Gall Bladder & Gallstones
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Gall Bladder & Gallstones
Gallbladder problems - is surgery the only option?
About 3 months ago I started having pain on my upper right
abdomen. I also have been suffering from chronic diarrhea.
I also had a bout of ''gastroenteritis'' that I now think may
actually have been me passing a gallstone. My doctor ordered
an abdominal ultrasound that came out totally normal. He has
now referred me to a gastroenterologist, who I haven't seen
yet because they couldn't make an appointment for me until
late February. Meanwhile I have no pain but chronic
diarrhea. Fatty foods are a huge trigger. I am almost
certain it is my gallbladder but have yet to have that
confirmed by a medical professional. I've done a little
research on the web but there is almost no information out
there about ways to treat this problem! It seems like the
only solution out there is to remove it. I'd like to find
out what other people's experiences have been with
gallbladder issues. Is removal inevitable, and is it better
to do it now while things are somewhat OK, or should I wait
until another attack puts me in the ER and they can say it
is definitely my gallbladder? Has anyone had any luck with
treatment through diet, or herbs, or anything else? If you
have had luck with alternative treatment, can you recommend
a professional who could help me? I am just really
frustrated that the medical professionals I've seen so far
have been really unhelpful as far as telling me anything at
all that I can do to treat this problem. If removal is
inevitable and is the best treatment I can accept that, but
first I want to find out if there are any other options even
Prefer to keep all my internal organs
My husband and I have been going to ACCHS, in Oakland for
Chinese herbal formulas and acupuncture, for years. We have
had our share of health problems, and he has had gall
bladder issues. Regular acupuncture and taking the
prescribed herbal formulas has helped us avoid surgeries,
and improved our health tremendously in our middle-life
years. This is a school where graduating students are
supervised by excellent practicing acupuncture physicians,
which makes seeing the acupuncturist regularly (*important*)
affordable for us.
The gallbladder's job is to concentrate the bile, a product
of the liver's detoxification processes, to 8 times
stronger. As it leaves the gallbladder (GB) when our
gsstrointestinal tract senses we have eaten fat, bile is our
own ''detergent'' to particalize dietary fats so our
pancreatic lipase can have contact with a greater surface
area and further break them down. Interestingly, bile is
NOT needed for short and medium chain fatty acids (as in
butter, coconut oil, palm oil, schmaltz, tallow) but is
needed for the longer chain fatty acids (as in olive, fish,
flax, and seed oils like corn, canola, safflower, sunflower).
Some reasons the gall bladder malfunctions include: stress!
(uses up the minerals that particalize the cholesterol in
the bile, keeping it fluid), excess sugars, transfats,
alcohol, lack of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, etc.
A few years ago, my husband had a gall bladder attack that
landed him in the ER at 3 am. Once the heart attack was
ruled out, they offered him GB surgery. I encouraged him to
get a second opinion from his regular MD. In addition I
suggested he take choline, a supplement. He also made some
dietary changes. And, good news, he still has his GB.
I wrote a paper on the gall bladder and the following is
excerpted from it:
A cleansing, high fiber, low fat (temporary),
hypo-allergenic, alkaline diet, with seventy-five percent
raw fruits and vegetables will mitigate gallstones and
improve biliary flow. Foods especially therapeutic are
apples, cabbage family, dandelion greens, chicory, pears,
parsnips, beets (roots and tops), seaweed, lemons/limes,
radishes, and turmeric [Pitchford, p. 283, and Monte, p.
525]. The addition of two good oils, olive and flax seed,
and the omission of bad fats (heated to high temperatures,
trans and hydrogenated fats), will promote better
cholesterol metabolism and balance in the bile [Pitchford,
p. 283, Monte, 189].
I just want to caution you against making a quick
self-diagnosis of gallbladder disease. Since the ultrasound
came back ok, there's no reason to assume it must be your
gallbladder. There are so many things that can cause the
symptoms you describe. (But to answer your question, from
what I know, removal is considered the best option from a
western med stand point. However, I do know someone who
successfully treated his gallbladder issues with chinese
herbs and acupuncture.)
About 6 yrs ago, I got really sick; stomach pain, couldn't
eat, huge weight loss, etc. Saw like 7 different GI drs.
None of them could figure out what was wrong or do anything
to help me. What I learned from the experience is that
western medicine has a lot to offer in certain areas, but
when it comes to intestinal/digestive issues, we know
I'm not trying to discourage you. Get all the tests done
that you can and see if they can figure out whats going on.
But if they don't, be prepared to change your diet yourself,
learn how to take stress out of your life, figure out on
your own how to manage your digestive issues. Listen to your
body. (eg, if fatty food triggers it, don't eat fatty food!)
be nice to your gut
In my mother's extended family, 6 different people have had
their gallbladders removed. 5 of those 6 were later
diagnosed with celiac disease(gluten intolerance). The
sixth just had surgery last month, so I believe that
diagnosis is around the corner. Doctor's seem extremely
poor at finding this condition - and these family members
live in big cities with great medical care.
I would suggest asking for a test and then putting yourself
on a gluten free diet (for a solid month) seeing if anything
Wishing you well
Dr. Ju Chun Ou in Oakland helped me keep my gallbladder.
