The Definitive Guide to Gall Bladder Disease

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Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 1/26/2006 11:49 AM (GMT -6)   

This is super-long but hopefully it will be helpful for people who suffer from this and don't know it. 

 

First thing about GB disease: it’s quite often hereditary.  Not everyone who has a parent, grandparent or sibling with it will get it, but it’s more likely (my mother had hers out, then I had mine out too).  Of course some people get it without anyone else in their family having had it previously.  But people with a family history should stay alert to the symptoms.  Secondly, certain ethnic groups are more prone to have it.  People of Native American descent are more likely to have it than just about any other ethnic group (unfortunately, I can’t tell you the rates of occurrence in other groups). 

 

The second thing about GB disease: it comes in several forms. 

 

There is the most common form of GB disease: the infamous gall stone.  Some people have them and never know it (asymptomatic) and they get discovered by accident.  Most people find out they have gall stones when one gets lodged in the bile duct and they get horribly sick and have intense pain (as bad or worse than labor).  Gall stones are almost exclusively found by using an ultrasound.  There has been some limited success with breaking them up using ultrasonic waves, like they do for kidney stones, and last I heard there is a medicine that will help dissolve them, but both methods are ranked as poor treatments because they cannot completely clear away the stones and the cause(s) behind the stones will still exist, meaning you develop more later.  These are really only done for people who cannot have surgery or need to delay it for some reason.  Surgery is almost the exclusive treatment for stones.  And doctors will almost always remove a GB with stones in it, even if it has not caused any problems yet, because if one of those stones ever lodges in the bile tract, you’re in for a world of hurting and then you have to have emergency surgery.  Better it’s a planned surgery that can be done laparoscopically.  Emergency surgery may (but not always) require an old-fashion incision and hospital stay and longer recovery time. 

 

The second type of GB disease—and probably the second most common form—is sludge.  This is when the cholesterol in your GB doesn’t form stones but rather has a sand-mixed-with-water consistency.  I think this phenomenon is a fairly recent discovery, or at least they are now taking it much more seriously.  Sludge-producing GBs are now surgically removed when discovered.  My stepmother had this type and her doctor told her it was worse than having stones because the sludge will leak out, unlike stones, and cause a lot more problems to the intestinal tract.  Sometimes sludge will show up on an ultrasound (depends on how good the equipment is, how good the technician is and how thick and visible your sludge is).  More often than not, you will need a hidascan to determine GB functionality; if you have sludge present, it won’t function properly. 

 

When you have a hidascan performed, you are injected with a radioactive element that will concentrate in the bile in your GB.  You will lay on a table and a camera head will show the technician where the radioactive stuff is.  When it is sufficiently concentrated in your GB, the technician will give you an injection of a medicine which will simulate eating something and will make your GB empty.  For many people this drug will cause discomfort or queasiness—especially if they have something wrong with their GB—but rarely vomiting.  The technician will then track how long it takes the radioactive stuff (i.e. your bile) to get out of your GB.  If it dumps out too quickly or comes out much too slowly, then they know you have something wrong with your GB and they will make arrangements to have it removed.

 

The third type of GB is a malformed GB—sometimes referred to as a “strawberry GB” because of how it is shaped and colored.  My mother had this kind.  These abnormal GBs can sometimes be seen on ultrasounds, but problems with it may not be detected until a hidascan is performed.  It will be removed surgically.

 

The  fourth type of GB is the kind I had and it is a malfunctioning GB.  Mine was officially diagnosed (after it was removed) as being “chronically inflamed.”  Mine was chronically inflamed because it wasn’t releasing bile properly, meaning it backed up in there, making it inflamed, then it would suddenly dump all of it out at once and make me very sick.  This kind can only be diagnosed by hidascan (because it looks perfectly normal on an ultrasound).  It will be removed surgically.

 

If you have a hidscan performed and it comes back abnormal, you can then see a surgeon about having it removed.  In many cases, although they know something is wrong with it, they may not know exactly what it wrong with it until it is sent for testing after removal.  It may only be then that sludge, inflammation or deformity will be detected.  Cancer of the GB is very rare, but they will check for it when they send your GB off to have it tested after it is removed, just to be sure. 

