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Pain After Gall Bladder Removal When Hungry

A little over a year ago, about 2 months after I had my second child, I had my Gall Bladder removed. Less than a week after the surgery, I began suffering from the same pain that I had when I had gall stones, however, it only happens when I'm hungry, very, very hungry. It has never happened mid-day, only first thing in the morning, especially if I ate a very light dinner or ate early the evening before. The pains are IDENTICAL to that of gall bladder attacks - sharp pains in the right-upper quadrant, radiates to my back - just a very specific pain that those of you who have had gall bladder pain probably understand. Once I eat or drink, and it can literally be 1 cracker, the pain goes away, but while it's happenning, the pain is debilitating (9 on a scale of 1-10).

I've seen a gastro. specialist, who has done an upper endoscopy, which was normal, other than some slight inflammation of the lining of my stomach. I also had a HIDA scan, which was normal. They have tried giving me acid reflux meds to see if that helps, but nothing has changed. I have been seeing the ARNP, which I think could be part of the problem as well, as they don't have nearly the experience physicians have. They all seem perplexed with the issue and just want to keep throwing different drugs at me, which all seem TOTALLY unrelated to my problem.  

At this point, I don't know what more I can do. No one can figure out what is wrong with me, but there is definitely something very much related to my gall bladder that is causing me a lot of pain. I know there has to be other patients out there who have experienced this same problem. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.  Thank you!!!
6 Responses
Avatar universal
My guess is that you still have a stone in your common bile duct that is so small they missed it. This is where most pain comes from when you have stones. I would suggest this to your doc. Maybe then he/she could look specifically at that. Not sure why it would affect you while hungry though. I have stones and feel great when I fast from time to time.
Avatar universal
I know your post was from some time ago, but I have the same issue.  I had my GB out over a year ago.  The pain I have now is worse than any pain I had when I still had my GB.  

It doesn't occur as often as it used to, however it is definitely when I am very, very hungry.  And, just like you the pain will immediately go away after I eat just something small.  

It is to the point where I make sure I always have a granola bar or something with me at work, on a plane, etc.

I get the severe pain and sweats.  Then it's completely back to normal.

I have talked to others who have the same issue.

Anyway - I don't have any answers for you - just wanted to say that you're not alone, and to me that was very comforting.

I also have Diarrhea pretty often.  I have found that it is usually early in the day, and it may be related to a multi-vitamin I take or when I eat a lot of fiber.  It has gotten a little better, but it was to the point where I could go first thing in the morning, then eat and know I needed to be somewhere to go again right away.

Taking my vitamin later in the day definitely helped and not having 2 pieces of whole wheat toast anymore for breakfast also helped.

I had no choice but to get my GB out as the docs said it was one of the worst he has ever seen, to the point where it would soon have been gangrenous.  But I now spread the word that if you don't need to have it out then keep it! :)

Be well!
Avatar universal
Hi, I'm 28. Had my GB out when I was 19. I have been dealing with this type of pain since I was around 16. Gallbladder issues run in my family as well as Pancreas and Stomach problems like diabetes, ulcers, and acid reflux. I was initially misdiagnosed with acid reflux because the pain would wake me up and I would burp a lot. My doctor put me on Prilosec which made me constipated. Fantastic, huh? Then he had me drinking Citrucel which didn't help. Eventually, I got the ultrasound that confirmed stones. It turned out that I had no inner lining to my GB and had to have the surgery within 2 weeks to prevent a burst. Had it out. All was good except for the extreme diarrhea. Doc put me on some other medication that was in a packet I had to mix and drink (cholesta-somethin?) He said it was for fat emulsification, since bile emulsifies fat in the stool to be carried out of the body through the colon... Bile isn't something that works very well without a GB. Anyway, he also put me on a strict diet and it worked out until I gave up the diet. Over the years, after having been misdiagnosed for other things like injuries, I don't trust many doctors so I research on a fairly continuous basis so I can discuss everything with my doctor.
This pain, when hungry, radiating to the back, after eating certain foods or not eating at all can come from a couple of common issues.

1: Like personalevolution said, there could still be a stone lodged in a duct. Namely, the Common Bile Duct which is shared with the Gall Bladder, Liver, and Pancreas, forms the Ampulla of Vater and ends at the duodenum. There's a lot going on in this area alone.  

2: There's documented proof that GB issues can lead to Pancreas issues. Two being acute and chronic Pancreatitis. As it turns out, Pancreatitis has all the same marking as GB pain but from something very different. The Pancreas releases digestive enzymes when you eat. If the enzymes become active inside the Pancreas, they begin to digest the Pancreas from the inside causing all kinds of problems. This is seen more as a hereditary issue. Alcohol also triggers acute Pancreatitis, causing the Pancreas to become inflamed. There are many other causes of Pancreatitis that are noteworthy; however, you can research that on your own and talk to your doctor.

I'm not a doctor. I've only researched these issues for my own reasons. I'm not saying that this list is what the problem is. Frankly, the list is much longer but I wanted to give the most likely suspects as far as my research has revealed.

I find that high fat foods cause me to have diarrhea and alcohol triggers horrible pain. Also, if I don't eat for a while I get pain.

My suggestion is, if you trust your doctor, go see him/her. If you don't, get a second a opinion. Doctors don't know everything.
Avatar universal
I know this post was from quite some time ago...But I'm hoping I can find an answer. I had my gallbladder removed in Feb 2014 after I had my 3rd child. Now, when I don't eat I get this severe sharp pain moments after my stomach growls, It's dull in the upper mid abdomin. It feels EXACTLY like a gallbladder attack, often my right shoulder starts to hurt with it. I break out in a cold sweat and notice that I get very agitated along with it. I wanted to share some things that have helped me avoid it, but It still comes just not as often.

1. Avoid Acidic drinks / foods. My main trigger is when I drink Mountain Dew or Code Red Mountain Dew (Red dye seems to irritate it 10x more, as well as the acid in the Mountain Dew.

2. Do not take your pain medication without eating. I noticed when I take my Tramadol, I get this more often than when I do eat before I take it, or within an hour of taking it.

What I don't get is, What is causing this? It gets very bad sometimes and as stated previously, It goes away the minute I swallow something and it hits my stomach. Has anyone found an answer to this? What happened to you after the fact? Are there any medications that helped you prevent this from happening? Thanks In advance, I probably wont get an answer but I'm crossing my fingers!!
Avatar universal
Try googling sphincter of odi.  Sounds strange but that is what I was diagnosed with and it totally correlates with all of the symptoms.  I get those pains when I am hungry so I eat a mid morning and mid afternoon snack to avoid getting hungry.  All medications with acetaminophen and codein in them makes it worse so I avoid them.  Just check it out and let me know your thoughts.
Avatar universal
I have the same issue! Although mine is whenever I get that empty feeling/hungry it starts to hurt and intensifies until I take a bite of something and boom, pain gone! I was thinking that maybe it's because the gallbladder may have secreted bile into the stomach when it got the hungry feeling, but obviously with no gallbladder to do so, so it causes pain?!
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