Issues after Gallbladder Surgery

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Hello to all who have had their gallbladders removed and are experiencing pains, or discomforts. I like the fact that we are not alone in this, that we can help each other and encourage each other after gallbladder surgery. I had mine out in January of this year (2016) and it has not been an easy road. 

But I want to help out those who may think their gallbladder is giving them issues, or if the doctor said 'oh it's an ulcer, or its IBS' which can be legitimate, I would still convince your GI doctor to order an ultra sound for you because that is one of the best ways to find out if you have gallstones or what not. 

I personally have been experiencing bloating and up until a few months ago vomiting, which is due to eating either greasy or high fatty foods. I went through the worst pain in my life prior to my surgery and if anyone is having any kind of pain, I would like to help in anyway by letting you know what I went through. I hope I can help someone smile

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Gabrielle,

    im getting  op to remove my gallbladder on Wednesday . Can you tell me how you found the surgery and how long was your recovery . Id love to know the highs ( obvs not having pain from stones) and lows so I have a rough idea of what I might feel like. Not sure how long I'll need off work, I've told my boss a about a week although I'm a Carer and quite often use hoists etc so quite heavy work and drive around from house to house so need to be able to do this.

    Hopefully you are feeling much better now 😘

     

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    • Posted

      Hey Lisa. I'm 4.5 weeks post op and I can at least tell you what I experienced. I had my surgery on a Thursday and was back at work the following Wednesday. I may have been able to do half days prior to that but I had a drain and didn't want to go to work with it (you most likely won't have a drain so don't worry about that!). I do have a desk job though, so with you having to use hoists, you might either NOT be using the hoist on your own or be out of work for longer. They say don't lift anything over 10lbs the first week or 2 and you can slowly lift more every week after that. It takes 4-6 weeks for your insides to fully recover.

      I barely remember much after the surgery. Mine was at 3:10pm and I was home by 9pm. I was so groggy from the anesthesia afterwards. I wasn't in much pain since they put me on pain killers. They gave me apple juice to sip on but that made me naueous and they gave me some antiemedics. I was able to get dressed by myself and I hung out in a chair afterwards for a bit until they let me go.

      I couldn't sleep in my bed due to my drain so I slept in a recliner for the entire time I had my drain. My upper back, shoulders and lower head KILLED me for the first day or two due to the gas injected into me during surgery. I also had a very sore throat from the intubation tube. All pain was pretty much gone by Sunday. I didn't take any of the pain medication they gave me - was too afraid of constipation - so I only took 3 Advil every 6 hours. To get the gas moving and dissipated it is important to get up and walk when you can (not too much).

      I didn't poop for 2.5 days afterwards as most of the food was already out of my body since I had to fast for 18 hours before the surgery. Also, I kept myself on a liquid diet for the first day or so (jello, broth, water) so get my digestive system started. Then I stayed low fat for 2-3 weeks. Now I'm eating everything without a problem.

      When I did poop, I had yellow diarrhea. This lasted for 3-4 days until I took an immodium (not sure if it's related but it worked). Everything is seemingly normal now except the ocassional light colored stool (more tan colored).

      My prior symptoms were nausea almost every morning, lack of appetite, increasing discomfort in my upper right abdomen that would be gone in the morning and get worse throughout the day, and very light colored stools. My ultrasounds, blood work and stool sample came back clear but my HIDA scan had a 98% ejection fraction (working too hard/too much). All symptoms are gone now. I get a few flutters every once in a while and my incisions still seem to get sore if I overdo it.

      I hope some of the this helps you and good luck on Wednesday!

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  • Posted

    Hi Gabrielle I've just had my gallbladder removed on Friday 18/11/16 all went well I stayed in over night , woke up had shower,  ate, dressed , like I'd had nothing done only taking paracetamol & coldmol , but no real pain . Came home yesterday afternoon all good. Woke this morning wow pain is coming from all directions, I'm feeling sick & like someone is twisting my insides . Is this normal ?? 