 

Now let’s move on to symptoms.  Symptoms can vary wildly, but most people will have some of the following to some degree:

 

*Vomiting—usually contains some yellow fluid and burns worse than normal acid reflux/vomiting

*Diarrhea—usually contains yellow fluid and burns the rectum

*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

*Aching, pain or stiffness in the right shoulder, arm and elbow

*Feeling like you have trapped gas

*Feeling full to the point of being nauseous long before you finish a meal

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

*Suddenly feeling nauseous for no apparent reason (i.e. you’re not in the middle of eating)

*An inability to lay flat on one’s back while feeling sick or while in pain

*Pain is often accompanied by chills, or you develop chills after having a bowel movement or after vomiting

 

Personally, I vomited one time in 5 years of having GB disease, but I had a lot of diarrhea.  Some people are diarrhea-predominant, like me; some are vomiting-predominant; and some have equal measures of both.  It wasn’t until right before I had my GB out (i.e. after being sick with it for 5 years) that I started to hurt on my right side; I felt like I had a lump.  All the times prior to this I had hurt all across my diaphragm and not on my right side in particular.  I didn’t have any tenderness on my right side until the end, and even then not a lot.  This confounded a lot of my doctors for some reason and led to me being diagnosed with IBS rather than GB disease.  While most people do hurt on their right sides, I’m living proof that it can radiate out across the abdomen without causing tenderness.  And for some people the pain will be all along the right side of their torso, not just the upper half.  I also hurt into my right shoulder, arm and down into the elbow.  This is a pretty common symptom.  And I don’t think I’ve met a person who has GB attacks who can lay flat on their back.  You have to sit UP!  Personally, I was a walker; I paced the floor when I had an attack because lying down was impossible and sitting down seemed to make things some worse too. 

 

A GB attack:  Funny enough, GB attacks often happen in the middle of the night.  Don’t get me wrong, you can have them immediately after a meal and you can have them last days and weeks on end, but it’s very common for people with bad GBs to wake up in the middle of the night just horribly sick.  Most of mine came on in the middle of the night and lasted 1-2 hours, although I did have a few that came on during the middle of the day and lasted upwards of 8 hours, and then there was that attack when I was in Ireland that lasted almost 3 weeks without let up. 

 

The nightly attacks go like this:  You wake up some hours after going to bed—for me that was around 2-3am—and you are in pain and feel nauseous.  You get up and pace the floor for half hour or more.  Then you start to feel the need to go to the bathroom and you go take a seat.  Then the pain and nausea starts to build up and dying doesn’t seem like such a bad option at this point and you hold a garbage can in front of you because you can’t tell which way it’s going to come out first.  Then you have a bowel movement—it may even be mostly normal at first.  Then you have another immediately following that one and it’s almost explosive—full of yellow bile and some solid pieces (also yellow) and boy, does it burn.  You may even have a third movement right after that, although most of it should be out of your system by now.  You sit there for a few minutes and the pain and the feeling that the world might be coming to an end slowly subsides.  You get terrible chills at this point and you get back in bed with a heating pad or hot water bottle (because you still have cramps and are sore from cramping) and you’ll cover up with every blanket you own, prop up your pillows and go back to sleep sitting up (because you’re still too sick to lay down flat).  After an hour or two you will return to normal and will cast off your extra blankets and adjust your pillows and lay down like normal.  The next day you may be sore from the cramping and you may still have lingering bile diarrhea. 

 

Now this description doesn’t match everyone due to symptoms that are specific to the individual, but it’s what I went through.  If that sounds at all familiar, then you probably have something wrong with your GB.

 

Because my GB functioned some of the time, it didn’t show up on the first two series of tests that I had run.  Unfortunately for me they were done when my GB was functioning properly, which is why I was misdiagnosed with IBS.  The third set of tests I had run were done when I was in the middle of having a lot of problems and my GB had gotten so bad it ached all the time and felt like a lump.  If you think you have a GB problem but it doesn’t show up on tests, don’t accept IBS as the answer; keep nagging and keep getting tests until it shows up.  Obviously get your tests done when you are in the middle of a bad spell so that you can make sure your dysfunction shows up.

