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Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms


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Old 05-01-2006, 02:31 AM   #1
2littlemonkeys
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Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

Hi everyone!

Back in February I came down with what I thought was food poisoning...diarrhea, lots of nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite. The symptoms never really subsided, they would come and go. I'd be fine for a day, miserable the next. Eating anything fatty would make the diarrhea worse.

Went to see my doc and he ran tons of tests on stool samples, checking for all kinds of bugs and bacteria. All came back negative. He did a bunch of bloodwork too (CBC, lipids, etc), all fine. He also sent me for a gall bladder u/s since my sister had hers out last year and just to be safe. I thought it was a stretch since I had no "pain" there and not many places list diarrhea as as a symptom of GB though I'm learning otherwise from wonderful places like this. Well, it turns out I do have stones. I got a call from the nurse who simply said "You have gallstones, this is what's causing your symptoms, you need to have your GB removed" I assume this is based on a doctor actually seeing blocking, inflammation, etc...not just that they are in there. I see a surgeon on Thursday so I will presumably get more details then. I since have a lot of gas, often acid or bile tasting in burps and have vomitted bile once or twice.

My concern is I haven't really had any of the classic ER-admitting pain, more the chronic indigestion part. Over the last week or so I've definitely had some obvious tenderness in the area though, it'll last a couple days and then go away for a few. If I eat eggs I feel miserable, but I wouldn't call it pain - what does "colicky" pain feel like? I have not had much fatty food at all since this began mainly b/c of having no appetite for it, more recently for fear of setting off an attack. I do remember having what I thought was horrible indigestion (lasting a couple hours) that awakened me a few times in the middle of the night over the last year or so, with medication not helping at all, though again I wouldn't call it pain. More like extreme discomfort. Were these most likely attacks? I cannot remember if it was situated on my right, I just remember feeling like I really had to burp and couldn't get comfortable at all.

I am learning through this episode that I am definitely a fear the worst person. I've never had health issues before and this has all terrified me, bringing on anxiety attacks. I was actually thrilled to hear I had the stones as it's not all that serious.

Anyway, my reason for the post is that I seem to have switched from diarrhea or soft stools (which sometimes is mucousy - sorry TMI ) to constipation in the last few days. It's 4:30 am and I was awakened about an hour ago with burning behind my sternum and gas pains. Stomach is feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Can anyone with gallstones relate to these symptoms, especially NOT having any classic "pain"? Do these all seem like GB symptoms?

Sorry this got so long and thanks so much for any insight/reassurance you may be able to offer.

Last edited by 2littlemonkeys; 05-01-2006 at 05:22 AM.

 
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Old 05-01-2006, 05:21 AM   #2
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

The rest of my morning included several trips to the bathroom with soft stools and a lot of nausea and chills. Now most of that has waned but the middle of my abdomen, right side and around to my back feel sore now. I know many people say that happens to them after an attack...I have had several similar episodes in recent weeks. Is it possible this is an attack without the pain? I did have a little macaroni and cheese last night so it could have triggered it I suppose.
Thanks again!

 
Old 05-01-2006, 06:03 AM   #3
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

Sounds like GB attack to me! A friend of mine only had the nausea...and severe enough to end up in ER at one point. Never had another symptom but she had multiple stones when they finally got around to an ultrasound. Have it out.

 
Old 05-01-2006, 03:26 PM   #4
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

i have not had the bad pains everyone talks about i have had pain the last 4 weeks right side by belly button i had a ct scan i was told i have a 16x18 mm stone and i need gallbladder removed surgery is scheduled for may 10th
i am scared never had surgery
good luck to you

edited to say my pains are more like when i was pregnant and the baby would move or kick but the pain is on my right side

Last edited by stellatj; 05-01-2006 at 08:05 PM.

 
Old 05-02-2006, 05:21 AM   #5
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

Thanks to both of you for your replies. Very reassuring. Stella, I've never had surgery either and am a bit nervous myself. But the way I look at it is if I have to have surgery I'm glad it's the most commonly performed one in the country! And at least it's an easy recovery with no major incisions! Actually the anesthesia freaks me out much more than the surgery itself!

Good luck to you too! I'm sure we'll both do great!

 
Old 05-02-2006, 07:26 AM   #6
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

It is the anesthesia that freaks me out too i asked if it could be done with just a local they said no way.

 
Old 05-02-2006, 08:20 AM   #7
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

Don't worry about that. They are very careful with it. When I had mine out I was totally awake 40 minutes later...could read the clock in the recovery room at that point. They can give you valium or something beforehand to calm you if you ask. Be sure when you go for the pre-op to talk with them about it if you are really that concerned. They have different options and you need to underdtand them all. And no, you would not want a local for this procedure! That would be worse....I promise! Yuck!

 
Old 05-02-2006, 11:02 AM   #8
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

I never had horrible abdominal pains. I did have pains in my shoulder, but mostly it was very bad nausea.

