Can you remove gallstones rather than the gallbladder?

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I was diagnosed with gallstones and an enlarged liver back in April of 2015 via ultrasound, and had intermittent upper stomach pain and back pain with them. It was typically mild pain as long as I could sit down and rest, it would go away. Yesterday I had my same mild gallstone pain, but after a few minutes it became severe pain in my back in upper abdomen. I've never experienced that before. I started sweating some and my heart rate got higher, but after about 15 minutes, it went away. I had another attack at 6am this morning for about 10 minutes with the severe upper back pain and no position would relieve it, it just faded after about 10 mins of suffering and I went back to sleep. I'm scared by those. I was already referred to a gastro and general surgeon who all said to get my gallbladder removed back in the summer, and I did fine, but now it is starting to concern me. I don't plan on getting it removed because of all the horror stories, but my great grandfather had his stones removed and did wonderful. I was wondering if removing the stones would improve me? I also have everyday chronic nausea I thought was caused by gallstones, but I am unsure. I am getting a CT scan of the Abdomen on Thursday, I hope. All my blood, liver, and pancreatic tests were fine when they were tested a few weeks ago by my regular doctor. I burp a lot, too...and have quite a few annoying stomach issues here and there, but I was also wondering if gallstones can cause chronic nausea? I don't eat that well, and eat some junk food, but I do try and exercise every few days. 

I take probiotics, and just recently started eating yogurt, so I'm trying to improve my diet to see if it might help my gallstones. 

I have only been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which is in regular range thanks to meds, and high thyroid antibodies, along with the gallstones and enlarged liver of 18cm. 

I am a 21 year old female, 5'8" in height and about 210lbs (overweight, but I used to be in the 300lbs and started exercising) non-smoker and non-drinker. 

If anyone could shed any light on my issues, I would greatly appreciate it. Gallbladder removal, Gallstone removal, and chronic nausea? 

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  • Posted

    Hi there, these days they do not remove stones unless one is stuck in a bile duct because it's highly likely your gallbladder will just make more. If you are having attacks then you will have more. You are young and most gallbladder ops go absolutely fine. Believe me, I was in your situation having minor attacks for about three years and then one massive attack put me in hospital for nine days. I was very poorly. I don't ever want to go through that pain again so I'm eager to get of my gallbladder as soon as I can. The wait to have it done is a long one. It's only my advice but I would go see someone asap and get on the list. Don't wait until you've suffered a bad attack because when you do, not likely if, your gallbladder will be very sick and the wait seems to be even longer. Getting on 4 months for me now and still no date and stuck on a less than 3% fat diet in the meantime. They don't operate when you have acute symptoms so if I suffer another attack I'll be put right back. As I say, just my advice but it's up to you. You are young and the odds are you will be fine but with a sick gallbladder you will won't be.
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    • Posted

      I've heard it will make more, but my relative who had the stones out never made anymore once he changed his diet. I was wondering if I could just get the stones out, and then go on a very healthy diet as he did and maybe I wouldn't make anymore. That sounds terrible! I'm afraid that's how I'll end up. Minor attacks and then one severe one! I'm not sure how long the wait is here, but I could have had it out in the same week I saw the surgeon, but I'm so scared! It's so hard to decide. I'm not very confident in US doctors, most are a bunch of quacks who don't know much about the gallblader itself anyway. 
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  • Posted

    I was where you are this Fall.  I was having attacks once a week.. then got diagnosed with small gallstones, sludge and inflammation of the GB.  I consulted natureopathic doctor, took supplements and trying to change diet.  But, its hard to stay strict all the time.  Christmas Eve with overeating and rich foods, landed me in ER. Got pain meds and got sent home,, Within 2 more days of being sick at home, back into ER.. End up getting admitted into hospital, and a surgery.  I end up with high white blood count, meaning infection...  I highly reccomend getting it out.  After being so sick for so long, and a month post surgery, I am feeling so much healthier.  After now, I have heard horror storries of ones having greater health problems from not getting it out. If your having so many unhealthy symptoms. Get it out.. You will be happy you did, Good Luck..
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    • Posted

      I was wondering about the sludge. Some weeks my nausea will ease up and I wonder if the sludge is less in my GB, while some weeks my nausea is severe. What kind of tests did they use to diagnose you? I've heard about the HIDA scan in seeing how well the GB functions, but I've yet to ask my doctor about it. I don't think it's very popular among the other tests. It is very hard to stay on such a low fat diet! Especially for someone like me who loves pizza! The last time I was in the hospital was when I was born in 1994! So I'm very spooked with the surgery, and after all the negatives I've heard, it's hard to convince me. Thank you!
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    • Posted

      I had an ultrasound done and a cat scan. I didnt do a hida scan, because I had a high white blood count, and its what is called a hot GB,  basically, infection.  Its all up to you, depending how you feel. Some people can get terribly sick with this .  A friend of mine lost a friend from it actually rupturing. So, please be careful, and if it gets worse, go in ASAP.
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  • Posted

