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Gallbladder problems with no stones?
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Gallbladder problems with no stones?

I have had an "ulcer" for 10 years. I've never had any tests done other than ruling out H pylori and occasional prescription acid reducers. Now my symptoms are looking more like it might be my gall bladder. I went for an ultrasound which showed no stones, but significant thickening or the gall bladder walls. They are sending me for a Hida(?) test to test function and to meet with a surgeon. My attacks are much more painful and frequent lately and the next day I feel like someone has punched me in the stomach. They can be set off by nuts(the worst),chocolate, too much fiber and fatty foods. Last night I even ran a temperature during the attack which lasted about 5 hours. I have pain under my ribs in the center and right side. I almost went to the emergency room. Also I have a dull pain under my right rib between attacks now.
Anyone have their gall bladder out? Did you have stones or just thickening of the walls? How was the recovery? Did it work?
TIA.
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7 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
You need to cut out all fat in your diet....unless you want to go for Gallbladder surgery....fat is what is giving you those attacks....you cannot eat anything over 2 grams of fat per meal....its hard but it works ....nuts and chocolate are the worse...there are very few foods you can eat ...but I have a list of them....pain in no fun
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Avatar_n_tn
5 hours is a long time to go with this type of attack.  The added fever could indicate an inflammation of the gallbladder wall. I had this without stones and the doctors had one heck of a time trying to diagnose it.  The Hida Scan will show if that is the problem.  However, if you have another attack go to the ER and insist they check it out sooner!
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Avatar_n_tn
Problem with what Alexander suggested, though, is that such a diet does not work for everyone.  If you're especially active, 2 grams of fat max probably isn't enough.  Also when you reduce your fat intake to this great an amount, you take the risk of certain vitamin deficiences (the ones that are fat-soluable-only)

I believe there are certain microorgansims that can infect the gallbladder (pretty sure of it)  You might look into this if you don't suffer from stones.  If I rememeber correctly, bacterial contamination of the gallbladder can occur if stomach contents backflow into the bile duct.  Unless you take antacids, the only bacteria that would still be alive in the duodenum would be ones extremely tolerant to low PH.  Bile is pretty low in PH, right? *can't remember*  If so, they could survive in the gallbladder and possibly cause problems.  Probably not so much in the bile duct, however, with the frequent flow of bile.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Sunflower!

yes..it can be your gallbladder without stones and it is hard to diagnose. My daughter (she will be 20 in May) just had her gallbladder removed Dec 27th.

Initial diagnosis from family doc..gastritis, possible ulcer. They gave her Carafate and Prevacid. After 3 weeks switched to Aciphex. Reflux was bad taking that one. Blood work for H.Pylori..negative. Family doc said time for an EGD..went to GI doc..did an EGD and small bowel biopsy..negative...tried all kinds of acid meds, protonex, nexium, all of them I think. Then they did an ultrasound, as the pain was getting worse and shifting to the right side..right under the ribs. I was told that it came back negative...(I would like to have someone look at it again..) anyway...so the GI doc put her on Bentyl..an antispasmodic. It did help some, sometimes..sometimes not..she left for her first year of college & the pain came & went...& every doc put in their opinion of stress..summer of 2002...pain worsened & I found out the first GI doc had said it was IBS (which her never told us..there ARE dietary changes you should try!!!) So..I researched and she went on a very restrictive no fat, no dairy, no red meat, etc..diet..she felt somewhat better.(which if you were having GB trouble, you would as it was very low fat)..then in Aug 2002 she had a typical GB "attack"..right side..doubled over in pain..went to the Med Center, but after waiting 2 hours, left..so I looked for a GI doc in the city where her college is. He did a bunch of blood work, all normal, then another EGD (this time took a bile sample to check for crystals..this would indicate that the GB could be forming stones that didn't show up on an ultrasound)..negative. Then a HIDA scan...this test measures how well the GB functions. This was the first test that showed anything out of the ordinary. Her emptying percentage was 32%. Most docs consider that non-functioning. The GI doc said come back in 4 months...so we went to a surgeon. He ordered a Small bowel follow thru and another HIDA scan. Small bowel follow thru..normal...2nd HIDA scan...8%...so, it was getting worse. Because she did not have stones or an obvious reason for her GB to go bad..the surgeon only gave her a 60% chance of having relief from the pain..there could be an underlying cause for the problem..like S.O.D...(just look that one up) I searched the web looking for answers..but could not find anywhere, where once a gallbladder had stopped functioning that it would ever get better. You know..if you watched what you ate, would the GB repair itself??? No one wants to have surgery and have a part removed..after all you do have it for a reason....

