Gall Stones or what?

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For several years now I have had discomfort that I just put down to age/not being fit/overweight. I have also had bouts of heartburn. A few months ago the discomfort would start like it always had, then worsen, I would usually suffer from nausea and sometimes actually be sick. Last March, it suddenly became much worse. Cramping feeling starting under right ribs then travelling around body with a cramping in back then on around until chest completely hurting. Agony. I went to GP who said sounds like gall stones - have some medicine for heartburn for 4 weeks to see if it helps. Well, I didn't have it again for about 3 months - well nothing other than slight discomfort I had experienced for years. Then about 3 months ago - it was BAD. I was sick for 3 days barely able to get out of bed - in severe pain - right side and back and throwing up with very loose bowels as well. Went back to GP and she arranged for a scan to see if there were gall stones. Scan done, found "sludge" and one stone. Had blood work and it showed liver function abnormal. She then arranged for me to see a consultant and I went to the appointment today. After this, I had something else - I thought it was related but GP said probably a virus. I was sick for about 12 days with vomiting and all the rest. I was very ill. And still don't feel completely OK.

The consultant introduced himself and said so you are here for a "tummy ache". I said "I think I have gall stones" he said no no, you do have gall stones but that may not be the problem. Lots of statistics came at me, a couple of questions about heartburn, where I felt the pains. I said yes I get heartburn and pain starts under right ribs. Up on the table - he poked my LEFT side and middle just at top of stomach area - did NOT touch left side. Then said that I would need to take medicine to treat reflux. Then he looked at other notes and mentioned the abnormal liver function and said you will need an MRI. He said that if meds for heartburn and changing diet (no spicey/no heavy meals at night etc) and elevating head of my bed didn't work he would get me to see someone that specialises in (?think this is correct) - gastroenterology? And he would see me in about 2 or 3 months to discuss what would happen next.

So if it isn't gall stones, what could it be? Can heartburn/reflux alone cause that severe pain that I get? I didn't ask as many questions as I should have during the appointment, mainly because the man was one of those arrogant types that sort of talk down to you in a very obvious way, and I did not feel comfortable asking him any more questions.

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  • Posted

    Yeah you need to see a Gastroenterologists. A stingy Duodenum can feel like Gallbladder problems smile You need to go on a very low fat diet, fat makes your Gallbladder contract / spasm causing pain, also since your liver function is abnormal fat can make you vomit smile
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  • Posted

    It sounds like gallstones to me your symptoms are exactly same as mine I have gallstone in neck of gallbladder hence constant right sided pain and in back with really bad heartburn/wind type pain in shoulders. I've seen the consultant and I'm having my gallbladder removed next week. Will be relieved when it's done with and I'm pain free.
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  • Posted

    Well, I had the MRI in December and today received a letter that said the test showed the gallstone but no evidence of any problems in the ducts and that blood tests were getting better.

    However, I also got another letter telling me to report to the "Colorectal Clinic" in February. No other information in the letter. Will this be for some further tests or is it even related to this problem.

    Also, if they are saying that gallstones are not causing my pains, what is causing them? I have been taking the omeprazole etc and that does get rid of the heartburn - but I still get the pains in my sides and back.

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  • Posted

    It sounds like you have symptoms very similar to what I had. I had a very severe bout which caused liver function problems (likely due to bile duct blockage) and ended up having a cholecystectomy just over a year ago. Still have pain occasionally. Not sure of cause but magnesium/calcium seems to help. I was not keen to have surgery but I think it has helped.
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  • Posted

    Hi Dorcas

    sounds like you had same gastro dr as me, mine was like that arrogant and intimidating. It does sound like gallbladder but there is also a condition called sphincter of oddi dysfunction. Cause unknown but most people who have it have some form of digestive problem.If you google it you might be able to see if your symptoms are similar. I have oesphagitis & divertivular disease of bowel & sphincter oddi which started after I passed a stone ( they think).For some reason gastro drs dont seem interested in these type of problems.

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  • Posted

    Well, I have done everything the consultant asked me to, cut down on fat, citrus taken the medication for heartburn and while overall I am better than I was for the whole of September, October, November & December (2013), I still get sporadic pains. I had a really bad bout just over a week ago - I was away from home and in a hotel, so it was a bit of a nightmare. Since then I am having the lighter pains more frequently and last night, even with the meds I had horrible heartburn.

    I went to GP about 4 weeks ago and told her what consultant had said - that it most likely wasn't due to the gallstones and she literally rolled her eyes! She told me that we would need to keep an open mind about that and to record when pains happen as well as what I had eaten etc.

    Anyway, I am no further forward than I was a year ago!

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  • Posted

    OK. After my last visit to consultant, things had been almost back to normal - only a few small incidents that didn't last too long. Then suddenly 4 days ago, the pain started again. I haven't had pain quite like this before. It is just under the edge of my ribs on the right side but instead of a constant pain, it s stabbing an lasts about 5 seconds and then comes back somtimes as quickly as every 2 minutes. Ended up going to A&E after 2 days of this of course all they could do was give me painkillers. Went to my NHS GP yesterday and all she did was sort of sympathize, so I asked her for a referral letter so I can go to a private hospital. We have insurance, so that isn't the problem - the problem I have is that unless I want to go privately to the same consultant that seems to think my pains are due to heartburn, I have to travel over 100 miles for a consultation and then again that far for any treatment. After 4 days of these unrelenting pains, I am at end of rope here. Can't do anything moe than just sit around or lie down.
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