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Avatar universal

Upper right abdominal pain

I have been having pain in my upper right abdomen (under my ribs) for a few weeks now.  It is often sharp pain that also radiates to my shoulder, right arm, and back, especially between my should blades.  The pain is always in the exact same spots, never moves lower or to the left. When my dr presses on that area, it is painful enough to bring tears to my eyes.  I also often have nausea with the pain, but never vomited.  My bowel movements have been normal, though one time about 2 months ago, I had one that was gray in color.  I didn't have any pain then, so didn't think much of it and it hasn't happened since.  I also have a bad taste in my mouth, especially after drinking milk, and a yellowish film on my tongue.  The pain sometimes is worse after meals, but not always.  The most pain I've had is after eating a small bowl of frozen yogurt.

I don't have any idea if these are related, but I have a history of kidney stones, carpal tunnel, hypermobility, and depression.  I passed a kidney stone about 4 months ago and was on Vicodin off and on for a few weeks.  I take potassium citrate and chlorthalid to prevent kidney stones (taken 10+ years), Zoloft, and a multivitamin.  At one point my potassium levels were low, so my urologist upped my potassium citrate dosage.

My doctor at first thought it was an ulcer, but an h pylori test came back negative and a few weeks on Nexium didn't help at all.  I got a urinary tract infection around this time (I rarely get them) and was on antibiotics for awhile and my dr hoped this might help my pain but it didn't, so doesn't appear to be connected.  He wondered if pain meds could have affected my liver or stomach, but blood tests and urine tests came back normal and a thorough ultrasound showed my pancreas, liver, kidneys, bladder, and gallbladder looked normal and no gallstones.  He then thought it could be gallbladder malfunction, but a HIDA scan came back normal also.  I did have a good bit of pain during the HIDA scan, so my dr thinks that is the culprit, so has scheduled me to meet with a surgeon.  He said there could be a stone they didn't see or perhaps other malfunctions not showing up on the tests.  The surgeon can't see me for another 2 weeks.

My question is:  is it common for all tests to come back normal and it still be the gallbladder?  Is there something else it could be or other tests I should take?  Should I get a second opinion?  Surely the surgeon wouldn't agree to take it out if it wasn't warranted?  I've also read many stories of people suffering with pain for years before getting their dr to agree to gall bladder removal  and the gall bladder being diseased despite normal tests.  But I am also worried about getting it out and the pain continuing.

Any advice would be much appreciated.  Thanks in advance!
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Also wanted to add that I have a 3 year old daughter.  I have heard pregnancy can affect your gallbladder.
Avatar universal
Just a caution and a word of warning, if you can avoid getting your GB out by all means it may be in your best interest to do so. After having a horrific experience with post lap chole syndrom, i wish i would have known all the possible complications prior to surgery. I am a month post op and am absolutely miserable. All my tests always come back normal and they look at me like i am nuts. I have had blood drawn 8 times in 2 weeks, seriously. They act as though blood tests are the absolute. But pain is pain, I can't figure it out and neither can they. But spend 5 min. researching "unexplained abdominal pain post cholesysectomy" and there is literally hundreds if not thousands of us going through the exact same thing. Good Luck girl, cause I sure as heck haven't had any yet.
Avatar universal
Also wanted to add that I have been having more and more gas/belching lately and the abdominal pain always happens at night.

Sorry to hear your story jh, hope you get some relief.
Avatar universal
I've read gray bowel movements can be a sign of Celiac disease, along with many of the same symptoms of gallbladder problems. Who knows. My Mom is a nurse, so she had me go straight to the gallbladder surgeon when I told her about my problems, and I'll be talking to him early next week about my HIDA and what he thinks is next. My Mom is suggesting I try the gastro route as well. ***** for me if it is Celiac disease though bc I'll just have to deal with it. I would never in my life be able to go gluten free, ever lol.
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