Gastroenterology Community
31.6k Members
Avatar universal

Remove gallbladder?

My 19-year-old son just found out that his gallbladder is not functioning.  He is 5'9" and weighs about 140 and has very little body fat.  He is extremely healthy and fit---he participated in football, track, and baseball in high school at an extremely high level and just completed his first year of college baseball.  His diet is wonderful---healthy foods, no caffeine.

About 16 months ago, he had an extreme pain in his stomach. We took him to the doctor discovered he had mono.  We figured the pain was from that.  Other than the case of mono, he has always been extremely healthy. (The two days of school he missed with mono, were the only days he missed from kindergarten through senior year of high school.)

A couple of days ago, he had an extreme pain in his stomach ago.  He felt better after throwing up.   He also had a similar, but less painful episode about a month ago, and he said he had one more episode during the school year.  After each of these four episodes (including the one 16 months ago), he felt better after vomiting.

We just got the results back today saying his galblatter was not functioning.  We have not seen a doctor yet, but the nurse is going to refer us to a surgeon to have his gallblatter removed.  With only four episodes, it seems like we would be acting quickly (and perhaps recklessly) if we had his gallbladder taken out right away.  Is there any other solutioins?  With the pain hapening so rarely, does the galbladder ever shut down and start back up again?

Any suggestions??????????
3 Responses
168348 tn?1379360675

What test did he have .. was it a HIDA Scan ?  Curious, if you don't mind .. if a HIDA Scan .. what was his score on it?

My daughter went on like this for 10years .. the last 2 of which were closer together but the ultrasounds were always normal!   Her Hida was only a 4 !!!!

Anyway ..... she had no stones, but her GB was not functioning right from birth and had anomolies to it from birth they discovered after it came out.  

Is there an event of food that has triggered these episodes before the "attack" ?    

I'm not a Dr., just a mom to a 17yr old who had hers out and I have gallstones and am lucky cause right now they are asymptomatic for 2+ yrs .. bu tthe next attack out it comes ... the pain is beyond words .. I also have  passed kidney stones and for me the GB is worse of the two evils so far .. LOL

140029 tn?1393301742
Usually when they do a HIDA scan they also do an ultrasound checking for stones (which i'm guessing you did..) stones can cause a gallbladder to hardly function so it's good to rule that out.

Normally with a low Gallbladder ejection rate it's usually reccomended to remove it, i've heard some people go on a gallbladder cleanse..you can google it, it's like a diet of avoiding fats/oily foods and there's a special mix cocktail that some people do (it's nasty something like lemon juice/olive oil/vinegar or something like that..if you can't find it google liver cleanse) so i've heard of people getting better on the diet and some have avoided surgery all together.  Basically the gallbladder/liver break down foods and the gallbladder esp. goes to work when you eat fatty foods...well if you overdo it you can get sick but lots of times they don't know why gallbladders go bad.  

you could try total diet and avoid fats but normally you have laproscopic surgery to remove a bad gallbladder.  There are risks too so i'd try to avoid it but be prepared to face surgery.  I had mine removed and thankfully I don't have any long term problems as far as I know but there are many on this board who have gotten SOD (google that) or can't tolerate fatty foods anymore without having diareerea.

good luck on your decision..if he's not in pain or nausea now i'd totally watch that diet of no oils or fatty foods.. give his gallbladder a break and hopefully he doesn't have a stone or something causing this whole mess.
Avatar universal
I had a similar situation with stomach pain. I had my gallbladder removed two years ago... when I was 18. To this day, I still have the same pain and an additional symptom from the surgery... diarrhea.
I'm definitely not telling you this to deter your son from having the surgery. Just make sure the doctor takes time with you and answers all your questions and concerns. I had mine out rather quickly and really never got the chance to ask any questions. They told me I had biliary dyskinesia, but nothing showed up when they did an ultrasound. They did another test that showed it wasn't working.
Anyway, good luck to you and your son whatever the decision may be!
Have an Answer?
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