She did accupuncture and prescribed dried hawthorn apple-
like things for tea. I'm so happy I found her! Good luck.
Still got my parts
Issues after gall bladder surgery?
To be brief: I have been battling it out with my gallbladder
for almost a year. Ultrasound shows stones (no info on size
or number). I had my first attack in July and have been
treating the issue with an extremely modified diet (low
fat/high fiber/mostly vegan/no gluten or dairy/anti-
inflammatory), herbs, and acupuncture. Still have side pain,
ended up having another several attacks after a stomach flu
last month. I am seeing a naturopath who is awesome and
helping, but the constant fear of eating, the stomach aches
and loose stool, the occasional nausea and side pain, and
the impact this is having on my life is getting rough. On
the upside, I have lost a lot of weight, but it has been
very quickly and therefore hard on my gallbladder. I am just
maintaining now, as long as I am very strict I am OK-ish. My
fear is what my digestive system might be like if I decide
to have my gallbladder removed. I am not interested in
flushes. I am interested in hearing from those who have had
the surgery and whether you had any long term issues. The
surgeon told me most of the people who have issues
afterwards go back to eating whatever they want (which they
can't) and cause their own issues but he also said that some
of the digestive system sensitivities I have been having
can't possibly be gallbladder related- which I know isn't
exactly true. Others have experienced what I have. I am just
trying to make the best decision possible and would like to
hear from those who have been through this too!
Wish I was the other kind of stoned
Google for the name Derrick Pawo. He helped my husband's
nephew who has been suffering from gallbladder stones for
years, never knowing what was wrong with him. Derrick
(very gifted ayurvedic doctor) diagnosed him instantly and
correctly and, from what I remember, prescribed him a
daily large intake of organic olive oil (do not just do
that, contact Derrick to see what you exactly need). This
broke down the stone, and as Derrick said, the nephew was
passing hundreds and hundreds of little stones over the
next few months and regained his energy/life back.
I had a very long struggle which began with the gallstone
attacks WHILE PREGNANT and then continued for the following
year. One night it became an excruciating amount of pain
that I ended up in the ER. The doctors explained that
somehow a stone had managed to escape the gallbladder and
traveled down to the pancreas, blocking it and causing a
major infection, resulting with pancreatitis. This happened
despite maintaining a very low fat/low sodium/high
fiber/whole wheat diet. I was forced to go on a IV diet for
one week while in the hospital and was kept on a dilaudid
drip for the pain the entire time as well so that the
pancreas could swell down and allow the doctors to remove it.
I was concerned about how it would affect my health and how
to eat afterwards. I attempted to qrill the doctors about
it, who unfortunately could not supplement me with much, or
any information, actually, than what I already knew.
Having said that, I've discovered that eating ANYTHING dairy
will lead to very loose stools and bowel movements within
the next 5 minutes to a few hours (depending on the amount
of fat/dairy I had ie: with cereal, coffee or if it was
cooked and mixed with other food) so I have to be sure to be
near an acessible bathroom; otherwise I STAY AWAY from milk.
Cooked milk and food with cheese seem to stay down longer
and much better however still contribute somewhat to having
soft stools and at least once a day if not more. I still
struggle to find a perfect balance while living
gallbladder-less. It is however a HUGE relief not eating in
fear anymore and am so grateful I don't have these attacks
anymore! I would still have it removed in an instant even
knowing this. On the plus side, I have lost about 50lbs and
am eating much healthier on a daily basis knowing that my
body has limits to stay within now.
I still want to find out about more nutritional information
regarding living without a gallbladder. My only concern is
the question of whether my body loses the nutritional value
from foods if I have quick bowel movements since the body
just 'rejects it', or if it is so minimal that it isn't
something to worry about?
Please do share your experience, once you decide, and
resources if you come across any. Its either sparse or I've
been looking in the wrong places!
Gallbladder-less and happy!
Hi, I can't give you advice about a doctor, but, I heard you loud and clear
you are not interested in flushes.
I hope you don't mind if I tell you my experience? I was using Dr. Bernard
Jensen's method of colon cleansing with a colonic board, and read his book,
Tissue Cleansing through Bowel Maintenance. This would be a good reference
for affirming your experience with your health maintenance diet that you
described, because it outlines the needs of proper digestion. Tissues refer to
organs and surrounding muscles, etc. At that time I was working for a
Chiropractic office on the East Coast, and one of the patients who came to me
for massage in that office was a Chiropractor himself, with a skin problem. He
listened to what I was up to, and he gave me a prescription for a gall bladder
flush. I was very surprised to hear a medical doctor prescribe an alternative
method, but I took his advice, and tried the flush. I had completed about 6
months of the Jensen program with good results as far as cleansing my body.
I have a copy of the gall bladder flush if you are interested now. It is a
long program of following the information, and at the end of the week it
changes to what to do the day that you will eliminate the gall stones. That
night at 3 am, I awoke and in the proper method of things, I eliminated a sack
of small gallstones. There was no pain, some nausea. I had suffered from
occasional bouts of nausea since I was a child, and at this time I was 55
old. After the gall bladder flush, I no longer experience nausea when I am
upset in any way. This same flush is now also available on the Internet, but I
am not the one who put it there. I may have saved the URL in my notes.