 

Treatment and Coping:  Here are some things I learned over the course of five years that help prevent attacks.  Caffeine was a major trigger for me.  When I gave up coffee, caffeinated tea, and cokes (carbonation tended to make me feel slightly nauseous, made my shoulder hurt, and gave me a trapped gas feeling, so I didn’t even drink caffeine-free cokes), I had many, many fewer attacks.  I still got bile diarrhea quite a bit, but I hurt less and woke up in the middle of the night having an attack a lot less.  My mother said pizza was her killer.  She said because it’s fatty and greasy, it usually does a lot of people in.  I am a pizza-fiend, so I had a hard time giving it up; I learned that if I could eat it hours and hours before going to bed (like before 4pm and go to bed at 11-12 at night), then I was less likely to wake up in the middle of the night sick.  It would still give me bile diarrhea, though.  So you may want to go on a low-fat diet and cut out the greasy foods and the caffeine and carbonation and see if you can’t improve your symptoms some.  I have also heard from others that alcohol is very bad about causing sickness and attacks, but I never drink, so I didn’t have to cut that out personally. 

 

For the diarrhea I took Pepto Bismol pills.  They were easy to keep in my purse and I could take as many as I needed to get the diarrhea to stop.  Others may prefer Imodium, but Imodium is so strong that it usually gives me bad constipation (from one extreme to the next).  In a pinch I would take half of one, but Pepto was my drug of choice.  I also got a doctor to prescribe me some pain pills (proproxy) and hyoscamine for cramping.  I never really noticed that the hyoscamine did anything—but that may be that that particular kind didn’t work on me in particular—but the pain pills can help keep your attacks from getting too bad, help when you have an attack that won’t go away and help with the soreness the next day. 

 

I found that heat made me feel less sick and helped relax my spasming stomach muscles a little.  If I got sick at a restaurant, I would go out and sit in the car (a very hot place to be in the summertime) and get warm that way.  When at home I had a heating pad and a hot water bottle. 

 

Since I only vomited the one time, I can’t give any help with that, except to say that liquid Pepto Bismol can help with nausea and can help soothe your esophagus when it is burned by the bile.  When I vomited, milk didn’t do a thing to help and water tends to make that kind of burning worse.  You might try ice cream or milkshakes, but, like I said, bile acid is about the worst kind of acid you can regurgitate.  I was still burning the next day.  And I have never regained my like for Tuna Helper. 

 


kaaters
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 1/31/2006 10:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the great advice I surley will look into it!!!!

AshLeigh_Lyric
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 2/1/2006 9:44 PM (GMT -6)   
I wish I had this info three and a half years ago.. dealing with the pain of the gallbladder.   Just reading this post gave me flashbacks to the stabbing pain that the gallbladder gave me.  I am much happier its gone! :-)

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 2/3/2006 5:56 PM (GMT -6)   
I definitely don't regret getting mine out. Even though I have to take medicine for the bile diarrhea, I had bile diarrhea AND pain before, so this is a definite improvement.

Hey, I just remembered today that I will have had my GB out 3 years the 17th of this month. I went on my first date with my fiance on a Saturday, had the gall bladder out the following Monday and went on my second date with him that Sunday, lol. That ought to tell you that surgery isn't so bad. I didn't get to eat much at our lunch because the clam chowder started to bother me, but I took some Pepto and got calmed down (without pain--a first!) and then we went out to the Chickamauga Battlefield because it was such a mild day and we walked all around it. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about field artillery and we did a lot of kissing out in the woods, LOL.

My biggest complaint after my surgery was the bile diarrhea. It got some better after the first month--I had to give up all meat but chicken for that month because red meat and pork made it worse--but I still had regular bouts of diarrhea, especially after eating my old triggers, like pizza or caffeine. Now that I have Welchol, though, I pretty much don't have any problems. I can eat pizza (as long as I don't eat more than half a frozen one) and pretty much anything else that I want except apples and caffeine. Can't seem to get over that caffeine problem. Oh well, cokes aren't good for you noways. I drink water enough, instead, to float a small sloop.

