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Unexplained Left Upper Abdominal Pain

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Hi, I was diagnosed with Mono almost 6 weeks ago. I had quite a barrage of symptoms - extremely sore throat w/white coating, swollen lymph nodes/spleen, cough, stuffy nose, and fever of 101.5 at onset of symptoms. I felt extremely lethargic and basically like I was going to die for about 4 weeks. It was horrible! I was in a lot of pain during that time as well, and my abdomen was so swollen that I couldn't sit up or bend over without it hurting. It felt like a football had been sewn in under my ribcage and the pain was spreading around to my back...which the doctor at the beginning had told me was most likely due to an enlarged spleen - she did not do any scans/x-rays, just felt my abdomen. Over the next week or so, my pain spread from my upper left side to my upper right side, and I even had pain in my lower back. 2 weeks after I initially saw the doctor, I went to the ER, thinking that I had a serious infection of some kind since I was having so much pain and was feeling so horrible. The doctor there thought that I had a kidney infection, and even noted that my urine didn't look good, but after all the tests were done, they found absolutely nothing wrong! At the time I was in so much pain that I could barely be touched...but since the blood/urine tests all came back negative and I had said I had diarrhea at the time they attributed my pain to GI troubles and sent me home with IBS medication, which would have only made me feel worse since the side effects exacerbated the symptoms that I already had - dehydration, dizziness, lethargy. I didn't take them needless to say. They ignored the fact that I said I had been diagnosed with Mono recently. Then, a few days later, my diarrhea got better, but my pain did not. 2 weeks later, I developed severe lightheadedness - I felt like I was on a boat, which I thought was due initially to dehydration, but no matter how much water I drank, I couldn't get rid of it. I also had pretty bad headaches. Gradually, the dizziness got better (but I still have it a little bit from time to time)..and over the next few weeks, the rest of my symptoms did as well. I started feeling more energetic, I got my appetite back, however when I would eat larger meals I would get pain in my side, so I still can't eat too much at one time. Oh, I should note that I was drinking LOTS of water throughout the whole thing - 3 liters, plus an Ensure and 20 oz. of Gatorade per day. It seemed my spleen was getting better...however, about 4 or 5 nights ago, I suddenly developed a pulsing, severe pain that lasted about 10 mins. It wasn't unbearable, but I had to go and lay down for awhile - I didn't see any reason why it started, because all I was doing was standing in the kitchen talking to my roommate. It subsided and I felt ok after that, but my abdomen felt very swollen again, and when I looked at it in the mirror, you could definitely see a lump and swelling where my spleen is located. I finally decided to go and be seen again since the pain was debilitating - I couldn't walk anywhere or do anything without it hurting, and I kept getting spasms. Tried to go to the doctor first, because I didn't want to go through the same thing again at the ER, told them I'd had the pain for over a month, and they sent me to the ER anyway. This time, though, I brought my paperwork stating I had Mono. That helped a lot! They did a very thorough abdominal examination, listened to my heart, looked at my throat (noted it was still a little red), then told me that they wanted blood tests and a CAT scan with contrast, to see how enlarged my spleen was. So I went through all that...but once again, everything came back normal; my bloodwork was just fine (except for an elevated WBC of 12,000), and my spleen was not enlarged. They didn't really explain much to me beyond that - tried to ask them questions, but they weren't very helpful...so my question is, if my spleen isn't enlarged, and my blood tests are normal, why am I having so much pain? I STILL feel like my abdomen is swollen, it's very tender, and I can definitely still see that lump when I look at it - my roommate can see it too. It hurts to lay on my left side and my back, and my back feels swollen. I am just baffled as to why it still hurts if there is apparently nothing wrong according to my tests. I have never had pain like this in my life, and I'm still concerned as to whether it's ok to be active! Could it be that my spleen or the tissue around it is inflamed because it's been working overtime for so long??? Has anyone else had this problem? Any help is appreciated!
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replied April 11th, 2010
Experienced User
It's definitely possible. In some people the spleen can enlarge to the point of great discomfort. With normal Mono recovery it will go back to it's original size eventually. It's sounds like your doing everything that needs to be done to ensure it's not another issue. Ultra sounds can help see if the spleen is enlarged, however if you can actually see it without touching it that would be a good enough indicator that it is.
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replied December 5th, 2014
So I know this is a SUPER long shot and you probably won't see this, but did you ever find out what was wrong? I'm currently experiencing something very similar that doctors can't figure out and it's driving me crazy. I was diagnosed with mono over the summer with swollen tonsils, swollen lymph nodes, fever, and fatigue. A few weeks in, I experiended a sharp pain in my upper left abdomen, and went to the ER thinking it may be my spleen. They did a CT and it came back normal. They diagnosed it as a muscle strain and eventually I started feeling better. However, about a month ago, the sharp pain came back in my upper left side and it's been terrible. The doctors have done blood work, X-ray, ultrasound, and CT, and and so far it's all come back normal. I also noticed a lump in my left side, but apparently the CT either didn't pick it up or it's not abnormal. Any help you could provide would be much appreciated!
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