Hi there fellow GB suferer-
I feel your pain! 3 years ago this week, I finally bit the
bullet and had my gall bladder removed after close to 9
months of misery and extensive conservative care, including
supplements, diet, acupuncture. I too lost a lot of weight
which was ok because i was too heavy anyway, but it got to
the point that i was miserable all of the time with a low-
grade nausea and lack of energy which was truly alarming.
Nothing tasted good and i was getting sort of depressed. I
was in my early 50's at the time and have always felt tip-
top well. I also had 2 terrible gallstone attacks, one of
which transported me to the ER. I spoke to a GI specialist
and a surgeon, and the big issue is the potential for
infection with an inflamed gall bladder which can REALLY
make you sick. The potential for a really bad infection is
what helped me decide on surgery.
I felt better immediately post op and used about 5 of the
Vicodin i was given by my excellent surgeon. The big post
op pain is around your shoulders from an arthroscopic
procedure because you get pumped full of gas for good
visualization of all the internal structures and what
doesnt get out interferes with the nerves at the top of the
diaphragm and your upper back and shoulders feel wrenched-
get up and walk and that's gone within 48 hours. My energy
bounced back fast and i went back to my work within a week.
I still have some problems digesting really fatty or spicy
foods (eg, crisp duck, falafel, fried chicken, alas)which
still tend to pass through me very quickly, but that's ok-
my cholesterol is nice and low and ive kept some (but not
all) of the weight off. Everything else is fine from a
I hope this info helps, and please feel free to contact me.
stone free & happy!
First, I'm so sorry you're suffering from gallstones.
Honestly, the gallstone attacks I endured were the most
painful thing I've ever experienced. And to top it off, I
developed them when I was pregnant (I later learned that is
not all that uncommon as supposedly, a rapid influx of
hormones can sometimes cause the stones).
I think it's really smart that you've tried to control the
attacks yourself - I wish I had. After the OB finally took
me seriously and we saw the stones (15!) on an ultrasound,
she sent me immediately to a surgeon. I honestly didn't
think I had much choice, as everyone I'd known who had
gallstones (including my sister) had their gallbladder
But since I would soon be giving birth, it was decided to
wait on the surgery. A few weeks after my daughter's birth,
the attacks became incapacitating so I went to a GI doc who
performed a procedure called and ERCP (I think), where
essentially, they scrape out what they call ''sludge'' (nice
term, huh?) from the ducts around the gallbladder.
Unfortunately, the attacks didn't stop so I had my
gallbladder removed a few weeks later.
Unfortunately, there were some complications. Three days
post-surgery I was vomiting and in excruciating pain. I went
to the ER and was told I had severe pancreatitis and had to
be admitted. I was heartbroken as we had a newborn at home.
The surgeon blamed the GI doc and the GI doc blamed the
surgeon. Frankly, I didn't care who f-ed up, I just wanted
to be fixed! They ended up doing another ERCP and then a
sphincterotomy (thankfully, not on THAT sphincter,
apparently, we have three spinnters in our bodies - who
Very long, drawn out story short - I now have to take a
medication called Cholestyramine (powder you put in water)
every other day or I have painful cramps and diarrhea.
I recognize that my situation is probably rare but I'm
annoyed that no one ever mentioned alternatives and that the
surgeon/GI doc downplayed the risks.
I'm sorry if this has freaked you out. People have the
surgery all the time with no problem but I couldn't help
share my story.
Wishing you the best.
P.S. For what it's worth, the surgery itself is not that big
of a deal as they do it laproscopically and pull the
gallbladder out through your belly button! Weird but leaves
only the tiniest of scars!
I know this won't be a popular opinion, but I am not sure what anyone would
think acupuncture or a naturopath has to do with gallbladder function. That
being said, I had my gallbladder removed about 10 years ago, and I have never
missed it. If you have had ultrasound, I would think they should be able to
you how many and what size your stones are. I am very glad I had the surgery
and did not have to spend one more minute in fear of a debilitating gallstone
gall bladder free
If I were you, I'd try to get a 2nd opinion (and 3rd, and 4th) before deciding
on the surgery. My Mom had her gallbladder removed because of gallstones,
and was later told by other doctors that this had been unnecessary, and
contributed to development of pancreatitis, which is a highly unpleasant
condition to live with. Without a gallbladder, there is no storage of bile in
body, so the liver has to work harder to supply bile for digestion on demand,
and the pancreas also has to step up production of digestive enzymes, and
over time pancreatitis may develop. Ask the doctors about your chances of
getting pancreatitis if you choose to have the surgery, and if you don't.
side effects of the surgery may include PCS (up to 40% cases) and chronic
diarrhea (up to 20% cases). Find out what your prognosis is without surgery,
and weigh the risks... I'd investigate alternatives first. Good luck.
Gall Bladder Surgery - Surgeon Recommendations
Hello, I'm looking for a recommendation for a surgeon who is skilled at
gall bladder removal surgery. My insurance plan is Blue Cross HMO.
