Could gallstones grow in the span of 3 years?

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi there, first off here is some background.

I'm a 29 year old female (current weight 152lbs, I've gained just under 10 lbs over this past winter heh..) whose grandmother had her gallbladder out in the past. I'm a vegetarian and am cutting way back on fried foods and dairy. 

I've had stomach issues since I was a kid that I always associated with anxiety/possible IBS and/or just a sensitive stomach. My issues normally involve loose stools and stomach cramps, along with bloating/gas. I also sometimes experience early satiety.

 Three years ago, after a long day at an outdoor music festival where I consumed too much alcohol and not enough food, I woke up in severe abdominal pain, located on the right side. I went to the ER and received fluids and an ultrasound to rule out pancreatitis (and gallstones I would assume) and was told everything looked fine. I was told I could have an ulcer and was sent home with medication for heartburn.

Since that visit I've been having pains occasionally but it's different from what I felt when I was in the ER. My pain is more centrally located as opposed to being on the right side. It's not right under the ribs but a bit further down. It feels like churning acid, rumbling, and crampiness. My stomach becomes very painful and distended. Strangely, I feel the urge to eat something during this time, as if it's pushing along the excess acid. 

Sometimes it happens after meals, sometimes randomly. It does occur in the evening most frequently but can happen during the day as well. Sometimes I'll have weeks of it flaring up on and off, then other times I'll feel totally fine.

I've also been having increased attacks where I have to run to the bathroom, and I experience explosive and painful bms. I see this as a different kind of attack that don't occur at the same time as the upper abdominal attacks. 

I finally went to my doc and she referred me for an ultrasound to rule out a gallbladder issue which I wasn't expecting because I personally wouldn't have thought that would be a possible cause. I always assumed gallbladder attacks happened out of the blue very quickly and were very painful. I experience discomfort for sure, but nothing too intense that prevents me from eating or living my life.

 My question is, if my ultrasound I got three years didn't show any gallstones (I would assume they would have told me if I had them then) would it be possible for them to have formed and gotten large enough in three years time to be causing me problems?

Has anyone experienced similar symptoms but no stones were shown on their ultrasound?  Did you get a different diagnosis?

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Obsolutely, I had all the issues that you mentioned. I did ultrasound in 2011, no gallstones.but HIDA scan showed I have a gallbladder where it has stopped working. I did not remove gallbladder, in 2017 got severe diarrhea, burping, bloating.This time ultrasound showed multiple gallstones.
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  • Posted

    I think so yes... I was diagnosed with "probably" an ulcerated stomach as there seemed no other explanation after a clear ultrasound my symptoms were fairly similar to yours. 2 years later, a second ultrasound and I have a gallbladder "full" of stones. smile

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  • Posted

    Ultrasound doesnt always pick up gallstones. It did in my case but if there’s gas in your system, or the stones are very small or you have sludge, chances are it wouldnt pick them up. They do ultrasound first because it’s cheaper than other methods of scanning.

    Apparently  gallstones are like trees ,if you cut one open you can see how old they are from the layers deposited. 

    It is entirely possible that you’re not experiencing intense pain if your gallstones arent too advanced. Maybe ask to be referred again? Ultrasound may well pick them up this time or they could refer you for a CT or MRI scan.

    Many digestive issues have similar symptoms so you may well have an ulcer. Whatever is wrong, it needs to be investigated.

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