The last 3 weeks before surgery were quite difficult..alot of pain and she experienced nausea almost constantly.

However....she did have the surgery..and 5 weeks post op..is really feeling better.

It is a very frustrating thing if you do not have stones, and the docs just think it is in your head..you just need to learn to relax...yeah..in constant pain...relax..right...

The HIDA scan (make sure you get one with CCK)..it will give you an ejection fraction number...under 35% isn't working well.

All of this took a year and a half...because she was thin and only 18 and a senior in High School...gallbladder just wasn't even considered. If you did mention it, you got "the look"..like you have been doing too much reading & let the doc with the degree do the diagnosis...

So...sorry..a VERY long answer..but this is her story.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have couple of question for gardenmaniac whose daughter had her gallstone removed and anyone else that can answer it.

I've been having upper abdominal pain for the past 10 months. They did an ultrasound of the gallbladder and said that I had no stones therefore they ruled gallbladder out. They started checking me for everything and all the tests came back negative. My question is, when you have gallbladder attacks, does the pain go around from the right side to the back or does it only hurt in the front? And second, how long is the recovery time after gallbladder is removed and is it painful?

I need some answers because doctors are not able to diagnose me with  anything and all I have left is myself, to do the research and find some answers. And what I have been reading so far about gallbladder problems sounds exactly what I have.

I really would appreciate any information. Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey..

my daughter did not have any stones or sludge. acutally had hard time convincing my duaghter to have the HIDA scan. I actually had to promise it would be the last test...but also had to tell her that at 19..it really wasn't my decision to make...but she was so sick of being sick and then the tests were negative..and everyone acted like she was just high maintenance...

she had pain that started in her stomach..then after a few months it was more on the right side. after the ultrasound in June 2001, and she took bentyl..it settled down some..then it was more her stomach that botherered her again in summer of 2002..not her right side..it wasn't until aug of 2002 that she actually had more of a "classic" GB attack. It was different pain alot of the time..one of the reasons they didn't think it was her GB..it wasn't comsistently brought on by greasy food, lasting a certain time, no real set pattern. they wanted to see that! Chinese food really would do her in. Everyone is different though & everyone's pain is different. She did have pain if they pushed there on her side.

She had surgery on a Friday afternoon. She did stay the night as she was really nauseaus and you have to pee before you can leave. That didn't happen till about midnight. She was pretty sore Sat, Sun and Monday & getting pretty down about not feeling that great..since everyone says what a breeze it is...but by late Monday afternoon, she was able to take a shower & really seemed to turn a corner. Tuesday night, New Years Eve, she actually went to work for a few hours. ( We both work at a Ski Resort..big NY Eve parties) Went back to college 5 days later. Was in a theatre production the next weekend, just 15 days post op.

So far, for her, surgery was the right choice. The ONLY test that showed anything was the HIDA scan with CCK..where they get the ejection fraction number to tell you what percentage your GB is functioning at. Her first one was 32%, the 2nd one was 8%...6 weeks later.

If it was me...I would push for that test. (and it might be me at some point!..since now both my daughter AND my mother have had their GB's removed!)

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.  I have been terribly ill since the end of Dec. 2002.  I have had constant pain below my chest and across to my right side under the rib cage, and nausea 99% of the time.  At the end of Jan. my doctor sent me for a gall bladder ultra sound and it came back fine.  But as my problems worsened and continued he finally sent me for a HIDA scan the beginning of March of this year, and it revealed my gallbladder is not functioning.  They didn't give me any percentage of how much it wasn't working, but referred me to a surgeon, whom I meet with a week from today.  My main problem is nausea, I just wanted to see if anyone could recommend if I should have this surgery or not, and will it clear up my sypmtoms...............Thanks
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