Gallstones or not?

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Hi everyone

Since January this year I have had 10 \"gallbladder attacks\" I think! It starts usually the early hours of the morning with a dull ache centre of my midrife, just under the breastbone and through to the centre of my back well between the shoulder blades really. This escalates to being quite severe and I always end up vomiting about 5 or 6 times. The episodes lasts anything from 2 to 4 hours, never less than 2. The last time i ended up in casulty after an unusal bout of pain for approx 7 hours, I just couldnt couldnt take it anymore. All they did was give me some type of antacid to drink, which i threw up 15 mins after. Strangely about 10 more minutes passed and the pain subsided. However, because it just suddenly stops anyway, i cant be sure it helped. I then left the hospital as i had at least another 2 hour wait - well it was 5am!

When i have the pain, im usually sweating hot but feel cold, i cant sit or lie down, all i do is pace up and down the house!

My doctor initially treated me with reflux disease (although ive never had heartburn or acid coming up my windpipe) and gave me Omeprazole tables (im still taking) - i still had bouts so he upped the dose, he then decided on Anti-biotics for H-Pylori disease along with codeine based painkillers. He said it was trial and error and wanted to treat me with the easiest options first... I didnt have any problems for 3 weeks, but eventually the symptons reappeared 2 months ago.

I had an ultrasound scan yesterday - although i dont get the official results until i see the doctor next week, i asked the nurse what she could see and she suspected gallstones.

However, reading the various articles on gallbladders, im quite worried that i could end up having surgery just because i have stones, that they may just \"assume\" its the reason. Especially as some people can have stones and they never cause problems.

I want to ask, how can the doctor be 100% sure its stones? what tests will he do to and how accurate are they? Ive had no blood tests or anything? Or will he send me to a specialist?

I know you can do without this organ, but i dont want to have it removed unecessarily.

Any response will be gretefully received.

Many thanks!!

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    From what you decribe I suspect the gallstones are your problem. I have a hiatus hernia and Barrett's but was getting the symptoms you describe. They took out the gallbladder and gave me a tub of stones and also said there were several embeded in the gallbladder. You will feel better if you have it out. The severe pain will go. Depending on any other underlying problems you will feel much better. Like several other sufferers . before the op,I lost a great deal of weight and eventually became unrecognisable to my friends. I am back to looking human again, can eat more (little and often and low fat because of my other conditions) and can do things with my family. I am not going to say it solves everything, it does for some and not for others, but you will lose that excruciating pain. It's worth losing the organ just for that.
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  • Posted

    dotcotton, your symptoms sound like gallbladder attacks. if you have been suffering this 10 times in the last six months for at least 2-4 hours it is time to look seriously at getting things sorted! as the nurse suspects gallstones i would be prepared for the dr to confirm this at your appointment and discuss with you the next step forward in your treatment of the condition. without treatment you may find the attacks get more frequent, longer and much worse (sorry if this is not what you want to hear)i would expect any dr to equate your symptoms and a positive ultrasound for gallstones to be linked, i doubt any suggestion of surgery would be suggested on an unecessary whim, just to see if it worked.

    my gallbladder was removed 5 years ago and it while it had its ups and downs both pre and post op - it was the best thing i could have done (my gallbladder was in a right state and becoming a serious health risk) i am now doing so much better and living a normal pain free life. like any one i got scared of the op - 1st time i had had an op since my tonsils were removed at 5 years old, and i had the scary internet and a much better idea about what was going on. but it worked out fine. i urge you to listen to your dr and do things his way, he will have your best interests in mind.

    the first thing your Dr will tell you is to stick to a low fat diet - this is the best advice you will hear, stick to it - but try to get the most nutrition out of what you can eat along side a low fat diet - that is my advice.

    good luck for your Dr's appointment.

    vix

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  • Posted

    Well said Vixen. Hope you are ok . Have had a barium meal swallow and am due to have a gastroscopy on the 15th. Like you I have underlying problems but having my gallbladder out cut down on the awful pains etc. It's not that bad an op, in fact I had more pain with the groin hernia I had in December than I had with the gallbladder removal. It's not worth keeping it if it is giving so much bother.

    Having you and others support me on this forum made the world of difference. It really lets you know that you are not alone. Thanks. P.S. I agree that a low fat diet is essentail before and after the op.

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  • Posted

    Sounds like what you've been having is Biliary Cholic, where stones are essentially making their way through the bile duct from the gallbaldder.

    This can take anything from a couple of hours, to over 24 hours as I experienced a couple of times.

    The real problem is where the stones get dtuck and block your duct or your liver - obstructive jaundice - and this can be quite serious.

    Gallstones are horrible little things. I am glad to be rid of them.

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  • Posted

    I had a laparoscopic gallbladder removal 2 years ago,and did'nt even need post op pain killers,and was eating fish pie 1hour after coming round. I do have occashional

    very short episodes of diorhea though. Home the same day. Wonderfull to be pain free. No worse than a visit to the dentist., honestly, so go ahead, it is well worth it.

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