If gallbladder is bad do I need it out no matter what?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 9/24/2009 5:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all I'm new here but I'm not new to ibs and I have a dilemma on my hands. So I will try and keep this short and to the point.

I have had gastro symptoms for for years now such as abdominal cramps, diarrhea, chronic fatigue and the occasional bad bloating which would cause horrible pain.
In the last year my symptoms escalated to me getting very sick such as being nauseated, headaches, being dizzy all the time, a burning sensation in my upper abdomin, feeling like I might vomit even though I havent, and sometimes feeling like I have a high temp. Also I cough up acid some times but the worse is getting like these bloating attacks like every other nite I just feel like Im going to die and my back kills from them.

I was so bad that I went into the dr and he said it was anxiety so he put my on anti depressants which have relieved some of the symptoms but more less has just masked them from the way it feels. I have been on them for 6 months now and when I get off them all my symptoms come back like they where before. I went in and demand to have my gallbladder tested so they did a hida scan and it came back at 20% so I have a dysfunctional gallbladder I was told. Do these new symptoms sound like a gallbladder problem? If so will they ever go away or will my gallbladder have to come out eventually no matter what? I talked to a surgeon and he for the most part does not know if it will help or not. And he is afraid to take it out because of my chronic diarrhea. So he referred me to a gi who believes a lot in IBS which I think is a fluke no offense, and she thinks all my symptoms especially the new ones are from IBS. Can a dysfunctional gallbladder cause diarrhea and abdominal cramps? Has anybody had experience with this?

Please help I need to no rather quickly because my insurance deductible starts over at the end of the year thanks. Also I have had every test possible done, everything!

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 9/25/2009 2:06 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm in almost the exact same boat. Most of our symptoms are very similar. In 2006 I started having pain in my upper right abdomen. Mine was a relentless stabbing pain with occasional nausea. When I sent for my HIDA my result was 6%. My GI advised me to have it taken out immediately but I didn't do it. I read where some people have terrible problems with chronic diarrhea after the surgery. My thought was that if I already have IBS I didn't want to experience that too. My primary care said as long as it wasn't inflamed or blocked with stones you can keep a dysfunctional gallbladder w/o endangering my life. So I decided to keep my gallbladder and watch very very carefully what I ate. Long story short I had another HIDA in 08 and it was 61%. Today I still get some gallbladder pains but I can eat most of what I want without causing gallbladder symptoms. Personally, I'm happy with the road I took because although I went through a great deal of pain, I know what this is. From what I heard about the gallbladder surgery I was unsure and the fact that I already had ibs only made things even that much more uncertain. I worried I might trade one problem for another.

If you decided to go down the same road as me, watch the fat content of everything you eat. You'll pay HUGE for eating high fat/greasy food and alcohol too. Beware of pain meds that doctors might give you as most contain codine (like Lortab) and that slows gallbladder fuction as a side effect, which is the root cause of you pain and will make you feel worse if you take them.

If you decide to have it removed you and you have problems a drug called Questran is known to help for diarrhea, should you develop that problem. On the other hand you could have it removed and never have trouble again. It's a gamble.

Either path you take you face an uncertain outcome. If you do what I did you might always have these problems or it might recover almost as good as normal. If you have the surgery you might trade it for a bad diarrhea problem or it might fix you. One thing I've come to believe is that people with one motility disorder (like IBS), are more likely to develop other motility disorders (such as gallbladder dyskinesia). Whatever you do I hope it works for you.

