IBS or chronic pancreatitis?: Hi. I'm a 48 year... - IBS Network

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IBS or chronic pancreatitis?


Hi. I'm a 48 year old female who has been suffering for the last few months with constant upper abdominal pain (possibly acid stomach as Nexium 40mg prescribed by my Dr has not eliminated but perhaps lessened the symptoms). I have had blood tests, stool tests, liver scan, ultrasound, CT scan and MRCP, which haven't revealed anything other than bad constipation/ slow Bowell transit time. Gastroenterologist said he couldn't guarantee that there wasn't damage to my pancreas (I have been somewhat of a heavy drinker in the past but stopped drinking around 4 months ago) but could only say that scans and other tests at this point show my pancreas as appearing to look normal and function normal.

In addition to suspected acid stomach, I have had indigestion type issues such as chest pain, spasms in my upper left abdomen and transient (lasts for a few seconds only) pain in my upper centre andomen and upper left abdomen.

As there are no reliable tests to diagnose early stage chronic pancreatitis, can anyone tell me who has it what their symptoms are and how they were diagnosed? Or does anyone who has IBS have similar symptoms to mine? The pain never seems to go.


13 Replies

My mother had pancreatitis in 2004. It came on very suddenly and we had to call for an ambulance as she was in so much pain. Her abdomen was very much enlarged, she was vomiting a lot and sweating. Because her pancreas was in rather a bad way she had to stay in hospital several months. If things get any worse you may need to seek more help from your doctor

SharYan in reply to julesmun

Thanks for your reply. I hope your Mum made a full recovery.

I am dealing with both my GP and a gastroenterologist, neither of whom have been able to confirm whether problems with my pancreas are causing my pain.

I will keep in mind what you've said, though. I am hoping I don't get any worse...

All your pain seems to be coming from your stomach area (upper left) and you have only been alcohol free for four months (good on you by the way!) so it might just be acid. If your doctors are leaping to pancreas I'd stick to the simple solution for right now. Alcohol is nasty on the stomach lining and digestion too. Could be a withdrawal issue. I think you will find that this is not uncommon when giving up alcohol.

AREN'T leaping to I meant.

SharYan in reply to Kilgh

Thanks Kilgh. Hope you are right and that it is alcohol withdrawal and nothing more serious. It is very unsettling still having the pain and not having an answer as to what's causing it.

Kilgh in reply to SharYan

Also, don't rule out having too LITTLE stomach acid going on. Your body would have got used to having higher acid content while you were drinking. It probably has dropped quite a bit since you stopped.

SharYan in reply to Kilgh

Yes, I guess that is a possibility. Drs only seem to recognise too much stomach acid as being a problem, though - hence, they are always ready to prescribe acid suppressant medication like Nexium. It's as though they don't believe too little stomach acid is possible or a problem. I will talk to my GP about it this week when I see him and see what he says...

I've had upper abdominal pain every day for almost 5 years now. Its every day, almost all day. I've been to see a 3 gastroenterologists, had lots of tests, and no one can give me an answer. I dont like living like this. I am miserable, but try to put on a happy face.

SharYan in reply to sleepycat49

Sorry to hear you are in pain also, sleepycat49, but I can totally relate. I've been to two gastroenterologists - neither who have really been able to give me an answer as to what's causing my pain or how to treat it. The Nexium prescribed by my GP has helped somewhat with the symptoms but I still have pain on a daily basis.

Has your pain changed or increased over the five years? Do you have any bowell issues as well? (I have constipation, which I take 3 Movicol satchets a day for. I suspect the Nexium may be increasing my constipation.) Do you take any type of pain killers for the pain?

sleepycat49 in reply to SharYan

Yes, I have constipation all the time. I guess they call it CIC. I drink an herbal tea with senna in it every 3 days. I've tried taking fiber powder and it helped at first, but now doesnt seem to be working. My pain was really bad the first year. I wasted a lot of months just sitting in a recliner. Now I can function as the pain doesnt knock me down. I put mind over matter. But its not too often that the pain stops me in my tracks but when it does, I take a pain killer if I really need to. I wish I had regular bm's at least. Theres a new medication out called "Linzess" here in the states. I dont know if I want to try it. I tried "Trulance" and it made me vomit with stomach pain I could not tolerate. This new medication might do the same. Dont know. I'll have to talk to my primary care doctor...

SharYan in reply to sleepycat49

Sounds like Lizness might be worth a try - if it takes the abdominal pain out of constipation, as it claims to. Looks like it is still to go through the regulatory process here in Australia before it's approved for sale.

My adopted father had died from Pankreatins due to being for most of his adult life a confirmed severe alcoholic. We as family tried to get him to seek help, but all but refused help. So on Bainbridge island, in the State of Washington, three days after I had seen him for the last time, he was one shrivelled up mess, he died. He died from severe pancreatitis,

BTW, I myself have had for a while IBS-D. Thus diarrhoea has been my issue, not so much constipation. Now they think I mighthave developed Saccharose Intolerance (Cane sugar gives me diarrhoea).

SharYan in reply to ELAGABALVS

Sorry to hear that. My own father died of pancreatic cancer - he was a type 2 diabetic for around 13 years prior to developing the cancer, though. I guess, due to genetics, I am therefore more concerned than the average person about the possibility of my pain being related to pancreatic disease, which is apparently difficult to diagnose until it is in its more advance stages, particularly when the doctors haven't been able to diagnose anything else other than chronic constipation. I am praying that the scans and other tests that I've had are showing my pancreas to look normal and be functioning normally because it is normal. Only time will tell with that, though, I guess as chronic pancreatitis is a progressive disease.

My sister also has fructose intolerance. She follows the low FODMap diet, which reduces the diarrhoea to a degree.

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