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Dr. Abby
Dr. Abby, US Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10330
Experience:  Family Physician practicing medicine for over 10 years, United States
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Why am I having a sharp pain in my abdomen?

Resolved Question:

I have a sharp pain in my abdomen on the left side, between my rib cage and hip bone and extending down a bit. It started yesterday afternoon and is painful when moving in certain ways or breathing deeply, coughing, hiccuping.

Already Tried: 
pill to reduce gas, lots of warm water, a bit of exercise. I've had a sore (lumpy feeling) throat for a week, Dr. told me it wasn't strep though. I have been taking pepcid for some mild reflux in case that was the problem but hasn't helped

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.


Are you having any nausea with the pain?
Have you had an increased cough?
Is the pain localized anywhere or the entire left side of the abdomen?
Any bowel changes?
Urinary symptoms?
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain you have ever had, what would you rate it?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The pains started gradually mid afternoon after lunch and has increased. Pain is most localized about a finger length or a bit less from the rib cage very close to side. It is fairly constant at this point, sharper as I indicated. no urinary symptoms. No increased cough. No fever. A little bit of nausea but not much. I feel bloated, but have had bowel movements. Pain is about a 4-6, spiking to an 8 (doubled me over a couple of times).

Expert:  Dr. Abby replied 5 years ago.

I am sorry you are not feeling well..

Left sided abdominal pain can be due to several things, as you may know.
Peptic ulcers or gastritis are common causes--Pepcid works fairly quickly so you should have experienced some relief if it were related to an acid issue.

Pancreatitis can also cause pain in this area but is typically associated with nausea and vomiting.

A kidney stone is a possibility given the fact that you are describing it as sharp, episodic (it has spikes of more severe pain) and it seems to radiate down toward the lower abdomen/groin area. Urinary symptoms are not always present with kidney stones--it depends on where the stone is located within the urinary tract. If it is closer to the bladder, urinary symptoms occur.
A urinalysis showing blood (if you are not menstruating) would be suggestive of a stone.

Pleuritic chest pain can also cause sharp pain with coughing/deep breathing, etc.
This type of pain is due to inflammation of the lining of the lungs. It occurs after or during a viral infection (which it seems you have had given the sore throat). When the two layers of the lining are inflamed, taking deep breaths, etc. causes the inflamed layers to bring on pain when they rub together. This is treated with ibuprofen.
The location you are describing the pain (more in the abdomen than the lungs) suggests that this is probably not the cause though.

I suggest that you go to an urgent care for evaluation if your pain worsens or becomes more consistently an 8. I would rule out a kidney stone at this point.
Other reasons to be evaluated--blood in your stool, if your abdomen becomes tense/hard, you develop a fever, start vomiting for more than 8 hours.

Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you may have.

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