a relatively rare anatomical variation with no associated symptoms. No mention of that the second time round. No evidence of stones either time.

  • My pain is also the lower right side; close to my appendix. They say my appendix is fine. Milk, and anything with (ol) really bothers me.

  • I have the same sort of pain and have had colonoscopy ,several scans ,endoscopy they found slightly dilated bile duct but no serious concerns my consultant says ,I had a stone in my bile duct 25 years ago and he thinks it is scar tissue from the operation

  • I have had this pain also not a debilitating pain more a sore gnawing pain right side upper abdomen And sometimes in my back I have had my gall bladder removed about 6 years ago also get indigestion and acid reflux occasionally have had blood tests and ulrasound now waiting for endoscopy which I had about 3 years ago always had problems with my bowels ibs-d/ ibs-c mixture??? Please help

  • Has anyone got any advice ???

  • Update:

    I ended up returning to the doctor and saw a different GP who was a lot more proactive. After describing my previous history he promptly organised 4 blood tests (including a FBC and celiac test) and a CT Scan.

    I got my bloods back recently, all clear except a low platelet count in my FBC. Slightly disconcerting as google yields all sorts of scary things (among many not-so-scary things I might add). I am due to retest my FBC at the end of this month. I had a bad cold and had been taking ibuprofen around that time, which may have affected it.

    I have yet to have the scan, as they were waiting for the bloods. It is being organised presently.

    My pain has been the same but my bowels are all over the place. I can switch from constipation to diarrhoea within the same lengthy toilet session. I've found chili and rib meat to be particularly bad offenders.

    During my GP session IBS was finally mentioned as a possible condition, as well as abdominal muscle weakness.

    The quest for answers continues.

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