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  • Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

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    Old 08-27-2008, 04:41 PM   #1
    Alliecatt
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    Unhappy Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    I recently was hospitalized for a cervical rib resection and while in the hospital, I developed digestive problems. I was very nauseous and had stomach pains. The surgeon felt that it could have been an ulcer due to the very painful surgery but I have continued to feel sick since and have lost about 17 pounds. My family doctor put me on Prilosec and I feel a little better but still have some pain and some nausea. I have been taking Prilosec for about 7 weeks now and have been seeing a specialist. He suspected it was my gallbladder and ordered an ultrasound. The results showed I had some small stones and "sludge". A recent HIDA Scan has shown that my gallbladder is functioning at 59% which is said to be normal. But the specialist thinks I will feel better if I have my gallbladder removed. Does anyone have any advise? Is there any other tests I should have? Could it be anything other than my gallbladder causing my pain and nausea? I don't necessarily have extreme pain after eating fatty meals as compared to eating "healthier" meals that I've really noticed. I have a little pain on my right side but nothing major. Any help is greatly appreciated!

     
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    Old 09-03-2008, 01:18 PM   #2
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    From dealing with digestive problems for nine months now, I can only tell you that diagnosing some of these issues can be very hard. I've seen three GI docs and they all have differing opinions as to what is wrong with me.

    The HIDA scans can be as low as 30% or up to 75% and be seen as "normal." Mine was 27% and I have stones, but two GI docs don't think I need surgery just yet. And I am one to avoid surgery if at all possible.

    It could be your GB, and it could be other things. Unfortunately you have to keep working for the answer until you are relatively sure you are on the right track. It's been nine months and I still don't really know for sure what is wrong with me, and I don't want to have surgery to find out my GB wasn't it. It's a process of elimination and trying to rule out things.

    Now, I know this doesn't really help you, but I very much hope you find out what is ailing you very soon and get it fixed. Hopefully someone that is more knowledgeable than I will post here.

     
    Old 09-04-2008, 10:47 AM   #3
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gerbilaurus View Post
    From dealing with digestive problems for nine months now, I can only tell you that diagnosing some of these issues can be very hard. I've seen three GI docs and they all have differing opinions as to what is wrong with me.

    The HIDA scans can be as low as 30% or up to 75% and be seen as "normal." Mine was 27% and I have stones, but two GI docs don't think I need surgery just yet. And I am one to avoid surgery if at all possible.

    It could be your GB, and it could be other things. Unfortunately you have to keep working for the answer until you are relatively sure you are on the right track. It's been nine months and I still don't really know for sure what is wrong with me, and I don't want to have surgery to find out my GB wasn't it. It's a process of elimination and trying to rule out things.

    Now, I know this doesn't really help you, but I very much hope you find out what is ailing you very soon and get it fixed. Hopefully someone that is more knowledgeable than I will post here.

    gerbilaurus, Thank you very much for replying. I do appreciate your help. Actually I have held off on the surgery as I have just been through one recently and I agree with you that I think other things should be ruled out before having body parts removed. The doctor said that although my GB is functioning at 57%, it seems that since I reacted so strongly to the cholecystokinin that was injected during my HIDA scan, it would seem that it is my GB that is causing these symptoms. But he offered to do other tests such as an EGD to rule out anything else. So today I called the office and set up an appointment which is set for September 12th. I hope the EGD will be able to help the doctor and myself come to a better conclusion about what is causing my digestive problems. I'm still losing weight and I'm not eating any differently and I'm starting to worry.
    Thanks again for your reply and I hope that you find what is ailing you as well!

     
    Old 09-04-2008, 01:11 PM   #4
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    Alliecatt,

    Well, just to confuse and frustrate you more I have read on these very forums that some people have more than one HIDA scan and they come back with very wide ranging results, say, like 7% and 50%. So I guess it depends on when you have the scan. And another thing - what was the cholecystokinin (CCK) injection rate for you? I have heard a lot of people say five minutes for theirs. Mine was injected over a 30 minute time frame. The tech told me this was because it made the GB contract in a more normal way, and that the EF reading was more accurate this way. Also, because of the 30 minute time frame, I had no discomfort whatsoever. The tech said it was very rare for anyone to have any problems when the CCK was injected over 30 minutes as opposed to 5.

    Post back if you can when you find out anything. I hope all goes well for you

     
    Old 09-04-2008, 07:29 PM   #5
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    I would not let them remove my gallbladder with such a high ejection rate and mild symptoms. I read that they consider surgery if the rate is less than 35. My ejection rate was 32%. The doctors I talked to so far are mixed about whether they would recommend removing my gall bladder. I've heard from people who felt great after gallbladder surgery, but others (several on this board) continue to have problems. My primary doctor said about 30% of people continue to have symptoms after gall bladder surgery.

