Atypical Gallbladder Symptoms?

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I'm a 35 year old male and I have had heartburn and general digestion issues for as long as I can remember and usually taking a PPI will take care of it. Ive always blamed it on my diet because i would eat things like pizza contantly. Over the last 3 years I had been to the er a couple times with stomach burning and gnawing pain and my blood work etc always came back normal and was told it was gastritis. Usually id eat bland for a few days and be fine. Well about three months ago I started getting random pains throughout the day in my upper left side right were my stomach in located. They felt almost like when you push on a bruise. After three days they intensified and I got super bloated, burping constantly and the pain turned into a gnawing squeezing pain so I went to the er. Blood work normal but x ray showed I was constipated. They said I probably had an ulcer and gave me carafate for the pain and milk of magnesia for the constipation. I was told to make an appointment with a gastro doctor. Fast forward about a month Im still having the issues every day and i finally get to the gastro doc who soon after does an upper endoscopy which showed mild gastritis. No celiac and no h pylori no ulcer. I ditch fatty foods and dairy all together. The bloating is better but pain remains in my upper left side in my stomach. I see him for my followup a few weeks later and he's surprised and baffled im still not healed. He orders a hida scan which shows my gallbladder emptying at 33% and an ultrasound that shows sludge in my gallbladder. Apparently my liver and pancreas are ok. Im sent to a surgeon who says that my symptoms all make sense but my pain is on the wrong side and basically says its a coin flip if removing my gallbladder will fix the issues im having since they are on the wrong side. I am currently taking some time to think it over. I have pain a while after eating greasy or fatty foods and off and on constipation. I have indigestion and gas. But my symptoms are all on my left side. I occasionally get a dull ache on my upper right side but nothing too bad. Has anyone else had only left sided pain and issues and it turned out to be your gallbladder? Is that normal?  

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  • Posted

    Also I'm new around here and I apologize if this subject or something similar has already been answered. 

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  • Posted

    Hi went threw the same problems as you. I had pain on both sides. The doctors told me I have an ulcer but I did not. Was on ppi and antacids. Was told sludge and multiple stones. Nausea real bad. The only way to get well with digestive issues is gallbladder removal. After mine was removed no more nausea or digestive issues. So you might tell doc. My gallbladder is no good. Especially with sludge. Hope you find some relief. Good Luck.
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    • Posted

      Thank you for your response. I've been dealing with this nightmare for 3 months straight and its really starting to drive me mad. When the doctors hear that my symptoms are all on my left side I can see the confusion in their faces. Im only told that its always right upper abdominal pain that can shoot to the right shoulder and back. I am really trying to get a feel how common it is for it all to be on the left and what other folks outcomes were after gallbladder removal after a similar experience. Can a sluggish gallbladder and sludge cause chronic stomach gastritis

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  • Posted

    When I do get an attack, it typically starts in my left shoulder/arm (scary symptom that can be) and then my pain goes to the right side of my ribcage. I've also seen other people complain of left-sided pain with gallbladder issues.I suffer with acid reflux, burping, indigestion, and occasional pain. Not fun ):

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. Ive had reflux, indigestion and all that since i was a kid. At this point im wondering if ive always had a weakish gallbladder and its finally coming to a head. 
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  • Posted

    Hi George yeah sort of sounds GB I have to say and Gastritis generally comes with GB issues I feel anyway.

    it really depends on removal whether your going to be med free or not, if your a person who suffers afterwards with bile then maybe you will not want it out but I think can you cope with what your suffering with now for longer is the question?  I do not want to live the rest of my life living as I am which is Dairy free AND avoiding fat foods and its near damn impossible yet that's what I am doing.   Depending on the state of the Gb you CAN control the level of attacks by diet but its finding what you will eat on a regular basis over and over again because it will be very limited.   Some take herbal meds to help with digestion and diet.  So your right in not rushing into extraction but I have been suffering for years and not even knowing its GB.  There have been times at 2 AM sitting on the toilet ready to call for ambulance but again I learned there was things I could do and I was always glad of being physically sick because that eased things for a few days.

    I have had both sides and mine left side was usually in the Left armpit and I have even had this travel across the chest to the right Armpit and then disappear?????  Lower left was not regular but did occur but its usually right hand side and the pain can again travel up the back, which is scarily like Kidney pain but its not.

    There is also two types, an attack and what your left with after an attack of GB but the attack is always far worse.  What we tend to live with is just very frustrating because of diet issues.  The other thing is I believe the GB always brings in the other organs into an attack which I think is why each of us suffers differently.

    I was so glad to have had Endoscopy and Colon because at 56 I found out that my bowel and stomach look very good for my age!!!   Yayyyyyyyy

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    • Posted

      When I eat basically nothing but white rice and steamed vegetables my symptoms calm down. I haven't had a dairy product of any kind in months. I work in the trades so im on construction sites all day and not being able to eat much is taking a toll on my energy as well. From what i understand my hida result of 33% isn't all that low? Is that low enough to be causing all the symptoms? Maybe the sludge combined with the lowish output is just setting off a chain reaction in my digestive system and thats why I have the pain in the stomach and all that? Also congrats on the pristine colon and stomach at 56. 

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    • Posted

      My HIDA scan results were at 31% and once the gallbladder was out it showed I had chronic cholecystitis. Bloods never showed anything and neither did endoscopy. There are people whose pain is in the centre or left. And yes gastritis and gallbladder issues are linked as well. I think if the ppi are not helping and you’ve already tried such a big diet change to no real affect then it’s definitely worth looking into getting the gallbladder out xx
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    • Posted

      Thanks. I am definitely leaning towards having it removed. I have a followup with my gastro in a couple days and I'll probably be making a decision then. The PPIs work for the heartburn but my stomach pain is different than my normal brand of heartburn and the PPIs dont do much to help it. Your 31% is close to my 33% so its nice to hear from someone who's been is the same boat. 

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  • Posted

    I work in construction and im lifting between 50 and 80 pounds continuously throughout the day and climbing up and down ladders and hanging steel pipe in awkward positions. Is there anyone else here who does similar work that has had their gallbladder removed? If so how long did it take for you to return to work? 
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