The recommendations in the BPN digest are several years old, so I am
looking for someone with relatively recent experience with this.
Thanks in advance.
Bruce Moorstein removed my gall bladder and he was great all around! Don't
have his number handy but he is listed.
Alternative Doctor for Gall Bladder Problems
I will probably need surgery some day but for right now, I'd like to try
and control it thru alternative remedies. I need to find a doctor or
medical person, who has experience with gall bladder issues. Anyone know
one they would recommend?
Dr Jennifer Lanett is a Berkeley Chiropractor who also does enzyme
nutrition. She does a thorough digestive health workup to support
systems that are sluggish. I recommend her if you have gallbladder
concerns or congestive liver issues as the program I am on has helped a
lot! 510-644-4414 www.drlanett.com. She is also very kind and a
I just got a call from my daughters doctor and she told me that my
daughter has a large gall stone. I am so worried. What does this
mean, what causes this, how can it be treated, is surgery the only
option? The doctor said she will refer us to a specialist.
My daughter is seventeen and suffers from Polycystic ovarian
syndrome. she was just put on the pill for a year to see if her
periods will regulate.
Any answers will help a lot.
About a decade or so ago I experienced my first gallstone 'attack'.
It was very painful. I went to my doctor and got the diagnosis. She
recommended surgery to remove my gall bladder. She said that I didn't
need my gall bladder, and that it was likely that the single gallstone
I had would only get larger in time. I changed my diet - no more
fried foods, much less fat, but I experienced two more painful attacks.
When the 4th one struck, the pain never went away. I finally went to
the emergency room, and the following day had my gall bladder removed.
The stone had become stuck in the bile duct, and the tissue of the
gall bladder had died. In other words, by waiting, I ended up with an
infection and spent three days in the hospital.
I did not want to have the surgery, but now I wish that I had had it
sooner. Had I been camping or traveling where I couldn't have gotten
medical treatment, I could have died from the infection.
That said, I don't know what current treatment options are, so check
with your doctor. There may be a new treatment. Any surgery is
'serious' in my book, which is why I avoided it. The gall bladder
can be removed laparoscopically, so the recovery time is pretty short
- a week or two.
One thing I learned was that becoming even slightly dehydrated can
trigger a gallstone attack, so if you and your daughter decide
against surgery, be sure that she carries water with her wherever
I have gallstones - surgery?
My ultrasound showed gallstones and my doctor just referred me
directly to a surgeon without giving me any more information.
Are there alternatives to surgery? What questions should I be
Do you have any symptoms of gallstones? I had an ultrasound six
years ago (to check on possible fibroids in my uterus) and they
found gallstones. I have had no symptoms, so I haven't done
anything about them. I wouldn't rush into surgery if they're not
Lumpy but asymptomatic
Doctors recommending I have gallbladder removed
I recently discovered that I have gallstones, and doctors are
recommending I have my gallbladder removed. For anyone who has had this
surgery, do you have any regrets, complications, etc.? Also, does
anyone have any feedback (positive or negative) on Dr. Barry Gardiner in
San Ramon? Thank you.
I had my gall bladder removed about 4 years ago by Dr.
Gardiner, and I feel it was the right choice. I had only
suffered one attack, but that was enough for me! It turned
out I had a 4cm gallstone. Dr. Gardiner was great and he is
considered one of the best for this type of laproscopic
surgery. The only difficulty I had was pain the second night
after I was sent home that I did not realize (until after a
trip to the emergency room) was actually just severe gas! I
have had no further issues from not having a gall bladder.
gall bladder (and pain) free!
I had my gallbladder taken out due to polyps. It was an easy
surgery - in and out the same day and done by ''key hole''
surgery. I have four tiny scars, that's it. There was really
no pain afterwards. The only common thing after getting one's
gallbladder out is that if you eat a meal high in fat you're
sure to get one whopping bout of diarrhea the next day.
Two years ago, when I was 7 months pregnant with my first
child, Dr. Barry Gardiner removed my gallbladder
laparoscopically. I would not hesitate to get the procedure
done, particularly if Dr. Gardiner is your physician. He is
an excellent surgeon, careful, attentive, and a nice person
to boot. I stayed only one night in the hospital and was
able to resume all normal activities within 72 hours. I had
trouble with gallstones one and off for several years, and my
only regret is that I did not have my gall bladder removed
earlier. I can vouch for the fact that the gall bladder
attacks were far worse than labor. Good luck!
I had my gallbladder removed five years ago when I was 40
years old by Dr. Michael deBloisblanc at John Muir Hospital.
He told me I would likely never notice the difference and
thus far that has been the case. It is my understanding that
the liver, over time, delivers more bile directly to the
stomach once the gallbladder is gone in order to compensate.
Regardless, I have never felt any different than prior or
experienced any perceived side effects. Of course, the brutal
pain from the stones is long gone now. And I even have the
entire endoscopic surgery on a VHS tape. But I can't get
anyone to watch it with me. :)
My mother just had her gallbladder removed after having two very
serious gallstone attacks that nearly killed her. The first attack
hospitalized her for three weeks and almost killed her pancreas which
would have been fatal. The second attack (as she did not get the
gallbladder removed was a short (only three days)
hospital stay. Needless to say after the second attack she had it
removed after she recovered from the second attack. You cannot have
the gallbladder removed if you are in the middle of a blockage attack.