    It seems to be standard practice to rule out other things before opting for surgery. If they suspect an ulcer, you should get other tests. Is that what the EGD is for? (What does that stand for?)

    I had an upper GI (barium swallow) last week and I was relieved to learn that he didn't see any indication of an ulcer. I'm scheduled for upper endoscopy and colonoscopy next week.

    Last edited by lucylucy; 09-04-2008 at 07:33 PM.

     
    Old 09-05-2008, 07:39 AM   #6
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gerbilaurus View Post
    Alliecatt,

    Well, just to confuse and frustrate you more I have read on these very forums that some people have more than one HIDA scan and they come back with very wide ranging results, say, like 7% and 50%. So I guess it depends on when you have the scan. And another thing - what was the cholecystokinin (CCK) injection rate for you? I have heard a lot of people say five minutes for theirs. Mine was injected over a 30 minute time frame. The tech told me this was because it made the GB contract in a more normal way, and that the EF reading was more accurate this way. Also, because of the 30 minute time frame, I had no discomfort whatsoever. The tech said it was very rare for anyone to have any problems when the CCK was injected over 30 minutes as opposed to 5.

    Post back if you can when you find out anything. I hope all goes well for you

    Oh don't worry, I am already confused so actually everyone that posts here can help steer me in the right direction with their own experiences and knowledge.
    OK I just called the technician who performed the HIDA scan and the injection rate for the CCK was 5 minutes. So perhaps that is why I had so much discomfort? Grrr... this is all so frustrating. The symptoms I had after the injections reproduced the same symptoms I have only they were more severe during the procedure. I had a lot of pain and was very nauseous. But I can't imagine doing this scan several times. I would hate to go through it again and again to get differing results, and be even more confused. Also, is there a waiting period in between the time you can have this test performed again since they use a radio active material (hydroxy iminodiacetic acid)? I've already had a lot of x-rays. MRIs and CAT scans. I feel like I should be glowing in the dark...

     
    Old 09-05-2008, 07:53 AM   #7
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lucylucy View Post
    I would not let them remove my gallbladder with such a high ejection rate and mild symptoms. I read that they consider surgery if the rate is less than 35. My ejection rate was 32%. The doctors I talked to so far are mixed about whether they would recommend removing my gall bladder. I've heard from people who felt great after gallbladder surgery, but others (several on this board) continue to have problems. My primary doctor said about 30% of people continue to have symptoms after gall bladder surgery.

    It seems to be standard practice to rule out other things before opting for surgery. If they suspect an ulcer, you should get other tests. Is that what the EGD is for? (What does that stand for?)

    I had an upper GI (barium swallow) last week and I was relieved to learn that he didn't see any indication of an ulcer. I'm scheduled for upper endoscopy and colonoscopy next week.
    Well, originally it was thought by the E.R. doctor I saw when I went in for stomach pain and nausea that it was probably an ulcer. I had been recovering from such a painful surgery. I had ribs removed. So I was put on the Prilosec. But I have been on it for 2 months now and I still have stomach aches and pains and I'm still nauseous. I wouldn't say it's severe but I've lost close to 20 pounds since my surgery 3 months ago and I'm small to begin with. So I'm worried.

    The specialist I started seeing immediately thought my symptoms sounded like my GB. He ordered the ultrasound and sure enough, I had stones. It runs in my family too. My parents had them, my mom had her GB removed and my grandmother had GB disease. But before he ordered the HIDA scan, he offered to do an EGD which I was scared to do. So I opted for the HIDA. But now that I'm as confused as ever after the HIDA results, I am going to go ahead with the EGD. It's scheduled for Sept. 12th.

    An EGD stands for Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (Upper Endoscopy).
    It is a procedure that enables the examiner (usually a Gastroenterologist) to examine your esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, and duodenum (first portion of small bowel) using a thin flexible tube that can be looked through or seen on a TV monitor.
    So I will see if they find anything after this procedure, like an ulcer etc. and go from there.

    Btw, what are the symptoms that you have and how long have you had them? What is your next plan of action if you don't mind me asking?

     
    Old 09-08-2008, 05:49 PM   #8
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    But if you keep your gallbladder you run the risk of getting jaundice and fever and the stones travels to other organs.

     
    Old 09-08-2008, 11:52 PM   #9
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    I don't have any gallstones, but I guess that might be reason enough to have the GB removed. I have an EGD scheduled too and I didn't know that was the abbreviation for it. My doctor said these tests are strongly recommended before considering GB surgery, because they want to rule out other causes of the symtoms. It would be awful if they took your gall bladder out, but you continued to have the same symptoms because they were actually caused by something else.