JHP
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 127
   Posted 2/27/2006 11:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hmmm, not sure? I don't have pain or cramping. I have fullness and bloating, then D...following plump, plump, plump along w/nausea. I did get the shivers and my teeth were chattering. I have no pain?

babygirl8679
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 3/2/2006 5:59 PM (GMT -6)   

Hello I was just reading the post about gallbladder problems that is the direction me and my gasto doc went also because of right upper quad pain and nausea but I had constipation instead of dia, but my gallbladder is functioning at 48% so he wants to repeat the hida in 6 weeks but he does not really anticipate it being any worse so why do it? At this point he doesnt even think that my symptoms are gallbladder related anymore given the fact that my hida came back as 48 but I have had every test known to man and that is all that came back slightly out of wack. So should I have it repeated? Is there anything I can do? please help me i have lost 26 lbs because i am either nauseated or scared to eat because of the pain it brings

 


Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/3/2006 9:52 AM (GMT -6)   
When I had my first hida scan, it was inconclusive. I had another 4 or 6 weeks later and it was fine. I had another about three and a half years later and it was only like 18%. In the meantime, I had the exact same symptoms for 5 years. Why the differenct test results when I clearly had the same problem? My theory is that I had the tests done when they were convenient to have done--i.e. when I could get home from college--NOT when I was having a really bad episode. I think my gall bladder functioned... some of the time. When it didn't function, that's when I would get sick. But I would go for several months without problems, only to go a few months with them, back and forth for 5 years. But I steadily got worse until I went for the third hidascan, when I was having a lot of difficulty and so it finally showed up.

You might could have IBS (people with IBS can hurt on the right side since that's a common place for gas to get trapped) since you're not presenting with vomiting or diarrhea, which are both very common with gb, BUT some people don't do much of either one, so it can't be ruled out entirely. I think you should have another hida scan done (it's not like it's as bad as a colonoscopy or anything), but I would recommend you don't have it on any sort of schedule. If you have a malfunctioning gall bladder like mine was, what's the point of having a test done when it's working and you feel okay? Best to wait and have it done when you are feeling bad. The other alternative is if there are things you know will make you sick--caffeine, pizza, fried chicken, gravy, etc.--then just eat a lot of everything bad the day before your test, get yourself good and sick and go in for it. If your gall bladder is still okay or even inconclusive after all of that, then you probably have IBS. If your symptoms get worse later and you start to have more bad gb symptoms, then don't hesitate to go and have another hida scan done. Sometimes these things like to hide.

I too lost a lot of weight when I first started having a bad gb. After a while, I figured out how to overeat when I wasn't feeling bad to make up for not eating when I was feeling bad and I eventually got back up to my normal weight. And I have always had a tendency towards constipation, so I could be constipated between attacks of bile diahrrea.

katydid1994
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Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 504
   Posted 3/3/2006 1:52 PM (GMT -6)   

I think my GB is on the fritz.  My doctor did tell me though that she wouldn't want to remove it, because some function was better than none at all.

Like the past 12 hours for me has been, late night explosive gas and pain.  Managed to sleep sitting up.  Then, major pain mid navel, left side and HOT Diarrhea that acted constipated until WHAM it was not.  I am at work and I've had two bouts of loose, but not a lot and the "Sunshine" poop, bright yellow.

My reflux has also been acting way up lately and I do get intermittent pain in my right shoulder blade.  And if I lift my arm up, it really hurts there, like beside where my armpit is but in my back.  And last saturday, the pain there was awful and it radiated into my arm and elbow.

So, I am so tired of all the problems and pain, but according to my dr, if I lose may GB I will be unable to do anything.


babygirl8679
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 3/3/2006 2:43 PM (GMT -6)   
thanks for getting back to me I really appreciate it I have been on alot of sites and people dont seem to want to respond I will go and have the hida my next appointment with the doc is on the 24th if I can wait that long the hida scan wouldnt be something they would do in the ER would it? Is it fasting only? I have been having shoulder blade pain on and off but it is not sharp it is more a dull pressure type pain. Thanks again for all your help. I am also going tomorrow for a glucose tolerance test but like everything else I dont expect anything to come of it. I most definatley dont want to be sick but I just feel if I hav to feel this way why cant it be something we can fix!!! Instead it seems non existant and makes me feel crappy for no reason.

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/3/2006 4:09 PM (GMT -6)   
OMG, katydid, I don't have a gall bladder! I should have ceased to function three years ago! I'm overdue to die!!! I feel death seizing up my throat, choking me and my Snickers bar I was so mildly eating a moment ago! They'll have to find someone else to answer the phones at work!