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    • Posted

      Hi Sally,

      I sent a reply earlier today but I am not sure why it didn't post? Very strange, eventhough I hit the "Reply" button. Hmm...

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  • Posted

    Hi Gabrielle, thank you for your post. I'd love to hear your experience. I had my gallbladder out February of this year. After a year of periodic nausea and vomiting, my doctor ordered a HIDA scan which showed my gallbladder was functioning 20%. Well, I think I preferred the periodic vomiting & nausea because it's been horrible ever since. I had nausea in the late afternoons for a week post-op which finally subsided but then I started just not feeling well...like I was coming down with something. I've been running a low grade fever ever since. I also experience pain in my upper right quadrant near my rib, constipation, bloating, and cramping (depending on what I ea)t. I've had ct scans, MRI, egd, & colonoscopy which all came back normal. My labs are all normal as well with the exception of my pancreatic enzymes which keep coming back mildly elevated. I'm so frustrated because my gi specialist is just passing me off at this point and labeling me with ibs. I didn't have ibs before surgery though. I could eat apples, onions, etc before surgery with no problem. Now, I try to stick to a low fodmap diet but even then I can end up bloated & feeling horrible. Have you had any of these problems?

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    • Posted

      If you've done low FODMAP then it's most likely NOT IBS. There ARE things on the diet that could be causing you problems, but I have a feeling there is something else especially since it didn't happen until after the surgery. And IBS does NOT cause a constant low grade fever and you should be feel significantly better on the diet.

      I would switch GI doctors to try to get answers if you have to. CT/MRI should have ruled out any stones stuck in the ducts afterwards. EGD/Colonoscopy would rule out 95% of what else could be wrong (IBD, cancer, diverticulitis, acid reflux/GERD, ulcers, etc.). Unfortunately, those tests don't really look at the liver/pancreas/biliary tree I don't believe.

      Have they suggested an MRCP? This will show if there is anything wrong with the ducts of the biliary tree which could be causing the continued pain. In my searches, I've seen a few people having Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction, which is not curable and unfortunate, but at least is an answer and is manageable with diet restrictions and medications.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for the reply.  I've also followed the low-fodmap diet which doesn't seem to help.  I have had an MRCP which was normal.  I'm the most "normal" person who doesn't feel normal.  LOL  The next option would be an ERCP but I've heard those are risky.  I'm working my way through GI doctors though with all of this.  It's so frustrating.  I'm wondering if they repeat a HIDA scan if it would show anything more than what the MRCP showed?  

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  • Posted

    Hi Gabrielle, 

    I didn't even know my gallbladder was causing me problems until I had to have it removed. I've had pain in my back, near my spine, about 3 months prior to the surgery and I thought it was a pinched nerve. The same pain hit me at 2:30AM on Sunday October 30th (2016), and I did everything I could to releave the pain; 800mg of Ibuprofen, icing, heat pads, laying on the ground, etc. I was dealing with the pain for 6 hours before it hit my abdominal area, by that time I was done and had my younger brother take me to the hospital; on the way pain induce vomiting occurred, and the pain was so intense I passed out in the ER. They did x-rays, ultrasounds, etc; I didn't receive any pain meds for the 12 hours I was in the ER, until they admitted me into the hospital, then I just threw it back up. It wasn't until after a HIDA scan on monday night did they tell me there was an obstruction in my gallbladder, and I need to have it removed. 

    I'm a diabetic, so the chance of easy healing is nule. The gallbladder was super inflammed, surgeons words, and they ended up poking 5 holes in me. I was home within 24 hours, and even stopped taking the pain meds 2 days after that. It's now been 2.5 weeks, and I should be completely healed within the next 5 days. However, I've been expereincing some pain next to my sternum, just small discomfort, but it's there. Sometimes it makes me feel bloated, but otherwise I feel fine. 

    Have you heard of anyone experiencing the pain near their sternum?

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