Help please! Do gallstones cause indigestion? If yes, then how? Would it go away after surgery?

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So, this is a bit long. Thanks for reading if you do smile

I'm a bit fearful that all my problems are caused by gallstones or a sludgey gallbladder due to my recurring upper right quadrant pain, right shoulder pain, and any other pain that starts from the localised point and shoots up or down my right side of the body. I haven't had many "attacks" except for last monday that really hit me hard that I had to lie down (wasn't comfortable at all) because it took all my energy with it while I was doing a project in the middle of the night. That was my first run-in with the pain in that area, and ever since then, I've been having continuous pain there and my recent pain has also been where my stomach is and on my left upper quadrant as well, but more achey and sometimes being sharp tingles, though that only came after the attack and from then on.

But before ALL this, my main symptoms have been extreme indigestion (where I only eat around 3 cups of food a day -- my foods are literally sized by sauce bowls lol), a lot of gas (both belching and flatulence), and a sensitivity to many fatty foods like pastries, fried foods, condements, dairy, etc. They'd give me diarrhea if I ate too much.

I've just recently suspected gallbladder only because of my recent pain that came up and was wondering if that has been the cause of my indigestion that's been plaguing me since 6th grade (I'm currently in 11th grade). I've found out though that indigestion can be or is due to low stomach acid, which I don't know how it'd work if I have gallstones. Wouldn't it be one or the other? Or could gallstones cause low stomach acid? If I naturally have low stomach acid, gallbladder surgery wouldn't fix it, right? (Not saying I wouldn't try normal remedies first, but just hypothetical.)

I first thought I had IBS, but that doesn't seem to be the case since my constipation and bloating only was because I lacked fiber in my diet, and it's now gone since I added more. Then I thought I had H. Pylori, but I got 2 blood tests and a stool test to confirm I have no infection at all.

I've only been recently doing tests since my family and I have been passing off my early satiety as normal since everyone thinks that to be so, even if they don't have my problems. So now that my eating has been more restricted now than ever, now we're doing tests rolleyes I get an ultrasound tomorrow, as well as a urine test on March 3. After a lot of research and reading on forums, I'd want a HIDA Scan, but my mom said to just wait what the doctors say and that they'll find out on the ultrasound so I'll ask about it if they don't find anything. I've been being such a huge hypochondriac to my family that they don't think what I have is serious lol I mean I hope it's not, but I can't seem to shut my mind off of this, especially since I'm the only one in the family who has problems and they seem not to since they eat off of these huge plates while I eat off of a sauce bowl and sometimes can't even finish it in one sitting. I actually get excited when I do lol

I digressed...

Anyway, if anyone can give insight, that'd be appreciated 👍

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    You are far more likely to be experiencing reflux pain from acid hyper-secretion than low acid. The reflux can cause pains in various locations thanks to the transmission via the vagus nerve.

    There is a strong connection between gall bladder problems and acid. )Six months after I had a fundoplication operation to reduse my reflux, I had to have my gall baldder removed.)

    The ultrasound should pick up any gall bladder problems. If they suspect anything more sinister they can refer you for HIDA but it's probably unnecessary.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for replying! How do I test for hypersecretion?

      Also what symptoms were you experiencing before your first operation for your reflux and then the second for your gallbladder? Did you experience any indigestion like mine?

      I really do hope to find this out soon... so I'm hoping the ultrasound shows at least something.

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    • Posted

      I've had a lifetime of indigestion, acid and reflux symptoms, until I had a fundoplication at age 60.

      If you ever feel burning pain and acid suppressants help, it's likely to be acid hyper-secretions which may require a course of omeprazole or other PPI.

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    • Posted

      Hm, that's the thing. When I do get heartburn, which isn't very common for me, tums and alka-saltzer don't work at all. It would feel as if I just added more saliva into my stomach and it sits in there until the symptoms pass. If it is hypersecretion, would that course fix the indigestion?
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    • Posted

      You could be having stomach emptying problems - perhaps gastroparesis. The doctor may prescribe metaclopramide to help peristalsis if so.
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    • Posted

      I've heard of that as Reglan... Which has a really bad reputation from what I've heard... though I guess I'll see what the doc will say.

      For some reason, they're checking my kidneys, so I think they might've found something there? But I don't think anything kidney related correlates to my early satiety... Not that I know of. Someone said I may just have ulcers, but I'm not a doctor.

      My next appointment to my PCP is at March 10, which is a pretty long time for me, but the year's going by a bit quick, isn't it?

      I should really urge my focus elsewhere than my health. I think all my researching's making my mind go mad.

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