ZocdocAnswersI get a strange slight pain in the left shoulder area after eating greasy food, it's not heartburn

Question

I get a strange slight pain in the left shoulder area after eating greasy food, it's not heartburn

I am a 46 year old white male. I have ibs and this symptom started near that time. it's like heartburn, but different, even less painful. I always get over it, no other symptoms to worry about.

Answer

The pain you are experiencing could be one of several different things. The first thing that comes to mind is the possibility that you are experiencing pain from gall bladder stones. The gall bladder releases a substance called bile into the small intestine. The purpose of bile is to help digest fats. Therefore when you eat a greasy meal, the gall bladder must work hard to get bile out. When there is a gall bladder stone in the way, there can be pain when the gall bladder contracts. This pain usually is felt in the abdomen but can radiate to the shoulder area. Another possibility is that this pain is a manifestation of your irritable bowel syndrome. IBS can cause many different symptoms and this shoulder pain may be one of them. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your pain and what it is associated with and perform a thorough physical exam. If your doctor is concerned for gall bladder stones, then you may need an abdominal ultrasound. If your doctor is concerned for something else such as ulcer, then you may need to start on a medication to reduce stomach acid (such as omeprazole). Good luck.

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