For those of you with gallbladder problems but no stones

Posted , 12 users are following.

Hello Friends, I am in quite a state of here and would love some advice.

The back history is, I had laparoscopic surgery Dec. 12, 2014 to remove a fluid filled cyst, left ovary and fallopian tube. I recovered quite quickly and was doing well. One month after surgery I had some stomach pain up high, near my sternum. It went away quickly and I didn't think anything of it. Then 2 months after my surgery I had diarreah a couple of times and I had pain BOTH up high at my sterum area and near the bottom of my right rib cage. As the days progessed the pain got worse. (But never *really bad* pain, I want to make that clear, never "doubled over, horrible pain"). I had one night of a fever of 102.5 and I vomited that night (dry heaves actually since I hadn't ate much). 

I had gone to the emergency room (before the fever had happened) and they did a quick ultrasound and blood work and said everything was fine and gave me PPI to take for 2 weeks. I did and I was a bit better, but then that fever thing happened and the pain continued. 

I got more PPI from my general doctor and I got a "real" abdominal ultrasound and it came back nomal. I had diarreah when I returned home from that appointment. I got a barium swallow and that was normal, no hiatal hernia.

My symptoms have worsened. I can no longer walk any distance because the pain gets worse when I walk. I get the worst BLOATING after eating. Like I could burst. The pressure is so intense that I can't sit, I must lay down. I get stabbing pains near the breast bone, and aching pains on the right side by my ribs. It's one or the other or both. I get nausea on and off, but the pressure and pain are the main symptoms.

Sometimes it feels like a tight band wrapped around my ribs.

I have no answers because they say I have no gallstones. I am going to be going to a GI doctor as soon as they call with the appointment. 

Any help here would be appreciated.

Does it sound like a gallbladder problem even though I don't have stones?

DO you have pain up at the sternum?

Do you have orange colored stools? (Mine are always a light orange, not pale like what is usually said)

I'm so scared! I don't want to do anymore tests and I don't want another operation sad

My stomach feels so BLOATED like I could burst. This happens 

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi lilygirl, You have a lot going on! You have my sympathies - GI troubles and pain are NOT easy and they are NOT all in your head :-)

    first of all, i have had symptoms similar to yours. I had my gb removed without any stones. My HIDA scan showed an ejection fraction rate of 97%, so my gb was pumping out all the bile it was storing and causing yellow diarrhea.

    if I had known it was possible before, i would have looked up Habba syndrome and tried Questran BEFORE removing my gb. It might have saved me a surgery.

    Second, I am on high doses of Aciphex for gastritis that may or may not be related to bile acid reflux. I know it is worse when I dont take the Questran.

    in any case, your symptoms sound A LOT like what I have been going through and it could be related to bile acid problems. I would recommend asking your doc about taking maybe a 1/3 dose of Questran a day and seeing if it eases your symptoms. You might be surprised! Please feel free to message me if you would like to chat!

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  • Posted


    I have been having agonising pains at any time of the day and night for the last seven months - my ultrasound came back clear and I was treated with PPI's at high doses for three months.  I finally demanded to see a gastroenterologist who immediately suspected gallbladder problems and ordered a HIDA scan which is a radionuclear scan where they inject you with a tiny amount of radioactive material and then proceed to scan you liver and gallbladder over a period of about 2 hours - it tells them whether your gallbladder is working or not.  A normal result is considered to be over 39 - mine was working at 9% and the consultant thinks that my gallbladder is full of sludge which can't be seen on an ordinary ultrasound and is also full of scar tissue due to chronic inflammation.  I am due to have it out on Friday and can't wait to be rid of it. 

    So it is possible to have horrendous problems with your gallbladder with identical symptoms to those with gallstones yet no stones show up on your ultrasound.  Best advice is for you to request a HIDA scan and take things from there.

    Hope you get answers to your problem soon.

    Best wishes

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    • Posted

      I think I will probably be having the HIDA scan after I meet with the gastro doctor. May I ask, Did you have any pain or sickness during the HIDA scan? I am so scared of it.
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  • Posted

    In the middle of the HIDA scan you are either given another injection or a fatty drink to stimulate you gallbladder to contract - this can cause some pain similar to that when having a biliary attack.  In my case I had a fatty drink which caused some colicky type pains and when I returned home I felt  sick and vomited a couple of times and my stomach was blown up like a ballon and gurgling constantly for several hours - I'm not sure whether other people have experienced this.  The sickness subsided over night and I've just been left with the usual pain that I've been having from the start. Try not to worry as its not really a test to get frightened about - there are not supposed to be any side effects from the initial injection.  I would say the worst part of it was having to lie completely still for two hours on a bed that was anything but comfortable. 

    Best Wishes

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  • Posted

    Have you had any blood work done for liver or pancreatic issues? Do you have any auto immune disease? I had major bloating, nausea, etc., and had blood work done for autoimmune disorders. I tested positive and suffer with stomach inflamation. Certain foods can aggravate, too much food can too, some meds can help but also carry risk of side effects. Its a balancing act for me.
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    • Posted

      I have had blood work done, I know when I was in emerg they tested my pancreas and it was okay. I do have some autoimmune problems, I have been wondering if it is that too. Do you know what tests I should ask for?
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  • Posted

    Why hasn't your  Doctor done an upper GI (endoscopy)?

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  • Posted

    I just want you to know your not alone and your not crazy ive been dealing with very similar issues and tests etc. Im scheduled yo have my gall bladder out even though my tests are normal as well i throw up daily my bowels have orangeish all around it which i was told is probably bile.

    Do you see a chiropractor or anything?

    I was told the uric acid comes out of joints tissues

    Etc.if u don't stay hydrated to flush acid out quickly then acid does what acid does...My test results for blood urine etc are normal

    Im barely able to walk for what ever reason my feet and my legs cant handle it my legs are so tender and kinda rashy same with my hands and arms long story short, im Freaking miserable!

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  • Posted

    You sound like someone who has lost stones into your duodendum.  It is important to have a scan that looks for them somewhere other than your gallbladder as the rest of your digestive system does not have protection from the strong bile resistant  coating your gallbladder has.  I'm not a doctor but it isn't that uncommon to lose stones during a gallbladder removal.


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  • Posted

    I had my gallbladder removed yesterday. I went 2+ years with symptoms, and without gallstones. Essentially I had problems, whenever my gallbladder was sending out CCK, which is a hormone that tells your gallbladder to contract, it would cause terrible pain. So my gallbladder was essentially attacking itself. Keep searching for answers, when I had my gallbladder removed, it was severely inflamed, and was white and fatty. It took me YEARS to find a surgeon willing to do the surgery!
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