Gallbladder Community
1.06k Members
Avatar universal

Gallbladder pains but tests are normal

I've been having really bad pains in my right side for the last 2 and a half months now.
There are times when it's been unbearable and nearly passed out. I've spent days sicking up what feels like battery acid along with normal things.
When I'm not ring sick I feel it an when the pains not really really bad there's a constant ache with occasional painfull stabbing sensations.

I've had an ultrasound but it only showed a 2mm stone which te dr said wouldbt cause the pain.
They have ran 3 lots of blood tests and all came back normal. No infection or anything wrong with my liver or pancreas.

I've seen 4 different drs and when they poke me around they all say it seems to be my gallbladder. Apparently I flinch in all the right places and feel the pain in the exact place when they touch my gallbladder. But nothing's showing up

Could it still ve something wrong with my gallbladder even if the bloods are normal? Or If anyone has any other thought On what it could be id be really greatfull. I just want the pain to stop and the drs not to give up on looking.  
35 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi there,

Sorry you have been having such a lousy time lately.....Have you heard of a condition called Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction? I'd research this and if it sounds like what you're suffering, have a chat with your doctors about it.

I hope that you can get some answers and feel better soon

Avatar universal
Ask the doctor is you could have a HIDA Scan done to see how well you Gb is functioning. Like you I had pain and normal tests results. It was the HISA Scan that showed I had a low functioning GB. My ejection fraction was 15%, anything below 35% is considered abnormal.
2827584 tn?1340583296
I continue to be surprised by the misunderstanding of some physicians. Gallbladder disease is just that - a diseased gallbladder. As all the discussants will attest, stones are not required to have all the misery. The stones that are seen are merely the visual evidence of a bad gallbladder. If you have typical gallbladder symptoms, all you need is some evident of an abnormal gallbladder to be comfortable recommending cholecystectomy. I'm not sure how some (usually primary care) physicians get into the mindset of "little stones - little pain." The fact of the matter is that small stones are the most dangerous because not only can you get the gallbladder symptoms but you can also have these pass down the common bile duct causing blockage, cholangitis or gallstone pancreatitis which is probably the most deadly complication of gallbladder disease. Your ultrasound was abnormal and documented an diseased gallbladder. Your symptoms are consistent with gallbladder disease. You should NOT have a HIDA w/CCK as these are contra-indicated if there are any stones because you can force the stone down the duct and precipitate severe complications. Of all these physicians that you have seen, do any of them actually treat gallbladder disease? The approach to a symptomatic patient with ANY gallstones was addressed by a NIH Concensus Conference in 1992. This should define the treatment algorithm that we all practice by. Failure to follow these guidelines constitutes substandard care.
Avatar universal
I complained to the first surgeon I saw about continuing pain after his exam. He solution was to send me to a shrink to make sure my pain wasn't being caused by depression. the doctor just shook his head when I told why I was there. I now know the continuing pain was the result of the chronic Cholecystitis reacting to his exam.

