I thought it was GERD but doc thinks it's Gallbladder??

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I've just been to see a consultant at Bedford hospital because I've been suffering with agonising pain attacks and on and off (more on than off) mild to moderate pain in back, under ribs, down arms, under armpits, pressure on breastbone.

He thinks it's more than likley to be gallstones so I'm getting an ultrasound and if that doesn't show anything then he said he could do a different type of scan.

I also mentioned sometimes food gets stuck in my throat on occasion so I'm getting an endoscopy in 4 weeks with biopsy taken of my gullet. I also have a 2cm sliding hiatus hernia.

So what I want to know is has anyone here been 100% convinced that they have GERD and or their problems are stemming from having a hiatus hernia BUT it turned out to be gallbladder problems?

I thought I knew what's wrong with me (Gerd) but now it my be gallbladder. I'd researched all about the Nissen Fundoplication surgery and everything.

Plus can someone give me tips on how to deal with gallbladder attacks and how to prevent too many attacks (I've had 2 painful attacks in 2 days sad )

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  • Posted

    Not sure what yu mean by GERD?

    I think I amactually the other way round.

    Thought it was gallstones that was causing the problem, that was confirmed so I had my gallbladder removed.

    However although I am better than I was still experiencing symptoms.

    Recently had gastroscopy which revealed I have hiatus hernia so that is most likely what is causing the problem now.

    Take care asnd keep in touch


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  • Posted

    Hi Claire

    I had my gallbladder out a few months ago, I think the pain is different for everyone, mine was like having a rat gently gnawing away at somewhere just behind the bottom of my ribs middle right side..and then it moved down the right. Anyway, I had the op and for a few months it was wonderful, completely cleared it all up, and then I became stressed about christmas and work (having lost a contract) and hey presto all the same symptoms turned up like a circus in two bursts, around a week each long with a good week in the middle. I think these are therefore what I would call my 'times of stress' symptoms which are of course MADE FAR WORSE by worrying about what the hell is wrong with me, welcome to a vicious circle!...here goes:

    Gas, oh gas and more gas, constant belching like a squaddie after a night out and a kebab...grim, my poor wife. Trapped wind that goes nowhere but just casuses discomfort over pretty all my torso, I dont mind those symptoms SO much but the ones that truly upset me are when I feel the gas goes up into my chest. Then I get palpitations, strange aches up my throat, just a general feeling of anxiety and a 'hold still and wait for it to pass' type of thing, which of course prolongs the agony due to the extra worry that causes! Of course I have now convinced myself I have some ghastly heart desease on top of pancreatic cancer and other demonic pestilences that are just bound to kill me in a horrific manner smile I think you know what I mean. 

    So, Im getting a heart assessment next week too.

    Of course you know that a hiatus hernia is nicknamed 'The Great Mimic' as it can really bugger around with your insides..I have one too....I have also got a Shatzkis ring just about the HH with causes the odd dysphagia (choking on food) , now that bad boy REALLY freaks me out when it happens but it has not killed me yet...lol

    Im summary, stress and anxiety are the number 1 culprits in making all your symptoms feel worse and playing absolute havoc with your insides, your hiatus hernia can also me a pure comedian of self entertainment inside there enjoying bringing you pain and stress in anyway it possibly can. I think you are doing all you can to get to the physical causes, you could well have gall stones but dont despair if you dont, and Endoscopy will also shed light, and with knowledge comes less stress. You might also see if theres anyway you could get a colonoscopy at the same time as the Endoscopy, definately worth a checkup as best practice while theyve got you sedated. 

    I think avoiding GB attacks, go less fat, avoid any food produce that is gassy (Google it its everywhere) , eat little and often, dont push when you need a poo (it can squish your HH up a bit) so drink lots of water to keep yourself moving, the right amount of fibre, not too much or too little. And keep painkillers beside you and a hot water bottle might help too. 

    Wishing you peace and calm as things work themselves out smile 

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  • Posted

    Hi Claire, Sorry to hear you are in pain a lot. I am replying as I too have hiatus hernia, GERD and gallstones, but still in the process (after many weeks) of getting a diagnosis and treatment plan sorted as to my ever increading symptoms. Tests and scans have not shown anything else so far.

    I find it hard to eat normally now, but low fat diet is of course a necessarfy precaution against further upsetting the gallbladder. I have found apple juice, beetroot juice and water mix to be soothing, some swear by cider vinegar in water, however am on PPI meds so seems contradictory to take acids.

    I have survived on liquids and bland things mostly as my digestion seemed to be shutting down. As my blood tests so far showed nothing being treated as non urgent - more appts later this week.

    Other things I found helped were aloe vera juice and manuka honey a few times a day. I massage the abdomen with a blend of lavender, chamomile and geranium oils in sweet almond and apply a wheat bag for pain. Also sleep elavated which you probably do with haitus hernia and stick to small meals. This is a very tiring condition so rest as much as possible to help yr body cope. If you get much worse, have fevers or any jaundice, you probably know then to go to emergency Dr or A&E. Hope your endoscopy and other tests go well and you soon are sorted out, take care..


