Pain after Gallbladder Removal. I have something found that helps!

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I had my gallbladder removed over 15 years ago and have had chronic pain where it used to be located.   Have probably seen 10 gastro doctors who have poked and prodded and scoped and MRI'd me to death, but no solutions (I am 73).   In December 2017, I tried an acupuncturist who explained that they leave the tube that was attached to your gallbladder inside you when they do the surgery.   It behaves the same as your gallbladder!   In discussing with my PCP today, I told her how depressed I was that there is nothing that can be done and she was stunned...said she has been treating this for 20 years!   The medicine is Cholestyramine for Oral Suspension USP.   It is a prescription and is a powder you mix with water and drink 2 to 3 times a day, forever!   There is also a pill form of this drug but the powder may work a little faster and since I am really suffering right now, went for the powder.   She promises me this will fix me and apologized on behalf of the gastro guys who haven't told me this.   I hope you all will try it.

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  • Posted


    hi how very interesting this is !!

    i had my gallbladder removed 4 months ago Judy and since I have had pretty constant yet intermittent pain under my right ribs kinda where the gb used to be I think !!

    its like a sharp sort of burning stabbing stitch like pain, lol I’m hopeless at describing pain to be honest Judy.

    i tend to just say it hurts lol.

    what have been your pains and experiences over the 15 years , if you don’t mind sharing that is of course.

    be very interested to know.

    mine was gangrenous and full of pus due to a large 2.2cm stone stuck in the cystic duct ,gallbladder neck for 3 years and my oh my have I been through pain with it !!

    im not really complaining as I fell very lucky to be alive right now .

    but would love to know your story. And stay in touch as to find out if your new treatment is successful Judy.

    of which I pray for you it is.

    kind regards.

    keep me posted.

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    • Posted

      Wow, sounds like you have been through the wringer!   My pain is right where the gallbladder used to be and usually it bothers me when I eat something spicy or greasy and it goes away when I take Cholestyramine for a while (that was prescribed for diarrhea and that usually accompanies the pain, thus I use it).   This time, the pain has lasted over 3 weeks and nothing I have done has made it better.   I have been to 4 or 5 different gastro specialists and had many scopes and MRI's with no help.   Saw an acupuncturist in December (took my mom there with her back pain and decided to try him) who told me they leave the tube in your body after they remove the gallbladder and that it behaves the same as the gallbladder did.    I don't know if that is true or not but at LEAST it is some sort of explanation, which is more than I have ever gotten from anyone else.   I have a new Primary Care Physician and when I told her of the pain, she said she has treated it for 20 years with GEMFIBROZIL TAB 600 mg  and I have been taking that for the past five days.   Too soon to know if it's going to work, as I am still in great deal of pain.   Had knee surgery in December and they gave me hydrocodone for the pain...tried those for the gallbladder pain and it did nothing to stop the pain.   Tylenol is the only drug that seems to give me any relief but that is hard on other organs, so I try not to take too much of it.   I am really hopeful this drug helps.   Fifteen years is way too long to get no answers!

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    • Posted


      yes I agree 15 years is way way to long to have no explanation,but the more I read the I realise how limited the medical world really is ,and oh it’s so much more limited than we think I think lol

      seems to me that the majority of the time they just whip it out and hope for the best as that’s the only real solution they have and from their I think they at a loss , that’s what I’m come in to be leave anyway !!

      and yes they do leave the cystic duct in after gallbladder remove all that’s where they clip it from and dissect the gallbladder,

      ‘could it act the same way ? That’s a good question and I suppose a real theory to be fair to yr guy ?

      as I guess the bile is still going to attempt to go through the cystic duct to reach the gallbladder and I guess ,yes it could be spasmsin .

      intrestin theory !!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Judy, I've been on this medicine since 2008.  It's widely known in the medical community.  I would first suggest that you mix and take one dose with 1/2 water and 1/2 some sort of fruit  juice, and take it once at bed time.  This is because the bile drips all night into your small intestine.  There are many posts on this forum on this medication.  Try it just once at night and if that doesn't work, try a second dose during the day, if that doesn't work, increase to a third dose.  This is because it can be constipating. Best of luck.  

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  • Posted

    Hi Judy, the other diagnosis you may want to consider is abdominal wall nerve entrapment, it is very under diagnosed and quite often happens after surgery. I've been in pain since surgery last March and it was only going to a private gastro doctor to get another opinion who had seen this before and suggested that I go to the pain clinic. You get exactly the same pain where the gallbladder was that wraps itself around to your back and upto your shoulders. 

