Abdominal pain for months

I don't have health insurance while not in school and when I was the school doctors were unhelpful. I've had pain in my lower abdomen for several months now and its always been hard to describe. I've had an appendectomy ~4 years ago and the pain is mostly on the left side anyway so I can safely rule that out. In the beginning I suspected a soy protein intolerance or some such thing as the ingredient "soy protein isolate" or soy in larger quantities gave me intense discomfort. (I grew up with soy as a replacement for milk as I have anaphilaxis, so the soy problem was new and has not been professionally diagnosed) Since then I've avoided soy but the pain has never really gone away and now it feels like my insides are sore and has been harder to ignore. No amount of poking or prodding (that the doctors did way back when or when I try now) produces any abnormal pain. The pain is generally between the hips and belly button tending towards the left side. I've also noticed difficulty urinating despite the urge to do so. I suspect the answer is "Go see a real doctor" but financially this is not really a viable option. I guess I'm looking for a possible diagnosis or steps I can take on my own to "heal" what ever this is.

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throwaway00000003
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Can you please let us know some demographics first? F/M and age is extremely important in abdominal differentials.

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22 Male

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Okay that helps actually narrow down a huge list of problems as pelvic disorders in women commonly present with urinary and GI problems, not to say it can't happen in younger men. You might be having two separate issues or your abdominal pain can be related to what seems to be urinary retention. Since your primary concern is abdominal pain lets go that route first. To help further we need description of your stool in as much detail as possible (e.g. lots of people complain of bloody stool; medical people want to hear is the blood just on the outside or is intermixed into the stool as the differential will change from hemorrhoids to possibly GI bleed/cancer). Color of stool is important, and consistency. Please keep in mind we aren't there to see it or run any diagnostic tests on you so you will have to be our "eyes and ears" so to speak. The pain you are having in your abdomen, does it move or radiate anywhere else? Do you have any family history of bowel problems? You gave an excellent narrowing of location of the pain and that really helps. The fact that you said this has been happening for months and in the LLQ of your abdomen initially makes me think long term issues in the colon (as there isn't really any other organs in that area, differential may include a renal stone tracking down the ureter). I'd look into reading about malabsorption, IBD (Crohns and Ulcerative colitis), and diverticulosis/itis, but we still need more info if you really want to narrow things down.

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Thanks for the continued replies! As far as stools go, I'd say they are 100% normal with one exception. I don't drink alcohol often but when I do it is almost exclusively whiskey and I drink more than I probably should in a sitting. I of course pay for it the next day with a killer headache but It has also caused a bloody stool. The blood is more on the surface and bright in color. I've avoided alcohol since and since we are on the subject of avoiding, I recently went from 1-2 cups of coffee a morning to zero as I read coffee is a potential stomach irritant. (I've been drinking coffee daily through out this ordeal and this is the only time I have avoided it)

As far as the pain goes, thats what I've always had trouble explaining. I can't point with a finger to where it is. But I can place my hand over where it is. Rarely I can also feel it on my right side but up above the belly button and its not nearly as strong, not that the current pain is very strong.

For family history, no the only thing I think there is history of is one of diverticulosis/itis. My diet has plenty of whole grains and water.

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Going along with this.

Could this be diverticulosis?
It could be diverticulosis given the bright red bleeding (It's not really itis unless you're running a fever and having profuse diarrhea at the same time), but you need a colonoscopy by a GI doctor to make the official diagnosis, and I think your age makes this unlikely.

Could this be hemorrhoids?
Do you strain during bowel movements? Take a look at your anus (mirrors, do what you gotta do). Is there "extra" skin around it?

Could this be ulcers?
You're doing good by removing things from your diet like soy and coffee, but did it actually improve your symptoms? Perhaps you should keep a food journal and process of a eliminate one thing at a time and see if it improves or worsens your symptoms. Also, do your symptoms get better or worse with food? Do you eat and the pain gets worse soon after? This is also useful information to bring to the doctor when you can see one.

Other things on the differential are IBS/IBD (again, need a colonoscopy for this diagnosis), or adhesions from the appendectomy that are pulling on your intestines whenever the bowel peristalses. Do you have episodes of constipation followed by lots of diarrhea, or random episodes of frequent diarrhea?

I think the real problem is your problem urinating. Kidneys are important, and any type of obstruction can quickly damage them. I urge you to bite the bullet and at the very least see a real doctor to get a proper evaluation.

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Thanks for the reply. As I said previously the only time I have an irregular stool is when alcohol was involved. Otherwise I am quite normal so I'm not sure what that means for any of these conditions you mention. I did look them up and I'd say I was more at risk for ulcers but the symptoms don't really match what I feel or experience. I say "at risk" because my go to pain reliever was ibuprofen (But for what difference it makes, children's liquid, as I was allergic to many pills growing up and thus never bothered with them)

As far as the urinating goes, yeah I agree its an issue I should seek help for and I will do so when the opportunity presents itself but sites like webmd and others suggest an enlarged prostate and the treatment options were "suck it up butter cup" or surgery so I've been doing the former. For what its worth those symptoms are not consistent either sometimes I have great flow with no problems starting other times it is a real struggle to get going and I don't produce much.

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Sure, if you were a 60 year old guy with urinating problems, it could be your prostate. But you're 22. It's very unusual for you to have problems with your prostate at this age. Hence I suggest you get a proper workup sooner than later.

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Taking any medications? Some people on antihistamines or other medications with anticholinergic side effects can cause urinary retention that accounts for the abdominal pain and problems with urination.

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No, at the beginning of allergy season I was taking OTC children’s Zyrtec but have not had a dose in since perhaps May. These symptoms were present before, during, and after my use of it. Other than this I am not taking any prescriptions and the only other medications I’ve used have been the Ibuprofen (which I have added to the list of things to avoid being an NSAID) and Pepto-Bismol. The ibuprofen was just for life’s aches and pains here and there and the pepto was an attempt to alleviate whatever abdominal symptoms I could but it didn’t have a noticeable effect.

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