Abdominal Pain

by Jane
( Parsons, West Virginia)

I am a 78 year old female with left side pain below my rib cage. Have had the pain for two weeks and it is getting much worse.

The pain is severe when trying to sleep at night. Have had no previous stomach problems. I take a mild blood pressure pill and it has not been bothering me. Have had no kidney problems.

Was scheduled for rotator cuff surgery tomorrow and have to postpone it due to this pain.

What could be causing this.


Dear Jane,

Thank you in deed for stopping to use your free online resource here on abdopain.com.

There are a number of conditions that could cause pain on your left upper abdomen below your rib cage. You said the pain has been on going for about two weeks and getting worse, especially when you go to bed at night.

What does this pain feel like - is it sharp, or a dull ache? Does it spread to other places? Is the pain worsened by movement or deep breathing or by direct pressure to the area where you feel the pain?

Is there any associated coughing or fever or change in bowel habit? Are you more constipated than usual in the last few days or weeks?

Did you suffer with cold in the preceding 2-3 weeks before the onset of the pain?

Have you been golfing?

I think you will actually benefit from a focused physical examination by a doctor and perhaps some X-ray or scan if deemed necessary to be able to put one's finger on the probable cause of this pain.

Commonly, the type of pain you are describing - worse when lying down at night, could be due to:

  • Costochondritis
  • Pulled muscle
  • Back mouse with pain spreading to the upper left rib cage area
  • Constipation
  • Left lower lung issue

What are you using to control this pain? Tylenol 3 - one or two tablets plus some Naproxen 500 mg taken TWICE daily or even only at night before going to bed might help, while awaiting your doctor's review.

We would love to hear back from you on what how things went and what was thought to be the cause of this pain as well as the treatment you received.

Thank you again, Jane, for using this medium.

Family Physician, Emergency Medicine Practitioner and WebMD

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