Pulsing spot next to belly button. Serious?
November 16, 2004 9:19 AM   Subscribe

My abdomen is pulsating significantly just to the left of my umbilicus. [More Inside]

I first noticed it happening every once in a while three years ago but now it's pretty much a constant thing and I think it's a stronger pulse. It's especially pronounced when I lie flat on my back. I don't have insurance in the country I'm currently living in and I don't want to dish out a hefty sum for a slew of diagnostic tests if perhaps there's nothing to worry about. Everything I've looked up online points to a possible aortic aneurysm but I'm a 20 year old girl with no family history of similar problems, so I'm figuring that's unlikely. I've never been hypertensive. Should I be worried or could it be normal?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
If there's something new that's happening and it's worrying you, get thee to the doctor.
posted by agregoli at 9:27 AM on November 16, 2004

IANAD, but you're right, such pulsating near the navel may indicate an AAA, which means you absolutely do not want to delay having it looked at. If you can't get hooked up with traveler's insurance, go to a public hospital anyway ASAP and ask what you should do. Waiting is not an option on this.
posted by planetkyoto at 9:51 AM on November 16, 2004

See a doctor. This is a classic sign of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Or, it may be nothing. I would still have it checked out.
on preview: this is wha planetkyoto said.
posted by caddis at 9:56 AM on November 16, 2004

Yes, evidently they can develop slowly over years, as well. Definitely, definitely see a doctor. Like, pick up the phone, now.
posted by abcde at 12:42 PM on November 16, 2004

It's probably nothing significant--I have that kind of thing all the time and it is apparently related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome in my case.

However, if it is an abdominal aortic aneurysm, you need to know about it ASAP. So suck it up and spend the money. Right now. Go now.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:00 PM on November 16, 2004

Boy these questions are getting dumb.

See a doctor.

Like we're going to be able to diagnose it on a freaking website?
posted by xmutex at 3:48 PM on November 16, 2004

If what everyone else didn't make you get help, how about this quote from that Medline website:
Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome is usually good when an aneurysm is monitored carefully and if surgical repair is performed before the aorta ruptures.

Aortic rupture is life-threatening. Less than 50% of people with a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm survive.
Hey, it's your life. I hear it's tough to save your money when you're dead. Something about wills and all that. You might want to spend it first.
posted by shepd at 4:30 PM on November 16, 2004

If you are slender - what we call a 'scaphoid abdomen' - it's probably just your abdominal aorta that you're feeling. If I had you here in my exam room I could clear this up for you in about 5 seconds.

So you should probably find a more convenient doctor and get it cleared up.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:46 PM on November 16, 2004

I also would like anyone who is concerned to know that the only reason I didn't tell you not to worry about it is because I do not want to accept the liability in case I am wrong.

In general, slender people have easily palpated aortas, which is normal. 20 year olds don't get aortic aneurysms unless they have something else seriously wrong with them, like frequent IV drug abuse, Takayasu disease, secondary syphilis, et cetera.

Again, I don't accept any liability for anyone who chooses to read this post and then not worry about their aorta.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:57 PM on November 16, 2004

for what it's worth...

Call the local emergency room (or hospital); tell them you don't have insurance.

An ER cannot turn you away because you don't have insurance. Explain that you're homeless, unable to affrod it, whatever.

But the phone works, they know how to answer this question.
posted by filmgeek at 9:25 PM on November 16, 2004

Say you have no way to pay it back, go to a doctor tonight.... pretty much what everyone else has said.
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:12 PM on November 16, 2004

If you are living in a country you are not a citizen of (and especially if you are on a student or tourist visa) the closest embassy or consulate ... they will often provide you medical care much cheaper (or free) than you would have to pay at a hospital or doctor's office. This is especially true if you are living in a national health country but don't have insurance.
posted by anastasiav at 7:15 AM on November 17, 2004

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