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Unusual Gall Bladder Problem

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Old 06-11-2004, 02:33 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12
Enso HB User
Unusual Gall Bladder Problem

January 2003 I had my gall bladder removed.
I had an extremely sharp pain in the upper right quadrant of my abdomen, and an ultra-sound showed that I had a lot of "sludge" in my gall bladder.
At the time they thought I had an infection and had me on antibiotics for 3 days before the surgery, though they never really explained to me why they thought there was an infection.

When my gall bladder was removed it had almost no stones in it and was full of sludge, but the neck was very thick and was causing a restriction of bile flow, which in turn was causing my pain.
I had no other "normal" symptoms of a gall bladder attact.

When I asked what the thickened duct at the neck of the bladder was and what caused it the surgeon had no explanation.

Anyone have any idea?

I'm concerned about this because this past March I developed a cold which turned into all the symptoms of pancreatitis after 3 days. And the symptoms still haven't subsided. I've been to my GP and 2 GI's with no positive results.

I'm afraid that what happened to the neck of the gall bladder might be happening to the rest of my biliary tree.

Any insights are most appreciated.

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Old 06-18-2004, 02:47 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 753
butterflytrans HB Userbutterflytrans HB User
Re: Unusual Gall Bladder Problem

Hi Enso...your concerns are definitely valid. The reason they thought you probably had an infection was because

#1. You probably had a fever associated with your right upper quadrant pain
#2. Certain liver enzymes were elevated
#3. When they didn't find stones, the next most common reason for gall bladder inflammation is an infection.

The fact that your gall bladder's neck was constricted definitely explains your symptoms. It is probably something that has been going on for years, and your surgeon wasn't lying when he said he didn't know what was going on. One explanation could be chronic low grade inflammation of your gall bladder which ends up constricting the neck of it.

As for this constriction happening to the rest of your biliary tree, there are two diseases primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis. The former is much more common in women and is associated with Crohn's disease (an entity in inflammatory bowel disease), the latter is much more common in men and is associated with ulcerative colitis (the other entity making up inflammatory bowel disease). Do you have any other health problems?

Also, I'm interested about this pancreatitis you're talking about. Did it come before or after your gall bladder was taken out? Is this the first time you've ever had pancreatitis? Do you drink at all?

Old 06-21-2004, 09:10 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12
Enso HB User
Re: Unusual Gall Bladder Problem

Hey Butterfly

Thanks for the response.

My gall bladder situation was anything but typical. I had none of the usual symptoms; no nausea, no indigestion, if I had a fever it was slight and not constant, no food reactions - even though my GP kept trying to treat me for them. As for jaundice, hard to say, I have a slight jaundice complexion as a "norm."

I've never had pancreatitis before this March, knowingly. Since my teens years I've had occasional "sick headaches" which have never been diagnosed as anything. These headache episodes (which are somewhat a cross between a migraine and what you could call pancreatitis) are somewhat cyclic. And I was always lead to believe that the "upset stomach" was from the headache. Though I've spent many years wondering and trying to determine which is the chicken and which is the egg. Now, I'm fairly convinced that the problem is abdominal and that the headaches are a symptom/side affect.

I only drink "socially." A glass of red wine with dinner here or there, and a cocktail at a holiday party or on vacation. I haven't had anything to drink since early March. I mostly drink plain, room tempurature water.

This current condition came on in late March 2004. My gall bladder was removed in January 2003.
Before the gall bladder surgery, and again after I recovered until this March, I used to run 4-5 5k's a week and lifted weights. (Now I'm a bit overweight because I can't exercise and I eat to help "sooth" my stomach and out of boredom).

I have no other health problems, though I have a bunch of symptoms beyond the basic pancreatitis. Among them are a rash that comes and goes for no reason, itching, light to white stool, inconsistent bowel movements including frequent diarrhea, and fatigue. Also, a really strange persistent odor, which is occasionally accompanied by a strong odor of ammonia (from my upper torso, not urine). No doctor I've seen in the past 3 months consider these important.
Various foods still don't seem to create much change in my condition, though
I have become sensitivite to fatty foods now. But not on a consistent bassis. However bending and twisting definitely cause a flare up. I also seem to have severe episodes triggered by some of the tests they were doing to me: Having the CT and having the Ultra-sound just messed me up big time.

My own research and "self diagnosis" keeps pointing to the idea that it is PBC.
I'm awaiting a copy of my last blood panel to confirm which enzymes are elevated.

I also found a report on the web written by a leading liver doctor at Duke that pretty well spells out that biliary diagnosis and treatment should be done in specialty centers and removed from the general GI's (which based on my recent experiences I tend to agree with). So that's probably my next course of action.

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