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mandygirl12 01-31-2012 03:47 PM

GERD or gall bladder??
6 years ago I got pain in my upper right quadrant that spread to my shoulder blade and down my side, nausea, heartburn, was positive I had a gall bladder infection. Ultrasound showed no stones. At the same time I was diagnosed with GERD. Since then I've take prilosec every day and it has more or less relieved my symptoms with the occassional flare up.

I get the burning that starts in my stomach and goes up my esophagus and into my chest, the heaviness in my chest and the sensitivity to acidic, spicy, and heavy foods and especially caffeine and alcohol. BUT I also get the pain under my right ribs, like a golf ball is stuck there. I also have a lot of other digestive issues that I don't know if they are related or coincidence. I've always just shrugged it off as a sensitive stomach but I have to wonder.

The past 3-4 weeks my GERD has been unmanageable. Prilosec does nothing, diet and exercise do nothing. The pressure in my chest is awful, and I had some dizzy spells and feel so exhausted. Dr prescribed me to Zantac twice a day, which seemed to help a little but I felt like it was giving me heart palpitations so I stopped and went back to prilosec. I had an ultrasound the other day, everything was normal. But before the test I was dry heaving in the parking lot (I know, gross) because I had fasted for 8 hours before but my stomach just kept producing acid regardless, and it tasted like bile in the back of my throat. Such an awful feeling. Now I've gotten that nauseaus feeling with bile a couple times since the test. Still persistent acid reflux with the awful chest feeling, and dull pain in URQ that radiates to my back. Now I also wake up with sore throats. I did have an EKG and it was normal. I ran twice last week; first time was ok but second time it aggravated my GERD and I was close to throwing up when I stopped. I am a runner and have never had a problem exercising. I watch what I eat and am at a healthy weight. Doctors keep telling me what I already know- eat smaller meals, sleep on an incline, etc. They don't think it's gall bladder especially after ultrasound results.

I have an appt at a GI specialist this week, and I'm wondering if I should demand a HIDA scan- more for my own peace of mind so I can finally know for certain that it is or isn't my gall bladder. Also my blood tests showed low iron saturation and boderline-high cholesterol, which was surprising because I consider myself a healthy eater and I regularly exercise. Not sure if that's related.

Has anyone else had persistent GERD for days on end with no relief? Usually I can control it but it's impossible right now and I'm so frustrated. It's also hard to tell if it really is my GERD or if it could be gall bladder related. I just want to feel normal; I am so frustrated and feel uncomfortable all the time.

BelleoftheSouth 02-05-2012 10:04 AM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
I have GERD and my Gall Bladder was really bad even though all the tests said it was fine. I begged to have it removed and when the surgery was done and the testing came back so the Doctors could tell me there was nothing wrong they were shocked.

My Gall Bladder had micro-stones and gangrene plus it had sealed itself shut.

If you're concerned with the sometimes pain make sure you let your Doctor know so he can keep a closer eye on you.

Be Well:angel:


mandygirl12 02-05-2012 01:40 PM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??

Thank you for your reply. I'm sorry you went through that but it seems like it paid off to be persistent. I can't believe how much problems your gall bladder can cause when all the tests are normal. So frustrating. May I ask what your symptoms were before you had it out?

I'm scheduled for an upper endoscopy next month but the GI dr thinks I just have IBS and GERD. He wants me to try isolating food groups like dairy to see if any of them give me issues. He also poked around my organs and said the gall bladder area felt normal- although I'm not sure how much they can tell just by feeling.

I'm still getting the pain on my upper right side that worsens when I walk or run.

BelleoftheSouth 02-07-2012 03:29 PM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
Hey Mandy...I had my first gallbladder attack while on a Cruise:mad:

My symptoms were severe pain under my ribs on the right side so bad that I'd end up in a fetal position on the floor pain in my back pain in the stomach area..sometimes I would swear that I was having a heart attack..

I had the upper GI and was found to have H-Pylori and my gallbladder looked fine.I was given prilosic(sp:confused:) for GERD just in case I had it..go figure.

