Does this sound like a gallbladder issue?

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I'm 37 yrs old and I've been suffering with chronic upper right quadrant pain for over 2 yrs now. I've had various tests consisting of a 3ultrasound scans, 1 ct scan, endoscopy, chest xray and 3 routine blood tests. All have come back completely normal apart from a gallbladder polyp which showed up in my first ultrasound. The polyp is 6mm and no change was detected in my last ultrasound 8 months ago. My flare ups of pain have got steadily worse over the past two years and have become more frequent. During the past couple of months I've had pain just about every day. The pain has always been a dull ache under my right rib that is also felt in my back around the same area. More recently I've also felt pain higher up in my chest and around my right shoulder blade. I've visited my G.P who didn't seem too concerned about my symptoms and thinks my pain could be more psychological. I do eat a lot of fat and always have done but I'm a little under weight and always have been so I feel I need the calories. It's hard to pinpoint if food is a trigger because every meal I eat consists of some forms of fat. I'm feeling rather depressed about the pain now which has never been agonising but it's the duration of pain and not knowing the cause of it which gets me down. Does any of this sound familiar to anyone else?

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  • Posted

    Ok, its often difficult for medics to pinpoint exactly what causes upper abdo pain as many things mimic one another and they sometimes hesitate to remove gallbladders until they have exhausted all possibilities, after all you cannot have it put back and although it is not essential to life, there can be drawbacks to life without yr Gb, you only have to look online to see how many people are complaining about after effects and many of these may have had other causes for their pain before and after gb removal. That said, many folk are also OK after and glad to be rid of the pain.

    Polyps can hurt in other parts of the body, so maybe yrs is causing yr symptoms.

    If you could try not eating fats that have long chain fatty acids, but instead have other types of fat, that may benefit you, as some research has concluded the long chain ones are the main offenders. (You can look up what they are online). However many ppl get gb pain from other sorts of food and drink, not only fats. Eating a lot of fat with gb problems may result in it not even being absorbed if you have not got enough bile being stored or released, so it could not help your weight in this case as the fat molecules are too big to go through the gut wall into blood without bile to break them down. Taking supplements might help, for example lecithin or bile salts and enzymes helps some ppl with fat digestion in both pre and post op times. Or can you just try low fat for a short period to see if fat is a trigger for you, and make up your calories with good carbs instead?Maybe you could ask for a HIDA scan to check if yr Gb is functional or not? If you are in a lot of pain, then going back to your dr is needed as we should not have to put up with it, though so many of us with digestive issues seem to.  Good luck and take care.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for you for taking the time to reply. I'm going to schedule an appointment with my G.P and in the meantime I'm going to try to avoid high fat/sugary refined foods and try to eat cleaner foods focusing on good carbs and more fruit/ veg to see if this makes a difference. I definitely wouldn't want my gallbladder removed unless it was absolutely necessary. I've heard of a HIDA scan but not sure if they are available on the NHS. Thanks again for your advice.
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  • Posted

    Hi, Katie, sorry to learn you're having these difficulties.  Cynthis is correct.  I also want to suggest that you ask for a referral to a consultant.  Just because your gp doesn't think a polyp is a matter of concern doesn't mean it's not.  Polyps can become malignant. Pain is a symptom that something is amiss.  I would not ignore it.  If you have issues, it might be better to insist that your physicians assist you in sorting it.  Just the doctor implying "it's all in your head" really is an indication to me that he's not willing to help and thinks that you're becoming "troublesome." Those are far from appropriate responses.  Best of luck, and let us know how you do.
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    • Posted

      Hello Lynda, thankfully I was referred straight to a consultant gastrologist when the polyp first showed up. My polyp is being monitored yearly. I'm due to have another routine ultrasound in October. The consultant was adamant that the polyp couldn't be the cause of my pain and there were no other physical indicators that showed up on any of my tests that could be the cause of my pain. He suggested my gp refer me to a pain management clinic. However the pain in my shoulder blade is a new symptom and I just have this gut feeling my gallbladder is to blame. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree completely but two years of pain without any answers is wearing me down. I've also tried various different painkillers but nothing seems to work and the last lot made me feel like a zombie. I'll make an appointment with my GP but sometimes I just feel like I'm being a nuisance even though they are very understanding.
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    • Posted

      Hi, Katie,  Good to know you're going to make an appointment with your gp.  Just because the consultant tells you a polyp shouldn't cause pain doesn't mean that's true.  I have fatty liver disease, now in a mild form.  When it was bad, I could for sure feel pain sensations in my liver and my gastroenterologist told me that it was impossible, that the nerves in the gut "just can't" sense pain.  So, I got on line about it and people wrote into sites saying that they felt sensations of pain and pressure in their livers!  Sometimes, what "medicine" deems to be true isn't true! I think some doctors aren't wired to "look" after an easy answer doesn't present itself.  Frankly, being understanding is nice, but they may be just "patting you on your head."  Understanding isn't helping you, because they're actually making no real effort to assist you. You could ask for a referral to a specialist who does internal medicine. They seem to be better versed and more concerned.  Good luck! xx  
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