:-) Trust me, honey, you can live without a gall bladder. Eat, work, have interesting hobbies like medieval reenacting, date, go to other countries, etc. And if it causes you pain and sickness, no gall bladder is definitely better than a crappy one. Honestly, are you able to do anything NOW? At the very least taking out the gall bladder will take away the pain, so there's at least that to be gained, if nothing else. I'm happy to be living without mine. No more sleeping upright, no more pacing the floor at 2am, no more pain so bad I can't stand up straight. And, really, no more diarrhea. Once they get the gall bladder out, they can give you meds (Welchol!!!) to soak up the excess bile (or nexium or something like that for the reflux) and you'll be almost like a normal human being again. (My mother's had hers out and she doesn't have diahrrea at all, just acid reflux sometimes and an inability to eat raw broccoli and califlower; some people go back to being perfectly normal afterwards). I mean I still can't have caffeine and my guts are more sensitive to things than they used to be (like spicy or greasy foods), but a DEFINITE improvement over the way I was living before. It went from being wild and unpredictible to being pretty well tamed and no less manageable than, say, type II diabetes (probably even more manageable than that).

I think you need to see another g.i. Actually, I didn't see a g.i. for my gall bladder when it got so bad the last time. I saw a regular doctor as quickly as possible, he sent me for a hida scan, my step-father performed it, the radiologist read it that same day and told Lamarr that it was bad, Lamarr brought the test results home to me and I started calling surgeons. I went to see a surgeon a few days later, showed him my test results, he said, "Yep, it's bad. Monday next week okay for you?" And I had it out. All told, less than two weeks after I went to see the doctor for it. Actually, I haven't seen that PCP since then, lol. Just needed him to order the scan was all. I knew what my problem was and what I wanted done about it already.

If you have a hida scan or ultrasound that shows you have a bad gall bladder, and your insurance does not require a PCP to refer you to a specialist, you can go straight to a surgeon on your own. I just asked around where I worked if anyone had heard of anyone on our list of approved surgeons and one of the ladies said one of the surgeons on the list had done her daughter's gall bladder removal and it had gone well and she had the tiniest scars. Really the best kind of referral is through word-of-mouth like that. Or ask someone who is a nurse. They always have the inside scoop on doctors. Don't go to a doctor that a nurse won't take her kids to.

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/3/2006 4:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Babygirl, the hidscan is done in a nuclear medicine facility. Pretty much any hospital of size has one, but I think they can be independent too, like a clinic. There's a description of the procedure in the original post. No going through the E.R. It doesn't require fasting, but since it can make you a bit nauseated, I would suggest not eating for an hour or two prior to it, or you may be lying there feeling like your lunch is in your throat.

I don't think I ever got much of a sharp pain in my shoulder or elbow, just an intense ache, like my bones were bruised or something. Some of my doctors tried to write it off as trapped gas because, honestly, trapped gas does feel the same way. But trapped gas shouldn't make anyone's elbow hurt.

I know how you feel about no one doing anything for you. My mother being both a nurse and a gall bladder patient knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was my gall bladder. How frustrating is it to know exactly what's wrong with you but you can't get a doctor to 1) acknowledge that's the problem and 2) do something about it? Five years of my life spent in agony and misery for no good purpose. Ruined college for me. And if I had ever mildly entertained thoughts of having a child, that crushed it for good. I'm planning on getting my tubes tied this year. I mean, what's childbirth but 9 months of a gall bladder attack again? Those three months of morning sickness followed by the aches and pains of getting bigger followed by, oh, about 24 hours of intense labor pain? I've even heard one woman describe her gall bladder attack as coming and going in waves like labor. No thank you, mister, I've paid my dues. I ain't goin' to be birthin' no babies. I don't want to go through anything that vaguely resembles gall bladder pain ever again, much less on purpose. That and the older I get, the less I like children. But even if I did like children and wanted one, I would not have it the old fashioned way; I'd just go to some other country and buy one. My mother always said gall bladder sick was about the worst kind of sick you could be.

