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Squeezing of ribs in sleep. History of Acid reflux and gall bladder stones. Trying to lose weight. Reason?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1995
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Squeezing of ribs while asleep :

Over the past decade, I've had probably less than 10 episodes of this. I am always dead asleep, and get a very uncomfortable squeezing feeling in my ribs. Sometimes one side, sometimes the other, sometimes both. In my sleep I always think it's my husband's heavy arm resting on me, or my little kids' feet pushing on me when they were little and prone to coming into our bed. It has never continued to the point that I'm fully awake and can better evaluate it, but it is extremely uncomfortable/painful, and in my sleep I am really wanting it to stop (wishing the person would get their heavy limb off me, but I don't think that's what's happening really).

I am female, 47, overweight (BMI=28), exercise regularly, and have recently adopted a mostly unprocessed plant-based diet, but before, have had a standard American diet. I've been as high as BMI = 31. I have good cholesterol numbers, except the ratio could be better, hdl is a little low. Blood sugar is fine. I know I have a bunch of gallstones, and I recently have had mild reflux, I think mostly silent, and the LPR kind. Had an U/S recently that did not detect anything amiss (was focused on the gall bladder but scanned most of the upper abdomen as well). Am currently trying to lose more weight for general health and to help the HDL and reflux.

I do not feel the squeezing near my heart at all, just the ribcage. My only guess is a gallstone passing, but the descriptions I read online are more about stabbing pain, radiating through to the back, not this squeezing, plus it's happened on either and both sides. And it seems to happen randomly, like I said, maybe a few times a year over the past 10 years. If I had to guess, I would say an episode lasts a matter of minutes, but since I'm always asleep, it's hard to tell.

Any ideas? What should I have checked out, if anything?
Posted Fri, 13 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Pragnesh Vachharajani 10 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.I have gone through the details given by you and I will try my best to answer your query and help you to get rid of this unpleasant problem.

First of all I am happy that you are concerned about your weight and you are doing efforts and in fact loosing weight.

The problem that you have could due to following possibilities,

1.Gall stones-leading to dyspepsia,bloating and mild reflux-seems to be most likely.
2.Some aliment related to heart,though you do not have chest pains,should be investigated for this.
3.Over weight.

The frequency with which you are having this is not great,still I think this should be at least properly evaluated once.

Please visit a physician and get a general physical examination including your blood pressure and chest examination done.

You should also discuss with your doctor about EKG(electrocardiograph) and other cardiac tests if thinks need for them.

Apart from this, gall stones causes lots of formation of gas,heaviness in stomach and lots of discomfort.Please visit surgeon for this and discuss with him about the option of removing gall bladder for this stones.

In mean time please do following,
1.Please avoid taking large meals at bed time,you can continue diet you are taking for weight loss.Please make sure you are getting adequate nutrition for the diet you are taking.Please avoid taking any form of diet then you can not take for long time as crash diet do more harm then good.
2.Continue regular exercise and efforts to loose weight.
3.Do not sleep at least for about 2-3 hours after dinner.
4.Avoid/reduce intake of alcohol,avoid cold drinks

I hope this information helps you,still you are most welcome to write again for any further queries that you have.

One thing is certain there is nothing to get alarmed with this,still proper evaluation once is advised.

Wishing you good health.


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