Gall Stones and YOUR experiences

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2004
Total Posts : 422
   Posted 2/21/2009 9:56 AM (GMT -7)   
It's been a while since anyone talked about gall stones...I just found out I had them.
Back in August, I was coming out of a bad 8-month-long flare.  I dropped 40 pounds between January & March last year.  Around mid-August, my bowels were starting to get better but I started having an upper burning/gnawing/aching pain in the middle of my breastbone.  It felt like a stomach ulcer.  The pain would go away after 30 minutes and maybe not show up for several more days or a week or more.  I was able to take Tums and I felt better.
I called my GI's nurse in September, but she never called me back.  But then the pain went away for a couple of weeks so I just didn't bother calling HER back to ask WHY she didn't call me.  But the pain kept on during September, October, November...I SHOULD have been more proactive and had it checked out right away.  I guess I ddn't because most of the time, I felt ok.  I was just having these occasional spells of pain that would eventually go I'm a bit irritated with myself for not pushing to get an answer.  I should know better! 
I told my GI about it during my 6-month appointment with him in December.  He asked if I was swallowing OK.  I said YES.  He asked if eating helped the pain.  I said NO.  That seemed to throw him off so he told me to just pop an extra Omeprazole when I felt the pain coming on.
In January the pain started coming on more frequently, every other day...and it was lasting longer...up to 3 hours.  In mid-January the pain lasted for 7 hours one day. It was then I called my GI's nurse and asked her to order an H.Pylori blood test for me, as I felt like it was active in my body again and that I had another stomach ulcer (this had happen before, same pain, prior to be Dx with Crohn's).
Due to a computer glitch, I didn't get my blood work back for 2 weeks...and during that time, I was in pain every day.  But the H.Pylori test came back negative! I was so sure that's what it was.  So I told the nurse I needed to know what to do next.  She said she'd give my file to my GI with my question.
It took another 2 weeks for him to call me...first time HE'S actually ever picked up the phone to talk to me.  I told him my symptoms...the same as they had been in December.  This past Wednesday, he ordered a gall bladder ultrasound and an Upper Endoscopy. 
Well, I've already gone for the ultrasound and I have gall stones.  I was shocked because I was certain the pain was coming from a stomach ulcer due to the location of the pain.  I always thought gall bladder pain showed up on the right side.  So after I found out I had the stones, I Googled gall stone symptoms and DERN if they aren't the EXACT same symptoms as a stomach ulcer!  And the pain CAN be right there in the middle of the breastbone.  AND, on top of that, gall stones can be caused when a person loses a lot of weight very quickly.  Well, that's what I did during my flare last year.  It begs the question why my GI didn't think of that back in December...but....
So they're working on scheduling me to have my gall bladder removed.  The Upper Endoscopy has been cancelled.  And that's my story so far. wink
Now I'm curious as to what YOUR story is with gall bladder problems/stones?  Did you have the gall bladder removed?  If so, how?  What was the surgery like?  I know this is one of the most common procedures in the US but I want to know what CROHNIES have experienced with it.  Reason being, I have a cousin whose diverticulitus cleared up after he had his gall bladder removed.  For any of you Crohnies who've had gall bladders removed, did you experienced better or worse or same Crohn's symptoms?
Diagnosed in October, 2004 at age 32.
Current Rx's: Colazal (generic), Omeprazole, Ferrous Sulfate, Librax, One-A-Day multivitamin, Probiotic, Omega-3 Fish Oil, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Calcium-Magnesium-Zinc, Cranberry pills
Secondary conditions: mouth ulcers, joint pain, swelling ankles, extreme fatigue
Previous/occasional Rx's: 20mg Prednisone taper, Flagyl, Levaquin
No surgeries to date

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 2/21/2009 3:44 PM (GMT -7)   
I had my gall bladder out 20 years ago at the age of 24. But, I only had symptoms for about 10 days, before my surgery. My attacks lasted all day and eventually landed me in the Emergency Room. When they ran the ultrasound test they found over 100 BB size gall stones. That disqualified me for a lapro procedure, so I had open surgery and a longer recovery. I'm sorry that I can't really answer your question as to my CD symptoms. As far as I remember, it had no effect on my symptoms. I was pretty much in remission at the time and remained in remission for the next few years. Good luck with everything. I hope you are feeling better soon.