    I've been to the pain clinic and had nerve block put in which confirmed the diagnosis but unfortunately for me it hasn't lasted so I'm going in for another session at the end of this month. Success depends on each individual hence some only need one session of nerve block. 

    There is some information on the internet but it doesn't spring to mind to doctors when tests come back as normal. Its treated by anaesthetists as they understand more about pain.

    If this doesn't last very long for me then I will have acupuncture treatment or use a tens machine but fingers crossed.

    So this is well worth looking at as most doctors etc are just taking a stab in the dark but when you understand what its all about with the nerves in your 6 pack (abdominis rectus muscle) which has a right angled turn which causes all the problems and becomes very sensitive.

    I'm taking so much pain relief at the moment just to get through the day but I know the nerve block will give me some respite but hopefully for longer this time.

    Have a look on the net its also know as anterior cutaneous nerve entrapment or ACNES for short as its specific for this area.

    Take care


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  • Posted

    I am VERY familiar with this medication. My gastro doctor it to me help with my terrible diarrhea and cramping. I put it in orange juice and took in the morning and evening as instructed. By the third day I was sure I was going to die. I have never been as constipated or bloated in my life. I was pretty sure if I didn’t have a bowel movement in the next 24 hours I was going to the ER due to an impacting. Finally  after laxatives for 2 days I had a bowel movement. Then I talked with a couple of friends and they had also had the same results and everyone they knew had also. I was drinking mote liquid than the minimum my doctor had requested and eating fruit and salad which was on my suggested diet after gallbladder removal. Please go slowly with this stuff. 
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    • Posted

      I am considering this med as i am still,having acid diarrhoea intermittently and its worse two years post surgery. I also have centre back pain really bad intermittent too.  In-between this i  have nausea.  Imhave  cut down to very plain diet. Some time ago.

      because my main problem is not just diarrhoea i am concerned about what you discuss.

      i am assuming this has all been occurring since gallbladder removal.

      do you have any acid problems or pain in the upper part or just bowel? Any help you can give would assist.

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    • Posted

      Ann, I am 15 years without gallbladder and still have diarrhea and pain where gallbladder used to be from time to time.   Currently, have been in pain for 2 months and am having a scope soon to see what is going on.   Gastro guy says eventho the pain is where gallbladder USED to be, he believe it is a stomach issue and he showed me lots of tubes and stomach stuff in that area.   He told me to get Pepcid 20 mg (non prescription) and after two days of taking that before each meal, the pain is MUCH less, but certainly not gone completely.   He told me to only take Cholestyramine WHEN I have diarrhea, as it does cause constipation, but that's what I WANTED when I had violent diarrhea, so it worked for me.   It is a prescription.   Do be careful with it.   I would try the Pepcid, as what you may have is what I think I may thing to try.   I will advise after the scope and find out more.   

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply and i understand where you are coming from.

      quite a large proportion of my problem is nausea, almost daily.  I also have hiatius hernia.

      i do have bile acid diarrhoea but not daily, sometimes twice a week, so i am not keen to use cholestyramine as i know it will constipate and i dont want that but would use it if i had an attack.

      i can eat blandly until teatime when it eases and i can manage light food i e rice, chicken, fish.

      the pain I have is cente back between shoulder blades and has got worse recently.  i had it before the operation two years ago and thought i was cured.  What i find perplexing is that others complain of pain in ruq but mine has never been in front.

      I am just not sure if i need endoscopy first, or to see gallbladder surgeon for investigations. I dont want to go down wrong route.

      what advice have you, or others reading this which could help me.

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    • Posted

      I really would try the Pepcid 20 mg, because it only costs $8.00 in the U.S., is available at any drug store and isn't a prescription.   My pain is also in my back AND in the front, under my right ribs.   Sometimes it feels like something is moving in there, which is disturbing.   But I really am much better after taking the Pepcid so the doctor may be correct and my pain may be a stomach issue.  My scope got moved to the 20th of Feb., (the place scheduled for the 5th doesn't take my insurance), so won't find out anything until later.   I take Tylenol for the pain..he said up to 6 per day and it doesn't harm your liver or kidneys like Advil or Aleve.   I wish you luck.   Oh, I believe the Pepcid has helped my neausea, just a little bit.

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