    Hi,

    yes, many though not all of us, have the constant nausea and gas with gb issues, I also get the fast heart rate and sweating/shaking, low blood sugars - it is horrible isn't it? They tend not remove just the stones in the UK nowadays anyway as they reckon that that if the gb has made stones, it would already be dysfunctional and will make fiurther stones/ cause problems again. But in some countries I believe they may sometimes remove stones and not the whole thing. If stones have escaped and got stuck in the bile ducts, then they can be removed by ERCP procedure - via endoscope - (usually) and then they will take out the gb later in most cases. Your scan should help to clarify what is going on, hopefully and your Dr will no doubt discuss with you again.  Low fat is definitely the way to eat with this to help avoid attacks, although for me even low fat is not working now - I'm waiting for another appt to see what happens next. Good luck and take care,

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    • Posted

      I thought I was the only one! It's terrible! Kind of ruined my life, but I still try to be positive. I'm not in the US, but in the US, they're just as bad. Have one stone? They want it removed. They want it removed before they even know if there is a stone. It's become like the whole "remove your tonsils" thing.  My relative who only had his stones removed did very well after surgery, because he was fed a strict diet. I'd be willing to do that if it would get rid of the nausea and stomach problems! I just see so many horror stories about post gallbladder removal, I'm completely against it so far. Hopefully my CT scan will show what else is going on if anything! I've had some annoying stomach bug recently. It went away for 5 days, but now it's back, so that only irritates my gallbladder. So tired of stomach issues!! Have you ever tried Apple Cider Vinegar for gallstone attacks? I used it last year before I went on a big trip to NY and I was pain free the whole time, and it even reduced my nausea. The ACV is kind of gag worthy taste wise, but try one teaspoon with a bottle of water is what I do! It works pretty well, sometimes not so much. But if you haven't tried this method, I'd try! Good luck to you!
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    • Posted

      I also tried ACV, it helped some. But, I also, went on a stricter diet before surgery, and I did postpone surgery for 2 months, thinking I was going to heal myself. I also went on a legume diet, I hate about 1/3 cup of beans about 6 times a day.  Any kinds of legumes, as black, kidney, northern, etc...  It is suppose to help ur liver produce more bile, to push out the old bile from ur GB.  But, as soon as I fell off my strictness of foods, it all just came back.  Good Luck to You
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    • Posted

      Hi Elizabeth, I have not heard of a legume diet for this, that is new to me. ACV I thought might be counterproductive as I'm having PPI meds to reduce acid (don't like PPI - side effects but I have also got hiatus hernia and reflux and this is the prescribed med).

      I'm glad to hear you are better after removal of yr gb. You do hear the negative stories more as people are more likely to report these after all.

      I hate the thought of surgery and anaesthesia so much but could be the best option, as rarely do very symptomatic gallbladders seem to resolve on their own unfortunately.

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    • Posted

      Have you ever heard of Milk Thistle? As a supplement, I've heard it's supposed to really support a healthy liver and possibly gallbladder. I've yet to try it, but I was wondering if any other gallstone sufferers have used it? Sounds like a strict diet, It'd be hard for me to keep up with it because I eat out a lot. sad
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  • Posted

    I also, have to say, 1 month post surgery. I feel good. Very little pre symptoms.  Very little food irritations. Digestion seems to be pretty normal too. 
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    • Posted

      So you had yours out? That's great that you're doing well. What is your diet like post op? One lady I was friends with had to become vegetarian after the surgery because she couldn't tolerate any meat! 

      Who knew such tiny/medium stones could cause such a hassle! I'm so frustrated with them. Thanks for the info! 

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    • Posted

      My diet is as normal as anybody. I havnt experienced any one food that gives me any trouble. Yes, overeating might give indigestion, but that does to everyone. 
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  • Posted

    Just to highlight the low fat diet again. When you eat fat your gallbladder contracts and expels the bile it stores to break down the fat. That is when you risk the gallbladder spitting them out. Large stones can get stuck in the neck of the gallbladder causing the pain, smaller stones can get stuck or irritate the bile duct. So an extremely low fat diet is a must. I was told less than 3% fat but others here say they have been told no fat. If you want to avoid surgery then that is where you have to start but if you go from eating very low fat then eat something very high fat, you will most likely have an attack.
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    • Posted

      Wow! That sounds sooo painful. I do eat a fatty diet, one of my relatives had gallstones, and I lost weight pretty quickly a few years ago, and i also take the pill, which I've heard increases your risk of developing gallstones. I've heard under 4 grams of fat per day, which is pretty much impossible unless you want to just eat air. haha 

      It's so hard to decide what to do about this! I wish I would have never developed them! arg. Thank you!

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