What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Have you suffered from HELLP syndrome or had a pregnancy complicated by an underlying disorder? Discuss your concerns here
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Re: What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Postby Melekalikimaka » Sun Jan 25, 2015 08:56 pm

I haven't had a chance to read through all of the posts in this thread, but my experience was in direct contrast to those I have read. I didn't have severe pain. I ate some spicy grilled potatoes for supper, and afterwards didn't feel quite right. I chalked it up to the spices. I went to bed early, and by that time the discomfort had settled right behind my xiphoid process (the bottom of the sternum). I woke up a few times in the night, and the discomfort remained.

Because I had had severe swelling since the 2nd trimester, I spent some time on Google and when I saw the world preeclampsia, I decided to call the after-hours nurse. My BP had always been low (under 110/70), but at my last appointment it was around 120/80. Not a big jump, but a little unusual for me. I mentioned this all to the nurse, and it was decided that my doctor would meet me at the hospital. The discomfort turned into a mild pain, and I even asked for Tylenol at the hospital. After blood and urine tests, it was determined that I had HELLP Syndrome. No protein in my urine, and my BP was maybe around 150/90 at the highest. It would drop a bit when I would lie on my left side. I was induced, but when I didn't progress fast enough they decided on a c-section. My son was born at 36 weeks 6 days. He was in the NICU for 4 days, but is now a super healthy 2 and a half year old.

The pain never progressed beyond being mild. I'm a massage therapist and I'm hyper-aware of my body and how I feel and I attribute that (and a whole lot of sheer luck!!) to why I was able to catch it early enough.

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Re: What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Postby featherhaze » Sun Oct 14, 2012 09:55 pm

I had heartburn and pretty bad acid reflux issues with both of my pregnancies (first one normal, HELLP @ 37 wks with second) and the location of the pain was similar to heartburn but it DEFINITELY feels different. It was not a burning pain but more of a pressure, almost like I couldn't catch my breath. It was right in the center of my chest, right under the sternum. It couldn't be ignored and no position relieved it. I am grateful I had the pain because I had no other significant symptoms (one isolated high BP reading one week prior that I think my Dr thought was a fluke). Because my BP was only borderline when I saw the OB and I had no protein in my urine, I was sent home. The pain continued to get worse and I went to maternity triage where they finally did blood work and caught it. I would suggest requesting a blood test if you suspect it may be HELLP. I think I was not diagnosed immediately because I did not have PE or any related conditions with my first pregnancy. From my understanding, the blood test is the only way to know for sure.

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Re: What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Postby KelliMeyer » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:37 am

The pain felt like a heart attack for me (minus the arm pain) - it was horrible and didn't go away with pain meds. The pain was both in my chest and in between my shoulder blades. It was a debilitating pain - and your body just doesn't "feel right"
Mother of a little girl born at 24 1/7 weeks (550g - 1lb 3oz) and survivor of severe class 1 HELLP syndrome.

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Re: What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Postby mnickerson » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:01 am

For me it felt like I had been punched in the stomach...and sort of like the onset of food poisoning. I lost my appetite. As it progressed, it felt like stabbing. All of the pain was concentrated on the top middle of my "bump". If I'd had even the slightest idea that HELLP existed, I'd have gone into the hospital right away. Instead, I went in a day later. I probably would have not gotten so severe if I'd have gone in sooner, but I just chalked it up to the discomforts of being pregnant. Definitely go in if you have even the slightest suspicion that you have HELLP!

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Re: What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Postby caryn » Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:08 am

Liver enzymes can get dramatically higher in hours - I would want to rule out the chance that it's HELLP, in your shoes.
Science! The articles you don't want to miss:
The Preeclampsia Puzzle (New Yorker) and Silent Struggle: A New Theory of Pregnancy (New York Times)
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Caryn, @carynjrogers, who is not a doctor and who talks about science stuff *way* too much
DS Oscar born by emergent C-section at 34 weeks for fetal indicators, due to severe PE
DD Bridget born by C-section after water broke at 39 weeks after a healthy pregnancy

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Re: What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Postby Lisabug77 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 08:00 am

I've been getting random sharp stabbing pain in my upper right abdomen as well. It's terrible pain, but it helps if I sit straight up.
Sometimes the pain radiates into my right shoulder and down my arm. My back, like on the right side deep inside under or around my shoulder blade also hurts like a terribly pulled or tight or muscle spasm. It's so intense I can hardly stand it!
I believe my liver enzymes read that they were okay last week, but this pain in my abdomen is getting worse and more frequent.
What do you all think?? Is this related? Btw I don't have a fall bladder.
Lisa 33, Tyler 33.
Lacie Marie 12/27/03 induced at 41 weeks due to no amniotic fluid.
Sophie Jean 03/02/06 induced at 37+2 weeks due to stopped growth, low fluid.
Liam Tyler 04/30/12 induced at 35+4 weeks due to preeclampsia complications.

