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Severe Recurring Stomach Pain / Cramping
roolyn posted:

I'm hoping to get some insight as to what might be causing my recurring stomach pains. First of all, I am a 30-year-old female, recently diagnosed with lupus (SLE) and being treated with prednisone (7 mg/day currently), hydroxycholoroquine (400 mg/day), and methotrexate (15 mg, once per week). I also take omeprazole (20 mg, twice per day) as I have in the past year begun to have trouble with nighttime acid reflux. (20 mg per day was sufficient at first to control my reflux, but my rheumatologist recently upped my dose to 40 per day when I started having problems again, likely due to my current cocktail of medications).

In addition, my medical history includes many long treatments with NSAIDs for chronic back and neck pain, surgical fusion (ACDF) of the C4/C5 level of my spine, and recurring gallbladder pain (no stones detected).

Whew! Now that I've covered all of that, here is my current problem: During the past year-and-a-half or so, I've had numerous episodes of severe stomach pain and cramping that radiates into the left-middle area of my back. It always seems to occur when I go too long in between meals. If I don't eat a meal when I start to get hungry, I start to feel like my entire abdomen is seizing up and cramping. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to move, and I can barely sit up or stand up straight. The only way to make it feel better is to eat a meal, but eating unfortunately makes it feel worse before it feels better. If I can manage to get food down, then I know that within the next 30 minutes or so I will gradually start to feel better.

The pain wraps all around the front and sides of my stomach and it feels like my abdominal muscles and my actual stomach are in complete spasm. My stomach actually feels hard when I press on it and it is very painful. I also feel like it is stabbing straight through into my back. Once I thought I must have a kidney stone, because the pain was so severe around my left flank area. But this only happens when I postpone or skip a meal, so I don't think it has anything to do with my kidneys.

Being a lupus patient, I always tend to just attribute whatever strange / uncomfortable / painful thing my body is doing to my lupus. But I really have no idea what this could be. It seemed to begin around the same time as my lupus symptoms, but definitely before I was diagnosed and began taking all those medications. It's really scary when it happens, and every time I think "Okay, if this doesn't stop soon then I'm getting someone to take me to the ER, because something is really wrong!" But then it goes away and I forget about it . . . until it happens again.

Sorry for the lengthy post! Can anyone gift me some advice? I plan to ask my rheumy about it when I see him next, but that won't be until next month. Is this something I should be concerned about before then? Has anyone else experienced this?

liv_202511 responded:
I'm glad I'm not the only one experiencing things like this!
I've been to the doctor several times and they can never figure out what it is. They've taken blood samples, urine samples, x-rays, and ultrasounds: nothing.
I have a friend who was having similar stomach problems to mine, but mine were more severe and mysterious. They put her on the GERD diet, so I thought I would try it out as well. It worked for the most part. I would still have my stomach pain episodes, but they were way less frequent when I was faithful to this diet. Taking omeprazole magnesium at least 30 minutes before my first meal and around dinner time helped too.
The last time I had one of my episodes, after hours curled up in the fetal position, my dad told me to take 1/2 tsp of baking soda with water (not too much and not too little) to neutralize the acids in my stomach. It worked! After 5-10 minutes, my pain was somewhat bearable and I could stand up. I still had pain, but after an hour they were gone. It can't hurt to try it.
I sure hope this helps!
Let me know if you find out anything else because I'm about as lost as you when it comes to figuring out what it is.
sunild1204 responded:
NSAID painkiller would cause Leaky Gut and so it caused undigested food & Acid released for digestion to into blood causing acidosis and your blood becomes acidic.
This slows down stomach and thus causes all kind of flareups and issues. You would do well if you read my blog on wordpress to deal with this. sunild1204.wordpress
I would immediately stick to Boiled only food/light vegan diet to start with for next 6-8 weeks. For more you can read my posts.
welcomefriend replied to sunild1204's response:
A hard and stiff abdomen often causes stress, strain and digestive disorders like ibs, indigestion, bloating, flatulence, chronic constipation or diarrhea etc.
Hence ideally our belly should be small, soft, tender, yet, at the same time strong, supple and flexible to support our body. This may sound absurd. But I assure you that it is very much possible. Anyone, with a little bit of practice and patience, can make it happen himself.
If we observe the breathing pattern of infants and young children. we will find that usually their breathing is relaxed and effortless. Their chest do not move much, rather their chest and belly gently move up and down simultaneously during breathing. Whereas we usually breathe moving only our chest and shoulder while our belly remains more or less static or stiff.
No, I am not talking about so-called "abdominal breathing" in which, the chest is forcibly kept still and only the abdomen moves. I am telling about "normal" breathing involving simultaneous effortless movements of chest and abdomen.
So our target will be to very slowly involve our belly to move while breathing and to gradually reduce stress on our chest and shoulders. The most important thing is proceed slow but steady. Never apply any force or pressure during this process. Be patient and wait for results to come automatically.
At beginning, by put your palm of your hand on your belly and observe whether your belly is soft and tender, or stiff and hard; whether it is moving up and down in breathing or remains static and fixed. Do not try to keep your chest still. Allow it to move on its own. Then try to relax your whole body, particularly your abdomen, chest and shoulders. Do not use force to push up or down your belly. Do not unnecessarily try to take deep inhale or deep exhale. Rather just watch your breathing. Keep focus on your belly. Feel your belly. Just observe your breathing pattern and relax. Keep in mind the target- that ultimately the stress on your chest and shoulders will be reduced and your chest and belly will smoothly and automatically move up and down together in breathing. Such movements will be not big or heavy, rather small, quiet and easy.
Also observe closely the breathing patterns of people around you. After some time, you yourself will be able to find out who is breathing normally and healthily, and who is not.
Gradually and slowly, after months of practice, your belly will start to move automatically together with your chest while you inhale and exhale. You will enjoy it. Your body and mind will get multiple benefits. It is worth trying for at least a couple of months.
Let us hope for the best. Good wishes.

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