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Old 05-18-2007, 12:16 PM   #1
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swollen bile duct

I had my gallbladder out in 2001 (same day surgery, thru the navel) and I started having digestive problems really bad even after my gallbladder was out, but had fleeting pains in my upper right side about where my gallbladder use to be. Ive been seeing a Gastroenterolgist for 4 years and she did all kinds of tests and given me drugs for IBS and I still have problems and pains. Well had an ultrasound a few days ago and got a call from my doctors office and they said that my bile duct appeared swollen on the ultrasound and they wanted me to have a CATSCAN next Thursday. What could this be? Im scared to death and I just know I will have to have surgery again. Anyone have this problem after gallbladder surgery? Thanks..bj

 
Old 05-18-2007, 03:49 PM   #2
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Re: swollen bile duct

Hey there,

I am in the same boat possibly. My gallbladder was removed 2 years ago after severe pain and an ultrasound found stones. One measured an inch according to the post-surgical report! Like you I developed IBS and have continuing pain - both midline and evermore on the right side. My most recent MRCP showed swelling of the bile duct and I'm likely headed for an ERCP to fix. It seems necessary because a swollen bile duct (from what I read) generally inhibits the flow of bile and could lead to bigger problems because of bile backing up.

Having a CT Scan would not be a bad idea. I had one and if can help see things or help rule them out. If you have not had an MRCP (specialized form of MRI), I would talk to your GE about that too. I have had three and compared to having your gallbladder removed they're easy! It was the MRCP that best captured my inflamation.

Researching everything that "could be" can cause the most anxiety and I'm there with you. But if your bile ducts are clogged (due to scar tissue, stones, whatever), the most common step is an ERCP which is a specialized endoscopy. I've had two endoscopies too and again - much easier than surgery - though an ERCP is a little more involved. Regardless, both are Outpatient and in the hands of someone good, you won't even remember! Now what's better than that?!?

So try not to stress too much about any scans though if your current GE hasn't ordered a MRCP or CT Scan to date, I would maybe think about seeing another GE.

Good luck!

 
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Old 05-19-2007, 12:19 AM   #3
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Re: swollen bile duct

Oh thank you so much. Ive been reading online and Im scaring myself to death worrying over this. Im not really sure what you mean unless you mean a light down the throat. Ive had that before. I am scheduled for the catscan for next Thursday. I hope they can help me as Ive suffered from this for so long. Im sorry you have had problems too. I hope I don't have to have major surgery, but all kinds of bad things are going thru my head. Ive always thought my problem was my bile duct from my gallbladder surgery, but my Gastro doc always boohooed it and treated me for bowel problems and IBS. The upper quad pains would get better, especially when I was on Zelnorm and then when I went off it this started up again. Ive been thinking of finding another doctor...barb

 
Old 05-19-2007, 08:28 PM   #4
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Re: swollen bile duct

I welcome giving (and receiving - thank you!) the support.

Light down the throat is probably an endoscopy which is what I referenced. So if you have a swollen bile duct due to scarring, they may recommend an ERCP which is a specialized endoscopy that would allow them to reduce the swelling without open or laproscopic (thru the navel) surgery though I will say it has its own risks that you would want to discuss with the person performing.

Just my recommendation, but I would suggest seeing another doctor for another opinion (I have personally seen three specialists to date). Based on my experience, a MRCP (specialized MRI) is better suited to see bile duct strictures than an CT Scan. Your current GE may be right that the bile duct is an issue, but after 4 years, seeing another doctor for a second opinion wouldn't hurt in my opinion. Just be sure to take all of you records and past test results to speed their review process.

By the way - from what I have read, one of the most common causes (if not the most common) of bile duct stricture (scar tissue build-up, swelling, etc.) is gallbladder surgery. Could be the cause for both of us.

I'm not a doctor or in any way related to the field ... so this is just me passing my experiences and opinions to you. I really hope you find some answers and relief. I can empathize!

MNF

 
Old 05-20-2007, 01:10 PM   #5
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Re: swollen bile duct

I can see you have done your home work and researched this thing thoroughly. I have read quite a bit about it also and I have always thought I had a problem with my bile duct and have mentioned it to my doctor several times and she did have tests done such as catscans and ultrasounds and nothing showed up on my ultrasound before except for a fatty liver, but this time it showed my bile duct was swollen and Im assuming its the common bile duct, but not sure. I read some disturbing facts online about pancreatic cancer being the cause, but I don't have any symptoms of jaundice or throwing up or fever as mentioned with those symptoms and my liver is ok except for it being a fatty liver. Ive decided for the moment to stop researching because its only scaring me and making me nervous. I will however let you know what they find on my scan next week. I hope that they find out and help you friend of whatever is causing your problems. I know your pain and worries as Ive had the same for 5 years. I do not know if my doctor does that specialized test that you mentioned with the light down the throat. I will ask her and I will not change doctors until I get my report on my catscan. Thanks for all your help and suggestions. Be well....bj

 
Old 05-20-2007, 01:13 PM   #6
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Re: swollen bile duct

Im sorry I need to make a correction. No I mean't the specialized MRI that you mentioned that I have never had before. Not on my liver or bile ducts. Ive had a MRI one time and didn't like it at all. I prefer the open CAT...barb

 
Old 05-22-2007, 03:30 PM   #7
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Re: swollen bile duct

I know what you mean about doing research that only makes everything more scary. I have run into the same thing. I love to learn but sometimes I just stress myself out.

