Has anyone experienced gall bladder attacks and care to share? For context, we were out for dinner on Friday at a Mexican place and after having the appetizer (chips and salsa and guacamole) I had a terrible pain in my upper abdomen, in the centre, right under my ribs. I also was SO HOT (we had been rained on on the walk to the restaurant and were sitting beside the open garage style doors… my always hot hubby was fine) and I couldn’t get comfortable. It lasted about 45 minutes then went away. I have had a handful of similar “attacks”, though that was by far the worst. My mom had her gallbladder out when she was a few years younger than me. She had never had an attack but had more chronic symptoms and her gallbladder was completely full of giant stones. My grandmother also had hers out.
I’m going to make an appointment with my primary care physician but it’ll be a couple weeks until I get in since it isn’t urgent and I’m not inclined to make a fuss. Just wondering what others have experienced and if it’s in line with what happened to me. I hate going to the doctor with “oh I was in pain for 45 minutes but it’s fine now” and Doctor Google is only so helpful. Looking for experiences to compare.
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I had my gallbladder out about six weeks ago.
I had what I suspect was my first gallbladder attack when I was in my early 50s, about 15 years ago. It came after a meal of pulled pork. Pain was bad enough that I started to consider going to the ER, and I'm not a run to the doctor or hospital kind of person. Pain went away after 30 or 40 minutes. My dad had his gallbladder out at about this age, so I figured I had inherited my Dad's gallbladder problems. I never had it checked out with my doctor, and just decided to take really fatty foods out of my diet.
For the next 15 years I managed pretty well that way, but about a year ago I started feeling just a little "off" after meals, even ones that weren't particularly rich or spicy. I would also get a cramping sensation, in my case more in the center of my abdomen rather than off where the gallbladder is located. A heating pad would often help alleviate the discomfort.
I also noticed that when I would bend over to pull weeds in the garden I would get a painful sensation in my right side that would go away if I knelt down and straightened my back rather than bending over from the waist.
At the end of February of this year, I had a repeat of my original attack except that it lasted four or five hours. We had a pepperoni pizza that was really greasy, and that must have triggered it. I was pretty sure I had a stone that was lodged somewhere, and I was pretty sure that it passed through because the extreme pain became a dull ache and the cramping went away.
I saw my doctor a couple of days later. He ran blood work, including a liver panel, and when the results came back he called me the next morning and said my liver enzymes were through the roof. He was worried I still had a stone stuck, so he got me in for an ultrasound and an abdominal MRI the same day. Those tests confirmed that there was no stone in the common bile duct, but it also showed that I had a ton of pretty large stones in my gallbladder. My doc ordered another liver panel a few days later, and they were still high but trending quickly downward, so that confirmed that I was out of the woods for the time being. I wasn't in an emergency situation so I had time to select my surgeon and I had it out in mid-April. Laparascopic surgery. It went exactly as he predicted. I felt moderately lousy for 4 or 5 days, then just tired for another week or ten days. After three weeks I felt pretty much back to normal.
A lot of people have stones and they don't give them problems. Once you start having problems, the likelihood that they'll recur is much higher. A stone stuck somewhere can be a real issue. Fatty foods and spicy foods can trigger an attack. I got to the point where even restricting my diet wasn't working real well. Not full blown attacks, but frequent discomfort after meals.
I think it's likely that your doctor would order an ultrasound to check for stones. The test has a very high rate of correctly identifying gallstones, it takes 20 minutes, and it's non-invasive.
Some other reading for you. Curated by Dr. wtg.
|Pinta & the Santa Maria|
Has Achieved Nirvana
Oops, it was kidney stones, not gall stones. Never mind.
|Has Achieved Nirvana|
My gallbladder pain manifested between my shoulder blades, if I recall correctly. And nausea. Lots of nausea.
I had various episodes over the years, starting sometime after age 50. They were spaced several months apart, and each attack would last several hours, often overnight. It took me a while to consult my doctor, who told me, after an ultrasound, that I should get it out.
I didn't listen.
I remember having one bad attack while visiting Mary Anna in Camden.
Eventually, I had an attack ... luckily, while Mary Anna was in town ... on a Friday. I called in to my primary care and got in to see them around 4:30, maybe, that afternoon. I saw the on call doctor. She looked at me and told me, leave and go straight to the emergency room, don't go home first. So we went to the hospital. They did a lot of tests, they sent me straight up to a surgical floor, and they took out my gall bladder that night with the on call surgeon.
Great surgeon, and an even better nursing staff in the hospital. I got excellent care. But the quality of the surgeon was pure dumb luck. I just got lucky that one of the most experienced, senior, best people was the on call surgeon that night.
Thanks, folks. I did make an appointment with my doctor via their online scheduling. Right now it’s not until mid-July but I put in my reason for the appointment so sometimes they will call and move it up if they feel it should be looked at sooner. We shall see.
|Has Achieved Nirvana|
Dol, I don't recall any post-surgery major discomfort. The worst part was that they gave me Dilaudid in the hospital, and I don't do well with strong painkillers. I was rocking back and forth on the bed with nausea. It was bad enough that the nurses called the doctor without discussing it with me and told her, we need to stop the Dilaudid and just give him hydrocodone. And, with that change, I was fine.
I will always be grateful to the nursing staff for that.
|Has Achieved Nirvana|
I think I have the same problem with Dilaudid and other painkillers. I take an ibuprofen about once every five years. I just don't have pain problems.
When I woke up after surgery, the recovery room nurse asked how I was doing. I told her I felt some pain around the incisions. She immediately grabbed some IV ibuprofen and injected it into the line. That started burning my arm. She put an ice pack on and grabbed another syringe and said "I'm giving you some Dilaudid". I was still groggy and she moved fast; otherwise I would have told her no. I didn't get sick right away, but I did throw up when I got home. I wish she had asked me what level my pain was at on a 1 to 10 scale, because I would have said a 3 or 4 and did not feel a need for painkillers, especially not the Dilaudid.
If I ever have surgery again, I'll be sure to talk with the gaspasser before surgery and make sure that they tell the recovery room nurse to ask me how bad the pain is before administering a bunch of painkillers that I might not need....
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