I had 4 upper GIs afterwards and was in such pain but my gallbladder looked fine so no surgery.

It took me 4 years to get surgery then I had to sign away my soul.

One way to see if its your gallbladder is to eat something fatty.. foods with fat will send you to the floor with pain.. my first attack was when I had a couple of bites of Duck that my husband wanted me to try and I was a wreck from then on.

Some people don't have enough attacks for the doctor to follow through on which isn't right because you will limit yourself from doing anything because you don't know when an attack will happen.

I hope you find out whats happening and get what you need to fix you:angel:


mandygirl12 02-07-2012 04:15 PM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
Thank you again, Belle. The thing is, as much as I've had a knawing pain under my right rib, it's never been so severe that I can't function. It is mainly incredibly uncomfortable, litearlly feels like there is an object stuck under there. Every so often I'll get a sharp pain but it goes away then just lingers as a dull aching feeling. In the past month it has been much more frequent and it gets really bad when I try to run or even on an extended walk, to the point where I have to stop and sit down. I always also get the pain radiating to my back under my right shoulder, which is usually the more painful symptom. In fact, 6years ago when I had first showed symptoms was the pain under my shoulder, and I actually thought I had injured myself from running. These symptoms always go hand in hand with GERD flare ups for me, which has been non-stop for the past month. I take prilosec every day, so I don't think I should have H pylori. The DR told me 99% of his patients who he gives an endoscopy to come back normal, but it's still a good idea to have one given my problems. I'm also being tested for Celiac's (wheat and gluten) but I don't think that's it- I've never noticed particular problems with either of those items.

I've noticed with fatty or heavy meals I get incredibly tired after, to the point I literally can not keep my eyes open. It's like my body shuts down. Then I feel really groggy in the morning like I've been drinking all night. I have no clue if that's related or I'm just sensitive to certain things. Only sometimes will a fatty meal set off the pain in my right side. My endoscopy isn't for another month, so until then I guess I will hope my symptoms start to decrease. Thank you so much again for your help!

BelleoftheSouth 02-08-2012 08:34 AM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
I know you said the doctor said they didn't believe it was your gallbladder but when you wrote 'it feels like something 'stuck' in there' have you thought it could be 'gall stones?'

I had micoscopic stones so all the tests done didn't pick them up.

Did you listen to your doctor and sleep on an incline?

Ask the doctors to check for H Pylori just to be on the safe side when you go in for your tests.

Have you tried Maalox or PeptoBismal? they would actually help me at times:).

I hope all tests come out telling you what is what so you can get some relief from the pain AND the stress.

Take Care:angel:


mandygirl12 02-08-2012 09:11 AM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
Yes, I've always had it in the back of my mind that I might have very small stones that aren't being picked up by an ultrasound. I've never had the HIDA scan so maybe that would show something. I was tested for H pylori a few years back when I was having a lot of stomach problems and it was negative, but I will mention it again in case I have it now.

I sleep on an incline every night. I eat small meals throughout the day, avoid spicy, acidic, heavy, fried foods and no alcohol (that is the worst trigger for my symptoms!). I give myslef a few hours before going to bed to digest. I take prilosec one hour before eating in the morning, then at night I usually eat 2 tums because by the end of the day my GERD starts to act up again. The doctor said it's actually good to take tums every day because they are a source of calcium, and for someone like me who has been taking a PPI for so long it can inhibit the absorption of calcium. I also mix soluble fiber in with my breakfast (also recommended by the dr). And I am trying the no-dairy thing for 2 weeks to see if that has any effect. Some days I wake up feeling great but by the end of the day my GERD just gets out of control. I will try the pepto or maalox- thanks! I'm willing to try anything at this point since diet and lifestlye changes don't seem to do all that much!

