Unidentifed pain in lower right abdomen - IBS Network

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Unidentifed pain in lower right abdomen


I get a recurring pain lower right abdomen. It's not always quite the same, but it's always around the same place. This has been happening from time to time for the last 40+ years, so it's not exactly new :-) It's similar to the pain that got me diagnosed with Spastic Colon as a teenager, but that was on the other side and clearly was to do with my gut. I also get occasional nasty spasm attacks, but they tend to be across the middle. I have always treated the lower right pain as a gut problem, but tests over the 40+ years have looked at my appendix (as part of a endoscopy, "NO, you have a nice healthy appendix!", my bladder (I do suffer from recurring cystitis, like most other women of my age that I know, but they never found anything structural to blame it on), ovaries scanned (some time back) in case it was a cyst or something worse, and my gall bladder, when if crept up my side a couple of decades ago.

Nothing ever found, apart from one solitary little polyp a few years back, which they clipped out. Nowhere near the pain area.

It's not an acute pain (usually) but it can get bad enough to spoil my day, and seems to cause referred pains in my right leg and arm when it gets going.

My GPs have had a feel around, say it's not "hard" or showing any signs of appendicitis. They treat me for the cystitis, and gave me extra pain killers when I asked (they did assess) and I don't use these all the time by any means. They don't seem worried, just tell me to come back if I get sick or anything starts "blowing up".

I know I am an anxious creature and tend to blame the pains on anxiety and stress. Sometimes it "ties in" but mostly it doesn't.

It's getting worse (ie more painful, and attacks a bit longer) as I get older, or I would just do my best to ignore it.

I've even had it suggested it might be a form of sciatica, but I don't suffer from any back problems or back injury.

So, has anyone experienced anything similar, or got any suggestions?

"Yours puzzled"

15 Replies

Probably a silly question, but could it be gas?

Gas is responsible for some of my sorrows, but not this one ... the dear old gas just sails gently by without touching it! There are no silly questions, and even that TV doctor has said that gas can be so bad it makes people go to A&E thinking they are having a heart attack - so thanks for the suggestion!

A friend of mine went to the emergency room thinking she was having a heart attack. They confirmed it was indigestion and then she remembered she had eaten 5 small bags of popcorn and nothing else for dinner.

Have you ever tried to find out if you have Endometriosis? It usually attaches to the ovaries. I’ve had a pain like what you describe on my lower left side for many years now. Now I’m about to get surgery to find out if it’s Endometriosis. It’s difficult because some woman only have some of the symptoms some don’t have any and some have all.

Thanks christyggh that is really interesting - I'm now past menopause, and would prefer some pain to any surgery, but nobody has ever suggested that so I am going to do some reading-up and see if it rings any bells.

Sounds very similar to what I have and my age range and the various theories GPs have had over the years. You probably do have IBS but your GP should be able to roughly confirm that so that you can investigate supporting that issue. I'm also not being funny but I've found female GPs has ve been slightly more supportive than male GPs about this kind of re-occuring pain and possible solutions. Diet, drugs and stress management (remember stress isn't always conscious either) are probably the way forward.

Thanks Eucalyptus - I know my bowel is irritable, but I'm just come round to wondering if that is really responsible for this particular situation, and it's interesting to know you've had a similar track. Good note re lady GPs, too ... long ago I decided that I was only going to see female GPs about any gynacological issues (after an embarrassing encounter with a middle aged male GP, embarrassing not abusive, I hasten to add) but I hadn't thought in those terms about this issue.

I have had this EXACT same pain in the same place with loads and loads of tests done, just like you and even rushed into hospital telling me it was kidney stones as there was blood in my urine - clearly it was not that as tests showed..........then I was diagnosed with IBS-D and it still did not go away - I am not gluten free and FODMAP and pretty good about keeping to the diets (sometimes!!) but I have discovered quite by accident that a small glass of grapefruit juice every morning has made this pain TOTALLY DISAPPEAR - its really spooky cos when I looked it up, its not even low FODMAP, but a small glass does it for me and when I run out of it, which I never allow myself to do anymore, the pain comes back.....my job is quite stressful but I manage stress with daily 20mins of tai chi - see the Tai Chi Academy of Australia - Brett Wagland & Fontane Ip - TOTALLY manages all my stress and keeps me balanced and fit - you can buy a DVD set and just do them quietly in the privacy of your own home - truly life changing! Good luck xx

Thanks Supersonicwoman - grapefruit juice is suddenly going to tested here! I have had some good results with mild Yoga in the past, not this particular issue as such, but with stress in general.

(The big trap with stress is that it's a distraction from doing things that relieve stress!)

You are so right - also try Paul McKenna's CDs and books - they work whether you believe they will or not - particularly the one on comfort eating - worked brilliantly for me!

Hi, sorry for late reply, feeling pretty awful today. Yes I get similar to you. It seems to fluctuate between groin and sometimes higher up towards the hip bone. Like you when my IBS started over 30 years ago most of the pain was on my left side but now I have a lot of right side pain. Also funnily enough I get the referred pain too. Most people look at me like I'm crazy when I mention this, so it's nice to know I am not crazy after all. As I am sitting here now the groin area feels very tight and I'm holding my breath to cope with the pain but also have referred pain in my shoulder at the moment. The referred pain moves around depending on where the original pain is coming from. It goes down my leg to my toes and along my arm to my fingers and other times it goes up into my head and face (including my eyes, nose, teeth and ear). Probably had it about 20 years now but has got more intense and included more parts of my body as times had gone on. The ear is a new thing, had that for about a year. I can't tell you what is causing it though but I am pretty certain it is the IBS. Maureen.

I am exactly like you down my lower right I went to urgent care thinking appendicitis but I ended up passing gas when the nurse pressed.round that area

Interestingly too, that is where your colon is located and I think somewhere on this forum there was something about a valve there that can be blocked or not open properly - apparently its recognised in America as a condition but not in the UK..........no-one has ever mentioned it to me but it can cause lots of problems - you might also want to look into that......maybe someone else knows the correct name of it?

Hi, it is frustrating as quite different medical issues can cause similar symptoms. I have similar pain to you - in my case caused by an ovarian cyst. When i had it removed surgically the gyno had a good look around inside with a camera and found a lot of endrometriosis - none of which showed up on scans or via touching my pelvic area so i agree that should be checked. I also have a bad lower back, sciatica, hip and groin pain. My chiropractor tells me these are all related to same root cause. Chiropractic manipulations and exercise proscibed by him have certainly helped. Definitely worth pestering docs until you get proper diagnostic assessment. Good luck!

Hi Thank you to people who have added replies since I went away. @Supersonicwoman, I think that is the ileo-caecal [sp?] valve. I've had maybe two colonscopies over the years and they haven't reported any problems there. I suppose if it was quite minor it might not show up. Oddly though it doesn't seem to coincide with any real gut disturbances (or respond to them). It just sits there.

I am now down to have an ultrasound scan at the end of the month, so maybe that will show something up.

It helps to hear about other people's symptoms but I wish none of us had them!

Thanks again everyone.

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