I have to agree with you about the little stones posing the greatest danger. Ejection of those stones into the biliary tree is just opening up a whole new can of worms.
Avatar universal
My gb problems started in 8/2005 a week of having my daughter.  They found the stones (there was 8 and 4 were on the larger side) during an ultrasound and was in complete pain, vomitting, and could barely breath.  My insurance I had would not cover the surgery to remove it UNLESS it was an emergency. My levels did not show it to be an emergency.  So over the next 4 years I was in and out of the ER, with GB pain all they could do is give me a shot for pain and send me home.  I ended up getting pregnant and had to go in at least twice a week for it at that point, at 14 weeks pregnant my levels skyrocketed, to the point they had to remove the GB and retrive a stone from the bile duct.  Lost the baby due to the pain and stress of it!  Still have pain from time to time, depending on what I eat, but nothing they can do about it.
2827584 tn?1340583296
This is a sad story. I'm not sure what the saddest part is though. Is it the insurance company? Is it that someone made a conscious decision to select such poor coverage? Was it the decision to get pregnant knowing that this would aggravate gallbladder disease while there was clear evidence of intractable symptoms? Is it feeling that the rest of your life wasn't worth the expense of the procedure? The cost of a laparoscopic cholecystectomy in NC if it is paid for out of pocket would be less than what would be spent on a pack a day smoking habit over three years. As a surgeon, if a patient presents to the ER with her second bout of biliary colic we admit them and remove their gallbladder. This is done regardless of their ability to pay. As the surgeon assigned to the ER each day, it is the morally and ethically right thing to do. Out of roughly 3500 gallbladders that I have removed in my career, about 500 of them were from uninsured patients. It is part of the job and allows me to feel good about myself at the end of the day. My assumption is that nothing but appreciation will come my way from these cases.
Avatar universal
That is a lot of good karma. Keep it up.
Avatar universal
I too have considerable amounts of pain in my upper right side. Most of the time the pain is like a knot in my side but sometimes it is sharp, stabbing pain. I've had all kinds of bizzar stools too. I've been for just about every test the doctors can think of and all come back fine. I've had blood work done 4 times ordered by 3 different doctors with nothing abnormal, no hieghtened white blood cells or liver enzymes. Urine test which caused me to be treated for dehydration, stool samples testing for bacteria and paracytes - all came back fine, x-rays that showed a considerable amount of stool in my colon, ultra sound that showed fluid around my gallbladder, CT scan also showed considerable amount of stool, HIDA scan that showed my gallbladder was functioning at 97%, colonoscopy and endoscopy with biopsy to check for gluten intolerance that showed nothing. Now I'm trying to go lactose free for a while to see if that helps. However, yesterday I had frosting but today I did not have any dairy or products with dairy but I had an egg sandwich at lunch and a handful of peanuts as a snack and I've been in pain since about an hour after lunch....My doctor told me to keep a food diary and if we can narrow it down to fatty foods other than dairy he will still remove my gallbladder because I show classic symptoms of gallstones even if the tests don't show anything. The first episode that caused me to go to the doctor was the worst. I thought I was having a heart attack. The pain started just below my ribs but was in my right shoulder blade too and then later I felt it in my back.
So if you figure it out let me know, and if I figure it out I will be sure to let you know!
Avatar universal
This is a first post for me - late last summer had my first bout of excruciating spasming pain - had some investigations - no stones in my gall bladder.  Though on a fat free diet I continued to have random, varied pain and lost a good amount of weight.  My whole digestive system seemed unsettled, bowels too.

However - I had also had peanuts before my initial awful pain.  And - previously the last two times I had eaten peanuts -  I just had a kind of achey tummy and the second felt some bloating.  

For me I am convinced the peanuts caused my desperate pain and gastric upset.    

I am still on a fat free diet - my whole digestive system seems to be extremely delicate, I need to eat regularly for instance - I still get tummy pain, back and shoulder pain, under rib pain on both sides and pain down the left hand side too.   Not bad pain just achey and irritating.

Personally I feel that whatever happened to cause my initial awful pain seems to have sensitised the whole of my digestive tract and I am still struggling to deal with it.