CD 20 years officially, 30 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Managing with strict low residue diet, keeping symptoms to a minimum. All test show small amount of ulceration, still have occasional blockages. But still have a great time with my 2 daughters and husband!

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 289
   Posted 2/21/2009 8:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Friday my husband just had a sonogram procedure to specifically check his gall bladder, 92 pictures. They all looked like underwater photos to me, I don't know how they can tell what they're looking at. I guess we'll have to trust them that they know what they are looking for. We'll find out more when we get the results back.

He has been having intermittent pain on his upper right side for quite some time. He isn't a 'complainer' and I think he has been suffering with this until it just didn't go away and/or he couldn't ignore it any longer. He quit smoking 1.5yrs ago and put on 50# he can't seem to get rid of.
I have the ability of single-minded determination and accurate project focu....Hey, look, a cat!
Crohn's and UC are pretty darn crappy, but if you can't laugh at yourself, you'll cry......I'd much rather laugh.
2001 Dx'd with UC.  No remission.  No improvement with Remicade.  5/2008 surgery, removal of 6" of left side colon.  Dx changed to Crohn's.  Remission for 8-9wks after surgery, symptoms returned after resuming 6MP.  Changed maintenance med to Methotrexate (MTX) and had great results with IM injections.  Nausea and symptoms returning with oral MTX.  Switched back to IM injections and am slowly improving.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1343
   Posted 2/21/2009 10:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I never considered that my gallbladder was causing me problems, but as it turns out, it was. An ultrasound showed it was full of stones. They thought it was best to chop it out. It was a pretty simple procedure. I don't think I was wheeled to surgery until at least 1 in the afternoon, maybe later. A very nice student nurse talked to me while I was waiting, which really helped my nerves a lot. They put me out, and my next memory is of some discomfort as they pulled the breathing tube out of me. That evening, I could get up and go to the bathroom by myself. I spent the night in the hospital. The worse part was the little air pumpy thing they put on your legs so you don't get blood clots. It was annoyingly loud and made my legs itch, which meant little sleep. The next day, they had me walk around a bit, and by evening, they released me.

Getting in and out of bed sucked. Holding a pillow against your gut while doing so was helpful. The pain wasn't too bad, and since the vicodin made me itch (which kept me from sleeping), I only took it for a couple of days. Within a week, I felt pretty good. Within 2 weeks, I felt pretty much back to normal, although I don't think I was allowed to lift things still. You should be 100% by 4 weeks.

Anyhoo, I felt better after the surgery. Some symptoms that I attributed to crohn's were actually the gallbladder acting up. I also haven't had any problems with D or with eating fatty foods. Some people do.

I'm glad I had the surgery, because that's one less thing to go wrong or have to worry about.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/23/2009 9:07 PM (GMT -7)   
I had gall bladder problems for several years with pain at night and it had gotten pretty bad but usally subsided after a severe episode of naseau and vomitting. Not fun at all. That was getting pretty old and so frequent that I needed to do something. I have a terrible aversion to doctors so i went to a nutitionally oriented doc who is pretty much out of the main stream. We examined my diet and he thought i ate pretty healthy but was appalled by my vice of drinking diet sodas (Diet Dr. Peppers, 3-6 a day). He said i should spend a month weaning myself off of those and then come back and we would do some blood work and test. I assured him i could just quit if he thought that it was a problem and he assured me it was. That was two years ago

I have had a total of two carbonated sodas in the past almost two years. The thing is the gallbladder pain was gone within a few days. And hasn't really bothered me since. I never made it back to the doctor. Might be something to try if you're a heavy soda drinker. Would love to hear if it helped anyone else.

