Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Missing a Gallbladder
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Missing a Gallbladder

I am a 44 year old female.  I have never smoked or drank.  About a month ago after returing from a trip from San Deigo where we ate alot of heavy food(which is very unsual for me)  I had horrible indigestion, gas and belching.  My bowl movements were all different(no constipation), They are not black and tarry or white in color, I have had no fever or vomiting.  My doctor did blood work, Chest Xray and EKG all were normal.  He thought it sounded like classic gallbladder symtpoms so he sent me for an ultra sound.  They were not able to see my gallbladder on an ultra sound or gallstones.  My doctor sent me for a seond one three days later with the same results.  I then had a HIDA scan and it also did not show my gallbladder(they also injected morphine during the scan but still no gallbladder) I then had a MRCP.  No gallbladder was found(but they noted my common heaptic duct was a little prominent)  I then had an abdominal and pelvis CT scan with contrast and dye.  This should nothing but no gallbladder still,  The surgeon who ordered the CT Scan "you dont have a gallbladder"  and he said the common heaptic duct be a little enlarged 7mm was common for someone who did not have a gallbladder.  I have now see a GI doctor who put me on bentyl to help relax my stomach and protonix to help with the indigestion.I just started with this medicine 2 days ago.  Everytime I eat I get immediate indgestion and have spasms in my right side.  I also have loose stools and have to go the bathroom immediatley after every meal I am still functioning but the pain at this point is very annoying. Could I really not have a gallbladder?  I having a hard time believing this.  Help!!

thanks, s
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If the imaging studies, like the MRCP, CT scan and ultrasound, do not show a gallbladder - it is likely missing.  Without examination, I do not have a good explanation for that.

Diseases like Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction can lead to abdominal pain and gallbladder-like symptoms.  They can manifest especially in those without a gallbladder.  An ERCP with Sphincter of Oddi manometry can be considered if this disorder is suspected.  

Other possibilities can be other causes of dyspepsia - such as GERD, an ulcer, or inflammation of the upper digestive tract.  You can consider an upper endoscopy or upper GI series for further evaluation.

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.
http://www.straightfromthedoc.com
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I know how you must be feeling right now, It probably does not help you to know that you went through all that testing but from what you have said just now it would appear that you do not have a gall bladder, But you need not worry because people without a gall bladder do lead normal lives, I don't really know how common this condition is but the important thing to know is that not having a gall bladder is not equivalent to ill health. If you fell that you not been sufficiently reassured of this by you doctor you should make an appointment and remember you have to contact your doctor whenever you have any concerns.
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Avatar_n_tn
After reading your comment on GallBladder missing I wish to inform you of my situation. I am a 30 year old female I was having sever pain under my right breast and around my back area the doctors suspected gall stones so I had 3 ultra sounds done and they could not find my gall bladder I had also had a CCK Pipida and they still could not find my gall bladder one doctor said they could not see it because I had to much gas. I kept having the pain so I went to another doctor who wanted me to do a ulta sound I was sceptic about doing another one because I had already taken 3 test within 3 months so I decided to do another one and when they did they found it and it was discovered that I did had stones and my gall bladder was inflamed. It has been a month now I have had the stones and gall bladder removed and I am doing fine.

Good Luck
Bahama Mama
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Avatar_n_tn
http://www.cpsp.edu.pk/jcpsp/ARCHIEVE/May2005/Article15.pdf#search='congenital%20absence%20of%20the%20gall%20bladder'


case report of someone with congenital absence of the gall bladder.
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Avatar_n_tn
You can be born with out a gallbladder. It is a birth defect.  Agenesis of the gallbladder I think is the term used. I am on doing some research for a friend who just had gallbladder surgery because the doctor said she had too many stones to count. They started with the lap. surgery and then he cut her wide open to find SHE DOES NOT HAVE A GALLBLADDER!!!Can you believe it???? What is the explination for that? She has now had major surgery for NOTHING. Who is to blame? The doctor? the ultrasound tech.?who?What does anyone think?They said she had a gallbladder and it was full of stones.they SAW it on ultrasound.But she was born without one.......malpractice??
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Avatar_f_tn
WOW!....If this is true, malpractice should be investigated with a good lawyer. You hate to hear about lawsuits, except for when they are really warrented.  Interesting.

Doesn't the doctor use the sonogram pictures in addition to reading the report???? I would hope so, but in this case, maybe not!  Again, WOW!
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, Gallbladder stone symptoms but born without one was started.
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