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Avatar universal

Pain still after gallbladder surgery

I had bronchiditis in December real bad.  Coughing hard and continuosly for a good month. After getting an antibotic from doctor I was feeling much better, I woke up with a pain in my right side after a week or two of taking antibotic.  So bad I couldn't sleep on that side.  Coughing or sneezing was very painful.  Went to doctor after a few days and they done an ultasound and found sludge in gallbladder so the following week I had surgery to get gallbladder removed.  The area where gallbladder was is feeling much better, but pain in right side and towards middle of back is still there, which I may add, is the same pain as I had when I went in to have gallbladder surgery.  The only symptoms I had was the pain in right side regarding my gallbladder.  I have went back and had tests after tests taken and they can't seem to figure out where the pain is coming from.  Right now I am taking Motrin--3 pills 3 times a day.  It helps while I am on it, but when it wears off I am back to the pain again.  Also, under my breast bone it is very tender and numb.  I just had a CT Scan of abdomen, pelvis and chest and they found nothing.  I have had urine and blood tests taken with also no results.  Urine test the first two times I had done showed a little blood, but they put me on antibotic, which took two rounds for the blood not to show up in urine.  The last time I was at doctor's he said he thought I had an inflammation or maybe even pleurisy.  I am so tired of fighting this.  I have seen three doctor's regarding this and they all say the same thing or just don't know what to tell me.  I was wondering if you had any suggestions for me. Also I had a CT Scan to see if I had kidney stones, which showed up that I did not.  I spend most of my days laying on heating pad.  Please help!
41 Responses
233190 tn?1278553401
Hello - thanks for asking your question.

Please understand my limitations over the internet as I have neither met nor examined you. This information is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation.

Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (SOD) may be a possibility.  It is suspected in patients who have biliary-type pain without other apparent causes. In this setting, SOD is most commonly recognized in patients who have undergone cholecystectomy (postcholecystectomy syndrome).  The diagnosis of SOD is established by SO manometry, which is performed during ERCP - this is something that you may want to discuss with your personal physician.

Another consideration may be dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease or gastritis.  An upper GI series or upper endoscopy to evaluate this may be helpful.  

This is also the possibility of chest/abdominal wall pain.  Musculoskeletal pain is often insidious and persistent, lasting for hours to weeks. It is frequently sharp and localized to a specific area, but may be diffuse and poorly localized. The pain may be positional or exacerbated by deep breathing, turning, or arm movements.  Rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and fibromyalgia can cause these symptoms.  

An uncommon cause may be a lower rib pain syndrome.  This condition is characterized by pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, a tender spot on the costal margin, and reproduction of the pain by pressing on the spot.  A majority of patients with this condition are women, with a mean age in the mid-40s. The pain persists in 70 percent of patients followed for an average of four years from diagnosis.  This should be considered if all other tests are negative.  Treatment includes continued analgesics, with occasional cortisone shots if necessary.  Rib resection is needed in rare cases.

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.
Avatar universal
I feel your pain! I also had the pain you describe, with no "medical" reason. My opinion, and this is from 1-1/2 yrs of research and trial/error, it's a bile problem caused by the removal of the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores and releases the bile when you eat, and when they remove it, the bile is just continuously "running", so to speak. I suggest you watch your diet. I have become lactose intelorent since the gallbladder came out, so I avoid dairy. Also avoid very high fat foods. Eat 5 or 6 small meals a day, instead of three. I wish you luck. I have managed to get rid of most of the breastbone, right upper quandrant and back pain through following diet.
Avatar universal
sludge in the gallbladder is a sort of "gray zone" thing: it may not mean there's anything wrong, but it can. So it may well be that the pain you were having was unrelated to the gallbladder, and that's why it's still there. Your story of lots of coughing prior to the pain raises the possibility of injury to the rib or muscles or cartilage attatched to it. That can take a long time to heal.
Avatar universal
Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and suggestions.  I thought from the beginning it was pleurisy or that maybe I pulled a muscle or cracked a rib with all my coughing during the time I was sick with Bronchiditis.  One morning I just woke up with the pain, which was the end of December.  I made myself real clear to all three doctor's that I had Bronchiditis and coughed contiously for a month, but they all just kinda ignored that part saying it was not related to that.  So like I said, I had my gallbladder removed and I still have the same pain.  I was wondering how long, if it is a muscle pull or injury to rib, it will take before it heals or will I have to go in and have some kind of surgery to repair it?  I wore a rib belt for two months that seemed to help a little. What about the numbness and tenderness under breastbone, is that related also?  Thank you.
Avatar universal

I have the same kind of pain you talk about since gallbladder surgery. I use a heating pad daily, and sometimes I take a hot bath to see if that would help. I am having a colonoscopy and endoscopy done on April 7th to see what's going on....

I still can't eat anything spicy or a trace of fat, so it makes you wonder why go through gallbladder surgery if you have to live the same way as before!

I didn't have sludge nor stones, but they based the gallbladder problem on the fact that I could not digest fats, and was in terrible pain with each attack.

Let us know what you find out. I'll do the same
Avatar universal
I had the same post gallbladder surgery pain that you are describing - the same pain that I had before the surgery - upper right quadrant and pain radiating thru to my back.  I tried to find the food that was causing it but couldn't narrow it down to anything.  I was put on Pepcid for 1 month.  It took the entire month for the pain to go away...but it finally did.  
For the first 3 weeks of the Pepcid...it didn't matter what I ate...the pain would still come.  However, I quit drinking coffee on the 4th week...and that's when my pain subsided.  I am now drinking coffee again with no pain.  So I'm not sure if the Pepcid "healed" my stomache and not drinking coffee helped that...but it seems to have been a good combination.  It's been over 1 month since I have had pain.  Good luck!!!
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