Titchou 02-08-2012 09:52 AM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
If your u/s was engative, ask for a HIDA scan. That tests for gb function. Anything below 35% or above 75 is considered non functioning and the gb should be removed.

mandygirl12 02-08-2012 10:02 AM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
Thanks, the HIDA scan is on my list. For now I want to see if the endoscopy shows anything, and if it doesn't I will ask for the HIDA. I truly do not believe I have Celiac, so I am not expecting to find my answer from that blood test. There's only so many days I can take off from work to have tests done so I want to wait until after my endoscopy (I can hardly ever get a weekend test, and when I got my ultrasound on a weekday night it was horrible because I had to fast during the day and that just makes my symptoms get out of control). For the endoscopy, I have it scheduled on a Tuesday morning and then I plan to work on Wednesday, and it's possible I'll have a friend visiting me on Thursday. Do you think that is over-doing it or should I be completely fine by Wednesday? (as far as feeling tired or sore). I'm wondering if I should tell my friend to visit another time. From what my sister and friend who have both had one say, it is not a big deal and you will just feel a little sore but shouldn't be in pain or anything. Of course I am nervous having never had this test before. I hope it is like getting wisdom teeth surgery, you go to sleep and wake up not remembering anything.

PrincessLexie 02-16-2012 05:13 PM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
Hello Mandy, what you describe sounds so familiar. I am 25 years old and I have GERD and dyspepsia. I've had: Upper Endoscopy, pH Bravo Test, h.Pylori test (all over a year ago) and that is when I was diagnosed with GERD and Dyspepsia and took treatment for the h.Pylori. I also had an ultrasound over 6 months ago (the ultra was to see if I had gallstones and they said that I didn't). Lately I have been having a pain in the upper right side of the stomach, behind the rib (since 6 months ago). I am worried because when I get the pain it comes and goes, but sometimes I just feel something swollen and pain in there when I move. The pain spreads to my right breast and shoulder and sometimes I feel discomfort in the back too, and if I lift my arm I feel something weird (but the pain starts in the middle of the upper stomach then goes to under the right ribcage). I have told my GI but they just ignore it. I took Protonix for over 2 years for the GERD but it just made things worst so I have stopped it since December and I am going through a horrible acid rebound phase which I am treating with Aloe Vera juice and other natural remedies. They don't seem to work yet maybe because my stomach is still crazy because of the protonix, so I also take Zantac whenever I need it which is most of the time or else my esophagus burns and chest hurts as well and I get a horrible sore throat. I have a doctors appointment tomorrow and I will beg her to help me find out what is going on. I am desperate, this makes me depressed because I feel that I am not getting the proper treatments and I'm afraid that it might be something serious. I hope that you feel better soon.

mandygirl12 02-16-2012 05:27 PM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??

I definitely get that weird swollen feeling under my right rib. Sometimes it makes it impossible to run, which I do often so it is so frustrating! Most of the doctors I've been to also brush off my complaints about this aching feeling...I think they give me the ultrasound just to say they "listened" to me. I have my upper endoscopy next month. My GERD has actually improved a lot the past 2 weeks, and I'm not sure if it really is because I completely cut out dairy for a week and now I just eat it in limited amounts, or if the fiber is helping, or some combination of both. I've also been very diligent about taking my prilosec on an empty stomach and waiting at least 45minutes before eating. I take 2 tums at night as well. My GI dr did say that IBS and GERD are often related in patients, so I guess if dairy really was causing me problems it could have triggered my GERD. I still get GERD symptoms at some point throughout the day but it is not as bad as it was 2 weeks ago where I felt like I couldn't breathe. I also get the back and shoulder pain you are describing, but less so now. I did not like Zantac, it made me feel like I was having palpitations and it was difficult to sleep, which is why I went right back to Prilosec. What is Dyspepsia? I'v never heard of that before. Please let me know how your dr's appt goes- I know they are never fun!