I read about pancreatic cancer too and as luck (or a lack thereof) would have it, I also have a fatty liver. Guess we're two peas in a pod! I also don't show signs of jaundice, fever or vomiting (unless I self induce which makes the pain less - no idea why and the docs don't either).

Please do keep me posted on your progress and I'll do the same. Maybe we are suffering from the exact same weird, rare condition!

Take care,

bw

 
Old 05-24-2007, 12:28 AM   #8
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Re: swollen bile duct

Hi there! Well I'm up, its only 3:16am here and I will be getting ready to hit the showers at precisely 5am and will then leave my home at 6am and my catscan is scheduled for 8:30am this morning. I drank the yucky chalky drink last night at 9pm (weird how they even have the time down pact lol). Well this has been hell week and I'm glad to get the whole thing over with. Its the wondering what is wrong syndrome that gets me. My mind works on overdrive and the surfing and reading only made me worse. Hey wouldn't that be a hoot if we did have the same problem. Its certainly similar except I don't quite think my pains are as bad as yours. Uncomfortable yes.

Well I have to drink more of that awful concoction when I get to the hospital, but it must be done. I try to go a long with their tortures. Will get back to you later and let you know what they find. I figure they will call tomorrow if they find anything bad. Well friend, take care and drop in and keep in touch... barb

 
Old 05-25-2007, 03:31 PM   #9
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Re: swollen bile duct

Hey there wv!

Hope everything went well. I know the barium "shakes" are real tasty! At least I do hear they are so much better than they used to be. Sounds like you got the full scan with the double whammy on drinking the stuff the night before and the day of. Mine was only day of. They gave me "mixed berry" flavor ... yummy!

I am back in to see my GE in two weeks to discsuss the ERCP. Until then, I am to just "hang in there". You do the same! Have a great weekend and stay in touch! I am pulling for ya.

bw

 
Old 05-28-2007, 05:24 AM   #10
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Re: swollen bile duct

Thanks so much for your support. Yep I got the double whammy all right lol. Well the scan went ok, but I felt like I really messed up. I had to sign papers of course, and the part about the dye I struggled with and just could not decide if I wanted it or not. I did not remember having the dye in my veins when I had my last CAT a few years ago. Soooo I beat myself up over it later and thought they would not get a good view and the catscan was for nothing.

I called the hospital and talked with a guy in the Radiology dept. and he said that it would show up, but without the dye it wouldn't be clear. I waited all day last Friday for a call expecting them to find something as Ive been having symptoms pretty bad. No call. I hate that waiting like that. Expecting the worse of course lol. Anyway I lightened up and decided to forget it for the mean time and enjoyed my Memorial Day cookout and ate some foods I shouldn't have, but
did. I still don't know anything, but will post when I do. I sure wish you luck on your procedure and do keep me informed. Oh hope you are having a good Memorial Day weekend...barb

 
Old 05-30-2007, 10:59 AM   #11
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Re: swollen bile duct

I empathize. It disheartening how often things are not thoroughly explained and then you feel you have to make a snap decision. They did not tell me about the iodine injection when I had my upper GI until I was about to start the procedure. Not knowing if I was allergic and the severity of the reaction (if I was by chance) did not make me feel very positive to say the least. Luckily I can now say I am not allergic to iodine!

And I know how you feel on the waiting part. Most of the time I am the one calling repeatedly - almost feel like a nuisance. Some doctors are better than others, but it's a flip of the coin at best.

Glad you had a good weekend and yes - I did as well! Thanks for asking.

Btw - My procedure won't be scheduled until I meet again with my GE on the 8th. He offered to just go ahead and schedule it ... but I have too many questions. No need to rush at this point.

Take care - bw

 
Old 05-31-2007, 09:31 AM   #12
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Re: swollen bile duct

Hi friend! I have good news, I finally got a call and my catscan came back normal. My bile duct was not swollen like the ultrasound had reported. I am doing better since being on this new drug also and no gassy bloat feeling and the upper right side pains have subsided also. I feel like I have a new lease on life and I really want to do better with my health. Im going to exercise and try to get in shape and maybe that will help. I hope you have good news to tell me when you see your doctor the next time. I will be thinking of you and have my fingers crossed you will get the help you need...barb

 
Old 06-01-2007, 06:23 AM   #13
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Re: swollen bile duct

wv,

That's GREAT news! I am so glad you are feeling better. Definitely much better to find a medication that works and make some lifestyle changes that to have a doctor go in and play with our internal organs.

Keep me posted on any more good news ... I will do the same. Have a great weekend!

bw

 
Old 06-04-2007, 05:37 AM   #14
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Re: swollen bile duct

Good morning. Just wanted to check in with you and see how you are doing. I am ok, but my symptoms came back again so I suppose the medication is not so great after all. I had an attack of IBS yesterday and other than stress I don't know what the trigger was, but Im eating my Activia yogurt and I took one of the amitiza caps and I felt sick to my stomach. This thing is so unpredictable. You never know what will set it off. I know stress does and fatty foods. I made the mistake of make sloppy joes yesterday and the sauce that went in my ground turkey must have had something in it that effected my stomach. Anyway its back to the drawing board lol and will make a pot of my soup concoction that helps some. I hope you are doing well and let me know how things go with your doctor ok...have a happy day barb

 
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