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Old 09-06-2008, 11:47 AM   #1
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Trish1001 HB User
Question "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

I really hope that my symptoms will sound familiar to someone and you can tell me what to do.
I had my gall bladder out in 02. A CT scan of the abdomen, endoscopy, colonoscopy, and ultrasound showed nothing wrong. A scan of the gall bladder showed it was not functioning "up to par." So out with the gb.
But I continue to have pain; some days it is severe, other days not so bad. I have tried elimination diets and can find no connection between what I eat and the pain. I also see no connection with how much exercise I get, how much sleep, how much stress. Right now I am trying acupuncture and a "hot" diet (i.e., nothing cold or raw; drink lots of ginger tea and take hot baths). Can't say it's helping.
I went to a GI who thinks it's "nerve pain" (my body is sending a wrong signal to my brain) and has prescribed an anti-depressant; but that makes me think bad thoughts and I feel so hopeless and dull. I know there are newer meds out there, but I'm hoping there is another solution.
I'm at the point where I'm tired most of the time and I feel short of breath sometimes. I think the pain is wearing me down!

Does anyone have any words of wisdom? I'm really frustrated with this!!!

 
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:25 PM   #2
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Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

I don't have the answer but I thought I'd share something with you. I had my gb out in April (I only had one stone but had the hida scan which showed an almost nonfunctioning gall bladder). Right from the start I felt a twinge occasionally where it used to be. I remember mentioning this to my surgeon who seemed surprised (he's supposed to be excellent, highly thought of by doctors in this area). In early August I began to experience diarrhea despite taking Benefibre. I mentioned this to my primary care physician who said that gall bladder patients who had stones seem to recuperate better than those who don't have stones (or very few) but have the low functioning gall bladders. I can't remember the name of the condition she mentioned as I was stunned to hear this and not concentrating on what she was saying anymore. I went to my Gastroenterologist who prescribed Questran (to help with the diarrhea) but I got sick from it. Back to Benefibre and some probiotics, see how it goes and if I still have problems I'll go back to the gastro (she mentioned that it could be a stone still inside & she may need to do some tests~shudder~). Anyhow, for those of us who did not have a gb filled with stones, it sounds like recuperation won't be so easy. Maybe someone else reading this will recognize one of our symptoms.

 
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:56 PM   #3
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Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

My story nearly identical, I had GB out in Dec last year and have what I can only describe as the "same pain" i had before i had it out??? The pain is on the right side and up under my ribs, I feel so hopeless and worried. I have such a busy life and 3 children and living with this pain is mindbending. Doc sending me for ultrasound now to check liver?? Don't feel like she is listening to me though. I have had 3 c-section, appendectomy and the gallbladder removal so I think my insides are a bit of a mess. Did they check your liver?? I am worried now I have some damage to my liver my mind is racing on this. Any support would be appreciated after all that surgery I am still having problems!!!!

 
Old 09-11-2008, 03:46 PM   #4
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Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

Sharks,
Please don't worry!! I have had this pain without my gb for 6 years now. I figure if it were really serious, I would know about it by now! I have never had my liver specifically checked, but bloodwork last March was fine.

I have never been able to figure out what makes it worse/better. Some days I hardly feel it, other days I just want to cry. When it's many days in a row it really drags me down.

I have lost most of my confidence in western medicine, at least regarding this particular problem and am seeking answers on my own. Right now I am trying acupuncture. I can't say for sure if it is helping. I am going to try 2 more sessions and that's it. I figure I should know in 6 sessions, and the acupuncturist agrees. I am also trying a "hot" diet: nothing cold or raw. I drink hot ginger tea (or mint if I don't have ginger) as often as I can. I put a hot water bottle on my abdomen, even when I eat. The heat really does seem to help, though it's really too soon to know for sure. It could just be wishful thinking. I'm looking for long-term, i.e., permanent, painlessness here! Yesterday I began taking a magnesium supplement. Harry from SC suggested it (on this board), others have tried it and it seems to be helping. If I understand correctly, the magnesium helps because the pain is due to muscle spasms. I'm also now taking a pro-biotic, as well as a liquid vitamin/mineral supplement (it's easier on the digestion than a pill).

The GI doctor, whose care I am now under, but may end up not going back to, has suggested that the pain is "nerve pain," a wrong signal from the nerves to the brain. So there isn't anything wrong, it's just a miscommunication, so my brain is saying, "Ow!" No one else on this board has said that their doctor has mentioned that.

Two other things mentioned on this board: one, that bile can drip, I guess constantly, from the liver into the small intestine, causing irritation and two, that there could be a stone in the bile duct, which does not get removed with the gb. I guess they'll be able to see a stone with the ultrasound. You may want to mention it to the tech so s/he'll look in the right place. A few months ago a nutritionist type person I know suggested a build-up of stuff in the bile duct and suggested staying away from anything that crunches, i.e., raw vegetables, nuts, etc., see if that didn't help clear things out. It didn't. I only managed to lose a lot of weight, because I was mainly eating broth, applesauce, and yogurt.

