Avatar universal

Next steps-gastritis? ulcer? low-functioning GB?

Five days ago, I went to the ER with severe nausea, fatigue, weakness and dyspepsia, along with right side abdominal pain which I felt predominantly under my right rib (sometimes radiating to my back). I'd been experiencing those symptoms for about 4 days. I developed a non-painful 'sensation'/fullness under my right rib a week before that, but had no other symptoms. So, it took about 2 weeks total before I hit the ER. Ultrasound of my gallbladder was normal. Blood test results were all normal. U/A = normal. I then had a CT scan of my right abdomen, and it also came back normal. Also relevant, I was dx with IBS (constipating) at age 16 (I'm 35 now). FYI - bowel movements did not relieve any of these symptoms. I am very fit, exercise daily, avoid preservatives and eat a mostly vegetarian gluten-, dairy- and soy-free diet, and am normal weight and non-diabetic. Doctor sent me home with scripts for dicyclomine, reglan and nexium and said I could have gastritis, an ulcer or a low-functioning gallbladder.

Since I've come home, my indigestion symptoms have worsened. I didn't find any of the drugs to be particularly helpful. For the first 2 days, I felt my abdomen was full of gas, and I was having uncontrollable anxiety and heart palpitations (overactive nervous system response to gut inflammation?). I cut beans out of my diet to reduce gassiness and the heart palpitations subsided. I even managed to exercise twice this week; however, the nausea persists, as does the right-side abdominal discomfort which is sometimes felt under my right rib, sometimes in my back rib area, and sometimes in my right flank. Today I developed terrible burning at the base of my sternum. If I let my stomach get completely empty, the burning is worse and it is sometimes (but not always) relieved a little bit by eating.

I probably need to see a gastroenterologist, but I don't have insurance so I'm trying to self-treat to avoid incurring any additional debt. Based on these symptoms, does it sound like gastritis or an ulcer, or something else? If I were to go to a gastroenterologist, what tests would s/he likely need to run in order to determine the source of the problem, and how expensive would those tests be?

Thank you.
3 Responses
Avatar universal
Welcome to the gastroenterology community!  I agree that you should probably see a gastroenterologist.  It could be gastritis or an ulcer, but both of those should have been helped by the nexium.  If eliminating beans helped your palpitations, you could also try eliminating other gassy foods from your diet to see if that helps.  The gastroenterologist might want to do an endoscopy which can get pretty expensive.
Avatar universal
I had my gallbladder removed in 2009 & since then I have had a horrible aching pain in my right side. I was diagnosed with chronic gastritis & put on medication but it hasn't helped much, Ive got the smelliest wind ever & it's not nice, I have a healthy diet so is there anything you can suggest please?
Avatar universal
I would recommend you post your question as its own post in the gallbladder community.
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