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Dr. Jerry E
Dr. Jerry E, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 1085
Experience:  Emergency Medicine Resident, Family Medicine, American Doc, 5 yrs pre-hospital Emergency Care
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I have the most terrible stomach ache! Its been going on for

Customer Question

I have the most terrible stomach ache! It's been going on for over 12 hours now. It feels like my whole torso is cramping. It's feels most comfortable when I'm doubled over and the more I stretch the worse it feels.

It started with a pressure under my left rib cage, which when I press that spot I feel a small pop and get a shooting pain across my upper stomach. I was thinking it was gas, then some indigestion but no antacid has been effective. It began when I lay down last night, about 4 hours after eating my evening meal, sausage pasta.

I'm 26, female, no medication, no external signs of bloating or brusing. When I take a very deep breathe, I feel discomfort at the peek of my inhale. I've been to the toilet a few times today and everything seems fine there.

It really hurts!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Jerry E replied 1 year ago.
Greetings from New York, this is Dr. Jerry E. I'm so glad you asked this question, let me give you some medical information now.

Do you still have pain under the ribs? If so, where?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, under the left rib cage. If I find the middle of my ribs and work my hand down the left side till I get near the bottom (I think I can feel maybe 6th rib). It still pops if I push that spot
Expert:  Dr. Jerry E replied 1 year ago.
It sounds like you may be have costochondritis.Costochondritis is an inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join with the cartilage that holds them to the breastbone, or sternum. The condition causes localized chest pain that you can reproduce by pushing on the cartilage in the front of your ribcage. Costochondritis is a relatively harmless condition and usually goes away without treatment. The cause is usually unknown.

You may experience one or more of these symptoms-
  • The pain usually will be sharp and located on your front chest wall. It may radiate to your back or abdomen and is more common on your left side.
  • The most common sites of pain are your fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs. This pain increases as you move your trunk or take deep breaths. Conversely, it decreases as your movement stops or with quiet breathing.
  • The reproducible tenderness you feel when you press on the rib joints (costochondral junctions) is a constant feature of costochondritis. Without this tenderness, a diagnosis of costochondritis is unlikely.
    • Tietze syndrome, on the other hand, exhibits swellings at the rib-cartilage junction. Costochondritis has no noticeable swelling. Neither condition involves pus or abscess formation.
    • Tietze syndrome usually affects the junctions at the second and third ribs. The swelling may last for several months. The syndrome can develop as a complication of surgery on your sternum months to years after the operation.
    • When costochondritis occurs as a result of infection after surgery, you will see redness, swelling, or pus discharge at the site of the surgery.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

OK great to have a name for it but is there anything I can do now to stop this pain, even a temporary fix?? I'm hunched over my desk, desperately trying to find a solution as I meant to be presenting in a meeting in less than an hour.

Expert:  Dr. Jerry E replied 1 year ago.
You should seek medical attention asap. In the meantime-
  • Treatment involves conservative steps with careful use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen- Take( 2) 200mg pills every six hours. (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) as needed.Costochondritis responds to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).
  • Local heat or ice may be helpful in relieving the symptoms.
  • Avoid unnecessary exercise or activities that make the symptoms worse. Avoid contact sports until there is improvement in symptoms, and then return to normal activities only as tolerated.
Dr. Jerry E, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 1085
Experience: Emergency Medicine Resident, Family Medicine, American Doc, 5 yrs pre-hospital Emergency Care
Dr. Jerry E and 5 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Jerry E replied 1 year ago.
If your pain is that severe and increasingly unbearable, you should go to the emergency room. It may be apendicitis, just presenting with different symptoms
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dr E,

I never saw your message about appendicitis but that's what it was! A and E said that it usually presents with a pain in the lower right rather then left as I described.

I was severely sick in my meeting(almost perjectile vomiting) so went to A and E and it was removed that evening. Whilst it was the most embarrassing moment of my professional career apparently I'm lucky to be alive and now I'm at home and feeling 100 times better.
Expert:  Dr. Jerry E replied 1 year ago.
I'm so glad you were able to get it treated and operated on in time. I'm glad to hear you are feeling better as well. Best of luck to you!

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