Gallstones & gallbladder attacks
I have been having gallbladder attacks, as well as a rash of other
health problems (back blow-outs, three periods in six weeks, stomach
flu). I had two Emergency Room visits in two weeks, after a lifetime
of never having been to the hospital for anything. I'm really
frustrated with how hard it is to get ahead of all of these health
issues right now. Normally, I'm pretty healthy, so this has been a
crazy time for me to have one thing after another going wrong.
My daughter is almost 13 months old and I stay at home with her, so
I've been having to rely on family a lot to help out, which has been
great in the sense of feeling supported by them. But I also feel
overwhelmed at the idea that I can't do this mothering thing...like
somehow I'm letting her and myself down by not being healthy. And
like maybe making and feeding a baby has worn my body out and that's
why all of these things are happening.
As for the gallbladder issue, the doctor recommends removal and my
acupuncturist recommends diet changes and herbal treatment. I've been
trying to sort out my options, and its really confusing to figure it
out when there are so many conflicting opinions out there. I feel
like I'm getting good treatment for the other health issues I
mentioned, but the gall bladder thing is confounding.
My questions are: Has anyone dealt with gallstones and gallbladder
attacks and what treatment did you use? Has anyone said no to
gallbladder removal and had success with alternative treatments? And,
finally, has anyone felt like the first year of motherhood has taken a
big toll on their body?
I had my first gallbladder attack about 12 years ago - after
spending Thanksgiving at my mom's house. After I got the
diagnosis, I eliminated fried foods, fatty foods, etc. A few
years later I had another attack after a two-day trip to
Disneyland. A few years later I had another attack after a
three-day camping trip. After that one, I was told that I
probably had become slightly dehydrated on the camping trip and
that caused the attack.
After the first attack, my doctor recommended surgery, but I
resisted... When I had my fourth attack, the pain did not
subside after six hours. I went to the emergency room, waited
six hours to be seen, and was then admitted to the hospital for
emergency surgery. Necrosis of the gallbladder had set in before
If you are traveling or camping, and the gallbladder attack does
not subside after six hours, you may need emergency surgery, but
not have a hospital handy. I am a single parent, so I thought
twice about traveling before I had my gallbladder removed, i.e.,
what would happen to my daughter if I had to be hospitalized
Since my father and one of his sisters also had gallbladder
attacks and had their gallbladders removed, I think there may be
a genetic component. Diet and exercise didn't make the
difference in my case, though it may in yours. Or you may not
have any gallbladder attacks after your other health issues are
addressed. Talk to your doctor about non-surgical options (are
there meds to dissolve them? ultrasound treatments to destroy
them?). Find out whether you have one big gallstone or many
small ones (an ultrasound will show this). Small stones can pass
through the bile duct, but big ones can become lodged.
But if after you other health issues are resolved, you continue
to have gallbladder attacks, then consider surgery. It's
performed laprascopically, i.e., is not a major surgery. Check
out the other BPN posts as well.
I am a 33 year old mom of 14 month old twins who had her gall
bladder removed a few years ago after about a year of pain and
gas and not knowing what was wrong then emergency room and surgery.
If I had known then what I found out afterwards, I would have
explored the option of removing the stones without removing the
bladder. Apparently not all doctors are as experienced in this
procedure and don't necessarily mention it, but there are doctors
at Alta Bates who are skilled at this particular procedure.
Don't know about acupuncture or herbs, but would have loved that
option if it hadn't become an emergency before we figured out
what was going on.
You may already know this, but it is extremely common for women
to get gall stones when they're pregnant (something to do with
the estrogen--i actually got them as a side effect of birth
As for being a new mom and stressed out and guilty--just know
that your child is so lucky to have all of the love and we new
parents will feel guilty even if we're doing all we can, which
considering your health it sounds like you are and then some.
what a nice thing that family has a good excuse to do what every
family should get the opportunity to do. what a gift for your
child to have these relationships now.
Take care and good luck.
I've recently been diagnosed with a 3 cm gallstone after becoming
very ill during the holidays. Since the diagnosis I've
eliminated red meat from my diet and fatty foods to prevent
further attacks and it's working. My doctor has recommended I
have my gallbladder removed as there are too many risks in
keeping it. I'm just wondering if any one has had a similar
experience, if you had the surgery and if you suffered any
consequences because of it. It's really hard to go under the
knife when you feel healthy, but I certainly don't want to have
another attack and it would be nice not to have to worry about
eating the wrong thing. Should I seek a second opinion? Do any
of you have gallstones but have decided to live with them without
Missing a good steak.
Ugh...gallstones! After an excruciating first attack when I was
7 month's pregnant, I was diagnosed with gallstones. Of course,
since I was pregnant, the GI doc told me I'd need to wait until
after I delivered but that I should get it removed because once
my body starts making these little bastards (sorry, the pain is
still oh so clear in my mind), it'll continue to make them.
