Q: I have been on the pill for the last three years and taken it religously at the same time every day. My husband and I also use condoms as we have no desire to get pregnant. About a week and a half ago, I started feeling off...stomach cramps (though more on the left side and near my rib cage). I got nervous about being pregnant. I ended my active pills on Friday (I skipped my last pill to have my period come a day early). It arrived, as normal, three days later (but on Tuesday instead of Wed. had I taken the last pill). I seemed to have a normal period and started a new pack of pills on Sunday. My stomach is still not feeling normal - gas, pressure on the left side and near ribs (almost like a side stitch) and minimal bowels. Is there a chance I could be pregnant or have I just stressed myself out so much that my body is still out of whack?


A:   I understand how worried you feel about possible pregnancy. Let me reassure you that apparently you are not pregnant, you had your menstruation and that would be the most important sign to confirm it.
The symptoms that you mention are very consistent with diminished bowel movements which would cause gas therefore causing pain. Your colon is localized in that part of your body and that distention of it would cause a pressure type pain.
Foods that cause gas problems for many people include beans, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, artichokes, asparagus, pears, apples, peaches, prunes, sugar-free candies and chewing gum, whole-wheat bread, bran cereals or muffins, beer, sodas and other carbonated beverages, milk, cream, ice cream, and ice milk. Try avoiding these foods and also fried and fatty foods, it is very important to exercise also, remember that if you become active your intestines will move as well.  If you notice that the pain increases or is related to your cycles, a visit to your gynecologist might be needed to rule out other causes such as an ovarian cyst. I wish you the best.

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