Gallstones didn't show on CT Scan?

Posted , 10 users are following.

I was diagnosed with gallstones last April via ultrasound, but I just had a CT scan done of the abdomen a few days ago, and it said

"CT does not show the gallstones of prior ultrasound."

Where did they go?? Why didn't they show up on the CT scan, but did last year on the ultrasound? I just posted a recent forum on here asking about gallbladder/gallstone removal, and chronic nausea.

Anyone else had this happen with a CT Scan? 

I also have an enlarged liver of 19cm, which was only 18.8 cm last April when I had the ultrasound. Could the liver be causing my chronic nausea rather than the gallstones??

I still get pain after I eat or move around after I eat, or if I eat a fatty meal, so I'm assuming my gallstones are still present. I just wonder why

they would not show up on my CT scan. 

I'm only a 21 year old female, obese but exercise quite frequently, non-smoker, non-drinker. 


0 likes, 41 replies

Report / Delete

41 Replies

  • Posted

    It depends how big gallstones are adn exactly where they are.

    I had ultrasound and was told I had one gallstone.

    However when I had gallbladder removed they said there were several stones.

    I think an MRI scan will pick up a stone that ultrasound may not.

    I would not have thought it would be anything to do with your liver as it has not enlarged that much. However I am not a medical doctor.

    Take care and keep in touch



    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      My sister said the same thing, along with my mom saying maybe I had passed them. It sure doesn't feel like it! I woke up this morning with upper back and stomach pain exactly like a gallstone attack and started sweating and getting shaky because it was so painful. I really doubt that I could pass this and still be severely nauseous every day. It's possible, but with the pain I still have and the nausea, it makes me doubt it. I also had the scan with the IV contrast or the liquid contrast. Would that have mattered? 
      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Maybe you have passed them?  Normally the CT scan shows everything.  Out of all the scans, the ultrasound is the least reliable.

    Maybe your gallbladder is the issue, but you don't have any stones at present, or they are too small currently to show.

    Good luck with everything


    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Is there any way if I could know if it was my gallbladder that is infected?  I was also told I had "Numerous mesenteric lymph nodes bigger ones in the order of 1 cm." from the CT scan. I just wonder if maybe I have a stomach infection which could be causing the intermittent pain? 
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I'm not sure.  It should come up in the tests that they do. 

      That would be causing you issues I'd have thought.

      It's terrible when you're poorly and you go for help and end up more confused etc than when you started.

      I had gastritis last year and they took a swab when they put the camera thing done and it wasn't infected. 

      You don't realise until you get poorly how one things impacts on the other.  Especially for women!

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    A CT scan is very unreliable for gallstones... especially if they are trapped near or around your billary ducts. Whixh if your still having symptoms , sounds like what is going on. You need to ask for a HIDA scan to determine what is the level of activity of your gallbladder. ... i had 0% movement in my HIDA Scan.. no bile or dye was moving through my gallbladder due to a very large stone blocking my billary duct.. which wasnt picked up in a ultrasound, ct scan or a mri..

    Good luck to you. .

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I am going to try and ask for a HIDA scan next, but my doctor isn't very proactive in trying to solve any issue quickly, so it might take some begging to get him to request a HIDA scan. Thanks for the info, I will try the HIDA scan next.
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I read your post and replies with great interest. I have been so hoping that gallstones could just be expelled on their own account. My main symptom is the nausea too. I went about 11 days without it and kept hoping. Then without a good reason it all started up again. Also, my doctor is not proactive. He is a Family Practice doc, so have been thinking of going to GI specialist.
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      That is exactly what my primary doc suggested! I've already been to the recommended gastro, and she was horrible and didn't even seem concerned my liver was quite large! I doubt they could expel on their own very easily. That's just my personal opinion, and why I think I still have them despite the CT not seeing them. The nausea is terrible! Keeps me at home a lot. How would you describe your nausea? The nausea is typically my main symptom with my gallstones, but I had a stomach bug a few weeks ago, and now every other morning I get this upper stomach/back pain that is so severe I start sweating and feel like I'm going to vomit. It'll subside within 30 minutes typically, but it is such unbearable pain. I really couldn't think of it being anything other than gallstone pain. However, this pain is new and unlike my typical gallstone pain I've had on and off for the past 2 years, so it's kind of concering. I'm wondering if the stomach bug I had a few weeks ago left me with an infection of some sort that would cause my stomach to flare up in the morning. 