I did a little research to see if I could live with them - and
then some more about the actual surgery and decided to go ahead
with it. The surgery is actually relatively easy (for the
patient anyway). As I'm sure you've learned, they now do it
laproscopically so all you're left with is a few tiny marks on
your abdomen. I stayed one night in the hospital and had almost
no pain. BUT...I guess I'm one of the unlucky few who after
removal of the gallbladder experience chronic diarrhea...ugh.
Fortunately, I can control it by taking this powder every other
morning and supposedly, when my body finally ''gets it'' that I
don't have a gallbladder anymore, I won't need it.
Anyway, I'm sure if you decide to have the surgery you'll be
fine - guess I was just unlucky. I did lose a lot of weight on
the ''gallbladder diet'' before I had the surgery but man, did I
Best of luck to you.
If I would have gotten a proper diagnosis when I first had gallstones and knew then
what I know now I would have had my Gallbladder removed immediately! I suffered
tremendously and unnecessarily for years w/ fleeting severe pain and by the time I
had to have my gallbladder removed I ended up with two separate surgeries which
required months of recuperation. My gallstone blocked my pancreatic duct which
resulted in some very serious problems such as other organs starting to fail and the
formation of a pancreatic cyst! Undergoing a simple laproscopic operation to
remove the gallbladder which would have resulted in a life without excruciating pain
and long-term affects years later would have been a welcome alternative! Don't
assume having gallstones is merely a nuisance.
I had surgery to remove my gall bladder about 5 years ago. I had
one gall stone attack, and that was enough for me. I could not
stand worrying about what I ate all the time and waiting for
another one (ironically, I had the attack after losing about 25
lbs on Weight Watchers, which did not seem fair!). It turned out
that I had a 4cm gall stone. I have never had another issue with
my gall bladder (or lack thereof), and do not regret having the
surgery. Good luck with your decision!
I had my gall bladder out after deliberating a bunch. I can't
say whether I would have been happy had I kept it, but I can tell
you about my experiences since. It was explained to me that the
inability to store bile for high-demand times (high-fat meals,
etc.) causes a response to fats much like the response to olestra
- no digestion of the fat, and therefore loose stools. I have
certainly had this side effect, and notice that when I eat a
low-fat diet I am fine. Large, fatty meals give me bathroom
emergencies the next day.
I have had no other problems, and happily no more nasty abdominal
pain. I'm certainly better off with a low-fat diet, but that
doesn't really answer your steak craving, now, does it?
You might want to consider a 2nd opinion with a great
acupuncturist named John Nieters in Alameda. He worked with me on
my gallbladder and said that gallbladders are often removed too
quickly, when diet and herbs can really help.
Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the chance
of future gallstone problems safely and naturally. A high-fiber
diet with lots of beets is also recommended. (Delicious
soluble-fiber supplements are available at any drugstore.) And,
even a small amount of exercise every week will reduce the risk
of gallstone problems further. Once you have attained a healthy
weight, an occasional steak should not be a problem.
I was recently diagnosed as having a 1 cm gallstone and was told
that gallbladder removal through surgery, although not crucial at
this point, is a very common solution. I opted not to have
surgery, and am wondering if anyone has been successful with
diet/nutritionist advice for treating gallstones. I would also
appreciate hearing from people who have been treated with
traditional chinese medicine, homeopathy or any other so called
alternative medicine. Thanks! D.
Pick up a copy of Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford (published
in Berkeley by North Atlantic Press).
He outlines the popular gallstone cleanse with apples - you could also
look it up online, I think Hulda Clark had a version too.
I haven't done it yet, but I know a lot of people who have (even ones
who kept their stones in a jar to show off - yeech!).
Homeopathy was very helpful in treating my gallstones. I had a fairly
severe case with frequent trips to the ER for unbareable pain. Surgery
was recommended, but I was pregnant at the time and wanted to avoid
anesthesia. My homeopath gave me a constitutional remedy and a remedy to
take during pain episodes.
I took the emergency remedy during pain episodes and was then able to
avoid the ER. My last sono showed no stones. My homeopath is very
skilled, she is also a nurse. Her prices are reasonable, her practice is
in San Francisco but she often makes home visits in Oakland and
Berkeley. Her name is Lori Nairne and she can be reached at
415-751-1261. She also cured my son of eczema and sucessfully treated my
youngest son's recurrent ear infections. With her help my youngest son
was able to stop all of his asthma medications. I highly recommend you
give her a try before going to surgery.
no experience, but wanted to recommend mothering magazine's health and
healing forum, for lots of mamas with alternative medicine appreciation
ooh, here's a thread: ''gallbladder probs- can they be dealt with
naturally?'' with 42 posts.
if you register, you can use the search function to find things in the
forum. otherwise you can lurk as a guest. good luck.