babygirl8679
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 3/3/2006 4:37 PM (GMT -6)   
I have two kids and I would probably due labor all over again only because it was painful heck yeah but it was over within several hours and I was fortunate not to have morning sickness. This on the other hand has been dragging on for months and the nausea and pain have stopped me from doing alot I am also in danger of not graduating from my massage therapy program due to amount of school I have missed. It seems like a lost cause I have been checking on alot of other sites and they seem 100% sure it couldnt be my gallbladder because the 48% ejection fraction is still considered normal well then why would a normal organ cause pain and nausea I ask and they say its got to be something else well what???? Happens to be the million dollar question I have had every test known to man and that is no exaggeration the only symptom that I did have constantly before and only have occasionally now is a lump sensation in my throat. I now have a metallic taste thats been here for a couple of weeks and no amount of brushing helps I drink only water so I am not sure what that is all about it just seems like a real mess I led I darn healthy lifestyle up until this point and sometimes I think man I would give anything to feel normal again well who am I kidding I think that all the time

SoCalGeorge
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/12/2006 1:10 AM (GMT -6)   

Thanks so much for posting the information on gall bladder disease and irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis.  Once or twice a month for over 20 years I've had bouts of diarrhea about 5 or 6 hours after a meal.  Almost always after dinner, but there was one restaurant where I'd get a lunch of grilled pastrami sandwich, French fries, and a Coke and 5 hours later, without fail, I'd have an attack.  It would start with pain right below my rib cage, and a lot of gassy gurgling noises.  Then I would have a couple of normal bowel movements followed by 1 - 3 bouts of burning diarrhea.  I felt agitated, and often get the shakes.  I would also have extremely stuffy sinuses for about an hour during the diarrhea.  Over the years I explained my symptoms more than once to three different primary care doctors, and they each had no idea. One time was so bad, I had my wife take me to the E.R. (they said I was shaky and agitated due to dehydration).  After that I demanded a referral and my doctor at that time sent me to a specialist for a colonoscopy.  The specialist said my colon looked perfectly healthy so I must have irritable bowel syndrome.  I was suspicious of the diagnosis and felt like he was labeling it as IBS because he didn’t really know.  Since then I've just suffered with it.

 

Last week I started having constant, extreme pain right below my rib cage and lost all interest in food.  I was also extremely agitated and there was no position, standing, sitting, or laying down, that was comfortable.  After a lot of vomiting at midnight, I went to the E.R.  They gave me an IV pain killer and some anti-vomiting drug.  I felt a lot better and they sent me home saying to come back if a fever developed.  After the meds wore off, I was miserable in bed all day the next day and developed a low grade fever in the afternoon.  I went to see my regular doctor who referred me for ultrasound.  Turns out I had a gall stone stuck in the bile duct and my gall bladder got infected.  The ultrasound tech said he could also see some sludgy bile (like what was described above) and some large gall stones that had probably been there for years.  My gall bladder also showed a lot of edema.  I went back to my doctor who sent me home with two antibiotics and pain meds.  He said I'll feel better when the antibiotics did their job.  So far, after 3 days of antibiotics, I still have pain but the fever is gone.  He referred me to a surgeon to have my gall bladder removed when the infection is cured.

 

After reading the posts above, I'm very hopeful that removing my gall bladder will fix my periodic diarrhea problem.  I'll post back to this topic in a few months with an update on that.

 


7Lil
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 3/12/2006 1:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi SoCalGeorge,
Welcome to HealingWell! :-)
Thanks so much for sharing your story. All too often gallbladder disease is misdagnosed as IBS.
I really hope your surgery will clear up your D. If not, because sometimes D does continue, make sure to ask your doctor about Welchol. There are a couple members here who take it post gallbladder surgery to help bind up the bile that causes D.
We look forward to an update....
Take care.
Co-Moderator for the IBS Forum
 
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dbab
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 4151
   Posted 3/13/2006 12:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi SoCalGeorge and Welcome...
Your story sounds all too familiar when my husband had gallstones... we did a few ER trips after episodes just like yours. He was so desperate to get it out that the soonest he could get it done just happened on his birthday and he went for it. Everdently its one of the worst pains ever. He did have D for a while after because his body had to get used to the bile not being stored but actually dumping into his digestive tract but after changing his diet (not completely though) he hardly ever had D now (maybe 6 times a year - AH What a life!!)
Hugs, Des
Co-Moderator ~ IBS Forum
 
~My reality check bounced
 
 
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Drew M
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 3/23/2006 3:09 PM (GMT -6)   
I had my gallbladder out a year ago, because of the same attacks listed above. It is amazing how slow the medical system is in diagnosing GB problems with such a simple test available. I got my life back after the surgery. Some D now but the Questran helps that. Worst thing is the burping I do everyday--I wish someone could explain why GB removal and chronic burping occur in some patients, and how to treat it. Nothing seems to work.

