Advice needed, gall bladder, IBS, or ???

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/13/2017 3:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello everyone, I am new to the forum and looking for some advice. So here's my story...

I am 31 y/o healthy white female, 2 children. So, I am having "attacks". I would say they started in 2012 (either around, during, or after my first pregnancy, can't remember for sure) I have these attacks (it feels like at random, but could be related to junk/fatty food, but I eat that type of food often, as in every day). I was having the attacks once (twice at the most) a year at random, four about 4 years, always either about 45 min following a large meal or in the middle of the night awaken from sleep. The closest feeling I can compare it to is food poisoning. Light headedness/dizzy, coldsweat, flush, intense abdominal pain (lower central aka gut), this is always accompanied by a need for a BM, but its not constipation or diarrhea, it's like small amounts of regular stool in this drawn out process of me going back and forth between laying on the floor writhing in pain and getting back up to sit on the toilet. They typically end with my teeth chattering and me shaking like chills.

For four years these episodes would last anywhere from 15 min to 45 min max. I always thought something just really REALLY didn't agree with me. However, this year, in May I began to have the attacks once a week, one week I had two attacks in the same week (we were on vacation). The attacks increased in severity, and also in length being more like 2 hours. One attack I forced myself to vomit (which is not a typical reaction, but I was in Disney World and like in panic mode of how to get the attack to quit and wishing I had not eaten my last meal) this attack ended in hives completely covering my body.

All of my tests (abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, HIDA scan (86%), upper and lower scope) have returned "normal" and no one is giving me any definitive answers. My GI said maybe gall bladder and recommended removal, I met with surgeon and he said he is not confident enough to do the surgery and is doubtful that it is my gall bladder because of my tests being normal AND pain is lower abdomen (wrong place for gb) Basically he talked my GI into exploring whether I have IBS or not, but when my GI called me with his plan for moving forward, it essentially was just to wait it out and call him in a couple months with an update??

Thank God, in desperation I started to cut way back on fat in my diet to see if that helped, and I have not had a full on attack since. I am strict with eating less than 15g of fat per meal (most breakfast bars are 8-9 to give you an idea). If I get into that 15-25g level I start to feel symptoms (which I've done twice accidentally) both times were similar, just upset stomach following meal with diarrhea 3x in an hour then it was over - one of those times my face was getting pretty red and I got a couple of hive welts on my face.

**As an important side note, when I got home from my HIDA scan I had a severe attack - this one did include vomiting as well as all my other typical symptoms although I did have a lot of diarrhea I think due to so much liquid being in my system. None of my doctors seemed to have an answer as to why I would have an attack AFTER the scan. Ughh! I feel like this has to mean something.

Anyway, basically I am here seeking anyone like me who's been treated? Advice? Steps moving forward? I am fine maintaining for now, but have a desire for answers. One of the main things I'm wondering is do my symptoms sound like IBS? I also want to mention all my life I've been "regular" in frequency and consistency, and other than the attacks I would consider myself regular even now. Also I don't have any notable problems with gas/bloating, maybe just a little bloating during attacks but nothing severe.

I am waiting on a call back to get an appointment with another well know, reputable GI for a second opinion.

Here are some of my notes of things I've eaten that triggered attacks:

May 1 - Big Mac - 45 min later
May 8 - dinner lamb steak and loaded baked potato, before bed snack graham crackers and milk - woke up 4am very severe attack
May 15 - (disney world) turkey sandwich thick cheese basil aeoli, chips, pasta salad - 45 min later (this was the one that ended in hives
May 19 - (also on vacation) 4 pieces of pizza - 45 min later

my two non full on attacks since starting low fat
June 17 - lamburger (14g) and a piece of hershey pie (19g) -45 min later diarrhea 3x in an hour and two hive welts on face
July 15 - 2 turkey hotdogs (18 g fat), fruit - 45 min later diarrhea 3x in an hour

I eat all kinds of things now, only limiting the fat. Cereal with milk, lean cuisines all types including pizza, breakfast bars, protein shakes, turkey sandwiches, subway sweet onion chicken teryaki, rice, beans, grilled chicken, extra lean beef aka spaghettis tacos burger etc, salmon, tuna, salads, all skinny cow ice cream treats, mcdonalds ice cream cones, bagels, breads, of course fruits and veggies (no avacado)

These are my main staples for eating at the moment

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/28/2017 10:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi. Sorry to hear about what you're going through. Just thought I would share that what you describe does not sound like the gallbladder attacks that I had prior to having removal surgery in 2013. My attacks were terrible pain in my back and some pain under right side of rib cage where gallbladder is. The duration increased over time and got up to 8 hours or so. My surgeon found that I did have some gall stones. My sister has IBS-D and from what she and I have read there are many foods that can cause an attack. It is slightly different for each individual but the main culprits tend to be fatty foods, fried foods, processed foods in general, dairy, sugar, caffeine, spices, eggs, gluten, etc. Discouraging for food enthusiasts! But I have heard of people completing overcoming their IBS with diet changes. Oh and I believe stress is your enemy as well. I wish you all the best and hope you receive responses from others who have found successful steps to treat these symptoms.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 11/12/2017 9:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi I am also new, I have had what I always thought was irritable bowel syndrome since I was 18, it would come at the more stressful times in my life. Now I am 54, female have back issues, and the bowel problems are controlling my life. I isolate anyway because of depression and this just makes it worse. I could never think of going out and meeting people, God forbid get in a relationship, I really don't know what to do. I have told the Dr. at the VA many times, but they just say uhuh hmm, and don't ever do anything.

Am I doomed to be alone forever? Afraid to be in public?

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/4/2017 11:46 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi girls,

I am also new. The symptoms do not sound like the normal gallbladder attacks. I had suffered with what I called, "stomach attacks" since I was a child. I was placed on medicine and stayed on it for 8 years (until I had my gallbladder out). It definitely helped the cramping, bloating, etc. After having my gallbladder out I really looked at what I was eating and drinking. I know exactly what my trigger foods and drinks are. Stress and anxiety will also make an attack come on. I would say to really just pay attention to what you eat and drink. It takes awhile, but you will learn what the triggers are. Thinking of that pain will make you want to never eat that trigger food again!

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2015
Total Posts : 211
   Posted 12/5/2017 1:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Those attacks sound like mine! I suffered for decades. I had a non-functioning gallbladder (no stones). By the time I had a HIDA scan it was at 0% and my gallbladder was infected. I was traveling and had emergency surgery. A few years later, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Because celiac disease is systemic (goes beyond the gut), I think it impacted my gallbladder which worked and didn’t not work throughout the years. Luckily, I had that HIDA scan when I was having an attack (pain so bad, I always passed out).

Try to get to the source. It is good to keep your body parts, if you can. When I go my celiac disease diagnosis I was anemic. They blamed perimenoopause and my thyroid for my heavy periods and anemia. But I went through menopause and I was still anemic. Things would improve with iron supplements and then drop when I stopped. Of course my GYN pushed for surgery, but that was not the cause! Lesson learned. Get second or third opinions to help you make an informed decision concerning your health.

Learn more about celiac disease. 1 in 125 have it but only 20% are actually diagnosed. Research IBS which in many cases means “I Be Stumped”. Researchers are recommending that IBS suffers get screeened for celiac disease. I am not saying you have celiac disease, but find out what is really wrong with you! Please do not go gluten free until you get that simple blood test. CD is genetic. The only autoimmune disease that is definitely genetic. You may help other family members.

I know the OP might not get this message as this is an old posting, but it may help others.

Post Edited (cyclinglady) : 12/5/2017 11:13:43 AM (GMT-7)

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