    I was supposed to go in this week for the upper endoscopy and colonoscopy, but they rescheduled me (grrrr) and I have to wait another 2 weeks. I have a lot of lower abdominal pain so I'm most anxious to get the colonoscopy and results. Those symptoms bother me more than the nausea and upper abdominal pain I get with the GB.

    Good luck with your test this week. I've been asking people about it and it doesn't sound that bad.

    Last edited by lucylucy; 09-08-2008 at 11:57 PM.

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 06:56 AM   #10
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gigi11 View Post
    But if you keep your gallbladder you run the risk of getting jaundice and fever and the stones travels to other organs.
    Oh, I didn't know that. That sounds horrible. My stones are small. I have some sludge as well. Do you know if stones get bigger over time? My doctor suggested removing my GB but I didn't want to remove it unless it was absolutely necessary.

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 07:07 AM   #11
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lucylucy View Post
    I don't have any gallstones, but I guess that might be reason enough to have the GB removed. I have an EGD scheduled too and I didn't know that was the abbreviation for it. My doctor said these tests are strongly recommended before considering GB surgery, because they want to rule out other causes of the symtoms. It would be awful if they took your gall bladder out, but you continued to have the same symptoms because they were actually caused by something else.

    I was supposed to go in this week for the upper endoscopy and colonoscopy, but they rescheduled me (grrrr) and I have to wait another 2 weeks. I have a lot of lower abdominal pain so I'm most anxious to get the colonoscopy and results. Those symptoms bother me more than the nausea and upper abdominal pain I get with the GB.

    Good luck with your test this week. I've been asking people about it and it doesn't sound that bad.

    Yes, that's exactly why I wanted to have this test. What if it was something else causing all my symptoms besides my gallbladder and I would have had him take out my GB? Then I would have continued to have my symptoms and had my GB removed. I am very curious to see what, if anything they find.
    I also have heard that this procedure isn't bad, all with an exception or two. I have a few more days until my EGD and I'm very anxious because I don't think I've had this type of conscious anesthesia. I will post back here after I've had it to let you know how it went. Good luck with your test as well!

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 09:18 AM   #12
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alliecatt View Post
    Oh, I didn't know that. That sounds horrible. My stones are small. I have some sludge as well. Do you know if stones get bigger over time? My doctor suggested removing my GB but I didn't want to remove it unless it was absolutely necessary.
    Yes, the stones can get bigger over time, but they can remain small as well. For some, one or two stones can grow quite large. Then they may block the duct leading out of your GB, which usually results in the "classic" GB attack symptoms (RUQ pain, elevated liver enzymes). If the stones are small, they could come out of the GB into the duct, and get stuck. They may pass all the way through, they may fall back into the GB, they may travel some distance down the duct and get stuck. The very worst case scenario, is if one gets stuck at the junction where the pancreas ties into the common bile duct. This can be a very serious thing. I was told to get my GB out because I had "hundreds" of small stones, according to one doc, so the likelihood of one of them coming out and getting stuck was greater than someone with a couple of large stones. But, I have two other docs that don't seem that concerned about my GB

    There are many, many people that have gallstones and don't ever know it, because they never present symptoms - the stones just lie quietly in the GB and never move or cause problems. It is very hard to get a definite answer to our dilemma. The best way to go about things is to try and eliminate as many possibilities as you can, then what you're left with is more likely the cause.

    Last edited by gerbilaurus; 09-09-2008 at 09:23 AM.

     
    Old 09-09-2008, 05:46 PM   #13
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gerbilaurus View Post
    Yes, the stones can get bigger over time, but they can remain small as well. For some, one or two stones can grow quite large. Then they may block the duct leading out of your GB, which usually results in the "classic" GB attack symptoms (RUQ pain, elevated liver enzymes). If the stones are small, they could come out of the GB into the duct, and get stuck. They may pass all the way through, they may fall back into the GB, they may travel some distance down the duct and get stuck. The very worst case scenario, is if one gets stuck at the junction where the pancreas ties into the common bile duct. This can be a very serious thing. I was told to get my GB out because I had "hundreds" of small stones, according to one doc, so the likelihood of one of them coming out and getting stuck was greater than someone with a couple of large stones. But, I have two other docs that don't seem that concerned about my GB

    There are many, many people that have gallstones and don't ever know it, because they never present symptoms - the stones just lie quietly in the GB and never move or cause problems. It is very hard to get a definite answer to our dilemma. The best way to go about things is to try and eliminate as many possibilities as you can, then what you're left with is more likely the cause.

    That's really scary. According to the HIDA scan, everything seemed clear, but it sounds like that scenario could change at any given moment? I guess I have a lot more questions for my doctor. I will know more after this Friday when my EGD is completed and other things have been ruled out. I've noticed that I feel sick more often than ever, mostly a nauseous feeling but also some stomach aches, and SOMETHING has to be causing it. It is kind of strange how the symptoms developed so strongly after I had surgery. It's also strange how I lost so much weight when I've tried to lose weight in the past and had difficulties. I will keep you updated after the EGD.