Post Edited (MisterErl1979) : 9/25/2009 3:11:27 AM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/14/2009 1:08 AM (GMT -7)   
about 3 years ago, I started feeling extremely full after just having a few bites of food, and I felt terrible. After repeated visits to a gastroenterologist, they finally did a CT scan and I had an enlarged liver (but blood work all normal). I went to hepatologist. She said to cut out alcohol. I did. But I kept feeling bad. Thus, I asked for liver biopsy. Came back normal. Since then, the feeling of getting full after eating has gone away, but I feel bad 50% of the time. And it all seems related to my gut and what and when I eat (but no diarrhea). Worst is, I have had to wake up almost every night and eat something to go back to sleep because I feel like something is eating away at my intestines. If I am out of town on business and have nothing to eat, no sleep for me. I have felt like there is something toxic coming out of my liver and attacking my gut. But doctors have not had any answers. Then I had HIDA scan done and it showed 19% ejection fraction. It was thought that my problems might be related to my GB (even though I had no pain or stones). Gastro and surgeon said having GB removed would not make me worse, so I had it removed last week and my symptoms of something eating my gut ARE WORSE. I can't sleep because of it. Thinking of asking doctor for Questran or Welchol after reading posts on this forum for possible pooling of bile when I sleep (which was maybe my problem all along and I had GB out for nothing). If I had read posts on this forum about second HIDA scans showing more GB function, I might not have had it out. Right now I am wishing I had not had my GB out as it has not relieved my symtpoms (and has added some mild diarrhea). But I guess time will tell. I will give you an update in a couple of weeks.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/16/2009 7:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Rand. I was in the opposite situation. No one believed I had gallbladder problems, until it was taken out. Two ultrasounds picked up lots of stones, but no scarring. When they took it out--it was scarred. To be careful, before I did it, I had a colonoscopy and a endoscopy performed. They uncovered no abnormalities in my GI tract, so wrote me off with IBS-D. Before this, I had started having terrible D attacks, right after I ate. Lots of yellow bile salts. Now, with my gallbladder out, I still can get the same stuff, but I got Cholestid from my GI doc and am taking 600 mg of calcium carbonate with vitamin D at every meal. Works pretty well, but I still watch my fat intake. I would say I would rather have something diseased removed. A woman I know waiting so long that her gallbladder was cancerous. And, it's important to think that some 5% to 7% experience D after gallbladder removal. Hope this helps. Good Luck! LuckyGirl49

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 105
   Posted 10/27/2009 7:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello there. I have IBS-C and about 8 years ago my gall bladder started to really affect my health, pain that would drop me to the ground, burning acid in my stomach. I was lucky enough, and I acted quickly enough that the doctors could put four small holes in me and they just sucked it out. If the gall bladder is really full of stones, the have to really open you up to get to it....big. long scar

there has been no problems..I also have MS so I stay away from fatty food to begin with.
It seemed like a good idea at the time

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 10/28/2009 5:18 AM (GMT -7)   
I too had "hundreds" of gallstones. These were discovered during the 3 week pre-op phase before my cancer surgery - colon resection, temp ostomy, etc. My surgeon said I was an ER attack waiting to happen (gall bladder wise). He asked if I had experienced heartburn. I said I had but not on a daily or even weekly basis, just a few very BAD episodes, the pain I described felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. Once my hands were tingly and went semi-numb, which really freaked me out but these sensations would pass, in a matter of minutes. At the time I was doing all I could to alleviate heartburn - Pepcid, Gavisgon, eating a piece of bread followed by a full glass of water, not eating fried foods or eating after dinner. All on my own, not seeking medical help because my husband had had severe heartburn in the past but by this time he knew what to do to get rid of it (eat healthier for one). So I tried what worked for him and these tricks did work for me.

By the time I was diagnosed with rectal cancer, and the gall stones were discovered, I had no choice. They said my gall bladder had to come out.

Looking back I always wondered if there was something I could have done to cut down on these gall stones - drink less soda? Eat healthier? Hindsight is 20/20 though.

I don't experience the yellow bile diarrhea that some patients do, post-op. All my troubles are from no longer having the bottom part of my colon.

I was led to believe that if a person has many, many gall stones, then your GB has to be surgically removed. I don't think there's anything to dissolve these so you can keep your GB is there?
- Rectal Cancer 4/29/99, Stage I, no treatment necessary
(5 hour colon resection: 90% sigmoid removed, 15 inches of colon removed, gall bladder removed, temporary colostomy, reversed 8 weeks later)
- Chronic IBS/D symptoms, multiple bm's, on low residue diet
- Takes Colace 50 mg each evening

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