However - wanted to point out the peanut issue -

Avatar universal
Thank you, I will watch that, because I did have peanuts. Not sure about the first episode though. As far as your symptoms are concerned, I've heard that nuts and seeds can "get caught in pockets of your intestines" (diverticulitis?) and that usually causes pain in the left side.
I'm beginning to accept that I am going to have to live with my pain and bouts of explosive stool. So now, I'm trying to figure out what makes it worse, so I can avoid those foods...so thank you for the peanut suggestion.
Avatar universal
I have pain in the upper right rib area that radiates to the back and hurts to breathe, like Im having a heart attack, I don't have pain often but when it comes on it can hurt from 2 hours to 5 hours.  I have had all the tests except the colonoscopy and said they were normal but I feel like it is my gallbladder.  what do you suggest? Thanks Kim Clark
Avatar universal
you are a good surgeon evidently who really cares for people reguardless of money!  People like you are few and far between.
Avatar universal
I also think I have a gallbladder problem even though all tests are fine. I live in Springfield, La. and am currently looking for a doctor at OLOL who will remove my gallbladder even though tests were fine. If you know someone I would love to have their name. Thanks Barbara
Avatar universal
I have had extremely bad pain on my right side for months now. It is right under my rib cage and also goes thru to my back. I feel nauseous and have little appetite but no real throwing up. The pain is so bad, some days I am not able to go to work and when I do it is usually only for a half day.
I went to the ER room in April/2013..they thought heart attack..not that, I went home in pain. Several doctor visits between April and August...tested kidneys..nothing. Gave pain meds in which I very rarely take. Sept. 3, I was in so much pain I was telling my husband I thought I was dying. Went to the ER...they ruled out kidneys, took blood (was normal), did a CT scan and said everything looked good. they did find a mass that was rectum related and I later followed up on that and after a pelvic/rectum MRI I was told it was a "benign pocked of fluid that has walled itself off and needs no further follow up) I do not really know what that means, but thinking it is ok.
I was told maybe it is back/muscle issues...I did have two MRI's of the back, T and L and I do have 3 herniated Thoracic disc and 2 lumber, but have been told that would not cause the pain I am having on the right side.  
I have been to a chiropractor, pain management doctor for injections, and PT and nothing helps. If you push on my right side abdomen, under the rib cage I will jump off the table it hurts so bad. It hurts pretty much 24/7 with waves of much worse pain that literally makes me feel like I'm going to throw up it is SO bad. Sitting up is worse than laying down, but both are painful. It wakes me up out of a dead sleep....with pain meds and I lay in bed and cry for hours on end. I do ice packs for slight relieve.
I feel like everyone...the doctors are all done w/me, they don't know what to do so they are done. It's like they don't believe me or something. I gain nothing to make this up, at this point it is slowly taking my life away. Going to the mall with my 9 year old is literally torture.
Also, about a month ago, I was at work and felt very ill and had rectal pressure, like I had to go for a BM but knew it would be painful and constipated (which is normal for me, extreme constipation) I waited until everyone left and used the bathroom. It was so painful I really thought I was going to pass out, I have had 4 kids...it was comparable to pushing them out! I looked at the end result in the toilet and there were two LARGE white hard rock...mass...stone looking things protruding from my stool. and when I say big, I mean big! WAY to big to have passed and I couldn't believe what I was looking at....have no idea to this day. Gallstone? Sorry...gross and embarrassing but to this day I wonder if that was something related to all this.

But...here I am many months later and in the same amount and some days worse pain than I was in April. I am at a loss for what to do? Could it still be gallbladder if the CT scan back in Sept. was normal? can they miss something on a CT? I am 43 years old and not obese, but probably about 20-25 pounds overweight.
Can anyone help? Sorry this was so long, I hope someone had the patience to read it all. I am so desperate and at the end of my rope with this.
Avatar universal
I realize I am responding to your comments a year later but I am researching my symptoms as I have been having severe abdominal pain similar to gallbladder problems and I am concerned.  My ultrasound did come back normal and we did a HIDA w/cck scan which also came back normal. Directly after the HIDA scan, I felt better for a period of several hours, as if it was a form of treatment but the pain is starting to return but more so in my back.  Should I be concerned, is there other test that will tell me what is wrong with me, I have never experienced pain like this before and I don't want it to go untreated or treated as if its just acid reflux which I have never had.
Avatar universal
Hello. I just came across this forum today because I am beyond tired of going to the doctors and telling them whats going on, only to be looked at like im making it up or its all in my head.

About 2 years ago I was diagnosed with IBS. Ive had every test imaginable: blood tests, stool samples (numerous stool samples), a HIDA/CCK scan, endoscopy, colonoscopy, tested for Celiac disease...you name it, ive had it. IM ONLY 25! with every scan came back normal results. In the end, all I walked away with was the diagnosis of IBS with constant diarrhea.

Now, the problem I am having is that after every test to rule out anything but IBS, is when I started having pain in the upper right quadrant of my abdomen, just underneath the rib cage. This is around the time that I was given an ultrasound, (with normal results) and then the HIDA scan/CCK (also with normal results).

Im still having the pain one year later. its not constant, but its enough that im worried about it, and quite frankly getting tired of it. Any ideas what could be the problem? or what I could suggest or bring up to my doctor? I am seeing a GI specialist soon and maybe ill have some ideas before I go and meet with her.
Avatar universal
I've been having the same problem, too.  For about 5 years now, I've been having pain under my right rib cage, that radiates around to my back. I've had numerous attacks, that are extremely painful. I've had one attack that has caused me to vomit, and many others that have left me in pain for up to 4 hours. On Sunday, I had such a bad attack that I couldn't breathe or walk, it was the most excruciating pain I have ever had in my life.

The hospital ordered a HIDA test, which came back normal. I have also been for an ultra sound and an x ray, which both also came back normal. I constantly feel pain in my right upper abdomen, under my rib cage, the attacks are always at night time, and have an unusual amount of gas and always have undertones of nausea.

