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Gallstones and Can they pass on their own?
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Gallstones and Can they pass on their own?

Hello,

I am a 27 yr old female who is overweight and a smoker.  Around thanksgiving I went to the ER because I was having back and chest pains.  They took blood, my white blood cell count was 13,000 (they said normal should be 11,000), said I was fighting something and diagnosed me with bronchitis.  I have had bronchitis, I knew this was not the case.  They prescribed me with Zithromax and I took the full course and still had pains.  

I went back to my local dr.  He then ordered an EKG.  I was informed it came back abnormal and then sent me for a cardiolite (sp) stress test.  Thats the test where they inject your heart with dye twice and do the treadmill.  The results came back normal, so my heart is fine thankfully!

I was still having chest and back pains, and getting a few pains under my right breast and my upper right side.  It felt more like cramping but didn't last long.  I still have the side pain, but it's more like a dull pain now.  The back pains are mainly higher up near my shoulder blades.  My Doctor thinks it is either heartburn or gallstones.  He put me on Aciphex for a month and told me if symptoms still occur, he wants to send me for an ultrasound to check for gallstones.  

A few nights ago, I had very bad pains under my right breast, it was right after I had eaten.  I also had the pains happen in the middle of the night twice.  The next morning, I was not feeling very well and was having major cramps.  I went to the bathroom and didn't have constipation or diarrhea.  My stool was soft, light brown and didn't float.  I was in the bathroom on and off for about an hour.  I was getting sweats and my body was forcing me to push, while most of the time not much came out.  It was almost like dry heaves, but at the other end of the body.  I didn't notice anything other than the stool.

This also happened twice about 2 months ago.

While I don't know if this is because of gallstones or not, I won't know probably until the end of the month since I am only 1 week into taking the heartburn pills, my question is:  If these are gallstones, can you pass them like I described?  I haven't been able to find out any information about passing gallstones and what happens.  Also, with my white blood count higher than normal, I am fighting off some kind of infection, can it be high just because of heartburn?

Also, the only other medication I am currently on besides the Aciphex is the Depo shot for birth control.

Thanks for any information you can help me with, it's greatly appreciated!
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I would agree with the comments below suggesting that this may be gallbladder-related.  If there is gallbladder inflammation, it would not be surprising that the white count would be elevated.

I would consider an ultrasound to evaluate for this possibility.  The possibility of the gallstones passing was answered in the comments below and I agree with surgeon's response.

If negative, then an upper GI series or upper endoscopy can be considered to look for things like GERD, an ulcer, or inflammation of the upper digestive tract.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
Medical Weblog:
kevinmd_b
5 Comments
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Your symptoms are much more consistent with gallstones than heart problems or acid problems, and I'd think ultrasound should be higher on the list of investigations. As to "passing" gallstones: most pain comes not from passing per se but from a stone becoming lodged in the neck of the gallbladder; when the gallbladder then squeezes as it naturally does, to squirt bile into the gut, it clamps down on the stone and causes pain. Stones can also pass; meaning moving out of the gallbladder into the bile duct. When that occurs, several things could happen: it could pass thru the duct into the gut with little or no consequences. It could stay in the main bile duct, causing pain and usually jaundice, as the bile flow from the liver is obstructed. Or it could cause pancreatitis if its location is such that it prevents bile flow into the gut and forces it into the pancreas. Most of the time when people have intermittant pain from gallbladder "attacks," it's not from stones "passing," but from the lodging is dislodging in the neck of the gallbladder, with the stone remaining in the gallbladder. Heartburn, by the way, rarely causes pain in the pattern you describe. I'd bet bigtime that your problem is gallstones.
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I forgot to add this: elevated white count very often occurs with a gallbladder attack, as the gallbladder becomes inflamed. It's not usually an infection, but can become one. In mild attacks the white count can be elevated minimally or not at all. Elevated white count does not usually occur with "heartburn."
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You're awesome!  Thanks so much for being here!
GallbladderBaby!
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I believe I passed some gallstones in my stool...after eating only fruits and veggies for 3 days, I did an epsom salt 1/2 cup in 4 cups of water...drank one glass at 4pm then another at 8pm then drank the juice of one whole fresh squeezed grapefruit and 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil cold pressed then went straight to bed for the night...the next morning drank another glass of the epsom salt water and then 2 hours later drank the last glass of epsom salt water....I had never done this before...but my chiropractor recc. it...because I was having a gallbladder attack...My motherinlaw and others do not think I could of passed any gallstones....but I sure saw things in the toilet that looked like stones...is it possible...and also I feel 100% better...and my pain is gone...and I went back to my chiropractor today and I am perfectly balanced and gallbladder is functioning well. I also ate alot of beets, and I will continue to do this and drink 1/2 of a fresh squeezed lemon in a hot coffee mug full of water every morning...it seems to be helping me. I refuse to have my gallbladder out as long as the gall bladder cleanses are working for me. Please respond....***@****  
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