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Anyone have upper abdominal pain with Crohn's?

Aside from my lower abdominal problems, the worst symptom I have is an excruciating pain in my upper right abdomen that shoots into my back and then across my chest. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like a tree fell on my chest and is crushing me. It lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. I had my gallbladder removed 3/2011, no stones have been found since.

The new GI doctor I am seeing suspects Crohn's and I know it is possible to have the pain in the upper abdomen but was wondering if anyone else has experienced this.
I used to get shooting pains just under my breastbone, which I guess you'd say is upper abdomen. The pains would last a few minutes, but I'd ache for hours afterwards.
I never found out what caused the pains, and I don't get them anymore, but I wanted to let you know that you're not alone with it!


Super Moderator
Hi SmedleyG,

In the 18 months lead up to my daughter's diagnosis all of her pain was located high up in the abdomen, around the stomach, liver, pancreas area. As she did not have the 'classic' Crohn's symptoms of diarrhoea and bleeding and her pain was so high up IBD wasn't even on the radar.

As it turned out she did have Crohn's and her disease was isolated to her ileum. So Crohn's lower down, pain higher up. I see from your other post that they suspect you also have Ileal Crohn's. I don't know why Sarah's presented that way but it did so perhaps that it is the case with you too??

Another thing for them to look at when these episodes occur is your pancreas. Pancreatitis was one of Sarah's diagnoses as during one of her ER visits they decided to test her pancreatic enzymes and they were through the roof that day but normal the next. They couldn't understand it but after her diagnosis and much research I found that pancreatitis is an EIM (Extra Intestinal Manifestation) that often appears before intestinal symptoms do. I may well be barking up the wrong tree but have a look at this...


Good luck and I hope your scope is able to give you answers and relief!

Dusty. xxx


Super Moderator
I should also add, if you do have Crohn's then it could be related to disease high up in the GI tract as Crohn's can affect the tract from the mouth to the anus.
I sometimes get quite a bad pain in my upper abdomen, just above my bellt button. It's generally during/after eating though, so I've always thought it was just my crohns affecting the first parts of my intestines. If possible, try comparing where your pain is to the location of your ascending colon. Could be a light strixture, which is never good.
Best bet with any pains is you ask your doctor though obviously, as even little things could turn out to be serious
I get pain just under my breastbone, from one side to the other. It started as a little achy pain, then went to "doubled over in pain, someone is stabbing me in the stomach" pain. The doc said it was gastritis, a week later I was in the ER with a Crohn's diagnosis.

Now that they have my Crohn's kinda under control (I'm only 2 months post diagnosis) the pain is almost gone, though I do still get some mild pain there.
I have similar symptoms. I feel like there is an elephant standing just below my breasts. The pressure is unbearable and the pain in my chest and back will send me to emergency. The pressure is so bad that I throw up so much and when there is nothing left I throw up bile.
I have been DX with severe acid reflux. But he only scoped my throat. I have not been dx with Crohn's yet. But we know our bodies and have to listen to what they are telling us. Waiting for a colonoscopy.
I thought I was alone with these symptoms. My GP keeps telling me I don't have Crohn's.
Hello and welcome to the forum :)

It was pain in that area that made me go into hospital in the first place, it felt like I was being punched just under my ribs and I had to sit down slowly cos it hurt so much, don't think I've ever felt pain like it. Turned out I have crohns in the terminal ileum and the first part of the colon, I'm waiting on results to find out what's going on in the small bowel. Coincidentally it was thought I had gastritis to when I saw an emergency doc the day before going into hospital.

I really hope that you get some answers soon and something to relieve your pain, good luck and take care. :ghug:
Smedley: When I get pain in the upper abdomen, it ususally means for me that the bowel before the ileum (where most of the disease is) is stretching trying to push stuff through the "bad" part. Maybe I'm not saying that well. I actually saw this happening on the small bowel follow through test. Think of it as a hose where there's a blockage or narrowing. Pressure builds up "behind" the blockage.

I'm sure that's not everyone, but it explains my pain there. Of ourse your liver sits in the upper right quadrant, so wonder what meds you are on and so forth.....

Let us know how you are doing, and wish you the best!
The only way to know for sure if you have Crohn's is to get a Colonoscopy. I would go that route. Crohn's or not, you'll know what is giving you the pain.
I am worried that nothing will show up in my colonoscopy. I think the prednisone is starting to work.....as I only feel like dying half as much.
My appt. with the GI isn't until August. And then who knows how long the wait will be to get the colonoscopy.
If I'm not in a flare up it might show nothing?? Not sure. I wish they would have done more in the hospital besides drug me up and send me home.
Regardless, I will have it done when the time comes.
It's kind of the story of my life...so many health problems and tests always come back normal.
So has there been any suggestions as to what it might be? Did they take any biopsies during the scope? What is the next step for you then? Sorry for all the questions :)

I'm really sorry you didn't get any answers but keep at them until you know what is wrong. I know how frustrating it is when you go through any tests only for it to come back clear especially when you know things aren't right. Hang in there, sending you lots of support and best wishes. :ghug:
They did take biopsies so I'll wait to find out about those. Pretty much everything has been ruled out. They think it could be sphinchter of oddi dysfunction. I may have to go see a specialist for that. The treatment for that is very risky as it has high incidence of causing pancreatitis and also having to be repeated. Don't want to be in pain anymore but also don't want to be any worse. So depressed.
The only way to know for sure if you have Crohn's is to get a Colonoscopy. I would go that route. Crohn's or not, you'll know what is giving you the pain.
I have been advised by my GI that colonoscopies wouldnt be that helpful for me with crohns of the small bowel as its difficult to get imaging that far up the intesinal tract - I was diagnosed with a combination of MRI scan showing patches of narrowing/strictures & high inflammatory markers in blood/stool samples - Ive never had a colonoscopy to date & Im advised I wont have for about another 10 years when the risk of Bowel Cancer starts to increase with age.