PrincessLexie 02-16-2012 05:37 PM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
Dyspepsia is indigestion with heartburn/GERD. It's good to hear that you have been able to manage your GERD, mine was mild before ever taking the protonix and now that I stopped taking it I feel that it became chronic GERD (I hope that it is just the acid rebound phase) and this makes me feel miserable. Next week on Friday I will have the Esophageal Motility test, I'm so nervous about that because it doesn't sound good at all, since the little tubes are inserted through the nose and go all the way down to the stomach. I feel that the zantac makes me feel dizzy or weird but maalox and tums alone don't help me too much. I will let you know what my doctor says tomorrow. So it seems that our symptoms are so alike, I hope that we find out what's wrong and get it fixed. :)

mandygirl12 02-17-2012 12:46 PM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
Well then I probably have dyspepsia too from the sound of it! For the entire month of January I had severe GERD every single day, so I know what you are going is so awful. Nothing I did could relieve it, and the doctors just told me to take more Zantac and sleep on an incline. I even went to urgent care one night because I was so miserable and just wanted help, which was pointless! That test sounds scary, but hopefully it will either give you an answer or rule something out. Good luck and I look forward to hearing about your appointment!

PrincessLexie 02-17-2012 02:07 PM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
Hi Mandy.
I sleep with a wedge pillow (they sell some for GERD sufferers), but I end up putting one or two pillows under the wedge pillow to find relief, or else it's the same.

I went to my doctor's appointment already. I just went to waste my time. The doctor barely let me talk, and she said that it's all in my mind. I told her everything, about that little ball or swollen feeling and everything I wrote here, shoulder and back pain, etc... but she just gave me Paxil, she says that my anxiety makes me feel pain and that the pain makes me more anxious and that it makes the pain worse and so on. She said that I couldn't have developed stones or something serious in 6 months or one year. I told her that what I feel is real but she told me to take the zantac and paxil and that she will see me in two months to see if the paxil helped, and to go to the GI to see if they agree on doing another endoscopy (which they said no already so why try :(), and she also wants to see what comes out with the new test that I have for next Friday. She said that it's been too many exams already and that all is good. But my GERD burns my throat all the time and the pain is there, so I don't know what to do. When I told her that I stopped the protonix she wanted me to take it again or nexium but I said no so she said that that is why I feel bad because I don't want to take it. I don't know what else to do, PPI's don't help me. I really need to find a natural remedy that will...

mandygirl12 02-17-2012 02:33 PM

Re: GERD or gall bladder??
Ugh, I'm so sorry your appointment was not helpful. I've had the same experience many times, and since they've never found stones they completely disregard that pain. I had to insist on seeing a GI specialist; at first my primary doctor said no I had to go see a regular doctor first then get referred...but after I ended up in urgent care she gave me the referral. Even if the GI doctor won't give you another endoscopy I think it's always better to see them when it involves digestive problems. They are specialized in that area and in my experience are more willing to listen to all your symptoms and try to work something out to help you. Have you had any blood tests done? That is easy and can rule out a lot of things. I was tested for Celiac- the wheat and gluten allergy- just in case but I did not have it. I've had multiple liver tests as well because it can indicate gall stones. Those are just simple tests they should have no problem doing for you. And you can get an ultrasound too if you haven't- an easy way to show gall stones.

My GI doctor is great, he sat down with me for a long time and let me talk, took notes, asked me questions, examed me, scheduled an endoscopy and gave me tips on dealing with IBS triggers that could also be linked to my GERD. You could try the elimination diet where you eliminate certain food groups that are common triggers for digestive problems. I started with dairy because that is the most likely cause for people with IBS (I'm not sure if you have that too, but apparently I do and it's linked to my GERD). I think it has helped a little, but I haven't tried eliminating other groups like fructose.

And as for the anxiety part, I've heard that before too. In my opinion, your symptoms cause the anxiety, not the other way around. I have been stressed before from work and personal stuff, and never had any symptoms arise from that, but my GERD seems to come out of nowhere- it doesn't matter if I'm completely relaxed, but once I get the symptoms it makes me more anxious because I'm worried and uncomfortable. And it seems odd to me that anxiety would cause a pain like that under your ribs...when I'm upset sometimes I get a stomach ache but it is more of a nervous stomach thing...the pain under the ribs is so unique I find it hard to believe you could get that from anxiety.

I have still yet to try the apple cider vinegar. That is the only remedy I've heard of plus the aloe vera.

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