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    • Posted

      Today I had a tin of tomato soup, 2 bits of white bread and a corner yogurt and 40 mins later I got this awful pain under my ribs on my right side quite sharp and it hurt to breathe. Then it went then I had half an apple and got pain 10 mins later sad
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    • Posted

      Claire you poor thing my heart goes out to you....im guessing this primarily comes on after food? If so at least the good news it is 99% gastric and I would wager that your gall bladder is playing you up, I also wonder whether you have a stone in your bile duct but I doubt it as you would most certainly know about it...your pain is in the same place as mine was and yes it can really make you lie down and pray that the painkillers just get you through it but heck once or twice I was borderline going to A&E. Pretty well all that has gone again post op..but the gas pain now for me is a bugger....but thats most likely stress as Im not working and im running out of money to pay the mortgage sad 

      ps...apparently apples are quite gassy/acidic so might not have helped...

      Hang in there Claire soo you will be sorted! 

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    • Posted

      Yup been to A&E a couple of times now. I've been thinking this was an acid reflux problem cos of the hernia!

      Did you get that pressure feeling on your breastbone too?

      I never used to get pain straight after a meal it was random but the last few days it's started happening this way.

      Do you have a list of any sites you visited to help you?

      Also what pain Meds did you take when you had an attack?

      Can antidepressants or ppi's irritate the gallbladder?

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    • Posted

      Hey Claire

      I most certainly get a little tightening across the chest when I have my gas attacks, sometimes I will also be ever so slightly short of breath and I definitely think that its because the gas aggravates the HH and pushes it up a little (hence the full cardio assessment next week just to make sure thats OK) ... I was on lansoprazole 30mg last year and hated every minute of it, felt short of breath most of the time it was super scary and tbh the day after I stopped that feeling went away proving absolutely that the stomach/GERD/HH whatever you think might not be working right in that area can play havoc with just about anything. 

      So, the sensible things to get check are (IMHO) : Endoscopy (get a colonoscopy at the same time if possible) , cardio assessment (if getting palpitations or strange heart beats) , ultrasound scan of the whole area inc GB, blood tests just to check theres nothing truly weird happening in there..and then if nothing turns up you can pretty well rest assured its stress/anxiety related, in fact the whole process of worrying about it is enough to bring on all of your symptoms. 

      As far as pain meds, I only had panadol ultra soluble (they work fast) , theyre standard 500mg tablets of paracetomol, my favorite. But I have to say one episode was a real chair clinger for 2 hours or so, really praying that I didnt need to go to A&E which is the next level up on the stress scale.

      As far as PPIs are concerned the whole aim of them is to reduce the amount of stomach acid youre creating, combined with eating 'little and often' of non gassy foods they should be fine (read my shortness of breath comment re lansoprazole though above) ...

      as to anti depressants there is a possibility that they could 'slow things down' with constipation, and when that happens you might get a 'backing up' issue that can lead to more gas not going anywhere with discomfort / pain and with an HH could just aggravate that too...so on this one best to make sure youre taking in lots of water and the right amount of fibre (not too much) to keep you regular as best as possible.


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    • Posted

      ps. I think the Webmd app on iOS (I think its on Android too) is excellent and has a good symptom checker..Ive learned ages ago to avoid visiting 'Dr Google' as he will will scream cancer followed by panic in 2 seconds, dont go there....lol 
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    • Posted

      Thanks for taking the time to respond it's really helping me.

      THE I'm too scared to eat now but I'm worried about not getting enough nutrients. I have some Complan powder in the cupboard do you think that would be okay?

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    • Posted

      I know what u  mean I  have never eaten so little as now and the fear of eating. I have been ok with complan for a while but now it is starting to disagree as well. Try a v little amount maybe as it has some fat content? x
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    • Posted

      Replying to both re not eating...

      I had my WORST episode of gallbladder pain the day after my endoscopy when I had absolutely nothing in my system at all, and in fact even now when I start to get some discomfort having something to eat eases the pain. Logically the stomach begins to secrete acid when you salivate or start to feel hungry, if youre not putting anything in there to give the acid something to do you are going to get stomach issues...

      So..my suggestion would be to eat little bland things often, like a piece of steamed salmon (any proteins like skinless chicken or fish are easy to break down but whey protein is gassy) , or a banana , get something in there to give your system to work on ... IMHO 


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  • Posted

    I was treated for gerd for the past 5 years until an endoscopy showed no inflammation or internal problems. An ultrasound scan has revealed multiple gall stones. The consultant recommends having my gall bladder removed. The omeprazole I took for years may have aggravated it. There are numerous gallbladder diets on the Internet. Most advise no animal fats or fry ups, no gluten,sugar or dairy. I am trying to follow this. Beetroot, avocados, sweet potato and grapes are ok. No coffee. Black tea. I still get pain but not so bad. White wine in moderation seems ok but not red. Def. no chocolate. Grapes are ok. Apple cider vinegar can help sometimes. I hope you get relief soon..
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