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    Old 08-21-2003, 04:41 PM   #1
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    Question Gall bladder sludge Q's

    Hi! I have been finding these boards really helpful and am hoping for some guidance with problems that have recently popped up with me

    (...sorry it's long...)

    I have been having a constant dull abdominal pain (along with some other symptoms I'll describe in more detail later) for almost 2 months now and recently found out from an ultrasound that I have gall bladder sludge, yet my gall bladder was shown functioning normally with the HIDA scan. I don't have "normal" gall bladder symptoms or attacks so my doctor is 50/50 on having the gall bladder removed. I don't want to have it removed either if it's not the true cause of my abdominal pain right now. So starting today, we're taking a passive approach and he prescribed Prevacid to see if it would help and rule out ulcers, gastratis, etc. I'll be following up with him in 6 weeks and go from there. If the sludge is not the cause of the pain, then he recommends having an ultrasound every 6 months to watch the gall bladder.

    Is it ok to leave sludge in the gall bladder and wait until all options have run out before rushing into surgery? Also, is there a way to prevent gall bladder sludge/ stones? I have read that there are reasons that some people have higher chances of having them, but I don't fall into any of the categories (except for being female) and don't understand how the sludge just "appeared" (I guess some things can't be explained...).

    Here is a more detailed description of everything that has been going on... (just incase more info is needed)

    To begin-

    I'm female, 24 yrs old, and usually quite active and healthy (besides asthma & allergies). Well, In early June '03 I had inguinal hernia repair surgery. I ended up having lots of post-op nerve pain, abdominal soreness, etc, which I'm still healing from. I went to my regular doctor at the end of July because I was tired of the abdominal pain. The pain was not just where the incision was but was also in my rib area. I figured the surgery was the cause for everything- or maybe because I had walked hunched over for so long afterwards, it did something She said the lower abdominal pain was normal and everyone heals differently, but she couldn't understand why the upper was giving me problems. So she referred me back to my surgeon to see if he could help me.

    In the beginning of Aug, I saw the surgeon and he scheduled me for an ultrasound the following week. That's when they found sludge in my gall bladder. 5 days later I was back in his office... but because I didn't have other gall bladder symptoms or attacks, he scheduled me for a HIDA scan. I had this done Aug 18 (Monday). The hormone injection made me cramp from the top of my right rib down to my belly button- but it wasn't that painful compared to some menstral cramps I've had About 4 hours after the HIDA, I was hit with something that was almost like a weird case of the flu- chills, body aches, fatigue, nausea, inside-out/ tender stomach and a tender back. It lasted up to the next morning and was not fun... I went back to my surgeon today and the results showed a normal functioning gall bladder. He doesn't want to jump into surgery based on the results if I don't really need it right now... and I agree (hernia surgery is too fresh in my mind). So that's where Prevacid comes in- to see if it does anything before going under the knife unnecessarily.

    Anyway, here are my current symptoms:

    The pain isn't severe, but a constant dull soreness that is located in my upper abdomen in the chest/ rib area. I can't really pin-point exactly where it is coming from... most of the time it seems worse in the L, but the R also has it's moments as well (especially since the ultrasound and HIDA- maybe they aggravited my sludge?). The pain starts off mild in the morning and worsens as the day goes by. It feels like my ribs are poking my insides and even my ribs and chest themselves feel sore. Sitting up, bending forward, pressure, and breathing deeply makes it worse. Sleeping and lying down makes it better. I also have back pain and headaches (if they're related or just allergies). At times I can feel a "pinch" or tightness in either side of my back and/or abdomen.

    I have random periods of nausea but it doesn't seem to be caused by food... I think it's linked to my periods, birth control pills, multivitamins, and medications. I've had normal bowl movements and haven't had any diarrhea (except for when I eat spicy foods, Chinese, or Mexican, but that's always been normal for me ever since I can remember) I don't have heartburn, acid reflux, etc... or atleast to my knowledge.