The surgery really isn't bad. Don't worry about the anesthesia. The anesthesiologist is highly trained, and has only one job during the surgery- to keep an eye on you! They need to do general anesthesia, it's really not possible to get your gallbladder out with local. But don't worry about it. I've had general twice.

You get to the hospital and check in and all that, then you get taken back and the nurse checks your weight and height and pulse and blood pressure and temperature and all that. Then they give you the gown and have you change. You take everything off, put on the gown and socks, and then they give you a hat to wear, but you don't have to put it on until just before you go in. Then you lay down on a bed and they give you a warm blanket and everybody comes in to talk to you. The nurse starts the IV (pretty much just feels like getting blood drawn). If you are nervous, they can give you something.

My first surgery, I remember going into the OR and scooting over onto the table, then they covered me up with a blanket. The next thing I knew, I was awake in recovery. My second surgery (gallbladder), they gave me something to relax me in the pre-op area, and I don't even remember going into the OR, just waking up in the recovery area. You seriously won't even know you're going to sleep. No anxiety there about being half awake or anything. They just put the stuff into the IV and you're out like a light.

Then you're home within a few hours, and feeling pretty good in a week or two. So really, try not to worry.

 
Old 05-02-2006, 11:10 AM   #9
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

for the gallbladder surgery do they put a tube down your throat i keep hearing stuff like that. i worry because i have a-fib and some other heart problems

 
Old 05-02-2006, 01:17 PM   #10
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

Thanks for the surgery info, it's nice to know what to expect. I know I always expect the worst. When I was pregnant the first time I read one too many books on what to expect and totally had myself freaked out. Turned out to not be nearly as bad as I was fearing of course! And once things got underway I was super calm, it's the anticipation that gets me!

OK, can I ask a ridculously embarrassing question? My consult is on Thursday, when I made that appt the girl told me the surgery is usually very soon afterwards, so I'm thinking (and hoping and praying!) next week. My question is that I am due to get my period...is that a reason for them not to schedule, do they do it anyway (what about that "take everything off" part), and if so will it be a major issue to deal with post surgery when I'm not exactly feeling well? I mean let's face it, there are only so many things a girl can ask her husband to help with!

 
Old 05-02-2006, 02:22 PM   #11
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

They can schedule it whenever you want...I had several things I had to work around so we settled on a mutually agreeable date. He'll have days he operates and office days. So just pick the open one that suits you best. And try to get to be his first of the day. Goes quicker. And,Stella, quit "hearing things" and ask the doctor! There are different methods of anesthesia and you can work out on that suits you. They'll ask about your medical history and do a semi-physical so don't worry about it. I have asthma and am allergic to the adhesive on the bandages. We just worked around it.
Ask plenty of questions of the doc and at the pre-op. You'll be fine.

 
Old 05-02-2006, 02:34 PM   #12
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titchou
They can schedule it whenever you want...I had several things I had to work around so we settled on a mutually agreeable date. He'll have days he operates and office days. So just pick the open one that suits you best. And try to get to be his first of the day. Goes quicker. And,Stella, quit "hearing things" and ask the doctor! There are different methods of anesthesia and you can work out on that suits you. They'll ask about your medical history and do a semi-physical so don't worry about it. I have asthma and am allergic to the adhesive on the bandages. We just worked around it.
Ask plenty of questions of the doc and at the pre-op. You'll be fine.
Thanks so much for all of your helpful hints!

 
Old 05-02-2006, 03:19 PM   #13
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

They do need to intubate (put a tube down your throat) for gallbladder surgery. I'll spare you the technical details, but it is required because of the nature of the surgery.

But seriously, don't worry about it. You will be asleep before they put the tube in, and they will take it out before you wake up. I wouldn't have known about it at all except I asked about it before the surgery. When you go to sleep, you are laying there with a blanket on, and when you wake up, you are in the recovery room under a blanket. The only funny equipment that you'll see in the recovery room is when you wake up you'll have a mask over your face blowing oxygen at you. But as soon as you wake up, they take that off.

As for your period... You are allowed to have surgery during it. If you don't want to do it during your period, you could wait. But if you want to go ahead and get it over with, no problem. They don't let you wear anything into the OR, but you'd be able to keep your protection until just before you went in. And then you just bleed on whatever. My friend had that problem with her knee surgery. But it's an OR... it's not like they don't see blood. Just be sure to bring new stuff for afterwards. Also, I wasn't so laid out after surgery that I had trouble getting up to go to the bathroom or anything. I was sore, but mostly I was just bored. Spent a lot of time laying on the couch. I actually started going back to classes within a week of the surgery.

 
Old 05-02-2006, 03:23 PM   #14
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

They even took the mask off me before I ever came to. Never saw or felt any of it. You'll be fine!

 
Old 05-02-2006, 03:59 PM   #15
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Re: Gallstones, no "attacks" but other symptoms

Thanks again!

 
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