Could it be my gallbladder?

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bpchick
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 10/13/2008 3:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been having significant abdominal pain, constipation, tenderness, nausea, and bloating since December 2007. I have had 2 colonoscopies, 2 endoscopies, X Rays, a CT Scan and an ultrasound which were all supposidely normal.
 
The symptoms have not improved, but the pain, and nausea following BMs is severe. I am frequently in pain, especially around meal time.
 
Today I hardly ate any Thanksgiving dinner. I have been thinking that maybe certain foods are my trigger? But today I read a thread about gallbladder disease and I have these symptoms
 

*Intense pain in the upper abdomen and/or under the right rib cage

*Feeling like you have a “lump” or “golf ball” under the right rib cage

*Tenderness in the right upper abdomen

*Feeling sick after eating certain foods, the most common culprits being fried foods, fatty foods, greasy foods and carbonated and caffeinated drinks

*Pain is often accompanied by chills, or you develop chills after having a bowel movement (I often crawl under the covers because I am so cold)

 

I have seen 2 GI doctors and have another ultrasound scheduled next week. I am in university and will miss school, but I think I will go because this is important.

 

If anyone has any thoughts or advice I would appreciate it

 


BumBum81
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 43
   Posted 10/13/2008 4:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I had my gallbladder taken out a couple of years ago and a lot of your symptoms are what I was experiencing. Do you ever feel pain between your shoulder blades? That I read is another symptom that you may be suffering from gallstones.
"Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now, in this instant of time. From this moment onward you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed." Eileen Caddy
 
Diagnosed: Anxiety/Panic Attacks, Depression, Allergies
Had gallbladder removed 10/2005
Quit smoking 10/2005 YAY!!
Medications: Klonopin 1.5mg daily, Celexa 30mg daily, Singulair, Rhinocort, Multi-Vitamin and Calcium


poco
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 53
   Posted 10/19/2008 1:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
 I had my gall bladder and appendix removed a little over a month ago. I hurt from my upper right rib cage all the way down to my right side. I had a colonsocpy sp? and it was normal. I went to ER and they treated me for pain and naseua and sent me home. I went to doc and they did a test for gall bladder and was normal. I went back to ER still in pain and they did tests again and said all was ok and treated me for pain and nasuea. This was over a week period or so. Finally I went to ER and they admitted me for pain control they said. But the next day the surgeon came in and said he saw polyps in my gall bladder so he was going to take it out along with me appendix. Hooraay!!! Finally something was going to be done. After surgery I had the surgery pain and discomfort but the pain I had before was gone! I have had problems since my gall bladder was taken out with eating certain foods. It will cause pain or diarhea. I have alot of diarhea problems. I did before the surgery but even more so now I had the surgery. Would I have the surgery again, you bet ya. That pain I had before hurt alot. And I was soooo nauseaus! I had laparcopic surgery so healing time is good! So keep going to ER until someone does something. Thats my advice and story for you! Hope it helps....
poco
 Fibromyalgia, Osteoprosis, Allergies, Severe Depression, PTSD, Anxiety/Panic attacks, Stress, Mood Disorders , IBS, Bone spurs, Hypothyroidism
 
I have taken off my meds cause there are so many of them but if you want to know just ask!
 
God delivered me from my severe depression!!!


Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 10/19/2008 11:15 PM (GMT -7)   
What you need is a HIDA scan.  That's what checks gall bladder functionality.  An ultrasound will only see if you have sludge or stones--and even then it's not 100% accurate (it may not catch sludge and there was one woman on here whose GB was so packed full of stones, they didn't show up because there was no empty space around them to contrast).  An ultrasound NEVER shows if your GB is working properly.  You may be like me and have one that's chronically inflamed.  Since there are no stones or sludge, nothing shows up on an ultrasound.  The HIDA scan, however, will check to see if your GB is emptying on time and in the right amounts.  Most of the time, if someone has a problem, it will empty too slowly, but there are some people whose GBs dump all their bile out at once and make them sick because of that.  Pain can come from the spasms where it relsease too much bile too fast, or it can come from bile being kept in the GB instead of being put in with your food to digest it. 
 