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/23/2006 5:12 PM (GMT -6)   
My G.I.'s N.P. said that in some people the bile goes up and in some people it goes down. In me it goes down. My mother, on the other hand, can get pretty severe acid reflux, so apparently hers goes up. Perhaps your excessive burping is a symptom of your bile backing up into your stomach.

Were you burping before you started taking the Questran? Several people on this board used to be on it, but if I remember correctly, it caused them painful gas cramps. Maybe it's causing your burping? If you want to try an alternate medicine, ask for Welchol. That's what I'm on and it works for me (no burping or gas outside normal parameters). The people that were on Questran switched over to Welchol and said they were much better for it.

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/27/2006 11:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Bump for Cat.

Dimple Gilly
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 471
   Posted 3/27/2006 4:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi there Im waiting for gb scan...
Pain right side as if someones kicked me acid when trying to get to sleep!! had ibs and crohns for years.. nice hey!
Great post thanx for sharing,looking forward to eating the pizza b4 scan LOL It kills me and spaghetti bolonaise ouch curry no way ha... xxx
VIEW IMAGELiverpool fun mum has had Crohns for 14 yrs!
and everything that goes with it..Tried most U.K. meds.
Had re-section in 2005 and been living life to the full (most dayz) since! Through the pain I still have my freinds, and my Big DimpleSMILE..


Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/27/2006 5:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Hope you come up positive (better to be positive and get it out than negative and leave it in)!

7Lil
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 3/29/2006 4:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Dimple Gilly,
Please keep us posted how your scan goes.
Co-Moderator for the IBS Forum
 
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bull22
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/6/2006 10:52 AM (GMT -6)   
I've just been diagnosed with a malfunctioning gall bladder.  It's not too terribly bad thus far but when I get an attack, it's hard to eat without nausea, and it wipes me out really bad.  My doc says that surgery at this point isn't necessary but eating the right foods is.  I'm having trouble finding a book or resources about diet and gall bladder issues. Does anyone have a suggestion?  The statement, "avoid fatty foods" just doesn't do it for me.  I need details.

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 6/6/2006 1:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Personally I would ask my doctor why he doesn't want to do surgery. As far as I am aware, gall bladders have never spontaneously started functioning correctly on their own, and I can vouch that after having a bad one for FIVE YEARS, they will get worse. If it won't get any better, why suffer with it right now needlessly? Granted, everything's not perfect without it, but if I had it to do all over again a thousand times, a thousand times I would have it removed. I no longer hurt and with medicine I no longer have bile diarrhea and I am back to eating anything I want, except caffeine and greasy/fried foods in limited amounts.

There are no "right foods" when you have a bad gall bladder (thus why you can't find a book on it). I swear I have gotten nauseated from eating crackers and white rice and all the most bland food you can think of. I still can't eat Tuna Helper after vomiting it up one night. At one point the only thing I could mostly tolerate were hot dogs; I ate them all three meals. When my gall bladder was acting up, there wasn't anything to do about it and everything I ate made me feel sick. I once had an attack last for three weeks without reprieve from either the pain or the bile diarrhea. I lived on one bowl of Corn Pops a day and an occasional coffee mug worth of instant cream of chicken soup (no actual chicken in it) and still I felt sick to my stomach and still I hurt and still I had diarrhea.

I did find that caffeine would trigger a gall bladder attack quicker than anything (although attacks would come on their own without any prompting), so I stopped having it in any form but occasionally chocolate. That helped for a while, but eventually I got to where I hurt on my right side all of the time, no matter what I ate or didn't eat; that's when it finally got diagnosed and taken out. Fried foods usually trigger a lot of people, along with high-fat dairy products and anything greasy or spicy. Pizza is supposed to be a big no-no, but I found it didn't bother me if I didn't eat it too late in the evening (not after 4pm if I was going to bed at midnight or later). Alcohol and carbonation usually bother people too. Basically, if it's something good, tasty and makes life worth living, quit eating it and you can put off your gall bladder attacks for a little while. Maybe a year or two. But it will eventually have to come out and you'll never get back those years of food you didn't get to enjoy (not to mention I ended up really screwing up my eating habits by overeating when I felt good and to make up for when I was sick and couldn't eat; my weight went down for a while and I looked and felt like death warmed over).

