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    Old 05-21-2006, 06:49 PM   #1
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    Digestive problems after gallbladder removal


    I had surgery to remove my gallbladder on April 7th of this year due to acute cholecystitis. I had been sick since mid-february with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and a low grade fever. In late March, I saw my primary care doctor who could not find anything seriously wrong with me, then I saw one of his collegues, who could also find nothing seriously wrong. I ended up in the ER on March 29th because of the nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain (at this point it was rather diffuse and not really centered in the right upper quadrant). Again, the ER doc could not find anything seriously wrong, and gave me a diagnosis of "fever of unknown origin". By April 1st, the vomiting had become so severe I wasn't even able to keep down a sip of water and the abdominal pain had become excruciating, so I called my primary care doctor back and he admitted me to the hospital for more tests and IV rehydration.

    During the week I spent in the hospital, I had CT's, MRI's, ultrasounds, a HIDA scan, and an upper GI endoscopy. The GI doctor I saw seemed to think it was the gallbladder causing the pain. On the HIDA scan, my ejection fraction was 32%. A surgeon was consulted on Thursday evening, and Friday morning the gallbladder came out, and Saturday, the 8th, I went home. The pain that I had been experiencing was gone after the surgery, and I began to feel better over the next couple of days, or so I thought

    That brings me to now. It has been over 6 weeks since the surgery, and I have no appetite and am not able to eat much of anything at all...I have to force myself to eat. Since the surgery, I have survived on soup, crackers, and jello. Each time I eat, I have awful abdominal pain, and soon after I eat, I have horrible acid reflux. My surgeon has since put me on Protonix for the reflux, but it hasn't done much to help. Also, I have been experiencing very bad diarrhea. I know that it is common to have diarrhea after the surgery, but for this long? I have episodes of diarrhea 6-8 times a day. I went to the surgeon last week and he has prescribed me Well-Chol to take for the diarrhea. It is supposed to bind the bile up and keep you from having to runs. It has not helped though.

    The surgeon wants me to see the GI doctor again, as he said he is stumped as to what the problem is now. I go the the GI this Thursday. What is really concerning me know is that yesterday, I had a bout of really bad, crampy abdominal pain, and then had a rather large amount of bloody diarrhea. I am scared as to what might be going on. What is puzzling to me is that when I was in the hospital, after all the tests, they found nothing wrong with my stomach or digestive system....just the gallbladder. No ulcers or anything else suspicious was found.

    Has anyone else who is post-cholecystectomy had any problems like I have mentioned? I am stumped as to what the problem is. I am only 20...too young for all of these problems. I guess I will just wait to see what the GI has to say on Thursday. Sorry for the long post!

    God Bless!


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    Old 05-21-2006, 07:38 PM   #2
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    Re: Digestive problems after gallbladder removal

    I really have no answers but i wanted to wish you the best of luck
    my pain i had before my gallbladder removal on may 10th is slowly returning i never had typical gallbladder attacts just bad pain in my stomach and the ct scan showed a stone so they took out my gallbladder i also saw a gi doctor who will be doing a colonoscopy on me on june 1st to make sure nothing is wrong there. i hope all goes well with you thats horrible not having an appetite you need food to get strong.

    Old 05-29-2006, 04:41 PM   #3
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    Re: Digestive problems after gallbladder removal

    Hi Megan,

    I had gallbladder surgery 4 weeks ago and have been experiencing some of the same symptoms. I was told I have post-cholecystitis and a possible infection. I had lab work done this past Friday, and I go back for more tomorrow. (May 30th) Then I will wait to find out more info.

    I also have pain (not as bad as my gallbladder attacks pre-surgery), but more like a general discomfort and soreness in the middle of my stomach and the right side. My doctor said that if an infection is present, that is what could be causing the soreness.

    My diarrhea doesn't seem to be as bad as yours, but I have difficulty after eating too. I end up with diarrhea at least 3-4 times a day. My doctor started me on Questran, which I have to mix and drink (it's a powder) 4 times a day. It has helped regulate me somewhat - but then I felt bloated and awful.

    Have you had bloodwork or stool specimens looked at to see if there is any infection?

    Please keep me posted as to what's going on with you, and I'll do the same, ok?

    Old 06-10-2006, 09:32 PM   #4
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    Re: Digestive problems after gallbladder removal

    I had the same problem of major bile diarrhea after having my gallbladder out in july of this year. In addition to I suffer from Ibs-d. It was so bad that I would have to run to the bathroom after drinking a glass of water. However, I did not have blood in my stool. That sounds more serious, you probably need more testing. My gastro doctor put me on Whelcol and numerous other drugs which didnt help me very much. She finally sent me to what she referred to as a "doctors doctor". Apparently hes the guy they send you to when they cant figure out what else to do. His speciality is diarrhea and he teachs other doctors. Anyway, he said the key to controlling the diarrhea after gallblatter surgery is not only the proper meds but the correct millagrams and most important the time of day you take them. What hes got me on, that gave me my life back , is a combination of:

    Hyoscyamines04.375mg ext rel tabs twice a day.Once before breakfast and once before dinner.