FYI-I try not to consume aspartame but am not as strict about that as i am the sodas. I drink artificially sweetened tea occaissionally so the difference had to be the soda and not the sweetners. I am overweight but generally in pretty good health. I do not have Crohn's disease.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2739
   Posted 2/24/2009 12:30 PM (GMT -7)   
My Mom actually had the exact symptoms as you, and swore she had an ulcer in her stomach. Her pain was more in the middle, and raidiating to the left of her stomach. Her pain got worse and worse, until one day she started vomitting so badly that she dehydrated to the point of really being out of it. We called 911 and at the hospital she told them she had an ulcer. They did no tests, and just gave her fluids and pain meds. She was fine for another two weeks only to have another really bad episode. She was in so much pain that she was breathign funny, again I came over to see her pale and on the couch looking like she wasn't breathing right. So 911 again! This time the hospital was smart and did an ultrasound. Sure enough, gallstones. She had it out a week later.
Now I had my gallbladder out several years ago. Only mine was a lot more typical in symtoms. More on the right side, after I ate a big fatty meal (pizza for example). It would shoot up to my right shoulder. I did have vomitting and diarrhea. It was all bad. They took out a very inflammed and swollen gallbladder.
Seems a lot of us with Crohn's have lost our gallbladder. I certainly don't regret having that thing out, that was almost as painful childbirth! lol Hope you feel better!

Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease 2/06, and Health Anxiety/OCD 12/08 Taking Asacol, Questran, Toprol XL, and Lexapro.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 598
   Posted 2/25/2009 10:55 AM (GMT -7)   

I found out I had gallstones from a CT Scan for another purpose.  The radiologist reported that my gall bladder had an unusual appearance so my gi ordered an ultrasound. He said that CT is not the best for diagnosing gall bladder problems.  Sure enough, I had gallstones. If only my other problems were diagnosed as easily as that *once* the right test was done.

I've had all kinds of pains over the years, none of which neither I nor my doctors thought was caused by my gall bladder.  I was worked up for heart disease (cardiac cath!) because of pain typical of that problem- chest pain, left shoulder pain, under arm pain, in between shoulder blade pain. Coincidentally I also had a slightly abnormal scan of my heart, the only reason they didn't anything as invasive as a cath. This pain did respond to nitrates (later learned that the gall bladder is smooth muscle just like the blood vessels and smooth muscle responds to nitrates) I had what I call a vise like pain around my rib cage.  My gi doctor told me that was typically gall bladder. Huh?  Why didn't anyone think of this?  I've also had right sided pain and middle pain that you are describing.  I used to describe it as "an elephant sitting on my abdomen".  But no time could I link it to anything I ate. Maybe if I had been able to they would have thought of my gall bladder.

It was removed by laparoscopy, in at 6 am out by 1 pm.  Very little pain and back to normal in about 2-3 weeks.  I've noticed no change in my gi symptoms. All the other pain I described above have not been a problem in the last 1-3 years (the years I've been treated for crohn's)

My gi told me that the thinking is "when all else fails, look at  the gall bladder"    


10 years, many tests, 3 gi doctors, Pentasa 1000mg 3x day
diovan, simvastatin,levothyroxine, sertraline, lyrica, methotrexate, down to 2.5mg prednisone and miserable.     

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 211
   Posted 2/26/2009 10:41 AM (GMT -7)   
I had my gallbladder taken out last July. I didn't have any gallstones at all, which floored both my doctors. However, when they did a HIDA scan my gallbladder wasn't functioning above 12%.

I have Crohns pain on my right side where my gall bladder was and having it out did help with that pain. It is no longer as high up. I have had no noticable difference in the amount of D I have. The only downside is that my GERD acts up a little more now if I eat too much food at one time.

I went into the hospital for pre-op at 11 and was home by 7 that evening. I was off work for 2 weeks and then was back no issues ( I only work part-time though).

