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What causes pain in the abdomen while on Prednisone?

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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 2853 Questions

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Posted on Thu, 30 Mar 2017 in Digestion and Bowels
Question: Hi. I have pain in my abdomen that is pulsing and severe. It has been going on for about 4 hours now. I've taken gas medicine but have found no relief. I don't have nausea or diahrea, just a stabbing pain that goes from front to back.
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 33 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Information

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

I am sorry you are in so much pain.

Why are you taking prednisone - what diagnosis do you have that you are taking it for?

Prednisone can cause stomach lining irritation, gastritis, and ulcers. Treatment would be an H2 blocker or a proton pump inhibitor medication.

But given the severity you describe, I think you should go to the ER. There they can see the location of the pain as it could be stomach, pancreas (pancreatitis), or if diffuse pain, may be from bowel gas. They can also get some blood tests (pancreatic enzymes, CBC) and may do imaging to see what is going on.

I just want to add that if your shingles are in the abdominal area, they may be affecting your abdominal autonomic organs. This can happen in the region where one's shingles are located. It isn't extremely common, but it can happen.

If you are willing, please let me know how you are doing after you have been evaluated.

I hope this information helps.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 7 minutes later
Thank you, doctor. I have been taking a maintenance dose of prednisone of 5 mg. daily for Rheumatoid Arthritis, with which I was diagnosed last October. Last Wednesday night I had severe pain in my leg like an electric shock and on Thursday my leg and hip were very sensitive to the touch. I went to my doctor and he believes it is shingles in the L2 area. He put me on an 8 day taper of Prednisone, starting at 40 mg. Today is day 3. He also prescribed Valtrex - 3 1 gm. doses a day. Today I slept very late and I took 2 of the Valtrex within 2 hours of each other, so I'm wondering if maybe my intestines are experiencing a reaction and I just need to wait it out. Is it possible to take Valtrex too closely together?
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Information

Detailed Answer:
For some people, Valtrex can cause diarrhea, but it shouldn't be causing the severe pain you are describing. That would be more likely to be from the higher dose of Prednisone.

If you are unable to go in to the ER or urgent care clinic, do take either Zantac (ranitidine) 150 mg twice a day or 300 mg once a day, or a proton pump inhibitor (such as Nexium or other over the counter ppi) according to the instructions for maximum dosing on the box.

But I think it would be best for you to be seen if that pain is severe.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 44 hours later
Thank you. I have been in the hospital since early morning with a kidney infection and high white blood cell count, but I'm on the mend and should be released tomorrow. Thanks for your help.
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 18 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Wishing you well.

Detailed Answer:
I am glad you went in and were diagnosed. Typically kidney infection causes flank pain, fever, and nausea. I am glad your infection was caught. Wishing you well.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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