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  • Gallbladder or Liver, How do you tell?

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    Old 09-29-2005, 07:38 AM   #1
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    Gallbladder or Liver, How do you tell?

    I've been having pain under my right ribcage that goes over to my side and then I have pain going up from that. It almost feels swollen or like there is a bump under my ribs.

    I had my liver checked about 6 weeks ago and my levels were higher than they were 6 months ago but still within normal (both numbers were in low 20s). So I was just wondering how do you know if it's liver or gallbladder? I don't have problems after eating except that sometimes I bloat right up and am very uncomfortable.

    Any ideas?


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    Old 09-29-2005, 04:25 PM   #2
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    Re: Gallbladder or Liver, How do you tell?

    Well one they that I have learned on these boards is that it is rare that the Liver will cause pain. I have met several people on this board with cyst on their Liver etc. and still have no pain. I think that in times when the Liver is enlarged that it can cause pain in the area that it is pushing over into.
    As for the Gallbladder I just had my removed a month ago and the pain with me started in the middle of my lower chest (under ribs) and worked around to my back. It was mild at first but really strong at the end. I had a gallstone lodged in a bile duct. All of this in combination made my enzymes go up.
    I hope this helps some!!

    Old 09-29-2005, 09:03 PM   #3
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    Re: Gallbladder or Liver, How do you tell?

    So you've heard that the leg bone's connected to the hip bone.... One thing they missed in the song is that the gallbladder is connected to the liver. The bile comes out of the liver, then goes to the gallbladder. From there, a tube comes out of the gallbladder, then is joined by one from the liver, then is joined by one from the pancreas, before it finally connects to the intestine. So if you have a gallstone, it can either cause no symptoms, cause only gallbladder problems (either in the gallbladder or in the very first part of the tube), cause gallbladder and liver problems (in the second part of the tube, causing back-up into the liver), or cause problems with all three (gallbladder, liver, and pancreas).

    However, the other thing to remember is that the lab values are ranges, and your tests were still within normal range. Now, you'd have to do some more research to find out how much this test normally varies in one person. Some values may fluctuate quite a bit in a single individual depending on the time of day, and are still normal. So there might be nothing up with the liver at all.

    The first step in testing for gallbladder issues is to get an ultrasound. This will (usually) be able to see if there are gallstones or if the walls of the gallbladder are seriously inflamed. It will also be able to see if you have any problems (like tumors or cysts) in the liver. The nice thing about ultrasounds is that you can almost fall asleep during them. You just lay there in a dark room. The problem is that the tech keeps asking you to hold your breath, so you have to actually pay attention...

    From there, you may need a HIDA scan, which is a nuclear medicine test where they inject you with a tracer that gets picked up by the liver and put into the bile. This way, they can see the path that the bile takes, if it is blocked off anywhere, and how the gallbladder actually is functioning.

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