Me, personally, having had the exact same problem you have (malfunctioning), I would be looking for someone to take it out right now. God, I wish someone had taken mine out when it first started acting up; the constant pain and attacks ruined 5 years of my life--my college life, to be precise. Those are golden years I'll never have back. And I don't just mean in terms of eating food; I mean in terms of being afraid to go out anywhere because I was afraid I would be sick, of not being social and having any friends because all I wanted to do was stay in bed when I felt bad. Then there was the fear: I lived alone and was 6.5 hours' drive from home. And there I was up pacing the floor at 3am sick as a dog and wishing I could die or pass out--something to end the pain and the terrible sickness. I didn't have really bad attacks very often at first, but they definitely got worse and worse and worse until I was in complete and utter dispair over ever getting someone to diagnose me correctly and take the dang thing out. I was seriously considering just calling a surgeon and seeing if I could pay out of pocket and get it taken out without a diangosis. It was that bad. It's not something I'd ever wish on anyone (except maybe some terrorists).

bull22
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/6/2006 1:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks a lot for your comments.  My next step is a meeting with a gastro doc and I'll press about surgery pros and cons.  My sister who had hers out says her digestion has never been the same which is why I hesitate but I must say that this overwhelming fatigue from everything being out of whack is not doable for me.  Thanks again.

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 6/6/2006 2:32 PM (GMT -6)   
There are two types of people who have bad gall bladders: the ones that suffer for ages with it and the ones who don't know there's a problem. The latter group will get sick once or twice, go to the doctor, find out they have gall stones and get their GB out. Then they will have the resulting problems from missing a realitively major organ of the digestive tract and they will lament having had it taken out; after all, it wasn't that big a deal before. In essence, they feel like they got gyped because, honestly, they feel worse off now than before. What they aren't able to understand is that they would have gotten worse, to the point it was intolerable, and gall stones, especially, can be a serious health problem when they get lodged--major pain--and set up a subsequent infection.

But the people who have suffered gall bladder problems long term, who have had their get worse and worse, they will only too well tell you that they are at least no worse off now than before. For the vast majority of people with a bad GB, the pain, if nothing else, goes away. And most people do have some improvement in terms of food tolerance. Even if something gives me bile diarrhea now, it rarely makes me nauseated. And I certainly don't spend the wee hours of the morning sitting on the toliet and holding a garbage can anymore, wishing something would come out one end or the other so I could quit hurting. I eat normally now, which I wasn't able to do before. Don't get me wrong, you probably won't go back to being perfectly normal afterwards; like I said, you're going to be missing a fairly important organ in the digestive tract. But for me, at least, I traded a worse evil for a lesser one. I'm not perfect now--and if they ever manage to grow replacement organs in petri dishes, I'm all in for getting a new gall bladder--but I wouldn't have the old, defective one back for love nor money; I'm happier and healthier since it's been out.

And boy, do I know about that "wiped out" feeling that comes after having an attack. I don't feel that way anymore. My mother suffered with a dysfucntional and deformed gall bladder for quite some time before she got hers out. A couple of days after her surgery my stepfather and I came home to find that she had torn down a partial wall in the living room and was happily puttying the main wall back up. She said she just felt all of her energy come rushing back and she felt like doing a little remodeling!

Some people are fine after having theirs out but some people need medicine to regulate their bile flow. A few people develop chronic constipation because they have too little bile. Higher fat foods can help stimulate more bile production and there's supposed to be a product called bile salts which you can take and which act as bile in your system to help keep you from getting constipated. But most post-GBers have problems with diarrhea. That's when you can take what I take--Welchol--which will absorb the excess bile and voila, no more bile diarrhea. If your sister has that problem, definitely suggest it to her. She will have to see a G.I. to get it since regular doctors don't know about it (it's normally used to treat cholesterol). Some people without GBs can have their excess bile go up into their stomach/esophagus and get an upset stomach or heartburn. I am not sure, but I think prescription acid inhibitors and the like will help with that problem. So, basically, you can't treat a defective gall bladder, but once it's out, you can treat the problems that arise from not having a gall bladder at all.
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