Side Abdominal Pain, is it SIBO?

I’m new to this forum, but I desperately need guidance and reassurance. Doctors haven’t addressed my concerns, and my fear of cancer is consuming me.

A year ago, a nagging pain under my left ribs ignited my anxiety. It feels lodged there, often spreading to my back and hip. Pancreatic cancer became my obsession, and the worry has intensified with new symptoms:

  • Constant nausea and burping
  • Metallic taste and bad breath
  • Stomach punches after eating
  • Spreading abdominal pain
  • Loose stools
  • Random abdominal cramps
  • Left-sided pulling sensation
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and weight (2 stone)
  • Night sweats (4 years) - dismissed as anxiety
  • Coccyx pain (4 years) - MRI showed nothing
  • Scalloped tongue

Despite my relentless worry, tests reveal nothing alarming:

  • 2 ultrasounds
  • CT and MRI scans of abdomen and pelvis
  • Upper endoscopy
  • MRCP (pancreas evaluation)
  • FIT tests (negative for hidden blood)
  • Blood tests (normal iron, slightly elevated bilirubin)

The only abnormality is a tiny liver cyst, deemed inconsequential by my sixth consultant. They’re confident it’s not pancreatic cancer and are recommending a SIBO test as a possible cause.

The only test I haven’t had is a colonoscopy. Four doctors downplayed the need due to negative FIT tests and the procedure’s invasiveness. However, my fear of bowel cancer persists.

Family and friends urge me to move on, but I remain unconvinced. Therapy helps manage my anxiety, but doubt lingers.

This ordeal has shattered my life. I’m isolated, unable to eat or sleep properly. My relationships and finances are suffering.

Has anyone experienced similar struggles? Reassurance is difficult when my mind fixates on the worst-case scenario, despite the extensive tests. I never had gut issues before, making this all the more frightening.

I just want my happy life back.

I’d want to welcome you to our community and say how much I know you must be going through at the moment. You seem to have gone through a great deal with your health anxiety, so it makes total sense that you would feel afraid and alone.

What strikes a chord with me from your post is this:

The constant concern: Your thorough testing has demonstrated how proactive you have been in finding the solution to this. It might be really upsetting to get such negative results and still feel doubtful.
The residual fear: It can be very difficult to silence the voice in your head that keeps thinking only of the worst, even when you are reassured.

In this, you are most definitely not alone. Health anxiety is a common problem, so it’s great that you’re receiving therapy already. The following are some items that could facilitate your next step:

Make connections with others: You can get help from those who are aware of your situation by participating in this forum. It can be really gratifying to hear from others and share your experiences.
Refute your thoughts: Counseling can provide you with the means to refute any fearful ideas that cause you to obsess about the worst. Methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have a great deal of success.
Concentrate on what you can control: Although you have no control over the results of any test, you do have control over good habits like eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and using relaxation techniques.
For mental peace, think about getting a colonoscopy. If you really feel that having one might help you feel less anxious, talk to your doctor about it once more. Despite the negative results of the FIT tests, a colonoscopy may provide a more comprehensive view.
Recall that you have been told by numerous doctors that the likelihood of you having bowel or pancreatic cancer is very low. Even though a little liver cyst may seem alarming, you should believe your doctors when they tell you that it won’t have much of an impact. You’ve got this, Cami!