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Old 06-25-2009, 12:16 PM   #1
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Diarrhea as a Gall Bladder Symptom?

Hi everyone. There seems to be a lot of gall bladder experts on this board, so I thought I'd throw out a question.

Has anyone had sort of atypical gall bladder symptoms, namely diarrhea?

I ask because I have been having diarrhea since February. Usually in the morning, about 30 minutes after I get up (and am on the drive to work) I get this feeling in my stomach - I can't even describe where exactly it is - then it progresses to cramping in my lower abdomen and having to go RIGHT NOW. I'm often racing the the bathroom when I get to work, in horrible pain. It almost always happens in the morning, sometimes several times a day.

I was talking with my mom and realized she suffered from something very similar for close to 10 years - chronic diarrhea, especially soon after waking. Once she started having vomitting and actual gall bladder attacks, it was only a couple months until she was diagnosed and had her gall bladder removed (her GB was operating at about 20% by the time she had the scan, and fluid was backing up into her stomach, making her vomit). After her surgery, the diarrhea vanished and she felt so much better.

We're very similar with our health problems, and pretty much all of the women in my family have had their GB's removed. My mom is convinced it's my gall bladder. My doctor tested me for celiac disease, told me to avoid dairy, which didn't work, decided he thinks it's IBS and told me to see a GI doctor (have an appt next month). Should I even bring up the GB thing?

So what I am wondering is if anyone else had diarrhea (or other strange symptoms) associated with a gall bladder problem? Thanks so much!

 
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:16 PM   #2
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Re: Diarrhea as a Gall Bladder Symptom?

I didn't but others have reported that. But if staying off dairy didn't make any difference, I'd say it's unlikely gallbladder. But an ultrasound would be good to determine that. And then a HIDA Scan to determine ejection rate. Does sort of sound like IBS though.

 
Old 06-25-2009, 06:19 PM   #3
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Re: Diarrhea as a Gall Bladder Symptom?

Yes, I had diarrhea and other weird symptoms before being diagnosed with gallstones. In addition to diarrhea, I had panic attacks, heart palpitations so strong they woke me up, and fluctuating blood pressure.

Later I had more common symptoms of pain in the right ribs, then left ribs, generalized back pain, pain in the right shoulder, pale stools.

If you're going to a GI doc I would certainly discuss your symptoms and family history as gallbladder disease does run in families, especially among women.

 
Old 06-26-2009, 02:19 PM   #4
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Re: Diarrhea as a Gall Bladder Symptom?

Did your heart palpitations go away after your GB was removed? Just curious because I have "flutters" in my chest that have always been brushed off as LES spasms (nothing abnormal on echo or stress test) due to my indigestion, which seems to be well-controlled with Prilosec OTC, 2 times daily.

Now that I've got a preliminary diagnosis of gallbladder problems, I'm sort of wondering if all of the abdominal/chest symptoms over the years are tied together...especially with my heart ruled out, according to the doctors. Inconsistent stools (no such thing as "normal" to me - diarrhea, "normal", constipation could happen at any time), heart palps/flutters, raised blood pressure, ache in right ribs/sometimes left where stomach is located, back pain varying from upper right to generalized lower pain, frequent gurgling in colon, occasional unexplained tiredness, and the list goes on. It's been going for 3-4 years now and finally had an ultrasound that included my GB last week...they say something's not right there and want a surgeon consult.

 
Old 06-26-2009, 06:28 PM   #5
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Re: Diarrhea as a Gall Bladder Symptom?

I still have my gallbladder. I am being treated with a medicine called Ursodiol that dissolves some kinds of gallstones. It is a rather expensive and long term treatment, I have been on it along with fish oil for approximately 2 years. I am pretty much symptom free at this point, with an occasional twinge in my right rib area.

You may find out that after the removal of your gallbladder that the indigestion problems will go away. It is a common symptom to have indigestion problems along with diarrhea. The Prilosec also helped me.

I was interested to read that you also had palps and blood pressure issues. These symptoms has been reported by others on this board, but are relatively rare.

It sounds like to me that you have all the gallbladder symptoms and that they made a good diagnosis.

In another post you mentioned lower RQ discomfort/pain. I also had this, and was worried about appendicitis. However, the pain was never below the belly button and didn't increase if I moved my right knee up.

 
Old 06-28-2009, 06:54 PM   #6
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Re: Diarrhea as a Gall Bladder Symptom?

How large were your gallstones, did they cause you severe discomfort and how long did it take for the symptoms to subside and gallstones to dissolve using Ursodiol. I've checked my insurance coverage and it seems I only have a $15 copay for a 90 day supply of 600mg/day. I think that's just the preventative dose, though...unsure how much or what form they place you on for stone dissolution?

I'm 37 years old and in decent overall health (lost 50lbs since February 1st by exercising daily - have 50 more to lose before I'm done), so I'm guessing I'm not really a great candidate for the drug over surgery, but I am curious as to how your case progressed with the drug rather than the more typical surgical option.

 
Old 06-29-2009, 11:41 AM   #7
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Re: Diarrhea as a Gall Bladder Symptom?

I wanted to thank you for your responses to my question. It is interesting reading about your symptoms. And how surprising to see indigestion as a symptom. I've had that for years.

I just came back to the board to do more gall bladder research and found my post up at the top again.

For the past several hours I've had this pain under my sternum that spreads to under my right ribs. It's not a terrible pain - more of a very uncomfortable, gnawing, bloated feeling (almost like the gas pains I get from consuming milk or ice cream without lactaid - I'm lactose intollerant buy really only affected by straight milk, ice cream or ricotta cheese). I'm also nauseous. I'm hungry, but I don't feel like I should eat, nor do I really want to.

It seems like maybe this could be a gall bladder attack, but I always assumed they were extremely painful. This is not an ER-worthy kind of pain, but I do feel yucky.

 
Old 06-29-2009, 06:00 PM   #8
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Re: Diarrhea as a Gall Bladder Symptom?

Starling, on the ultrasound they could only see a couple of small stones or polyps; I probably had lots of "sludge." I had increasing symptoms over several years, as I was trying to lose weight, I finally got diagnosed when I found a new Dr. who recognized the classic signs of pain in the ribs.

I have been on the Ursodiol for a little over two years. I was started on 4-250mg tablets, I am now down to 1-250mg tablet which I split, using half with breakfast and half w dinner. I also take 3000mg of fish oil a day at the direction of my GI doc. It did take several months before the symptoms started to subside; it does require patience. Now I am symptom free most of the time,eat pretty much anything I want, if things start acting up, then I increase the dose for a few days.

The downside is that I will probably have to take the maintenance dose for many years; for many people it is not a complete cure. So far it has beat surgery.

 
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