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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes severe cough and pain above the navel?

Hello. I have had the flu for 8 days. Saw urgent care two days ago who prescribed otc meds, cough liquid and an inhaler. Last night during a severe coughing episode it felt like something tore in my abdomen above my naval and to the right. It feels like it tears again every time I cough. I am wearing a tight elastic girdle around ribs which helps some. Is this cause for concern or just another side effect of this horrible flu? Jean R
Mon, 5 Mar 2018
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Pathologist and Microbiologist 's  Response

First of all coming to your complaints, the main symptom is cough and pain abdomen. Cough can be caused due to different reasons. This cough strains the muscles of upper abdominal wall and leads to pain above navel (umblicus).

Common causes of cough are clearing of throat, infection (bacterial or viral), Gastroesophageal Reflux disease (GERD), smoking (COPD), asthma et cetera. Most common cause is viral infection (flu). So, first we have to find out the exact cause of cough, so that we can treat easily.

To exclude some causes and to know the exact cause, we have to go for the following investigations:
1. Complete blood picture
2. X-ray chest
3. Sputum examination

If nothing abnormal is found in investigations, we can exclude all other possibilities and diagnose as flu. Then you can follow the below:
1. Avoid exposure to dust
2. Cough syrup
3. Plenty of water
4. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (ibuprofen) for navel pain

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Dr. Vamsi Krishna Chittimoju
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