35/f   proud single mom of 2

Diagnosed with GERD/Acid Reflex 2002

Diagnosed with IBS 2007

Diagnosed with UC, then Crohn’s 2008

Current medications: Endcort 3mg 2X daily, Pentasa 2 500mg caps 2X daily, Prilosec 20 mg 2X daily (if needed), Probiotics, Calcuim/Mag/Vit.D. Flinstones multi with Iron and Vit. C 500mg daily

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 2/26/2009 11:46 AM (GMT -7)   
I had my gallbladder out last august. Since then I have had worse D. I have crohn's and a colostomy. The surgeon removed it via laporscopy. When he was backing out the instrument, he sliced my small intestine (never had an issue with small bowel). I had to stay in the hospital a few days due to the fact that he had to slice my open to finish. My problem after having the GB out is that I have looser stools and more often. During my remicade treatment yesterday, I was speaking with my GI because I have had uncontrollable D for about 5 weeks. I also have been having bad Bloating (like i am 8 months pregnant) and then I poo like crazy. He told me that I must have a small bowel loop where the surgeon screwed up. Now I am looking forward to more surgery. On the other hand, my daughter had her GB out 2 years ago at the age of 17 and she is fine!! I would definately have it out but make sure you check out your surgeon. I know your pain--worse than being in labor for me when I had attacks!! Good Luck!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 3/10/2009 6:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Gall bladder disease is somewhat more prevalent in Crophns patients, not quite sure why. Also it is more common in women, in those who are or have been overweight, past the age of 40 and in women who have had children. Almost all gall bladder surgeries can now be done laparoscopically (like car repairs, in ny nine, out by 5) and it is common for people to have increased D for a period of weeks or months after the surgery as your body adapts to the new bile delivery system or drip-drip rather than the pump it out when needed manner the gall bladder delivered. Overall, like an appendectomy or pulling a abcessed tooth, it is one of those procedures that is essentially curative. And a bad gall bladder is nothing to fool with . . . get a stone stuck or an infection and you are dealing with a very painful medical crisis that usually requires immediate open-incision removal. The two key things to ask about on diagnosis are the presence or absence of stones n ultrasound and the ejection fraction (the percentage of bile pumped out of the gall bladder when you are stimulated to do so with an IV solution while on the xray table.) EF's under 35 or so mean a low functioning gall bladder and usually merit removal, even if there are no visible stones.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 3/10/2009 9:51 AM (GMT -7)   
when i had mine out in 95 i had been having problems for about a year prior.  went to the er 4 or 5 times each with a different diagnosis.  they finally decided that gb was the problem and take it out.  i spent about 2 days in the hospital since i was having problems keeping anything down at all and then finally released.  took about a week to heal up and feel pretty good-they did it laproscopically- and was back to normal within 2 weeks.  i did notice that it was after that surgery that my d started and really believe my cd began.  it took 8 more years to diagnose that however and that is another story!! but overall felt much better as the gb attacks were really horrible with uncontrollable pain in my ribcage and sternum and it went around to my spine and ended in power vomiting and then felt better for most of the attacks.  the last one didn't get better and thus, surgery.

Dx CD 2003 but probably had it 10 years prior

Dx Primary Sclerossing Cholangitis 2006

GB out '95, Appendix out '96, Kidney stent '02/stone removal '02, Resection '04, fistulectomy '06 2x, tubal '05

Currently on 100mg 6mp-50 mg,  and Remicade every 8 weeks, Ambien, predsnisone, humira 1x wk, flagyl, cypro, diflucan, probiotic

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 3/10/2009 9:54 AM (GMT -7)   
oh and after i got out of surgery they had to go back in thru my mouth with the scope because there was a stone stuck in the bile ducts that they had to remove that way without cutting me open again. that was fun! :(

Dx CD 2003 but probably had it 10 years prior

Dx Primary Sclerossing Cholangitis 2006

GB out '95, Appendix out '96, Kidney stent '02/stone removal '02, Resection '04, fistulectomy '06 2x, tubal '05

Currently on 100mg 6mp-50 mg,  and Remicade every 8 weeks, Ambien, predsnisone, humira 1x wk, flagyl, cypro, diflucan, probiotic

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 6117
   Posted 3/11/2009 2:57 AM (GMT -7)   
ahd mine out in 1987 at the age of 24. larger stones and what they call "sand" which i suppose is bay stones. never had THAT pain again. all kinds of other pain , but hey thats life.

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