Gallstone/bladder pain or Sphincter of oddi dysfunction - How can I tell what problem I have??

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I have been diagnosed with a 2cm gallstone which gives me BIG trouble and defered 3 operations. However, I have heard of a condition called Sphincter of oddi dysfunction which has the same symptoms. Problem is how do you differentiate between the two? If I do go ahead and have my gallbladder removed and have SOD, then I am left without a gallbladder and still in pain!! So, can anyone tell me the best way for me to eliminate SOD.

My pain always starts in the centre of my stomach (just below breast bone) , raitates left then to right and then goes around my right side and up to my shoulder. I am most tender in the centre as opposed to the right side.

I can still eat most things but black coffee, cordial, melted cheese, pastry warmed and eating too much brings on my attacks. Funny thing is that I can still eat Fish & Chips (only from certain shops), hard cheese, butter, plain crisps and most things that contain fat....but if I eat too much then thats when I will have an attack. I also find that after having my evening meal (which can contain fat) and lounging on the sofa seems to bring on an attack. So really it SOD or Gallbladder.....its over to you for some help! Thanks  confused


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  • Posted

    Hi if you have been diagonosed with gall stones i would trust in that.Your symptoms sound very much like gall stones.I had my gall bladder out about 6 years ago and it was the best thing to do.Its not a bad operation and the recovery is about a chronic pain just a couple of painkillers for the discomfort.Like you i could eat most things,but the attacks got closer and closer together,which made me go to the doctors.If i was you i would trust the doctors and have the operation.If i was still doubtful i would discuss my concerns with the doctor.Best of luck.
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  • Posted

    My gallstones is 11cm and waiting surgery, had never heard of sod till today. But due to having IBS, Severe diverticulitis and Barretts Oesophagus was on the fodmap diet which has helped eliminate fatty foods, not an easy thing to start off with but manageable. It also helps cut out wheat and glueton. You introduce food items slowly once you have been on It for 3 days. It's wort a go.

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  • Posted

    I think SOD is fairly rare and is only considered after a sick gall bladder is removed.  I guess once the lining of the gall bladder is scarred from irritation and/or infection, it cannot go back to functioning normally.  Did your doctor tell you your gall bladder could rupture? or get an infection that leaks into your abdomen? Also, the bile can back up into your liver and you can end up with a dead liver.  This happened to my friends dad.  My friend donated some of his liver to his dad to save his life.  I hope you will get your gall bladder out and save your self a lot of pain and risk.  I had mine out after trying to cope with recent gall bladder disease over a period of six months and the stones had grown much worse, even though I was eating a low fat diet and exercising.  I know a surgery is scary but I feel much better even with the post op spasms after eating pork.  I recently bought some vegetarian digestive enzymes.  I will see if that helps but so far, eating too fast and eating pork are what bring on the burning pain that is like a mini gall bladder attack.  I am scheduled for an ultra sound next week to rule out stones in my liver.  Apparently about 20% of people still have some discomfort after a gall bladder surgery.  Other wise I feel MUCH better!!! And I had an emergency gall bladder removal which could have been planned ahead and more peaceful for all.  Many blessings to you, its your body and you need to have peace with your decision but I really hope you can give your self the gift of a surgery to feel better. smile
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    • Posted

      Ah, thanks for your kind words beebbop88 and to all my other replies,

      I know that over time I will have to have it removed, but not heard of it rupturing or causing harm to liver sad.......hope your friends dad is now much better? What were his symptoms?

      My consultant did not mention the above to me.

      Once my pain starts I immediatly take my paracetamol and 30g of pure codeine and within 70 mins its gone...but no doubt it has scarred the gallbladder. Still so reluctant to have it removed, as aprehensive of further problems after surgery.

      I think I would rather put up with the pain for a couple of hours (say around once or twice a week), than to be in discomfort for the rest of my life.....still not sure what to do??????

      Wish I could see into the future

      Best wishes and hope you feel much better soon. God bless

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  • Posted

    Hi Elainejane! I feel great most of the time! Much better than before surgery.  I also had fears about complications and I tried to manage my symptoms with diet for almost a year but the stones were continuing to grow and accumulate and get worse.  My friend's dad apparently did not experience the typcial agony and sick feeling that comes with normal gall bladder disease.  He had a stone in the bile duct traveling to the gall bladder, and did not know he had a problem until his liver had been so damaged it was in failure.  What a lucky man to have a son who would help him that way! I think Doctors don't want to scare people needlessly so they give patients the basic facts and wait for the pain to convince them! Some people can live with gall stones with out pain or other problems as long as they eat a low fat diet.  Mine developed suddenly and got worse rapidly.  It was very clear to me it was time to do it when I saw how large and jagged the stones had grown when I glanced at the ultrasound. Take care and best of healing to you!
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