    BTW, my diet consists of mostly cereal, vegetarian, pasta, & dessert along with the occasional meat and chicken. =)

    And that's about it... phew!... Just thought it would be better to tell to much than too little Any thoughts or insight on this would really be appreciated... thanks!


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    Old 08-22-2003, 08:31 AM   #2
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    Hi, So sorry to hear about all your discomfort. What caught my eye was you said that your ribs are actually sore as well. There's a condition called costochondritis, where the cartilage at the end of your ribs become inflamed. I had a bout of this a few years ago, and it was aweful (to the point that I actually passed out twice from the pain). At the same time I was also having a lot of tummy problems, so I found it hard to differentiate the two issues. Check with your doc about the rib thing. Antiinflammatories can help, if that's what is it. Good luck with your gallbladder!

    Old 08-22-2003, 12:57 PM   #3
    M. Dragoo
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    Hi there. Well, I can relate to your problems! About six weeks ago I awoke with very bad pain in my right side under my ribs, it radiated out to my inner rib area. Since then I seem to usually have a dull pain under the rib cage, am bloated, full after only a small amount food, greasy foods make me feel the worst. I have very bad belching, like I'm just full of air. My Dr. did ultrasound, it was normal, no stones in gallbladder. Then did Hida Scan, it showed it was functiong at about 87%. I did however have pain during the second part of the test when they injectted the hormone. It was about a 6. Dr. then put me on Nexium. I took it for a short bit, but I knew it wasn't really going to help anything. Dr. then sent me to a surgeon for a second opinion. He said it could possibly be something called colyscitis, it is a gallbladder disease, just doesn't show up on the tests. He said there was about a 70% chance my gallbladder could be taken out and then I would feel good, he can't promise that though. He then said to wait 3 or 4 more months, see how I feel. If still bad repeat Hida Scan and see if the functioning has decreased. So I guess I'll just continue to take care of my two small children everyday while I feel like crap!

    So now I wake up on Wednesday morning with my bellybutton red, swollen, sore, hot to the touch, and by the end of day oozing yellow stuff. Sounds great huh. Go to my family Dr. he said it may just be a skin infection or it could be an umbilical hernia. Said if the infection doesn't go away with meds, go see a surgeon! I said great, I know a surgeon! Was just there and spent 115.00 dollars for him to tell me to wait it out. Oh well, what can you do? Keep me posted, hope something goods happens for you. By the way I'm a 29 yr old female.

    [This message has been edited by M. Dragoo (edited 08-22-2003).]

    Old 08-23-2003, 09:00 PM   #4
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    hi- I had sludge for awhile and my doctor waited until I had a bad gallbladder attack. You may not have any stones but you could have crystals and they dont show up on the tests(it called strawberry gallbladder). good luck.

    Old 08-26-2003, 09:13 AM   #5
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    Thanks for everyone's thoughts on all this! I hope you guys are feeling better... or will be soon

    So far the Prevacid doesn't seem to be doing much- or if it is I haven't noticed the difference- but I'm going to keep at it. I did feel better than normal just this past Sunday- enough to go swimming at the ocean (the most activity I've had since the surgery). But it's back again to the usual discomfort now. I am going to check out the costochondritis- never knew about that before.

    I guess I'll continue to wait it out till I feel more confident that it's the gall bladder. (maybe I have the crystals too...) Sometimes I wish I would just have the attack so I can place blame on something. It's almost worse not knowing- on top of the anticipation of not knowing when the attack will hit if it does

    My husband is active duty so the only fortunate thing is that all medical costs are paid for by the military. He is actually going to be re-enlisting mainly because we can't afford not to.

    Anyway, if I find any answers out after the 6 weeks, I'll keep you posted! Hope you find out what the source of your continuing misfortunes are as well, mr. dragoo, and good luck with your poor belly button =)


    Old 08-26-2003, 10:01 AM   #6
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    Ask for a prescription for Actigal, it is know to help dissolve sludge in some cases.
    High Blood Pressure, Acid Reflux,
    L3-L4 Spondololytheses Grade 2, Neuropathy

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