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Elevated lipase plus abdominal pain

I was hospitalized this weekend for severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Even after two doses of morphine, I could still feel mild pain twisting my stomach. The pain was low and centralized, and when the doctor had a blood test ordered, the only abnormality was elevated lipase. All other numbers were normal. X-ray showed nothing out of the norm, and the doctor thought perhaps it was just a bad tummy bug combined with my c-section scar tissue.

He consulted with a specialist who suggested sending me for an ultrasound in case it was a gall bladder issue presenting in an unusual way. I'll have to wait a couple weeks for the ultrasound unfortunately, and am not sure how to proceed in the meantime. It may well be gall bladder, as we had a rich dinner a few hours before the attack (and I've had similar but less intense experiences after eating rich food). But with a clear x-ray and no other aspects of my bloodwork coming back as abnormal, how likely is it?

Also, with regards to the ultrasound, will going on a gall bladder conscious diet prior to the test ruin the tests efficacy? If I cut out all the trigger foods, will the test show as normal and prevent me from getting a needed diagnosis? I'm not sure how to proceed - any thoughts?
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi, lipase is a protein (enzyme) released by the pancreas into the small intestine. It can be elevated due to acute pancreatitis and considering the location of pain this could be a possibility. X rays can be normal in pancreatitis and ultrasonography may reveal abnormal findings. Your symptoms and elevated lipase levels can also be seen in cholecystitis.  And going on a gallbladder conscious diet will not hinder the findings so don’t worry. Ultrasounds and CT scans will help detect any abnormalities in the structure of the gall bladder. To study the functioning tests like HIDA scan need to be done. Best Regards.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much! There were no stones visible during the ultrasound, though I suppose that's not a definitive answer at this point. Will have to wait and see where my doctor wants to go from there. During my second c-section, the doctor commented that there was "extensive" scar tissue from my first one, and I've been referred to see an OB to see if that's a factor. So many avenues to be explored, eh?

Many thanks!
Avatar universal
p.s. It's been six days now, and I've had 24/7 nausea and mild stomach pain. Also a lot of, well, flatulence, mild diarrhea, and constant burping. It feels like my stomach is inflated. Whenever one of my children climbs on my lap and presses against it, it hurts and the pressure pushes out a burp (which they think is hilarious of course). I have the constant feeling that I'm about to throw up, but am managing not to. Is that consistent with cholecystitis?
Avatar universal
Hi, like I mentioned it could be due to cholecystitis. But this is more common if there is a stone. It could also be due to malabsorption or sometimes GERD, (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease), where the acid contents of the stomach come up into the esophagus. So, as you wait for your tests,  you can try lifestyle measures. Take frequent small meals. Eat dinner about two hours before sleeping. Elevate the head end of the bed. Keep a food diary and note down what aggravates your symptoms and avoid them. Ensure to maintain optimum weight by regular exercise. Avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications NSAID's, quit smoking, eliminate alcohol and reduce stress levels. These measures need to be practiced long term for results. Hope this helps!!
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