I am beyond frustrated and don't know where to go from here. I know my body, and I know that something is wrong, otherwise I would not be having this kind of pain. I'm going to talk to my family doctor about it tomorrow to try and get some more answers, but I feel for everyone how frustrating it is when doctors simply don't believe you and feel like you're at a loss of what to do next
Avatar universal
Folks, I too am suffering from gallbladder issues and I have had all types of testing with no results.  I believe in trying to treat with natural remedies that are safe to use before using prescription drugs or surgery. You have to make some life style changes to manage your illness, so eating right, eliminating trigger foods, exercise and natural supplements have helped me immensely.  I stay away from fried foods and anything fatty, which throws your gallbladder in a tizzy!  My diet consists mainly of veggies and seafood and plenty of water and green tea!  I include sliced ginger in my salads and my dressing is only olive oil, rice vinegar.  Ginger is great for digestion. Some chicken and rarely beef or pork.  I try to eat organic meats, and only buy them when they're on sale at my local Earth Fare.

I have learned to control the discomfort by taking some natural herbs to improve my gallbladder, liver and kidneys.  There's a product call Stone Free by Planetary that's great for supporting your gallbladder.  It contains dandelion root, marshmallow, turmeric, and other herbs that are great for those organs and I have found they help!!!  The dosage is 5 pills between meals, but I only use 3 a day and it works. Sometimes when I have a flare up (because I wasn't eating right!), I take turmeric which helps with inflammation and pain.  I also try to lay on my right side at night which gets your bile flowing and if I have pain I put a heating pad on the area or massage the area and that works too!  Everything I've read so far about having your gallbladder removed isn't positive.  People still have issues afterwards, so I'm going to do all I can to strengthen my digestive organs!  Good luck to all and do your research!!  The internet has all kinds of info. for natural remedies and I'd try those first.  If you're on other meds., you need to check to make sure their's no interactions and it's ok to take.  Most are safe to use with meds.  Best of Health
Thanks great advice.
Avatar universal
Thank you for this.  No one has believed me when I stated I had pain during an ultra sound on my abdomen.  It hurt so bad when she was pressing and now it has hurt ever since.
Avatar universal
Hi I am having all the gallbladder symtoms the sweats palpitations, pain in stomach. Ultrasound showed everything as normal. This has being going on for months I am fed up of feeling unwell. freefox17
Avatar universal
My pain started about 4 weeks ago. It started as a come and go pain but since has turned to a constant dull ache under my right rib cage and radiates to my back. I don't feel like eating and feel full after 4-5 bites of food. I have had an Ultrasound, MRI and a hida scan all of which came back normal. The contrast they used during the MRI made me very nauseated and I threw up. The cck during the hida scan was very painful about 15-20 min into the scan. I saw a GI specialist today and her advise was to put me on Pervicid for a month and have me come back. I am beyond frustrated. I have had heartburn and acid reflex while pregnant and it was nothing like what I am expericiang now.  I don't know what to do next!
Avatar universal
Hi, did you ever find out what was going on? Is it your gallbladder? I have the same exact symptoms as you do except I have actually vomited one time during the day while riding in the car after consuming a Mchicken sandwich and having a couple sips of a strawberry shake that my husband had and he didn't get sick. I had a HIDA scan and it came back 75% and said that 35% or above was normal. I feel nausea all of the time and dizziness off and on is also a symptom of mine. Did you end up seeing a specialist? I have no idea how my HIDA test came back normal with always having this pain under my right rib cage. It just doesn't make sense. What could it be?
Avatar universal
Dr. Walters, If a HIDA Scan shows a normal size Gallbladder, but the EF is only 9%, and the patient experiences intermittent nausea and intermittent "pin prick' pains, would you pursue Cholecystectomy?
Thank You
Avatar universal
I don't know how this works but I have been having the same issues for months now and all my test have come back normal.

I am still in great pain but the doctors can't help they just tell me to watch my diet.  I feel like I am going crazy I am in pain and there is no proof to explain why this is happening to me.

I am to the point of depression.  I know the pain is real but all I am told is there is nothing wrong with me.

Please help

Have an Answer?
Top Digestive Answerers
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Learn which OTC medications can help relieve your digestive troubles.
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
Discover common causes of and remedies for heartburn.
This common yet mysterious bowel condition plagues millions of Americans
Don't get burned again. Banish nighttime heartburn with these quick tips
Get answers to your top questions about this pervasive digestive problem