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Pain below breasts, abdominal pain, sweating, dizziness, breathlessness, soreness. Please help

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
Today was the second time that I have expierence what I would call a stomach attack. The first incident happened 3-4 months ago and seems that nothing is bringing it on. It starts as a dull heavy pain right under my breasts in the middle of my upper abdomin kind of in the bottom of my ribcage. It almost feels like a balloon filling with air and within only a minute or two the pain becomes severe and radiates down throughout my abdomin. The pain is constant and along with the pain comes dizzyness, sweating, and the feeling of passing out. Because it's so painful I have to breathe very short and fast breaths. No position feels comfortable and the pain just makes me squarm. It has only lasted about 20 mins both times and leaves my body the same way the pain comes on. For aprox. 10-15 min after my lower ribcage feels almost sore.
The only thing I can compare it to is it is very simular to the pain of my gallbladder attacks, as the pain comes slowly, then becomes severve pain, but then vanishes. I would also compare it to the pain I felt when I was in labor with my son. Its extremely painful and scary, and I know its not normal. Please help.
Posted Sat, 21 Apr 2012 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 3 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

The symptoms you described are likely to be caused by gall stones. I understand you have had your gall bladder removed four years back, yet the common bile duct (cbd) can also harbour gall stones either with or without the gall bladder.
Research has suggested that in 4-5% of patients undergoing cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) postoperative cbd stones or inflammation (cholangitis) can occur after many yrs (2-8 average).The symptoms start when the cbd is partially or wholly obstructed giving rise to biliary colic. Sometimes the stones may pass from cbd into part of intestine (duodenum) thereby resolving the obstruction temporarily but causing recurrent symptoms later.

In your case the site and type of pain, self resolution, and history of gallstones all make the biliary colic due to cbd stones a much probable diagnosis rather than anything else.

The other less likely possibilities could be intestinal colic or obstruction or pancreatitis.

I would advise you consult your surgeon or gastroenterologist at the earliest to narrow down the possibilities after examination and investigations like magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography.

Hope I have answered your query. Do accept the answer if you do not have any further queries. Yet let me know if I have missed on any concerns.

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