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Abdominal Pain - Gallbladder Attack?

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Old 05-23-2010, 11:36 PM   #1
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Default Abdominal Pain - Gallbladder Attack?

A trip to the ER with abdominal pains over the weekend has really shifted my focus from weight loss / health to just my health.

The ER doctor believed that the pain was coming from a gallbladder attack. Unfortunately he didn't run the ultrasound tests at the ER that would have conclusively diagnosed such an issue. I am going to be beating down the door to my doctor on Monday to get this diagnosed properly. The pain felt like it was coming from the center of my chest (which made me afraid of heart issues) but when he was prodding around (OUCH!) the area of my liver / gallbladder on the right side of my body had the most pain.

This was the fourth and most painful similar attack that I have had in the past three weeks. The first of which I thought was gas and wasn't as severe. The second started happening while exercising. I decided if I had the issue again I would go to the doctor. Saturday evening I had another attack that nearly sent me to the ER with a following attack in the wee hours of Sunday that did send me there. My body forced me to the doctor after all!

I have done some research on gallbladder attacks and discovered that weight loss of more than 2 pounds a week can sometimes trigger the development of gallstones. (I've averaged 3.5 lbs of loss a week for the past two months.) But at this point I really don't know what it is going on with my body and am eager for a proper diagnosis. Needless to say I'm scared of what may be going on. I've been honestly afraid of eating today since apparently eating too much fat can trigger an attack.

If anyone has any experiences in this area I would greatly appreciate any information.
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:43 PM   #2
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I've had attacks that I was SURE were gallbladder related (I'd recently lost weight, my brother had his out when he was 16, female, fair skinned, on birth control - lots of possible red flags). My doctor seems SURE that they're not though, and nothing showed up in the pelvic or abdominal ultrasounds, so now I'm on medication for ulcers (which isn't helping).

Whatever it is for both of us - I hope they find out soon
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Old 05-24-2010, 02:07 AM   #3
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Sounds like the attacks I used to get, and they turned out to be gallbladder attacks. I used to get really bad pains in the middle of my chest too...at times I thought I was having a heart attack, and I used to get really nauseous. An ultrasound confirmed I had gallstones, and I had it removed nearly two years ago, and I've felt so much better! Good luck!
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Old 05-24-2010, 02:44 AM   #4
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I had Gallstones about 2 years ago when I was doing the Atkins diet. My doctor told me that it was because I was on a high-fat diet and it was damaging to my gallbladder. I will sometimes have attacks if I eat a food that is too spicy or high in fat because my gallbladder cannot process it properly after having gallstones. I know how painful the attacks are so I am so sorry you had to go through that, I hope they get to the bottom of your attacks and you never have to deal with that again!
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:36 AM   #5
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I had my gallbladder removed about two and a half years ago. In November of 2007, I started having these sudden, stabbing middle of my sternum pains and it felt like someone was crushing my ribs so that I could not breathe. Because I was 23 and relatively healthy at the time, I thought that maybe I was having a really bad asthma attack!

Long story short - ER - tests - had a gallbladder FULL of gallstones. I wanted to wait til Xmas break to get it removed because I was working full time and going to grad school full time and could not take time off. Anyway, doc said if I was careful and made sure not to eat any fatty foods, I could wait a month. So I'ved off celery, carrots, turkey sandwiches and yogurt for a month! Got it removed and felt much better. Hope you find out what's wrong and can get it fixed. Feel better. :-)
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Old 05-24-2010, 03:46 PM   #6
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Thanks, everyone! I just got back from the doctor's office. The doc seemed to also think it was a gallbladder attack and ordered an ultrasound. I got in to get one done this afternoon. Hopefully I will hear back soon.

What seems to be wearing me down at this point is a dull persistent pain in my upper abdomen. It reminds me of a stitch in the side that sometimes people get when running, but it isn't going away.

I really hope that it does soon! Did anyone else feel really tired after an attack? This is the second day out from the attack for me. If it is the gallbladder and they recommend surgery they will likely schedule it aways out (unless it gets infected). I certainly don't want to feel like this until then.
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Old 05-24-2010, 05:50 PM   #7
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Sound exactly like my gallbladder attacks, and yes, I would be SO tired after one. Mine was removed in emergency surgery b/c a stone was stuck in the duct.

And, Eskinomad, ask them to do a HIDA scan. It checks for function, not gallstones. My husband had no stones, but his gallbladder had quit functioning properly which caused attacks.
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:24 PM   #8
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I was called by a nurse at my doctor's office and told that I have gall stones and that I am being referred to a surgeon. I'm overwhelmed right now with the thought of surgery. I guess partially because talk of any alternatives have not come up at all. I've been reading that surgery has been a very positive thing for some people. I've also read some articles that suggest that surgery isn't the best alternative.