If you've already had a clean ultrasound, I'd press your doctor to do the HIDA scan instead.  And even they are not 100% accurate; I had three before mine showed up bad (and that's what had been wrong with me all along because when it came out, the pain went away). 

JBT1234
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 10/20/2008 2:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,  I had the same things going on .  had my gallbladder removed and then they left stones which turned into pancreatitis you need a blood test to check this out.  An MRI and ultra sound didn't find this.....I went to a GI Spec. he found the stones in the common bile duct and removed them and opened up my duct.  left with chest pain and heartburn I take nexium 2xday and still have heart burn could be reflux from the pancrease and could be cycsts in the pancreas which the MRI found.  Good luck

J-R
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/20/2008 11:44 PM (GMT -7)   
I feel like I'm in a similar boat - just earlier in the ride.

Keriamon - do you have any idea how definitive a HIDA scan is in treatment?

Quick background - 23, M, I've had epilepsy for 7.5 years. I've been on half a dozen meds in this time and I've found they have some unpleasant side effects so I ignore most aches and pains that I get unless they're really bad. Haven't really felt completely healthy in that time, but I never expected to anyway. Anyhow, last week I went in to the urgent care facility around 10p with chest pains that didn't seem like a heart attack but were strong enough to concern my wife and I (my father-in-law died from an MI). They checked my heart and did a couple other things and said I would be fine for now but should call my GP and have my gallbladder checked. So I did, ended up seeing his PA (who, after hearing me explain what happened, asked why they sent me mad) He asked a lot of questions about different pains and digestive things that I didn't have answers for since I haven't paid much attention to anything but my epilepsy. I had a mild fever (99.8), and he ordered some blood tests which I haven't heard the results of. In the meantime I thought I'd try to see if I could re-create the situation. So Friday I ate the exact same foods - no breakfast (I work at home and sleep late), corn dogs for lunch w/ plenty of potato chips, and a chicken bake thing for dinner. I followed any symptoms to see if I could recognize anything that's been happening in the past. Since then, here's what I know:

- I get a sharp/burning pain at the bottom of my right ribcage; depending on the time of day it may be tender there, a dull ache underneath the ribs. Tends to come 30-45 min after a nice big meal. I've felt this often but chalked it up to nerve pain (which I sometimes get)
- I get a sharp/burning pain just left of my right shoulder blade. This I really recognize because I've woken up with it really severe in the past couple years. Comes about 2-3 hours after a meal, sometimes more. I thought it was a muscle knot that I couldn't untie (I had a shoulder injury years ago), but since it acted up Friday in my "test" I've started to think it's not a muscle issue at all.
- The chest pain I mentioned (just left of the sternum, fairly focused), comes not long after the shoulder pain.
- Don't often have much nausea, but I have noticed over the past year that I've had a lot of changes in BM. I also have a lot more gas the past couple months, and feel bloated always in the morning and often throughout the day.
- I recently wake most nights with cold sweats and feeling slightly feverish.
- Lastly, the pain hasn't gone away since last week, though it's done the ribs-shoulder-chest cycle often. I've dealt with a lot of different kinds of pain before from my seizures, and this is not so much the kind where I think it will kill me right now, more the kind that's wearing me down quickly. But it's very distinct and was not there consistently before.

I think it's my gallbladder. I haven't gone through all the nightmare of diagnosis yet, but my biggest concern (now that I'm back to the point) is that they'll ultimately do a HIDA scan, say that my gallbladder's considered functioning, and ignore the pain that only gets worse. I understand the role of ultrasound, CT, MRI, etc. to get a look at the thing, but are they likely to just ignore it if they don't find stones and the GB is functioning at, say, 50%? You seem to have a lot of experience with this (I've read your Definitive Guide to Gallbladder Disease), so I thought you might have some idea.

Post Edited (J-R) : 10/21/2008 12:58:36 AM (GMT-6)


JBT1234
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 10/21/2008 6:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, all those tests could prove to be normal.....the blood tests that they should do will see for sure if it is your gallbladder or pancreas.....insist that they do those specific blood tests.  I had to when I went to the ER when they were thinking heart...they kept saying no and I INSISTED and I was right!  Good luck!

