What could be?
September 11, 2011 7:15 PM   Subscribe

What is this circular thing the size of a small pea below my left rib cage?

It is not really seen, I can only feel it when I try to press on my skin, so it is more internal. It doesn't hurt as well. I have been experiencing shortness of breath for the past two weeks or so, and I am coughing some right now too. And a phlegm issue that has been going on since forever.
posted by LittleMissItneg to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
Please go see a doctor.
posted by tristeza at 7:20 PM on September 11, 2011 [10 favorites]

Hard, painless lymph node? Together with your other symptoms?

Please go see a doctor.
posted by killdevil at 7:46 PM on September 11, 2011

When people ask these questions, I assume they already know the answer. We have no idea what it is, because most of us aren't doctors. The people who are doctors aren't going to diagnose you over the internet, because that's like a total liability nightmare. I'm sure this could be any number of things, some of which aren't a big deal. But you need to see a doctor, like now. Breathing is important! You shouldn't fuck around with anything that could be interfering with your ability to breathe.
posted by craichead at 7:51 PM on September 11, 2011

Looking at your question history, you've reported the following health problems to Ask Metafilter over the past several months:
  • Continual, longstanding difficulties with coughing up phegm, and recently you've noticed evidence of blood in it
  • A feeling that something is constantly stuck in your throat
  • Difficulty burping, and a feeling of choking
And now you're telling us you're experiencing progressive difficulty breathing and can feel something wierd in your abdomen.

Is there some compelling reason why you have not gone for a medical checkup? Asking the Internet is not a substitute for going to the doctor. You really, really need to go be seen by a physician.
posted by killdevil at 7:58 PM on September 11, 2011 [13 favorites]

Hernia? You can get them from coughing.
posted by bkeene12 at 8:25 PM on September 11, 2011

It's not a given that there's a causal relationship between your symptoms and the pea size thing.

Can the pea-size thing move around a bit? If so, it's probably a Sebaceous cyst.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:29 PM on September 11, 2011

Sorry, link broke. Sebaceous cyst, but not an infected one. Means it's harmless.
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:31 PM on September 11, 2011

@killdevil I do go to the doctor. Just that she keeps telling me not to worry about this and that, even did ultrasound, xrays and nothing showed up.

@Jon_Evil The pea-size thing is not moving. Like I said, it's not really seen like the Sebaceous cyst you mentioned, more like I feel it when I press my skin below the rib cage.
posted by LittleMissItneg at 8:33 PM on September 11, 2011

Seconding Jon_Evil, I had one in that general area. Don't push on it/scratch it too too hard or you can burst it. That requires some serious effort though (in my case, scratching it hard after a shower, oops.)
posted by maryr at 9:01 PM on September 11, 2011

Go see another doctor for a second opinion. You have some fairly serious sounding symptoms -- coughing up phlegm/blood, shortness of breath, and a possibly-suspicious lump.

I've had family members die due to doctors repeatedly blowing their complaints off. If they had gotten a second opinion early on, they'd probably still be around.
posted by zug at 9:07 PM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

As a former licensed respiratory therapist, please permit me to comment on your inquiry. Forgive me for being blunt, but I have been perplexed now for quite a while.

Firstly, it is always interesting (?) to me that individuals post medical maladies and then trust perfect strangers without benefit of medical background, history and observation of said malady to give diagnostic and/or treatment advice. No physician that I am aware of would ever do so, and others shouldn't either.

Always remember that your physician is hired by you for a service. For the fee that you (and/or insurance) pay, you should expect a reasonable and straight forward answer to your questions about your examinations, tests, general health and any physical complaints that you may have. If they do not provide you with the information that you want, find someone who will. The members at the bottom of the medical school class who graduate are also called MDs, but I would not personally choose to encourage them.

It is important to understand however, that the amount of medical information available today is so immense, that it is impossible for any physician to know everything there is to know about the totality of medicine. That is why there are specialists, and I would advise you to see a good pulmonologist. To find one, call a local hospital and ask to speak to the respiratory care department and ask a therapist for a reputable pulmonologist in your area. Many of the docs in this specialty see patients only on referral, in which case you will need to ask your personal physician to provde one.

As killdevil did, I also looked at your question history and will provide you with the following ADVICE only. It is not a definite diagnosis of any of your problems.

1) As to the "circular thing" below your rib cage—ask a qualified pulmonologist. This has the potential of being anything from nothing, to being a serious health matter that may need urgent attention. Don't mess around with this—SEE A DOCTOR!

2) The phlegm and coughing issues have the same potential and you should SEE A DOCTOR! The issues that you describe are symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis and/or Post Nasal Drip. Both of these problems are treatable and a pulmonoiogist will know best how to treat you.

3) I do not know how old you are, or what, if any pulmonary problems you may have, but dyspnea (shortness of breath) is not normal. SEE A DOCTOR!

4) A streak of blood in coughed-up phlegm is not normal, but happens occasionally in an acute or chronic infection in the lungs. Generally it is caused by breaking of a cappillary during an episode of severe coughing. Usually the streaks are dark red, but can be brighter red as well. This should not happen on a regular basis, only occasionally, and in small amounts. Please report this to you physician in any event!

5) Mucus and/or phlegm is normally clear (not white, but mostly see-through) in color. If the color and/or amount of your secretions change, and continues that way for a few days, it is a sign that an infection may be active. Colors suggesting infection are larger amounts of yellow or green phlegm. Again, IF YOU HAVE A REASON TO DOUBT YOUR HEALTH, SEE A DOCTOR.

I hope this has been helpful as general information.

Good luck to you, LittleMissItneg!
posted by konig at 11:15 PM on September 11, 2011 [6 favorites]

@konig Thank you for your input.

1. I will go ahead and ask referral from my doctor for a reputable pulmonologist.

2. As for the blood in my phlegm, it only happened once actually and it was time I was having a sore throat last May. I still have the phlegm until now, but no blood.

I'll update you with how things go. I am by the way 27 years old.
posted by LittleMissItneg at 6:38 AM on September 12, 2011

Even having phlegm in your lungs for that long is a very serious problem. Are you tired a lot of the time? I found out I suffered from heart failure at 42, the symptoms I'd had at that point were coughing up phlegm and being somewhat tired. One day, over the course of about 30 minutes, my lungs went from "some phlegm" to completely full. Better hope you're very near a hospital when that happens because you really don't have much time.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:24 AM on September 12, 2011

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