Anyway, I'll be interested to know what they say about your liver. It's likely fine. Think about it. Have you done anything that would damage your liver - excess alcohol? tons of ibuprofen? stuff like that. You would know if you did. So please don't worry. You have enough on your plate. You don't need to be worried about this too. You're far from alone with this pain!

Hope this is helpful to you, too, Park914! BTW, when I had my gb out, I had no stones, and it was functioning at 51%, which now I find out is perfectly fine. That's the kind of "care" I was under 6 years ago. See why I have lost confidence in western medicine?!

Trish1001

 
Old 09-11-2008, 05:16 PM   #5
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sharks HB User
Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

You are a lovely person you know, just as i feel like no one is listening too..... I started magnesium 3 days ago, was told it takes around a week to two weeks to kick in, so will see. It is such a strange thing, sometimes i don't feel it at all and then it creeps up again and causes me this dull, nagging pain. This whole thing is exhausting, god i hope i can get some satisfaction. One thing i wanted to run by you, i get some relief when i massage my upper right to middle of abdomen, feels like something releases??? and then pain eases??? Maybe my imagination, who knows. Thanks again for being so lovely.

 
Old 09-12-2008, 07:46 AM   #6
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Trish1001 HB User
Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

Sharks,
Thanks for calling me "lovely." The only other person who would say that to me is my very dear friend in England. I love her so much and miss her so much; you brought her to my mind when I read that. Thank you!
Anyway, regarding the massage, I have never thought to try that; that's great if it works! I guess that would go along with the theory about muscle spasms. Also, massage tends to be relaxing in general, for the whole body as well as the mind. No doubt the more we think about our pain the more tense and anxious we are going to be about it and that may make it worse.
Hope you're having a great day, despite the thorn in your side!
Trish

 
Old 09-13-2008, 06:35 AM   #7
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sharks HB User
Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

I call it as i see it Trish!! I am really anxious about monday and whats in store for me, i hope everything is ok, love my kids too much for it to be anything major. Trying to stay positive will let you know how i go, thanks for listening.

 
Old 09-13-2008, 09:00 PM   #8
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Pinda HB User
Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharks View Post
My story nearly identical, I had GB out in Dec last year and have what I can only describe as the "same pain" i had before i had it out??? The pain is on the right side and up under my ribs, I feel so hopeless and worried. I have such a busy life and 3 children and living with this pain is mindbending. Doc sending me for ultrasound now to check liver?? Don't feel like she is listening to me though. I have had 3 c-section, appendectomy and the gallbladder removal so I think my insides are a bit of a mess. Did they check your liver?? I am worried now I have some damage to my liver my mind is racing on this. Any support would be appreciated after all that surgery I am still having problems!!!!
Hi there,

What you might be experiencing are adhesions. They are almost a given with the types of surgery you have and can really tear you up with pain. Do an adhesions search here on the board. You'll find it interesting and it may answer some of what is actually happening inside you.

Problem is with adhesions, the more times they open you up or try to remove them, they just get worse. It's a no win situation. I am no doctor and just saw your post but thought I would offer my 2 cents as this just might be what is happening.

The doctors don't like to discuss adhesions for some reason and most will not even attempt to operate on them. You need a specialist for that and they aren't easy to find. Most just say to live with the pain unless it becomes life threatening. Adhesions can twist all around your organs and get pretty nasty.

Take care and hope you find out what is going on, but if you haven't checked into adhesions it's certainly worth some research.

Good luck,
Linda

 
Old 09-14-2008, 01:53 PM   #9
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Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

Hi Linda
Adhesions had crossed my mind, I did mention it to my doctor and you are right she was very dismissive, I think you know your own body though? Would they show up on an ultrasound though? Can't wait for today to be over. Thanks for your interest in my problem I will keep you posted and let you know.
Thanks again

 
Old 09-15-2008, 11:42 AM   #10
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AlanPi HB User
Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

Without a gallbladder, I am not sure if the bile would just drip into your intestines.

Quote:
Sphincter of Oddi (SOD) muscle keep the bile duct and pancreatic duct muscles colsed to prevent reflux
The bile duct is supposed to take over much of the function of the gb.

After gb removal, some people may still experience SOD dysfunction pain. It's best to have a MRCP done to look into this.

Best of Luck!

 
Old 09-15-2008, 02:14 PM   #11
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rozbel HB User
Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

adhesions were mentioned the last time i saw the surgeon about my ongoing pain after my gb removal although he seemed quite matter of fact about it. could they cause the type of pain that is intermittant and last about 10 minutes and is excruciatingly painful. i was told that i had adhesions when the surgeon came to see me after the gb surgery. could they reform afterwards?

 
Old 09-15-2008, 03:33 PM   #12
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gerbilaurus HB User
Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trish1001 View Post
Sharks,
The GI doctor, whose care I am now under, but may end up not going back to, has suggested that the pain is "nerve pain," a wrong signal from the nerves to the brain. So there isn't anything wrong, it's just a miscommunication, so my brain is saying, "Ow!" No one else on this board has said that their doctor has mentioned that.

