sphincter of oddi dysfunction?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 410
   Posted 4/12/2007 7:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Anyone else here hear of this?  Its common in a lot of people who have had their gallbladders removed.  Now I do have GERD as well, but I have been having terrible right sided pain since having my GB out last August.   My GI dr says I definately have this.  He is very, very hesitant though to do an ERCP since the risks sometimes outweigh the benefits.  He is concerned that I would develop pancreatitis and given my health history that would definately not be a good thing.
Now I trust my GI-he's ranked one of the top 10 in the country.  However, I don't want to be in pain the rest of my life either.  Are there other ways to treat this condition?  Any medications that can help?  Any websites I can check out?  I just don't know where else to turn.  I see my GI again the end of the month and I want to be prepared for this visit.  Thanks

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/24/2008 4:27 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Nancy

How are you getting on?

I was diagnosed with Sphincter Of Oddi Dysfunction just over 1 year ago. It sounds like we had a similar problem. I had my gall bladder removed (which had been inflamed). I improved for 2 weeks and then got alot worse.

In september I had surgery to correct the problem. I don't know the name of it but it was open surgery. My surgeon decided on this because after test he decided that it was likely to improve my condition and I was needing to take large amounts of strong pain relief on a daily basis with hospital admissions becoming more frequent. The surgery went well and I was lucky in that I had no complications. The surgery has improved my condition a great deal. However I do still get flare ups and have had to be admitted once since my operation to control my pain.

Before my operation I was taking Buscapan which is a antispasmodic, it did help and I would recomend trying it.

Also I tried Acupuncture, I know that it sounds strange but it really did help with pain control. Also when I got down about being ill they would but a couple of needles in my scalp (it sounds painful but wasn't) that worked amazingly well, I could not stop smiling, its better than happy pills!

The doctors also tried me on gabopentin for the pain, it is an antiepileptic drug which I think works to bloke to nerve receptors, it is a new idea and did work, however I found it also made me very depressed, even the accupuncture did not help! so I had to stop taking it. However that does not mean that you would react the same.

The final suggestion is trying some kind of relaxation, the condition is made worse by stress. I took up tai chi and it really works to help chill me out. I sleep better after a class and use the exercises when I am stressed or feel the pains coming on.

Hope that my suggestions help and it may be worth talking to your doctor about it. I would love to hear how you are getting on





Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 183
   Posted 3/24/2008 1:25 PM (GMT -6)   

I'm a 46 yo female who didn't know how much her insides were affecting her life until the problems were resolved.

I had the ERCP with biliary sphincterotomy on February 28th. Yes, there are risks and it must be done by a VERY qualified doctor and technician. If your doctor is hesitant, then he must have a reason. My GI had no reservations about performing the procedure.

Back in October 2007 I had a full Nissen wrap. It stopped the reflux, but not the severe pain in my chest. All tests showed a healthy gallbladder - so it was not removed. The GI was sure the problem was related to the Sphincter of Oddi and scheduled the ERCP. We agreed that he would do the ERCP and while still inside he would decide if he would perform the sphincterotomy.

What he found was that the pressure in the bile duct was the highest he had ever seen or heard of. Where the sphincter opened into the intestines was torn - at some point, gallstones must have been present and torn it on the way through. He also found that the duct itself was extremely narrow - just the way my insides were made when things were forming. Bile was backing up and causing intense pain from the pressure. He cut the duct to relieve the pressure (sphincterotomy). Not doing anything would have eventually led to pancreas problems with all that biliary stuff backing up the duct back to the pancreas.

I was very nauseaus when I woke up from the procedure and in severe pain. The nausea took over a week to subside during which time I couldn't eat much and could only drink a little water each day. The GI was very concerned about the pancreas and sent me for blood tests to ensure it was OK - which it was. This procedure was the worst one for recovery I've ever experienced - I'd rather have childbirth twice with no drugs than experience the recovery for this procedure again.

I've got to say that at first I was thinking I made a mistake to have the procedure because the discomfort and nausea were so debilitating. But now, a month later, I'm so happy I did it. I can eat anything - former trigger foods no longer cause pain. I have a new lease on life and feel like I've been given a 2nd chance to live life to its fullest. I take no medication for acid reflux and have no symptoms of gallbladder-type pain. I was scared before the procedure because I was aware of the pancreas risks. My GI did ensure I was well-informed about risks and benefits. My comfort came when the GI informed me of the risks and I asked how many of the procedures he had done and how many had had complications. The answer was hundreds and none. I felt the odds were in my favor.

I know you said your GI is one of the top 10 in the country, but it may still be a good idea to get a 2nd opinion.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 9/15/2008 9:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Happily Wrapped,

This is great informatinon. I am in the middle of this quest right now. The surgeon is talking about taking out my gallbladder due to the symptoms, and then if the pain continues to address the SOD issue.

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