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Sharp pain under the rib cage, short of breath. Ball like mass present in the area. Possible causes?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1978
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I have a sharp, aching pain that is located at the bottom of my right rib cage in the middle. Also, when I press that area it's very painful and I noticed a ball like mass in the area. I feel short of breath. The only relief is lying perfectly flat. Any ideas what I could do?
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 2 hours later

Thanks for query.

I would be in a better position to understand your problem and hence give you a satisfactory reply, if you can provide me with the following details:

Is there any history of injury?
Since when do you have this pain?
Is there any fever?
Is there any vomiting or burning in urine?
Has the pain increased, decreased or remained constant?
Is there any history of liver,gall bladder or kidney disorder?
Is the size of mass increasing?
Has any treatment or investigation done?

I shall proceed to address your concern as I get a reply from your end.

Awaiting your response.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Sharp pain under the rib cage, short of breath. Ball like mass present in the area. Possible causes? 1 hour later
Thank you for your time. Here is the information you requested:

1) no injury
2) last week I had a strange episodic incident where I doubled over in excruiating pain in the same area described. The pain was very intense. it felt like pulsating stabs. My husband literally held my hand while I squeezed the pain away. This went on for approximately 40 minutes. I was nauseated then, ran to the restroom which resulted in runny stool. Today, the pain began after breakfast and just continued to get worse and it is throbbing and very uncomfortable.

3) no fever
4) no vomiting no burning when urinate
5) The pain has increased through the day and it's not going away. I decided to take a pain killer, out of desperation. It's barely comfortable
6) I have never had surgery on my liver, gallbladder, kidney, etc
7) i don't think the mass is growing. the area is painful to the touch so much so it makes me feel like vomiting.
8) no treatment for this problem

Is there anything you can suggest I do? Is it something I can just wait out? Should I consider going to the er? Should i bother to make an appointment with a primary care doc? What types of tests could I ask for? I really need to make this a cost effective choice.

Thank you,

Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 5 hours later

I apologize for the delay to respond to you. I understand the pain and discomfort is severe and you are in agony.

Let me tell you this first, I think you should not wait anymore. You need medical attention at the earliest. So visiting the ER is probably the right choice.

Based on your description, I think this could be related to a gall bladder problem such as gall stones or duodenal ulcers. A few blood tests, ultrasound examination and CT scan of the abdomen will help us in closing in on the diagnosis.

The cost of treatment is something that cannot be predicted now. The best way to make the treatment cost effectively will be early diagnosis and treatment. So do seek medical help at the earliest.

Hope this answers the query. I thank you once again for posting your query.

Wish you good and speedy recovery.

Best Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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