Abdominal pain
August 21, 2015 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Need some suggestions about possible diagnoses for abdominal and back pain symptoms in an elderly woman.

My mom who is 83 has been in pain for almost a year with no real diagnosis. She has an appointment with a different doctor in about a week, but she is worried that she is going to be sent home again with no diagnosis and a prescription for an acid reducer.

She has had MRI and hida scans, as well as blood tests. All tests are coming back normal, except the radiologist on the last test said she has chilaiditi syndrome. Apparently it's a rare condition where the colon gets trapped between the liver and diaphragm. We are not sure if this is what is causing her symptoms, which are: debilitating abdominal and back pain on the right side (around where her kidney had been - she had it removed on suspicion of cancer almost 10 years ago, but the mass turned out to be benign), nausea to the point where she is not eating much, everything she eats seems to make her feel sick, and when she takes pills with water, the water is regurgitated. She also has a soft lump on her side where the pain is - she thinks it could be trapped gas in her intestine. She is able to move her bowels sometimes, around once a week lately.

Sometimes she has fairly good days but mostly she is incapacitated with the pain and nausea. I know that she will be seeing a doctor soon, and we are hoping that we can find out what is causing the pain and how to treat it. But I'd like to get some ideas about what this could be so that we can be sure to ask about what we need to ask about. Or if anyone knows about chilaiditi syndrome, that would be helpful too.
posted by jenh526 to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
Go to an internal medicine doc who specializes in geriatric medicine. This is after you go to the ER and get a CT of the affected area. Make someone pay attention. These are bad symptoms. If her intestine is pinched or she has a hernia that is closing her bowel she is in trouble. Hurry up.
posted by Oyéah at 9:01 PM on August 21, 2015 [5 favorites]

Constipation plus adhesions from surgery can be very painful. I have endometriosis that involves my large intestine and if I get constipated at all the symptoms are like this, pain where I have internal scarring and a palpable lump (gross, right?).

Constipation can also make reflux worse. After she gets it cleared by a doctor, she might try relatively high doses of stool softener and/or Miralax. It took a full adult dose of Miralax taken with a 16oz glass of water 3x a day to fix a particularly bad episode. Again, ask a doctor.

I know constipation sounds benign but it can be extremely painful and really ruin digestion, so consider it a potential culprit.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:17 PM on August 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I suggest that you go with her to the doctor. There is nothing better than a questioning advocate when someone is not getting answers. Be prepared to insist that some relief be found for your mom.
posted by Cranberry at 12:37 AM on August 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

This turned out to be pancreatic cancer, in case anyone may be googling symptoms. In summary: abdominal pain radiating to the back (pressure on celiac nerve), progressive trouble with digestion, pain after eating, constipation, loss of appetite and fatigue.
posted by jenh526 at 7:42 PM on May 19, 2016

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