Ouch! What gives, tummy?
July 21, 2012 4:23 AM   Subscribe

YANMD. What could be up with this weird sore spot on my abdomen?

A couple of months ago, I noticed quite by accident that there's a fingertip-sized place on my abdomen that, when pressed, causes a sharp, shooty and fairly unpleasant pain. It's located on the horizontal line of my navel, about 3" to the right. It doesn't hurt except when it's poked, and even when it is being poked, tensing my abmuscles makes it go away (so I guess it's something I access through the outer muscles of the abdominal wall?) Asked my dr. about it on a casual visit, but she kind of brushed it off after a little prodding in that area.

I have no major concerns that this will lead to my imminent demise (especially since it's stayed this way without intensifying for months), but I'm curious as to whether anyone's experienced anything like this, and if so, whether anyone has any tips for medical sleuthery that might help me figure out what's causing it. Internet Doctor resources have been super unhelpful, because it appears that your abdomen can be the site of referred pain from all over the freaking place, so I've seen answers ranging from "appendix!" to "pulled muscle!" to "ovaries!".

If it matters, I'm F/30s/normal weight. Probably pretty out of shape, though. Have been pregnant before, not so now. Could this be a hernia? How could I tell? And should I care?
posted by Bardolph to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Appendix was my first thought but IANAD, let alone YD.

AskMe is just another version of Internet Doctor. You need Real Doctor.
posted by jon1270 at 5:08 AM on July 21, 2012

To back up what jon1270 says, a hernia was my first thought but IANAD. Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong. I would find a doctor that does not brush off sharp, shooting pain that you've had for months. You need Real Doctor.
posted by Houstonian at 5:55 AM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, stuff on the right side would make me think "appendix," but you say you went to your own doctor and she wasn't concerned.

I'd bring it up again to your doctor and say "um, I know you said it was nothing but it's still there and I'm a little freaked and would at least like to know WHAT it is," and see what she says. It could be a lot of things, and it's probably best the person who's had medical training figure out for you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:57 AM on July 21, 2012

You might want to consider Shingles as the cause.
posted by HuronBob at 6:00 AM on July 21, 2012

IANAD, but mysterious pain in that area immediately makes me think "appendix," especially when a doctor brushes it off as nothing. A nurse practitioner told me my own lower right quadrant discomfort was a pulled muscle and told me to take Advil. The following week I ended up in the hospital for a week with raging appendicitis. If the NP had ordered bloodwork when I first brought up the pain, it's very likely the infection would have been caught earlier and I would've had an outpatient appendectomy and been done with the whole thing.

Not trying to be an alarmist -- your pain is very likely something minor. But you know your body better than anyone, and you know it's telling you something isn't quite right. Abdominal problems are nothing to fool with. It can't hurt to ask your doctor again and press for a more definitive answer.
posted by QuickedWeen at 6:35 AM on July 21, 2012

That's not how appendicitis works and what you've described is no reason to think that's your problem. All kinds of things hurt in there when you poke them for no other reason except they don't like being poked (I know exactly where my gall bladder is, for example, despite it being perfectly healthy even with ultrasounds and testing, and my ileocecal junction is also a easily discovered feature thanks to my IBS). Pain doesn't need to mean anything besides stop digging your fingers in there.

If you're worried then get a second opinion from a real doctor. You do have an ongoing pain so it would be justified if you wanted to do that. If you're not worried then the internet is only going to give you pointless scare stories like you're already getting here.
posted by shelleycat at 8:07 AM on July 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Sounds like a hernia to me. A friend had one once, and it was almost exactly the same as what you're describing. I myself have never had one, but that would be what I would look into first.
posted by Because at 8:54 AM on July 21, 2012

I am a doctor but I am not your doctor.

Appendicitis doesn't go on for months, and it does not cause pain that is only the size of your fingertip. I can't diagnose you through the internet but I can tell you this is absolutely positively not appendicitis. Appendicitis is an infection and if you don't treat it by removing the appendix quickly, the infection either goes away on its own or the appendix ruptures and you get severe abdominal pain and are very ill. We're talking a time frame of days.

Shingles (proposed above) is also an infection, usually very painful, and it comes along with a nasty blistering rash. This is not shingles.

I think it is unlikely this is a hernia, because you are not describing any bulging. A hernia is, by definition, a place where part of the insides of your abdomen are bulging out (like, visibly and palpably). It usually happens in places where you have an intrinsic weakness of the abdominal muscles, like a surgical scar, or your bellybutton, or your groin. You see the bulging when you stand up, usually, and it goes away when you lie down because gravity pulls it back into the abdominal cavity. Because a hernia has to be a big enough hole for stuff that's inside to poke out of, it's not typically something tiny enough to be a single fingertip point.

Sorry I've got no answers for you. Maybe you just have a superficial nerve you're poking at. It could have been that way your whole life but it's so tiny that you just noticed it a few months ago. I say, if poking at something is painful, stop poking it.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:01 AM on July 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

treehorn+bunny, I wish you could be my full-time Internet Doctor! I'll just file this one under "need to find better hobbies," then, I guess.

(Although I do maintain that it wouldn't kill WebMD to include that info about hernias generally being fairly large. With a nation full of hypochondriacs hanging on your every bullet-point, witholding key diagnostic points like that just seems cruel.)
posted by Bardolph at 12:22 PM on July 23, 2012

« Older How are crimes involving civilians dealt with on...   |   How can I buy or make a replacement bent wire... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.