Could this be my gallbladder???

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I am a 45 year old female, of normal weight.  For the past three weeks, I have been having symptoms which could be related to my gallbladder.  But they come and go, so I'm not sure if that's normal.

1. Not horrible pain, but a gnawing ache below my right ribs.  This comes and goes and has actually been gone for the past 4 days.

2. I feel like there is something bumping against my right rib when I sit certain ways.

3. Pain that is on my right side of my neck some days, and some days it is on or under my right shoulder blade, and some days it's in my right, mid back. It has also been on my right shoulder.  It's never horrible pain, but definitely uncomfortable.

4. TERRIBLE heartburn that has just started this past week.  I never usually get heartburn, so it's werid. Plus, nothing seems to help it.  Not zantac, tums, etc.  It's a terrible burning.  This comes and goes too, but it's there more than it's not for the past week.

I do not ever have nausea or extreme pain. I also do not have diarrhea or any change in my bms (color or otherwise).  I have been eating low fat for the past few weeks and sometimes I am pain free for 3-4 days, then it returns. 

I thought that gallstones caused extreme pain where people ended up in the ER.  I only had really bad pain one night and it was under my right shoulder blade.  I couldn't sleep with it, so I took a Tylenol with codeine and it made it better.

Does this sound like it could be gallbladder related?  I am thinking it may be time to go to the dr this week.  Just don't want to go with "mild" symptoms.

Thanks!

 

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  • Posted

    Hi janecat71!

    In short, yes.  It could be your gallbladder.  My initial attacks felt like heartburn/gas.  It felt like if I could just burp a few times I would feel better, or if some Tums or some other anti-acid medication kicked in it would be totally fine except that it wasn't.  I tried them all and nothing helped.  I went to my doctor and he put me on a prescription of Prevacid and it did nothing.  I finally Googled and realized that since my symptoms were almost always at night (which is a big indicator of gallbladder issues apparently) I needed to have my gallbladder checked.  I'm the one who brought it up to him and he didn't think that was it but sent me for an ultrasound anyway.  Turned out it was full of stones.  The pain doesn't happen all the time, the attacks were only occasionally but they became more and more frequent and more and more painful.  The final one I had before my surgery hurt so bad I could barely breathe (I was panting) and made me vomit from the pain (and I have a high pain tolderance, didn't need pain medication at all after my surgery, tooth extraction, childbirth, chronic migraines, etc.).  I would definitely get it checked out.

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    • Posted

      Hi Heather and thank you for responding so quickly!

      I haven't noticed that my symptoms are worse at night.  They definitely don't wake me up or anything.  

      Since you've had it out, have you felt better?  Did your heartburn go away?  I have a friend who had hers out about 15 years ago and she had terrible diarrhea for a long time, but it finally subsided.

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    • Posted

      I had mine out almost 6 years ago now.  I have definitely felt better.  For most of that 6 years I've been able to live a completely normal life outside of having to run to the bathroom relatively quickly after a particularly fatty meal.  However, in the last 2-3 months I've started having a dull, aching pain in my side side under the ribs when I eat anything too fatty.  Now I've basically gone on an extremely low or no-fat diet and since then I'm perfectly fine.  Even when I do eat a lot of fat I don't have pain like I used to.  I would do it over again in a heartbeat if I had to make the decision again.  Good luck!

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  • Posted

    Hi Jame,

    That's how my symptoms started. I had the worst heartburn and I had never hs heartburn before. Islam hs what I thought were regular stomach aches and backaches. In reality, they were gallbladder attacks.

    I kept dealing with it for a few months, and then the heartburn became much worse making me nauseaus. I went in for a total Abdomen Ultrasound which showed that my gallbladder was full of stones. I just hadmy surgery on 8/19, and the best part is that the heartburn went away immediately.

    The 2nd and 3rd day of the surgery were the most uncomfortable, but everyday gets a bit better. I am a little over a week out and am going back to work on Mon 8/29. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer. Best of luck to you

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    • Posted

      Hi Laurie,

      It amazes me that so many people with gallstones have heartburn.  I wonder why that is??  I'm so glad to hear that your heartburn went away.  It's so awful.  The burning is terrible.  

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    • Posted

      Hi Jane,

      From why they told me, the gallbladder holds the alkaline bile. If that bile isn't flowing out of your gallbladder properly, you then have nothing but acid. The acid backs up and causes the heartburn. I am so happy not to have that anymore. I wish you the best of luck diagnosing your exact problem, but I would start with the Ultrasound. It was the best test for diagnosing the gallbladder issue. I can't tell you how much better I feel since it was removed.

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    • Posted

      That makes sense. I can't stand this heartburn. I only drank one little cup of coffee this morning, and I've been on fire ever since. And it was decaf Sumantra coffee (low acid). I do think it's strange that I'm not having the pain under my ribs, shoulder or back anymore. Now it's just heartburn. I have been eating really low fat, so maybe that's why.

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    • Posted

      Jane,

      The doctor actually told me to take Prilosec for two weeks before I had my surgery date. That actually helped a lot, but it's not a medication you want to stay on long term. It really did take away that horrible heartburn though. The only other advice I would give you is to stick with the low fat diet, which does take down the symptoms a notch while you're waiting for your answers.

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    • Posted

      Unfortunately, I can't take PPIs like Prilosec because they give me terrible headaches. I went thru a bout of heartburn about 4 years ago and had to take Zantac every morning and night until it went away. This time, Zantac doesn't seem to help much, but I'm taking it anyway.

      And yes, I will stick to low fat and stop the coffee because I know that doesn't help.

      Thanks for all your help and advice. I'll update you after seeing my Dr this week.

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    • Posted

      Yes, please let me know how you're doing Jane- since I'm only a little over a week out from surgery, it's all pretty fresh. If you run into any issues, please let me know. You will be so happy to get rid of the symptoms😊

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  • Posted

    I get pain at top of abdomen that travels towards my throat and into my back. Im waiting to have gallblader removed. Does anybody else get rhese symptoms?
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    • Posted

      Sadie, 

      Yes, I do get what feels mostly like burning and some pain that is from my throat to my abdomen.  I do get back pain sometimes too. For me, it changes constantly.  I still haven't gone to the dr, but I think I am going to this week.

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