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Dr Uzair
Dr Uzair, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 9929
Experience:  MBBS, FCPS (R) General Surgery. Years of experience in Emergency Medicine.
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I'm 20 years old, female. Last year, I broke my lowermost left

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I'm 20 years old, female. Last year, I broke my lowermost left rib, which didn't bother me too badly, but a few months ago I became very aware of how lumpy it felt in my abdomen. In the last week it seems to be entirely in two pieces (I have felt around it extensively) and they seem to be moving apart. Simultaneously, in the last few weeks I have been feeling strange sensations inside the left, lower quadrant of my body, from my groin area up to this rib, and in the last three days I feel a strain in my groin area which produces a cough impulse, but no visible or really palpable bulge. When I eat, I feel bubbles in this area. I already have an inguinal hernia low down on my right side which appeared when I was 15 but is very well-behaved. Could I have developed another which is doing something funny to my ribs? No bad pain, just an unpleasant feeling/ache. No digestive/toilet abnormalities. This is really bothering me, it feels like that are of my body is full of something which shouldn't be there and my rib is definitely separating!

Hi. Welcome to JustAnswer. I shall try my best to assist you while you are corresponding with me.

There is a high possibility that there are two things that are bothering you than just one.
First of all, if you have an inguinal hernia on the right side, there is a high chance that you might have developed one on the left side as well, or a hernia is still pushing its way out of the abdominal musculature, since the area over the groin is supplied by the iliohypogastric nerve, a nerve that passes down from just under the 11th and 12th ribs, any pain in the inguinal area gets referred to the area of these ribs as well.
The second thing is that the rib had an incomplete fracture or a fracture of the cartilaginous part, as that part has healed, it has deformed which is a usual occurrence when cartilage heals as it is not guided by the strong periosteum for a straight and rigid repair like in bones which are surrounded by the tough membrane called periosteum that does not fracture with the bone. In cartilages, the membrane that covers them is known as perichondrium and when the cartilage fractures, it also breaks and when the cartilage cells regrow, they grow out of proportions and unchecked thus causing deformities, an example of this is the deviated nasal septal cartilage after trauma.
I would identify and work up both these conditions separately to rule out everything and to avoid missing out on a diagnosis.
However, there is a possibility that the broken rib is impinging on the iliohypogastric and the lower thoracic nerves causing both the groin pain and the pain under the ribs - and there is no hernia but your mentioning of the bubbling feeling sort of makes ruling out a hernia warranted, since the only place in the abdomen with gas bubbles are intestines and these are known to be entrapped in hernias.
I suggest that you make an appointment with your PCP, an ultrasound of the inguinal area and an x ray of the abdomen (for the ribs) will be very useful in ruling out the hernia as well as visualizing the abnormality in the rib.
An Abdominal MRI will be best and will rule out both the conditions without having to under go two tests.
Mean while, I would suggest that you start application of Ibuprofen liquigel four times a day over the painful area, that will have a more localized effect on the pain.
Hope this helps.
Please do leave a positive rating for the service.
Let me know if you have any more queries about this.
Best wishes.

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