I have been diagnosed with: Endometriosis, borderline PCOS, Interstitial Cystitis (IC), IBS, GERD, Gastritis, Degenerative Disc Disease, severe Sleep Apnea (rare form), Fibromyalgia, Depression/Anxiety, wide variety of allergies.

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Re: What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Postby amyjo_000 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 03:41 pm

The pain I felt was on my right side under/around my rib cage. I called my doctor the first time I felt it and she brushed it off to ligament pains. She said because I was so small everything was having to stretch and that was the cause of the pain. After being diagnosised with HELLP Syndrome I realized it wasn't ligament pain.

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Re: What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Postby shellyk » Wed Mar 21, 2012 08:47 am

Thanks for responding. I tried to get medical records two years ago when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. I wanted to do a VBAC but current ob/gyn wanted to make sure the internal incision was vertical. The hospital only kept records for 10 years & I couldn't find the doctor after extensive research & contacting my state medical board. Luckily I didn't get pre e the 2nd time around even though I am in my 40's, had donor egg IVF, and bp issues towards the end. My 2nd child was born via c-section at 38 weeks & was 8 # 3 oz. because of labile bp. I don't think I will ever know for sure. I was just curious what other people thought. I think I had too many symptoms not to have had it but who knows. I am now pregnant with the 3rd one at 44 & was just looking at worst case scenario since my beta's are pretty high & a little concerned about identical twins. I know w/o the lab records there is no way to definitively know but I still feel better somehow knowing I wasn't completely crazy about the pain. I know they were really concerned about seizures & at least they did the c-section before that happened. It was a bad experience but it could have been a whole lot worse! Thanks again for the input.

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Re: What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Postby tree » Tue Mar 20, 2012 08:50 pm

Hi Shelly,
I don't think it is possible to diagnose HELLP without doing some blood work, but your symptoms are all consistent with possible HELLP. You could probably get your medical records to see if they did any lab work while you were there. It might be hard after such a long time. I am sorry you got so sick and scared. The pain from HELLP can be absolutely awful, and I remember feeling certain that I would die too. It is a terrible disease. Feel free to start a new thread in this forum if you want some more responses to your post. Welcome to the forum.
Daughter born April 2009 at 35 weeks due to Class 1 HELLP

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Re: What does the abdominal pain feel like?

Postby shellyk » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:55 am

I was never diagnosed with HELLP but I'm pretty sure I had it. I was 17 when my first child was born. The night I went in to labor the pain started. It started in my right side & went around my back. I never slept that night. Hot showers helped the most. My mom finally got up about 5:30 a.m. & said I was having back labor. I just knew it hurt so bad I thought I was going to die. My mom could tell when I was having a contraction but for me the "other" pain was so bad & constant that I never knew. I had already been on bed rest for 3 weeks for what they called toxemia, now called pre-eclampsia. This all happened in 1984 so I doubt the rural doctor I saw even knew what he was dealing with. My weekly appointment was scheduled for that morning and the doctor said I was dilated to a 3 & told me to check in to the hospital. My bp was very high & I had protein in my urine, was very nauseous, threw up in the labor room, was seeing spots & was completely terrified. I had just been a coach to my sister doing a home child birth 9 months earlier so I thought I was a complete wimp. No one ever really believed me when I said how much pain I was in. I was never told the baby was in distress but I know he was constantly kicking & moving. They finally gave me a little demerol late that afternoon to take the edge off but it didn't. The doctor finally came to the hospital about 5:45 that afternoon. By then I was almost incoherent from pain. I don't remember much of it but I know I was immediately taken to the operating room & my son was born at 6:23 p.m. He weighed 9 # 13 oz. I was very thin when I got pregnant, about 90 pounds. I gained 60 pounds during pregnancy. I didn't have sonograms or anything else to see how big he was. They did labs twice a day every day for the 3 days I was in the hospital. I have always wondered about so many things that happened during labor & afterwards but I think after reading this forum I now understand. I think I almost died that day. Did I have HELLP?

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