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hallmatt 01-22-2004 07:14 AM

My Gallbladder
Here's my original report on the symptoms:


This could be, and probably is, a large amount of overreaction. For all I know, this is just what constipation feels like. But I do get the feeling like it's just more than that.

About 2 months ago I quit smoking after 9 years. I'm 29, male. I've always been healthy and skinny even though I eat lots of fast food and other junk. Well i've put on 10 lbs in the last year, much of it in the last 2 months due to quitting smoking. I've had diarhea fairly often, and often i'll make 2 trips to the bathroom in a row when it's coming on.

About a month ago I noticed a weird discomfort in my left abdomen right around the lowest rib. I had been sitting up straight in a chair for awhile so I passed it off. It felt like I had been leaning my rib cage into my intestines.

After xmas dinner, I was sitting upright again and noticed it. It went away by the next morning so I ignored it.

New year's eve I noticed it again. The next day I was driving a lot and noticed that it hadn't gone away. The entire weekend I noticed it on and off. Mostly in the left side. Had a fair amount of bloating.

I took some rolaids to help with the bloating. I could still eat fairly normally though I had less appetite. I made a dr appointment for the next day.

I do not have any fatigure, nor any blood in my stool. I don't feel sick in any way other than constipation pressure. It doesn't really even hurt, it's just unconfortable. If I lay down or stretch my arms upward, it seems to help.

That was today. The dr and her intern poked around and didn't seem overly concerned. There's no soreness, and they didn't find any obvious growths. She said she noticed some bloating still.

The dr explained that it could be regular constipation coupled with my weight gain. She compared it to pregnant women. They took blood and ordered an upper gi and abdomen ultrasound. She gave me nexium for possible gerd.

Today was a little better at work. I think the nexium calmed my stomach a little, but the pressure from constipation is still there. It still isn't particularly painful, it's almost more mentally painful to worry about what it might be.

Through some weird scheduling, i'll be having those tests tomorrow in less than 12 hours. Hopefully that will be able to put my mind at ease assuming they go well. A follow up visit with my dr in 2 weeks, but I might try to move that up since I got the tests scheduled so early.

These forums are very therapeutic for me. The medical sites seem to basically say for every symptom "it could be something simple, or you could be dying.. Who knows?"

since i'm rarely sick, for all I know this could just be normal constipation "back up." i've also heard maybe gallbladder. Another oddity is that the pressure has been mostly on the left side. It feels like a runner's stitch sometimes, that low. But for about a day, it seemed to be much more prominent on my right side. If I lean in a certain way, I can almost make the other side feel the same way. Mostly it has been on one side or another, not in the middle, and almost never on both sides.

As you can tell, i've gone to see the dr and had tests scheduled, so i'm not looking for a diagnosis here. I'm mostly looking for others who have had similar feelings. Maybe somebody to just virtually slap me and say "duh, welcome to the world of constipation." as long as i'm not dying, I could cope with this discomfort until the docs figure it out.

I took two regular exlax tonight and a single fiber tablet. The strange part is that I do have an occassional bm, but they just don't seem to clear me out. They're like brown so from what i've read that indicate acid.

Hopefully others out there have experienced something similar. The fact that I can't seem to find people with similar symptoms is a bit troubling. Either because it could be something really bad, or it could just be something that is difficult to diagnose if it's rare.

hallmatt 01-22-2004 07:37 AM

Re: My Gallbladder
My Upper GI, Abdominal Ultrasound, and blood work all came back ok. The Dr said she'd order a HIDA just in case though she felt it was a bit of a reach based on my symptoms. Then again, her first guess was GERD even though all my issues seemed to be lower in the process.

I had a HIDA scan on Monday. It was no sweat. If you're chlostrophobic, don't worry, I didn't feel like I was "in" the machine at all. My head was outside and the tech said I could move my arms and legs a little but try to keep my chest still. So there was room to move around, I just had a large block in the air over my chest.

I layed on my back on a bench, and the nurse put a pillow under my knees so my legs were propped up and not straight. They gave me an injection of the isotope so the machine could take pictures. Then I waited and waited for the gallbladder to show up while staring at the ceiling. Boring yes, but not uncomfortable. It showed up late, but the tech said 3 of the last 4 did that to her. She then gave me a 15 minute break.

When I came back, it was back to the table and under the machine. They injected me with CCK to watch how much the gallbladder pumped. She said I might feel a little nauseous for a few minutes. It wasn't that bad though. If anything I felt more like I had to go to the bathroom real soon. That is how I'd describe it, and she was right that it went away after 2-3 minutes. Other than the needle ***** and laying around so long, this 2-3 minutes was the only discomfort for the entire HIDA scan. If you've got the symptoms and your Dr will recommend the test, I'd suggest doing it because it's not bad at all.

I was told the test results would be to my Dr in 2-3 days. I was planning on giving them the full 3 days since I'm not in any immediate pain. Well, 2 days later I got a call from Dr office and I knew immediately what that meant. They aren't fast about returning calls ever, so I knew they weren't calling just to give me the all clear.

My ejection was only 8%. The nurse said that the Dr was referring me to another doctor (turns out to be a surgeon) for a second opinion. I am meeting with the surgeon on Monday. It seems like it's pretty obvious that 8% is 8% no matter how you slice it and since the entire point of the HIDA was that I was having symptoms, it just seems like a no brainer. Everything I've read says it's not working anyway, it could cause problems to leave it in, and it will never get better.