Trish1001
My PCP originally mentioned pain due to a heightened nerve sensitivity, something along the lines of more signals being sent to the brain, or that the brain is overprocessing the signals. He said the functioning of my digestive system could be as normal as it always had been, but the new sensitivity could be the cause of my pain. For me, stress is a big factor in this pain, but the double edged sword is that the pain causes me stress, thus causing more pain, etc. I have had pain all over my abdomen at this point - 8+ months of it. The pain started in my lower left side, then lower right side, then lower middle, then upper middle, then under right rib, then left rib, yadda yadda yadda. Every day it's something new. In August I started to feel better, but by the end of the month I was going back the other way.

I've been trying acupuncture as well, and have not seen much from it as of yet - 5 or 6 sessions. So, it's off to biofeedback for me next.

Like AlanPi, I'm really trying not to have surgery to remove my GB, though it has stones and an EF of 27% I may be kidding myself that all this pain is not related to my GB, though some of it probably is.

 
Old 09-16-2008, 08:21 AM   #13
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Trish1001 HB User
Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanPi View Post
Without a gallbladder, I am not sure if the bile would just drip into your intestines.



The bile duct is supposed to take over much of the function of the gb.

After gb removal, some people may still experience SOD dysfunction pain. It's best to have a MRCP done to look into this.

Best of Luck!
What is an MRCP?

 
Old 09-16-2008, 10:10 AM   #14
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Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

MRCP uses an MRI machine with special software to obtain images the hepatobiliary and pancreatic system. Its less invasive than the ERCP which has its own risks. I had the ERCP and a sphincteromy due to SOD my sphincter of oddi was extremely tight and cause of that after my gallbladder came out, it caused the clips used to blow off. Letting bile flow where it wasn't supppose to be. So 2 days after gallbladder surgery, I had the sphincteromy done. I'm so grateful I didn't suffer the risk of getting pancreatitis from it.

In all honesty my symptoms never did "fit" into typical gallbladder attacks, and though pathology did show my gallbladder was diseased and with adhesions, I don't feel it was the root of all my pain. My pain was always right under my right breast and went around to my back. Kind of like a huge letter U on its side. It felt like a vise grip squeezing the daylights out of me. Some days it was bearable and others had me in tears. It also was driving my blood pressure up. It didn't matter what I ate or drank, though I did notice when I felt stressed the pain would increase. But for me the pain was constant, just that the pain level would differ from day to day and could from hour to hour.

Laying a heating pad on the area did seem to help some, as well as drinking hot tea. At one point I was only eating white toast and drinking Ensure for my meals and taking something for the pain. Those 2 weeks the pain did lessen, but you can't live like that for a long time.

My advice to anyone not feeling right after gallbladder surgery to learn more about SOD and take that knowledge with you to your DR. However don't be surprised if they pooh bah you, so many still don't know about or think its quackery. I had one of those, so needless to say its time to find another Dr. I just got lucky when I was re-admitted to get a Dr. that knew about it, sad thing is though he isn't on my health plan,aarrgg on managed care.

 
Old 09-16-2008, 12:16 PM   #15
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Trish1001 HB User
Re: "gall bladder" still hurts after 6 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerbilaurus View Post
My PCP originally mentioned pain due to a heightened nerve sensitivity, something along the lines of more signals being sent to the brain, or that the brain is overprocessing the signals. He said the functioning of my digestive system could be as normal as it always had been, but the new sensitivity could be the cause of my pain. For me, stress is a big factor in this pain, but the double edged sword is that the pain causes me stress, thus causing more pain, etc. I have had pain all over my abdomen at this point - 8+ months of it. The pain started in my lower left side, then lower right side, then lower middle, then upper middle, then under right rib, then left rib, yadda yadda yadda. Every day it's something new. In August I started to feel better, but by the end of the month I was going back the other way.

I've been trying acupuncture as well, and have not seen much from it as of yet - 5 or 6 sessions. So, it's off to biofeedback for me next.

Like AlanPi, I'm really trying not to have surgery to remove my GB, though it has stones and an EF of 27% I may be kidding myself that all this pain is not related to my GB, though some of it probably is.
I've been for 5 sessions of acupuncture and, like you, am not sure it's really helping. What she is going for is to warm up my body so that my digestive tract will work more efficiently. I am very cold natured [physically, not character-wise ] so if we can warm me up, say the Chinese, I will be healthier. And really, I do feel so much better when I stick to drinking hot ginger tea 2-3 times a day and use the hot water bottle on my URQ. I was away most of this past weekend, so was totally off my regime, and have been paying for it since.
Like you, stress does make it worse, and when it really hurts, it causes me stress, so it's a vicious cycle. Maybe that's why the heat helps; it's so relaxing for me.
I do not know if a gb can be healed, i.e., the EF can go up. I should think that if it can't, you may indeed be fooling yourself in thinking that the problem is not your gb. The question is, will you continue to have pain after it is removed, as so many of us do? Hopefully I will find a permanent cure for my "no gb" pain (preferrably w/o meds).
I'll be interested to know how the biofeedback goes.
Trish

 
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