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 10/21/2008 9:56 AM (GMT -7)   
If your HIDA scan says your gall bladder is not funcitoning within normal parameters, any doctor worth his weight will say, hey, let's take it out (of course, there are a few doctors who don't like to recommend surgery, even though there is no other treatment for the GB). I didn't have three tests because my doctor didn't believe the test results, it's just one test was inconclusive and the second one said it was fine. But then, sometimes my GB worked; when I had the second test, I wasn't in the middle of a bad spell. So I always tell people to have a HIDA scan done when they're in the middle of a bad spell for best results. When I had my third one done, I had a lump up under my ribs and a dull ache there all the time, plus nearly constant bile D. And that's when it finally showed up as being bad. Mine was chronically inflamed (they can't tell that, though, until they take it out and dissect it), so it stands to reason that my good spells were when it was not inflamed and could function normally. Then it would get inflamed for whatever reason and that's when it made me sick.

It stands to reason that your slightly elevated temp indicates that you have an inflammation in you GB, either because it has one, or because stones or sludge is irritating it. Of course, you may just have a touch of cold. Hard to say without some other test.

marathongirl
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 10/22/2008 7:37 AM (GMT -7)   

Yes, it could be your gallbladder.  I had all the test that everyoen has listed.  All of them showed up as normal.  No stones, no abnormal blood work etc.  They did the HIDA scan.  It showed up with an ejection rate of 77%, but it still hurt after I ate anythin greasy or fatty. 

I had the pain in the upper right area, a "lump" feeling, etc.

I finally had a surgeon that said let's take it out anyway.  I had it taken out 3 weeks ago.  I have been able to eat ANYTHING.  I have not had hardly any diarrhea.  There are some phantom like pains that are happening but they go away.

I had been taking pain meds on a daily basis before surgery.  I have not taken a pain pill in almost 2 weeks!!

There may be some other problems that surface (they're looking at Spincter of Oddi), but I would have the surgery again in a hearbeat!

 


J-R
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/24/2008 1:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Well . . . Two blood tests, an ultrasound and a CT later, no visible problems. However, the pain and nausea got so much worse last night that I could hardly sleep. But, no findings. HIDA scan is scheduled for Monday, and I guess we'll see what happens. They say I'm supposed to go fasting 12 hours before. If I were to try to irritate my system for the scan, when would I want to eat? Is it possible to eat something irritating that long beforehand and still have the effects show up?

J-R
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/28/2008 11:04 PM (GMT -7)   
bpchick, I think Keriamon's right in saying that you do need to ask about a HIDA scan (if you haven't already). I was nervous about the HIDA that I had scheduled yesterday because like you I seem to have the kind of luck that gets me symptoms that aren't backed up by scans. So on Sunday I ate all the bothersome foods I could and then took pain meds and went to bed early. The HIDA is no treat, having to lie motionless on a hard piece of plastic and then get injected with the hormone that stimulates your gallbladder action. But I suppose that it's about the best non-invasive way to get a look at it.

I had my HIDA yesterday morning and got a call from the wonderful doctor I've been dealing with just before dinner. (Seriously, I can't say how important that is! Go find a doctor who will take time to talk to you like he's concerned. I ended up squeezing into an opening for my doc right after my ultrasound. We had to wait a while to finally see him, but he gives a very good mix of medical expertise and genuine concern for your well-being.) He lives about a half block away and knows my family well. He had seen me at church on sunday and didn't get a chance to check up on me, so he was calling to see how my body's doing. I told him that I'm tolerating but figure I can only last so long subsisting on phenergan, percocet, and 800 cal/day.

I asked whether the scans had come in and he dug around through their files and found the report. Which is the most solid thing I've heard so far: my gb fills fine, no worries there, but the ejection rate is below normal and so I should hear from a surgeon by mid-Thursday to discuss my options from here for getting the thing yanked. I didn't get an actual %age from him though, I figure the surgeon will tell me.

While I think doctors can lean too heavily on scans and too lightly on anecdotal evidence, the HIDA is a valuable one. Eat as much of the foods that trigger your reactions as close to the scan as you can. If you have percocet (which has made lief bearable for me this week), take a big dose as late as they say to, so you can sleep. Hopefully getting your system so irritated already will exaggerate what might otherwise be a mild thing.
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