After an ultrasound for side abdominal pain, I've been told I
have polyps in my gallbladder. Apparently polyps in the
gallbladder are quite rare and are normally benign. But the
nurse told me, and I confirmed this w/ research on the
internet, that polyps over 10 mm are usually malignant and the
gallbladder is usually taken out as a precaution. One of my 3
polyps is 11 mm. I am going to have a consultation with a
general surgeon, but in the meantime was wondering if anyone
has had any experience with this. I do not have gallstones and
am in my early 40's.
trying not to be nervous
Gallbladder surgery these days is a pretty easy surgery -
usually laparoscopic with three little incisions that heal
quickly. If it were me, I'd just have the gallbladder taken
out. Then they can send it to pathology and make sure it's
benign...my 2 cents.
I have been feeling pressure (not pain) under my ribs on my
right side for some time now. It comes and goes and has on two
occasions been painful. It is the same feeling as when I was
pregnant and the baby would stick his foot up there while
stretching. I have had an ultrasound to check for gallbladder
stones and it was negative, but the result said ''physiologically
distended gallbladder''. I have searched the internet and have
found nothing very informative. I asked my doctor what that
meant and she simply shrugged.
I am concerned. The feeling is uncomfortable. Sometimes very
uncomfortable. I'm worried that it is a precursor to something
Has anyone else experienced anything like this? If so, did it
resolve and how? Is there anything else I can do? My doctor is
just not interested.
Dya think the ligaments or whatever that hold the gallbladder in place
were stretched or something during the pregnancy? Here are two people
who will take an interest in your case, I'll
wager: Leah Statman, a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner in Albany (like
Japanese-style acupressure) 525-5080; and Dr. Jim Otis, a neurological
chiropractor on Pill Hill 832-6848. Leah has me on a regular regimen of
''gall-bladder flows,'' and Dr. Otis recently helped me raise my
''dropped kidney'' that was giving me back pain. Far fetched, maybe,
but it helped right away. Both will probably have dietary suggestions.
You might also be interested in the writing of Dr. Hulda Clark (find her
on line) who proposes an herbal/mineral regimen for clearing stones from
the liver and gallbladder. I haven't tried this yet, but it's almost
next on my list.
It's great that you looked at the report and followed up on it with your
doctor. I've found more often then not that reading my records gives you
a lot of information and a base knowledge to talk to your doctor.
I had a very similiar reaction from my family doctor recently.
She sent me results without comment that were not normal and required
follow-up. What I did was looked my problem up on medline and on some
sites that are well respected and got background information to ease my
mind. Since this was not the first time that sloppiness had gotten in
the way of treatment, at the same time I am looking (again) for another
physician. It seems from your e-mail that you recognize the docs
reaction is not working for you. You have other options that can be
guided by your relationship with the doc. You could discuss your
concern about their lack of concern. Maybe gallbladders aren't their
speciality or maybe they don't get concerned unless they need to be
removed. You have a lot of options. There are specific diet guidelines
that a nutritionist may be able to help with. But my feeling is that
even if the physician is not personally concerned, they always be
willing to take the time to explain your question. It's also helpful to
try to gather some info yourself. Good luck.
I've had something similar for a few months.
Have you also had a liver function test? (it's a blood test)...sounds
like you may have given the extent of testing you've had.
So....lets assume your organs are all fine.
You might have a rib slightly out of alignment. That could cause similar
discomfort. You might have overused a muscle...your internal or external
oblique ab muslces, the muscles in between your ribs could have been
Do you have a chiropractor you really love and trust?
I can highly recommend Dr. Charlie Prins on Solano Ave in Albany.
It's also possible that you don't have gallstones, but maybe your
gallbladder is irritated due to overdoing something in your diet. THe
things that can irritate liver and gallbladder are coffee(caffeine),
chocolate, SUGAR, high fat foods (too much), refined carbs-white flour
Just some ideas for you to work with.
I've often found that when there is nothing obvious the medical folks
aren't willing to investigate further and just shrug it off.
The archived Berkeley Parents posts on gallbladder attacks have
been a tremendous help. I have some questions not addressed there.
As far as surgery goes, is the laparoscopic operation surgery one
for which one should very carefully choose the surgeon? Or are
most surgeons going to be just fine at this? (I'll likely be at
CPMC or UCSF if that makes a difference.)
Is the surgery typically done under general or regional
anasthetic? Do you have to fast and take an enema (yuk)
beforehand? Any tips for gas and constipation post-surgery? (I
had surgery recently and wish I'd been told about this!)
I'm currently nursing, too, and am wondering if any others out
there had surgery while nursing. What sort of pain medication
did you take and did it interfere with nursing? What
difficulties did you have holding and lifting your baby
afterwards and for how long?
A million questions I know--thanks for answers or suggestions to
any of them!
I had laparoscopic gallbladder surgery a few years ago. Many
surgeons are not trained in this technique. So the question
you need to ask your potential surgeon is ''HOW MANY of these
surgeries have you done?'' You don't want to be a guinea pig.
I had no problem with gas or constipation afterward, and just
minor incisional pain managed with Tylenol. (My surgeon
prescribed Vicodin, but I didn't need it) The main complaint I
had was just general tiredness and weakness for a week or two,
which is to be expected.
no more pain
I had the surgery about five years ago and not only was it easy
but complication free. I am also familiar with both the
hospitals you mentioned and I think any surgeon performing! this
laproscopic procedure would be just fine. It is performed
under a general and there is some gas in the belly afterwards.