      I like my primary care doctor more, he seems more interested than specialists, but my insurance also doesn't cover specialists, so I don't go to them too often, especially since they're not doing anything to help me. 

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I am on Disability so I have not worked in about 15 years anyway. But I am in the same boat with you on needing to stay home... And stay lying down too.

      What my nausea is like IS morning sickness. Every once in a while I do NOT have the nausea as soon as I wake up. Most days, though, yes. I try to take the promethazine (anti-nausea) first thing, and stay sitting. Some days I start to feel better. Other days I remain nauseous. I definitely do not feel like eating. But often, if I eat something easy it makes the nausea subside. BUT, many days the nausea returns within 30 minutes.

      More and more, the nausea sounds just like yours. I just can't do ANYthing! If I don't stay lying down I will start to throw up. [Found that out the hard way. I had to do some things to help my mother. I thought I could just "work through it". Forget it. Once I started vomitting I did that for at least 4 hours.] So, some days I am useless. And lying down like that I end up sleeping much of the time.

      I also had what I figured was a stomach "bug"? I was SO sick. The action of vomitting really hurt my ribs and muscles, and probably the gallbladder. I felt totally helpless and so miserable. After the first 8 hrs I didn't throw up anymore. But I felt so bad. Then I tried to help my mother (I live with her), and I vomitted again. Still terribly painful, and went on for several hours. The whole ordeal was like a 24hr bug, only 36 hours.

      This nausea is different from other kinds. It feels like there is this deep empty pit inside me. If I burp, I feel like I should have just vomitted instead. If I burp it seems cavernous and hollow inside. And NOT GOOD!

      By the way, I found an article that says that the large gallstones usually do spontaneously pass out of the bile duct.

      And this one that has pictures!

      So, I am going to see if I can learn more about the nature of my own gallstone. Then I will pray that it will pass "spontaneously", if at all possible!

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      It makes it hard to do anything! I'm trying to find a job, but with this issue of my gallstone attacks and then plus my nausea it makes it hard. A few weeks ago, I only had to worry about my nausea interfering, now I have the annoying pain. I've never had morning sickness, so i really don't know how that feels. It feels like my throat is going to close up sometimes, with other times the nausea is in my stomach. It tends to switch places, or on really bad days, it's in my stomach AND throat. I take promethazine, too! It doesn't really work for me anymore. I've tried 4-5 different anti-nausea meds, promethazine was the only one that got rid of the lump in my throat feeling, but now it does not work. Sometimes eating does help, but sometimes the only thing that can even slightly ease it is laying down. That sounds terrible! Despite having horrible nausea for a whole year, I have yet to vomit from it. Been really close, but haven't yet. I hope it stays that way. When I don't feel super bad, getting out and trying to exercise helps some. I burp a lot too! Even in the morning when I haven't had anything to eat yet! My doctor put me on Ranitidine for that, but it has helped the nausea some, but if I go off it, it's terrible.  I had a terrible stomach bug a few weeks ago, about a week of diarrhea but now it's gone, and I think it really messed up my gallbladder or something, so I have no idea why I'm in pain now with my gallstones, but wasn't the week before I had the stomach bug. I hope you feel better!!!
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      When you had the stomach bug did you only have the diarrhea and no vomitting with that? I had terrible diarrhea too. But I kind of expect both with a stomach virus. I had a hard time getting so that I could eat again after it. I ate/drank broth, and hot liquid jello. I did that for a full day + after. I normally have bad constipation with this gallstone though. I have to take something for that every day too.

