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Suffer throbbing pain under rib cage. Noticed very light colored stools. Itching on hands and face. What can this be?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 5373 Questions

I have been having some health issues since December of 2012, so for almost a year or so. Here are my symptoms:
light throbbing pain under rib cage on right side but now recently has traveled to the middle and left side of upper abdome, I itch sometimes on my hands and face, stools have changed and they were very light colored in the beginging but right now are coming out in pieces but the color is a medium to dark brown, I have lost 10 pounds in about 9 months and I sometimes have a lot of gas that smells fowl. I also have been experiencing pain on my left side in my upper back. My face looks very thin and I am not sure if that may be do to some kind of deficiency since my food is not digesting properly. I have had the following tests done. Hida scan which showed delaying filling of the gallbladder but normal hida scan, I have had an ultra sound of my abdomen recently and they checked kidneys, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and spleen which all showed to be normal. I have been tested for diebetes, celiac disease which were also normal. The only test that recently came back a little high was my lipse which was 50. My wbc was 11.65 as well. I just don't feel all that well and the weight loss really scares me. I also have semi high cholesterol which has only been more recent within the last year and a half. I am so worried I may have pancreatic cancer. I was having blood sugar problems a while back but that has subsided and I no longer have that problem. I had low blood sugar of about 58 at times. Could I have damaged my pancreas do to the blood sugar issues?

Thank You
Posted Mon, 14 Oct 2013 in Abdominal Pain
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 20 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Bile ducts obstruction.

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for the query.

Your symptoms are very characteristic for bile ducts obstruction. No doubt in that. Such obstruction can be caused by stones in bile ducts or by pancreas cancer indeed. Ultrasound or hida scan can misdiagnose this conditions. That is why you should have: liver tests (AST,ALT,GGTP,AP) and abdominal CT. If this tests wont give the answer, please consult gastroenterologist and consider ERCP procedure.
Blood sugar problems are rather a result of pancreas problem than a reason of pancreas disease.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffer throbbing pain under rib cage. Noticed very light colored stools. Itching on hands and face. What can this be? 1 hour later
That is worrisome.. I just have a horrible feeling in my gut and from what I have read about pancreatic cancer it has a horrible prognosis. I do still have an appetite but I have changed my diet and I eat very healthy and organic. I do not eat things that are high in fat or I feel horrible afterwards. What can cause bile duct obstruction? Are ultra sounds accurate in diagnosing pancreatic cancer? What is the best test for that? My liver tests results as of last week are as follows:

ALT: 23
AST: 18
AP: 53
GGTP: Unkown. What is this test? It doesn't look like it has been performed.

I did have a ct scan done about a yr and 8 mths ago. I don't know if that matters. I was not having symptoms at that time. This is within the last year. I have never just dropped weight like this. I am usually about 124ish give or take a little.

My liver enzymes were raised when this started happening in December. They ranged in the 40s and 50s. Can bile obstruction be an ongoing issues for months? Can you loose weight from this?

I also had a chest x XXXXXXX done about 9 months ago after symptoms started. I had lapriscopic surgey two years ago do the doctor misdiagnosing me for having an eptopic pregnancy. He followed that through with an injection of methrotrexate and then I had to have a d&c as well. This was in Aug of 2011. I then got PID 8 weeks after do to an infection from the surgery and I honestly have never felt the same. I delt with reproductive issues for a while and then thez subsided and now this last year i have been dealing with this new issue with my stomach. I don't understand why either.... :(
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 18 hours later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
I`m sorry answering so late.
Bile duct obstruction is usually caused by a stone which has traveled from the gallbladder to the bile ducts. However sometimes its cancer of pancreas head.
Ultrasound is not good at all for pancreas cancer diagnosis. CT should be done.
GGTP is a test very specific for bile ducts obstruction and should be elevated in case of this issue.
CT almost 2 years ago is a history. You should get another one.
Bile ducts obstruction can develop and be present for months and weight loss can be one of the symptoms. However weight loss should be always checked with a cancer.
Your laparoscopic surgery has nothing to do with your current symptoms.

Please consult gastroenterologist as soon as possible. I`m assuming bile ducts obstruction because very very characteristic symptoms of this issue are:
- white or pale stool (bile obstruction leads to lack of it in the stool so it gets white)
- dark urine (bilirubin accumulates in the body and is secreted with urine)
- upper right abdominal pain radiating to the back
- skin itching

Not all symptoms must be present.

Hope this will help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffer throbbing pain under rib cage. Noticed very light colored stools. Itching on hands and face. What can this be? 9 hours later

Ok. Well I just got back from the Doctor and she says that there is something definetly going on. She suspects Chronic Pancreaitis. She has reffered me to a specialist as well as to have a cat scan done. Right now my stools are pretty normal in color but come out as loose stools that are in pieces. Any suggestions of what that could be? Plus I have been experiencing headaches off and on and it seems to be worse on the right side of my head and the pain is in the front and on sides of temples.
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 15 hours later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Chronic pancreatitis is also possible, however it does not give white stools. It is really hard to predict without mentioned tests. So specialist visit and abdominal CT is a good idea.
Your headaches can be caused by stress or pancreas issue. So please get mentioned tests done.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffer throbbing pain under rib cage. Noticed very light colored stools. Itching on hands and face. What can this be? 32 minutes later

I do not have white stools at this time. As I said before, My stools seemed to be normal in color but the consistency is loose stools that come out in pieces. They do sink to the bottom of the toilet. For awhile they were floating stools. I am trying to follow a pancreas diet and see if that may help me. They have checked my blood sugar and that is normal as well. I will soon find out what this ongoing issue is.
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 3 hours later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Here you have good chronic pancreas diet WWW.WWWW.WW In case of chronic pancreatitis, pancreas enzymes supplementation is necessary.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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