Hopefully this story helps somebody!

Harry 01-22-2004 09:11 PM

Re: My Gallbladder
The tests show your Gallbladder is not functioning properly. It could be a calified gallstone blocking the duct. I am surpised that a GREASY meal didn't cause you alot of pain ---sometime in the recent past.

Some people take a teaspoon of olive oil or a big greasy cheeseburger to make the gallbladder produce more bile to clear the stone. It may work or it'll really hurt.

You may have a diseased gallbladder but if you do -- you would certainly be in pain, possible fever and feel awful !!

As you know a second opinion from a surgeon is to remove your gallbladder.

I wish you well---Harry

hallmatt 01-23-2004 10:01 AM

Re: My Gallbladder

I've been trying to figure out my left side pain. The right could be explained by the gallbladder. But on the left, I'm thinking maybe a stone? Maybe they missed it on the ultrasound? Would the Upper GI barium xrays notice a gall stone?

Could an 8% ejection fraction be caused by a stone that is either in the process of passing or maybe just partially blocking? From all I've read, 8% pretty much equates to "it should come out" but the left side pain still doesn't make sense to me.

I'm thinking I should ask my Dr to refer me to a GI Doc for yet another opinion. Think that would help?



Harry 01-23-2004 05:45 PM

Re: My Gallbladder
I went back and read your messages. I have had refered pain but your problem does not sound like it.
I think your Doctor just discovered by accident that your gallbladder is not working properly useing the hida scan.

The pain on the left side below the bottom rib is about where the top of your sigmoid colon is and cramping as well as spasms caused by trapped gas can cause that type pain.

I don't think your gallbladder that is located on the right side just below the middle of your ribs could cause that pain.

Your gallbladder may not be working properly and may have to be removed some day but it's not going to solve your left sided pain problem. Just my opinion!!!

I have had my gallbladder removed in 1997 that had stones but caused no problems -- my GB emptied in 23 min. I still get right sided pain below the ribs. The surgeon assured me it was my problem -- he had removed over 500 gallbladders.
I also had 2 1/2 feet of my colon removed -from the rectum ,which is 8" long, to my naval. This was done 4/2002 because of chronic divertiular bleeding-- an ER job when I lost half my blood. The Doctor that use be my doctor didn't even want me to go to the hospital.

When you lay on the table during the surgeons exam, ask alot of questions -- like just where is my GB, stomach, both lobes of your liver, where is my colon, point to where the pain is and ask him -- what is here??? As you know there are no empty places in your abdoman.

I certainly wish you well---Harry

N2-VW 01-27-2004 11:54 AM

Re: My Gallbladder

I had similar pains as you are having and a constant pain in the center of my chest. I aslo was having problems with cholesterol swings. I went to a Cardiolgist and he ran several tests on me including, echo, ekg, rest test and stress test, and the HIDA scan. The CCK made me feel like I was going to throw up and I got a little pain around my gallbladder. The test came back at 8% as well. He recommeded I get the gallbladder out. He said this "could be" the cause of pain and the reason my cholesterol was not stabilizing and my LFTs were slightly elevated. I found out my mother had the same problems at my age, 35, and had her GB removed. I went to a surgeon and discussed it further. He suggested after looking at the tests that I should remove it as there is nothing that will really help it unless you eat a very bland diet for the rest of the life and there could be other problems that could arise down the road. I elected to have it removed 2.5 weeks ago. I went in early in the morning for a sonogram to look for any stones in the ducts then went on the waiting room for the operation. It was not that bad an ordeal and was followed with a week of pain in the stomach area and swelling due in part to the gas they pump you up with. I feel much better but still have a few twinges of pain here and there - but its not the constant as before. My surgeon took some really cool color pictures for me of the operatin and removal and showed my GB in a cup cut open showing some "sludge" and small stones. Time will tell if this was my complete cause of the pain. I still have major gas problems which I hope will go away.

Good luck!!

twisten 01-27-2004 12:10 PM

Re: My Gallbladder
You're describing exactly what I had when my crohns was found. Through a colonoscopy they found an ulcer in the splenic flexure which is in the area you are describing. The pain I am having now is more to the right of that area and is a different type of pain. I notice you say you get diarea (sp) also. I would ask for a colonoscopy if you haven't had one already.

hallmatt 08-03-2004 08:48 PM

Re: My Gallbladder
Well, 6 months after GB removal. I feel some of the pressure sensations occassionally, but not nearly as bad as they were. I'm still hoping that most of it was intensified by my GB problem. It seems plausible that I just get stomach aches from eating too much or not enough.

The bile diarhea is annoying, but honestly I had that a lot in the 2 years before my surgery. Now when I get it, it's definitely less painful. I'm no longer doubled over with cramps when I have to go.

I guess time will tell. If it goes back to the way it was, I guess a colonoscopy is in order. I'd obviously prefer avoiding that after seeing my wife go through the prep shortly after my GB. We had a little transitional cell renal cancer scare with her where they found something weird on the imaging studies. They finally did a cystoscopy and confirmed that there was nothing there.

Anyway, I'll try to keep everybody posted. Hopefully this is helpful to somebody who might be in a similar situation!

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