Originally Posted by TheStranger
Hi - looking for any advice I can get...
For the past few months, on and off, I get mild abdominal pain in my right side, right under the ribcage. It is not debilitating or anything, but the fact that it comes back is a concern. It will usually stick around for a few days, then I won't feel it again for several weeks. On top of this, I have frequent changes in stool consistency, ranging from the normal-looking well formed and brown, to light tan stool with more urgency (although not watery). During one of these changes a couple months back, the stool was brownish-green for almost a week and smelled pretty bad.
Back in December I had a colonoscopy for related issues (bleeding from rectum; colonoscopy came back fine with just a couple small polyps, which were removed) and anything colon-related was ruled out (i.e., cancer, Crohn's, etc.)
My question: could this be mild gallstone or bile duct problems? I have heard these things run in families, and my sister had to have her gall bladder out a few years back due to severe attacks. I am a 30 year old male, exercise regularly and am not overweight.
Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
Hi stranger! Your symptoms are more suggestive of what the medical field calls "cholestasis"...i.e. the obstruction to the flow of bile. Allow me to explain.
A gallstone can account for acute right upper quadrant pain which comes and goes, BUT, because a gallstone normally doesn't block the exits to the biliary tree (though it CAN, don't get me wrong), it is not likely to cause your light coloured stools. The light coloured or acholic
stools are a result of bile not getting in to the duodenum and thus not giving the stool its characteristic colour.....metabolic breakdown products of bile pigments give stool its characteristic brown colour.
Now, it is interesting you said you had a period of stools that "smelled really bad". Most people would agree that stool doesn't smell good in the first place, but when someone makes special note of it smelling really bad, usually it's something out of the ordinary. This can ALSO be explained by cholestasis. Did you notice your stools were oily and bulky at all? If the bile has trouble entering the duodenum, it can't do its job (i.e. to emulsify fats to make them easier for digestion) and the stools often have a high content of lipid in them, are greasy and smell VERY bad.
If this is indeed cholestasis, if it is allowed to go on for a while, it can result in other changes like jaundice.
You seem like a healthy guy. Can you please answer the following questions: You say you're not overweight...have you lost a lot of weight recently?
Do you have any other health problems?
Have you noticed any yellowing of your eyes or increased itchiness?
Has there been any change in the colour of your urine?
Any liver problems in your family?