I really want to do the best thing for my body, but I just don't know what that is and I'm afraid of just being swept up in what I am being told I should do.
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Old 05-24-2010, 06:46 PM   #9
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Hi, Renwomin:

I have gallstones, too. My PCP advised me to have the surgery, but the surgeon suggested that I wait to have the surgery since the gallstones were not bothering me. That has been several years ago, and they haven't bothered me at all. If they do heat up I will cheerfully have surgery.

My DH had a hot gallbladder a couple of years ago, and had surgery to fix his problem. Since his gallbladder was so inflamed, he had to have it removed the old-fashioned way, not a laproscopic (sp?) surgery.

We are both senior citizens, in fairly good health.

I think surgery is something to be avoided unless it is absolutely necessary. However, if it is necessary it should be done.

Hope you can get some answers that satisfy you. Please continue to keep us informed as to your situation. Best of luck to you.
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Old 05-24-2010, 07:47 PM   #10
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Thanks, Jojo. If I knew that I wasn't going to have an attack again or that my gallbladder wasn't going to be infected then I definitely wouldn't get it removed. What I am grappling with right now is that fact that I've had four attacks in a span of a couple of weeks and this last one has knocked me on my tush. I've also been studying my eating plan and I can't find the exact trigger. This last time it could have been caffeine and the one nasty seven gram of fat cookie I had. The other times I hadn't had caffeine, eaten a lot of food, had a lot of fat... I'm not really sure what my trigger is.

I'm definitely worried about the possibility of another attack or a gallbladder infection that would call for a more invasive surgery. I've also been reading that some people gain weight after having their gall bladder removed. Has this happened to anyone? I really want to go into this decision with my eyes open.
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Old 05-24-2010, 08:38 PM   #11
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Hi Redwomin:

My DH did not gain any weight after having his gall bladder removed. He is a very active senior citizen, and watches his weight by weighing himself daily.

I think it is a very individual matter, and everyone is different.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:21 AM   #12
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*hugs* gallbladder attacks are the worst! I had one that lasted 6 hours and it only stopped because I went to the er and got some kind of painkiller. That was when I was diagnosed. I had other attacks but didn't know what it was and I don't go to Doctor's unless I absolutely have to.
Please don't wait too long to have the surgery. It got to the point where i was having daily pains. It didn't matter what I ate and I finally got to the point where I was eating pretzels and breadsticks with NO sauce. I wish I wouldn't have waited so long. According to the doctor, I had waited so long, I had gallstones down in the duct.
I am so glad that I had it out. I feel so much better now!! As far as gaining weight, I think that comes from not paying attention. I gained about 10 pounds but I was eating junk. It wasn't because I had the surgery. Recovery time is not that bad.
So please listen to the surgeon, don't wait too long. *hopes the attacks don't get too bad*
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Old 05-25-2010, 08:56 AM   #13
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Thank you, Kendra! It really is helping me to get experiences from others. I have to say that I am more than a little bit scared right now and I really want to make the best decision for my health.

It really doesn't help me that I found a site where people are swearing up and down that their weight gain and inability to lose even with diet and exercise is because of their gallbladder being removed. Also people who are saying they have continued to have digestive problems for years. On the other hand there people that are saying that having it removed was the best thing. So you can see why I'm very confused.

For anyone who has had an attack, did you continue to hurt and be exhausted days after? It is the third day out and I don't feel any better.
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Old 05-25-2010, 09:24 AM   #14
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Renwomin - Have you seen your doctor or surgeon? After a simple gall bladder attack the pain should go away and you should feel better. If you continue to have dull pain that indicates that the gall bladder is inflamed. You may need antibiotics to fight off a gall bladder infection.
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LizR View Post
Renwomin - Have you seen your doctor or surgeon? After a simple gall bladder attack the pain should go away and you should feel better. If you continue to have dull pain that indicates that the gall bladder is inflamed. You may need antibiotics to fight off a gall bladder infection.
I saw a doctor yesterday and am scheduled to see a surgeon on Thursday morning. I asked the doctor about the dull pain and he seemed to think that was normal but I should contact them if I had a high fever or a lot of pain. I don't have a lot of pain or fever, but I definitely don't feel right. I'm really exhausted again today and this dull ache won't go away or get better. Thank you for the information! It sounds like I should quit trying to tough it out and call my doctor.
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