      My Dr. put me on Ranitadine too, about 10 months ago when I first complained of the nausea. And it really helped back then. So I have to try to remember to take it consistently. It does help some. I take the promethazine for nausea when I take my pain pills. So, maybe I am too used to it for this problem. The Dr., of course, would not give me a different nausea med unless he took me off promethazine. I took the Actigal or usodiol. The idea was to hope that the gallstone would dissolve and pass on it's own. I took it for 4 mos. I read that some of the side effects were the same as the symptoms for the gallstone! And it was affecting me in several of the listed ways, but I thought I could put up with them. But then I got badly swollen feet and legs (below the knee). It got really very bad. Of course, I didn't know that it was causing it at first. But it was unbearable. It made my feet and legs hurt and I could barely walk. So they told me to stop the Actigal and see if my feet got better. I did and my feet did, so I was discouraged about what the next step with the gallstone would be.

      Of course, I have spent lots of time and energy trying to figure out if eating a certain kind of food the evening before made me nauseous the next day. Or maybe the right food meant that the next day I would feel Ok. I get so I think I know the right drill, But then something happens to prove I don't know anything!

      I am trying to avoid surgery at all costs. So I am looking for diets that are meant to help lower cholesterol, like immediately! We'll see. 

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I didn't vomit with the virus and have yet to vomit with my full year of chronic nausea. My dad and I both had it so I know it was unrelated to my gallstones with the diarrhea. I ate nothing but toast and yogurt which was hard because I have a decent appetite! I now try to eat Activia yogurt every other day or every day to keep my stomach bacteria in line. I also take a probiotic, but honestly it took a while for my stomach to get back to normal, and to this day it still kind of gurgles and concerns me from the stomach bug I had 2 weeks ago. I didn't even get much cramping with the flu, but it was serious diarrhea where I considered going to the ER to get it to stop. Never did, but my stomach can still be iffy at times. Yeah, me too! A few days in between the diarrhea after the main symptoms of it, I got constipated! it came back for a day or two, and then I got constipated again. Normally what eases my constipation is coffee! It works like a charm most days because I got stopped up a lot having hypothyroidism. 

      I take my ranitidine every morning after my breakfast typically. I have to take it after breakfast because before breakfast, I have to take my thyroid medicine, which is said to interact with anti-acids and render them useless. If I go off the ranitidine as I did with the recent stomach bug my nausea will be ok for one day and I won't notice it, but after a week or two being off the medicine it really comes back bad, so now I'm back on it. Any time I try to go off the anti acid I get worsened nausea. 

      It doesn't get rid of the nausea, but it helps the severe part of it. Before I took ranitidine, I only got my nausea every few weeks, so that's why I've tried to go off it so many times, hoping I could get back to having weeks without any nausea, but no success going off it. sad

      That sounds terrible! I was wondering if my doctor would be willing to try the Actigal, but I've heard it's terribly expensive, and I doubt my insurance would let me even try it. I also thought about the other way they try to break up gallstones which is by radioactive waves?? If they're small enough they try to break them up with the waves and let them pass on their own, but I'm not sure how large or small mine are. 

      That sucks that it didn't work for you, but glad you figured out what was causing the swollen feet! 

      Same with me! One day I could eat just yogurt and not be nauseous, the next day i could eat the same exact food and be nauseous! You think you're figuring it out, and then it surprises you! 

      Oddly enough, I ate two pieces of cheese pizza along with some tacos last night for dinner and I woke up with no pain or sweating this morning! However, I did take a tablespoon full of Apple Cider Vinegar which is said to help gallstones! I'm not sure if it did, but I'm grateful I didn't wake up sweaty and in pain! 

      I'm looking anywhere on the internet for the same thing! I know they say it's not an organ you need, but I think it's an organ you need! The fact that they can get rid of kidney stones, but not gallstones is just annoying. As of right now, I'm going to try to eat a little less fat, and continue take apple cider vinegar every few days to see if it keeps my attacks at bay. ACV is nasty stuff, so I mix is with orange gatorade or I'd gag. Good luck!

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up