     
    Old 09-11-2008, 03:55 PM   #14
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    Hi all,

    I too have been having terrible stomach pains for over 3mo. now and I'm getting so sick of all the tests and uncertainty from my doctors.

    Let me start out by saying I am an otherwise healthy, athletic male, 6-1/172(normal weight until 3mo ago was 185-190)

    It started out with my regular doctor sending me to the hospital immediately for a cat scan thinking it may be appendix related. The cat scan revealed nothing but they thought it MIGHT be Krohn's disease.

    Then I was referred to a gastroenterologist waited almost a month for them to get me in for a colonoscopy, again they found nothing out of the ordinary,once again saying possibly Krohn's.

    2 weeks after that they scheduled me for an ultrasound to check out my organs. This time I was told everything seems pretty normal except that I have "sludge" in my gallbladder.

    Now they have me scheduled to go in for an EGD on the 22nd. I told the scheduling nurse that called to set the appoint. on the 22nd that I was expecting them to be calling me for gallbladder surgery not MORE tests! She said this EGD will help them better pinpoint things and they aren't quite sure yet if the sludge in my gallbladder is giving me all the centralized stomach pains or not. Does this EGD really help them pinpoint things??

    It now seems that no matter what I eat causes RUQ pain within an hour or so, then the pain starts all throughout my stomach.

    I'm a "side sleeper" and it seems the only way I can make myself comfortable enough to get a decent night sleep is to take the vicodin that they prescribed for pain almost 2mo ago. I'm not a big fan of popping pils, let alone painkillers but ibuprofen and extra strength tylenol seem to have little or no effect on giving me comfort.

    I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one in the world having these symptoms. If anyone has any input to what I have stated please let me know.
    I HOPE they figure this thing out SOON because I'm not a heavy person to begin with and I can't afford to be losing any more weight.

     
    Old 09-11-2008, 04:15 PM   #15
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    Re: Is it really my gallbladder making me so sick? Please, I need help!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onwis99 View Post
    Hi all,

    I too have been having terrible stomach pains for over 3mo. now and I'm getting so sick of all the tests and uncertainty from my doctors.

    Let me start out by saying I am an otherwise healthy, athletic male, 6-1/172(normal weight until 3mo ago was 185-190)

    It started out with my regular doctor sending me to the hospital immediately for a cat scan thinking it may be appendix related. The cat scan revealed nothing but they thought it MIGHT be Krohn's disease.

    Then I was referred to a gastroenterologist waited almost a month for them to get me in for a colonoscopy, again they found nothing out of the ordinary,once again saying possibly Krohn's.

    2 weeks after that they scheduled me for an ultrasound to check out my organs. This time I was told everything seems pretty normal except that I have "sludge" in my gallbladder.

    Now they have me scheduled to go in for an EGD on the 22nd. I told the scheduling nurse that called to set the appoint. on the 22nd that I was expecting them to be calling me for gallbladder surgery not MORE tests! She said this EGD will help them better pinpoint things and they aren't quite sure yet if the sludge in my gallbladder is giving me all the centralized stomach pains or not. Does this EGD really help them pinpoint things??

    It now seems that no matter what I eat causes RUQ pain within an hour or so, then the pain starts all throughout my stomach.

    I'm a "side sleeper" and it seems the only way I can make myself comfortable enough to get a decent night sleep is to take the vicodin that they prescribed for pain almost 2mo ago. I'm not a big fan of popping pils, let alone painkillers but ibuprofen and extra strength tylenol seem to have little or no effect on giving me comfort.

    I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one in the world having these symptoms. If anyone has any input to what I have stated please let me know.
    I HOPE they figure this thing out SOON because I'm not a heavy person to begin with and I can't afford to be losing any more weight.
    This sounds similar to what I've been going through. I have felt sick now for awhile and I was told I had stones and "sludge" in my GB. I don't take any pain medication because nothing I have taken really helps that much, only makes me feel either more nauseous or "loopy". I drink some peppermint tea which kind of helps sooth my stomach and I take Phenergan for the nausea. I have lost about 20 pounds now so I'm around 120 pounds. That's not a bad weight but I've lost it in a relatively short amount of time and I continue to lose, but not as quickly. I haven't been eating less lately so it worries me. I sleep on my back most of the time with my head propped up with several pillows.

    I have an EGD scheduled tomorrow (9-12-08) so that should rule out other things such as ulcers etc. The doctor wanted to remove my GB but I am hesitant and that's why he is doing this test. I have already had a HIDA scan which tests the function of your GB.

    I will post back here once my EGD is completed and I know anything further. I hope you feel better.

     
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