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Pain Under Ribs - What Is Physically Going On?
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I have been having horrible pain under my ribcage for about four years. I have gone to my pcp doctor to complain again and again, and have also seen two different GI doctors, all of whom suggested that I had IBS but had no explanation or relief for the pain. Finally I saw a Liver and Digestive Disease Specialist who agreed with me that I do not have IBS, but quite possibly this is caused by a reaction to gluten. I have been gluten free for nearly 10 days (with one relapse) and the pain is subsiding. In the meantime I had a HIDA scan and lots of bloodwork, for which I am still awaiting results. I have been doing lots of searches on the Internet and over and over again I read anecdotal stories of people with this exact same pain but nowhere have I read an explanation of what is internally, biologically causing the physical pain. Can anyone offer any explanation?  Thanks! Susan

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If its the right side, it could be the gallbladder. Mine did fine on all blood tests and ultrasounds, but when i had a HIDA scan done it showed it was working at 5%. The pain was really bad from it. It was not functioning properly either.

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I experienced this on my right side for MANY years until I found out I had celiac disease.  It took a number of months for it to resolve, though, on a gluten-free diet.  I always thought that it was caused by celiac because it corresponded with the beginning of the small intestine, where I assumed the most damage had occurred.

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Gall bladder is a possibility.  Damage and inflammation of the small intestine caused by celiac disease is another.  Celiac disease causes damage to the villi lining of the small intestine.  It's not real unusual to see posts on this forum by people with both gall bladder issues and celiac disease.  Sometimes the gall bladder can heal after the irritation (gluten) is removed, but not always.

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If it feels like the entire ribcage itself, it could be costochondritis, an inflammation of the connective tissue holding together the ribcage.  This goes along with certain types of auto immune or generalized inflammation conditions, like some types of arthritis.  A flare-up will coincide with a glutening if you have a gluten problem, as well.  It is good to see some of the Liver Specialists cuing in on the problems gluten can cause with the liver, gall bladder, etc.  Anything that makes your liver malfunction, is going to cause a lot of discomfort in other areas. 

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I have costochondritis and it is NOT funny.  Started when I had severe bronchitis which then became pneumonia.  The intense and frequent coughing literally ripped muscles from my bones.  That happened 2.5 years ago and I have had the pain ever since.  Would love for it to disappear but so far has not on my gluten free diet.  Makes it very difficult to sleep at night.

 

Hope you find out what is causing this pain!

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I experienced this on my right side for MANY years until I found out I had celiac disease.  It took a number of months for it to resolve, though, on a gluten-free diet.  I always thought that it was caused by celiac because it corresponded with the beginning of the small intestine, where I assumed the most damage had occurred.

 

 

OH ,so good to see you, Rose! How's the arm??? :)

 

(pardon the interruption, folks)

 

As for rib cage pain, breast bone pain, cholecystitits ( pain & inflammation in my gall bladder which eventually became diseased and was removed)  and costochondritis including severe pain whenever I took a deep breath...well, I had them all while quite ill from UnDXed celiac.

 

Post DX? --all gone. 

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OH ,so good to see you, Rose! How's the arm??? :)

 

(pardon the interruption, folks)

 

As for rib cage pain, breast bone pain, cholecystitits ( pain & inflammation in my gall bladder which eventually became diseased and was removed)  and costochondritis including severe pain whenever I took a deep breath...well, I had them all while quite ill from UnDXed celiac.

 

Post DX? --all gone. 

 

Thanks for reminding us there is always hope.  :)

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Thanks for reminding us there is always hope.  :)

 

Oh, Lovey, my friend,  hope is what I hang my hat on.  :)

With hope, all things are possible.  Without it, you're already beaten.

I say "Never give in." 

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       It is normal for people to socialize with each other and to be comfortable about it. You said you have problems still socializing and being around people. It might be a depressing thought but it sounds to me like you still have problems with anxiety.  I would recommend considering what options you have available to treat the anxiety. When I quit eating Gluten I still had some symptoms, even though I felt much better. I have been slowly recovering over a period of about three years. I had obsessive thoughts even after I quit eating gluten.  Now I very rarely if at all think about those things. My experience is that my mind would latch on to certain things that caused me anxiety and focus on those things. Sometimes my focus would shift and I would latch onto other things. My ability to socialize has also improved greatly with time. I have made some dietary changes which I believe have helped greatly. It sounds to me like you have obsessive thoughts about things and maybe some brain damage. My experience has been that my obsessive thoughts about different things went away with time. I feel my obsessive thoughts were caused by gluten and not by what people did around me or any events. As my brain healed I became more self aware and things became less stressful.  I can't give medical advice on this forum but I can talk about my current diet and my experience with celiac disease. My experience with gluten is different from a lot of other people so it is a good idea to ask other people and to talk to a doctor.  I avoid oats and avoid almost all processed foods. I buy certified gluten free food. I eat healthy and I exercise every day. I take st John's Wort as I have read studies that say it may be as effective as some other anti-depressants for treating certain types of anxiety. It is available over the counter. I started with a small dosage and then stepped it up over time. I think it helps a lot.  This is also something that you should talk to a doctor about first. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Martin_Mahoney2/publication/7426926_St._John's_wort/links/540d8acc0cf2f2b29a386673.pdf A lot of people with celiac disease have vitamin deficiencies.  Vitamin b deficiency can cause anxiety. Some people do not process the synthetic form of vitamin b (from normal pills)  very well, and do better on an activated form of vitamin b. I take:
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