    Colestid 1 gram tablets 120s taken at night just before I go to bed. I know
    a lot of doctors tell you to take it just before a meal but at bedtime is when he said it works the best for binding the bile.
    Colestid is very similar to whelcol just an older med that my doctor thinks works better.

    Hope this helps, it sure was a blessing for me since I had tried everything and had literally become house bound.
    I would definitely find an answer to why your having booldy stools before I took anything that could make it worse.

    Old 06-11-2006, 06:44 PM   #5
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    Re: Digestive problems after gallbladder removal

    Hello Megan,
    I have read your post with interest. I would strongly suggest that you press your GI physician to perform lower GI testing (your hospitalization note lists only upper GI work ups). The frank bloody diarrhea suggests lower bowel issues, as bleeding with upper GI areas will digest and present as dark, tarry stools, not frank blood. Your current symptoms could indicate ulcerative colitis, however further testing is needed. In any event, you must be diligent to pursue this, as your symptoms pose varied serious threats to your health (dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, hemorrhage and possibly infection with your underlying fever). You should insist on an immediate appointment with your GI doctor because of the frank bleeding and because your symptoms are increasing in severity. Do not be afraid to get a second opinion. I wish you well.


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    Old 06-12-2006, 06:11 PM   #6
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    Re: Digestive problems after gallbladder removal

    Sorry it took me so long to update.

    I saw my GI doc on May 25th, and he still seemed stumped by my symptoms. He decided that he wanted to do a colonoscopy and put me on some new meds. Librax for the abdominal cramps and Tigan for the nausea. At first his nurse scheduled me for the colonoscopy for June 23, but he didn't want to wait that long, so I had the colonoscopy done May 30.

    I went in Tuesday morning for the procedure, and didn't leave the hospital until that Friday afternoon, June 2. I had a strange reaction to the anesthesia that I was given. All I remember is the anesthesiologist putting me to sleep and then waking up in the ICU and having no clue where I was. Turns out that I never really "woke up" from the anesthesia like a person normally would. As the doctors described it to me, it was like I was in a "coma-like" state for about 8 hours after the procedure. But then, after 8 hours, I woke up normally just like anyone would after anesthesia. I have no recollection of anything that went on from the time of the procedure until the time I woke up in the ICU. All of the doctors were baffled as to what happened because I have had the exact same anesthesia drugs before, actually about 2 months ago when I had my upper endoscopy, and had no problems at all.

    Anyways, I spent Tuesday night in ICU and then was moved to a step-down unit where I stayed until Friday. The colonoscopy came back normal, so my GI doc wanted to do a small-bowel follow through barium swallow test, which was done on Wednesday. It also came back normal. The radiologist did tell me that I did have an usually slow moving small intestine, as it took over 6 hours for the barium to reach the end of the small intestine. The whole time I was in the hospital, I was on IV fluids due to being dehydrated and IV Zofran for my nausea, and IV pain meds due to the severe abdominal pain I was having.

    My GI doc still seemed very baffled because all of the tests keep coming back normal, and I was still having symptoms. He thought it would be worthwhile for my gynecologist to come assess me while I was there because he thought some of my symptoms could be caused by the endometriosis that I have. So, he came and saw me Thursday, and he does think that the lower abdominal pain and cramping, plus the diarrhea could be caused by the endo. He did a pelvic ultrasound and suggested that I begin getting monthly injections of Lupron to help shrink some of the endo. The fevers are still unsolved; however, while I was in the hospital, I only had a fever a couple of times, and now it seems to be back to normal.

    So anyways, my GI finally let me go home on Friday afternoon. Now, he has me taking protonix, carafate, and amitryptline (an anti-depressant that he is using to stimulate my appetite). I am actually now feeling better that I have in a long time. Last week, I had my first shot of the Lupron, so hopefully it will help the endo..which I believe could be part of my problems...I hope. I am still having some heartburn and reflux, but the protonix and carafate together have helped it quite a bit. I still have diarrhea, but it hasn't been at all bloody since i have been home, and taking a rather large dose of the Welchol seems to help a bit. There was never an explanation for the couple boughts of bloody D that I had though. My appetite is returning, and I have eaten more the past week than I have in months, and my energy is also coming back. Today, I rode my bike 5 miles...something I have not done in 6 months.

    I see my surgeon tomorrow for another post-op from the gallbladder surgery, and I see my GI doc June 28. I can't wait to tell my GI doc that I am feeling better...he will be so excited! I am just hoping that I continue to feel better everyday. I also hope that the shots that I am getting for the endometriosis help because I now think that it was the reason for the awful abdominal cramps.

    Thanks to everyone who responded to my post. Sorry this post was oh so long...and probably I will update tomorrow after my appt.

    God Bless!


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