I have a very low threshhold for discomfort and I found the
recovery to be easy. The key is not to get up and back to your
routine right away. Give yourself at least three days with
help in the house so that you have to do nothing but gently
move from bed to couch. The mistake I made in recovery was to
get back to my routine within 48 hours and thus felt really
crummy on days 3-6.
I had laproscopic surgery for gall stones a decade ago. I think
by now it's pretty basic, you might want to find out if the
surgeon has had any incidences of nicking livers - which can
create a lot more problems than the gall stones.
I don't remember any gas problems after the surgery. The
recovery was very quick.
Regarding nursing, see if you can talk to the anesthesiologist.
They have a variety of pain relief measures they can use that
won't get passed through the milk (or only in small amounts).
I'm sure I took pain meds for a few days after, but no more
than after I gave birth (motrin, maybe)!
I had gallbladder surgery when my son was 3 1/2 months old, and I was nursing
him full-time then. From my research it seemed that any of the typical pain
medications I might get would be ok (like Tylenol with codeine etc.), but they also
tell you to ''pump and dump'' for I think the first feeding after the surgery itself.
Your pediatrician should know, and so should the staff at the hospital. I let the
hospital know in advance I'd be pumping and they brought over a hospital pump
from the NICU. I had bottles of milk in the fridge at home and frozen, and felt a b! it
better about my son having that milk than laced with the pain-killers. Sure, it was
''fine'' (ie not dangerous) for him, but I do think it made him a little woozy! The
other thing to think about is that it is a dilemma how much to expose your baby to
the hospital setting. I think it tends to depend on the unit where you're recovering
(I'd check with the nurses there to see what they think). I had no problem lifting and
caring for my son pretty soon after the surgery (done laparoscopically), but certainly
in the first couple of days at least I needed help. The best thing is if you can find
surgeon who will push the gas out of your belly, it is the thing that makes you most
uncomfortable, I found. It is very important to find the best surgeon you can, I
would definitely do some asking around. The reason is that, even though this is a
very common procedure, there are of course some common mishaps that can
You should absolutely have your surgery laproscopically. It
makes the recovery time much easier and quicker. And
absolutely, not every surgeon is created equally! I recommend
going to a younger surgeon (in their late 30s early 40s). Lap
surgery hasn't been around that long so the older surgeons
don't know how to do it and the younger ones were trained right
from the start! You should do just fine at either UCSF or CPMC
(I get all of my healthcare at UCSF).
They have to use general anesthesia. The only time they can
use regional anesthesia is if it is in the pelvic area and
below. They will tell you not to eat or drink after midnight.
No enemas! That is only for intestinal surgery. Try taking
colase right before and after for constipation. It is an over-
the-counter stool softener.
In terms of nursing, you can take any medication that is giving
to women who have c-sections. Vicodin is usually okay. You
may find that you only need motrin, which is harmless. If your
baby is heavy, you might not want to lift the child for a
couple of weeks until you wounds heal.
I just found out I have gallstones and will have to have my
gallbladder removed. Does anyone know a good surgeon who has a
lot of experience doing this kind of laparoscopic surgery (as well
as a good track record)?
new mom in berkeley
I'd call Barry Gardiner, MD.
He is affiliated with San Ramon Regional Medical Center
He is a superb general surgeon, wonderful person and
''wrote the book'' on state- of- the- art laproscopic
There is no one better.
My husband had his gall bladder taken out this past November by
Dr. Catherine Forest at Alta Bates. While she is a very nice
woman, and I am confident that most of her procedures go very
well and without incident (In fact we know two people who had
successful procedures with her), my husband's went very badly. He
ended up with a leaking cystic bile duct that took three
procedures to repair and was in the hospital for nearly a month
recovering. He was incredibly sick and we were very, very
worried about him. Like I said, this is likely atypical of her
successes over all, but it was a pretty bad experience.
I had my gallbladder removed laparascopically shortly after the
birth of my daughter by surgeon Barry Gardiner, who at that time
had an office in Oakland near Summit Hospital (where the
operation took place). He is now medical director of San Ramon
Regional Medical Center's Minimally Invasive Surgery and Robotic
Technology Program. Not sure if that's too far for you, but he's
excellent...was very patient in explaining the operation and his
followup care was wonderful.
To the new mom-
I had my gall bladder removed two years ago. Research found us
Robert Fowler, kind of the ''king'' of laproscopic surgery, we
were told. He got mine out that way, and it was plugged with a
large stone and very bloated and therefor very large. Minimal
scarring, minimal fuss. He is in Berkeley, in the Colby Street
medical building. Good luck. By the way, my acupuncturist told
me later that acupuncture has a good track working with gall
stones. Mind blew up overnight, never thought to call her when
I was in such acute distress, went right to the doc and
hospital. You might consider that first. Can always take it
our later if all else fails.
Barry Gardener/Gardner, M.D. invented the laproscopic technique
for taking out the gallbladder, so I would encourage you to go to
him. He is located in Oakland as well as having some other
offices. He is hugely respected locally as well as national
After several years of digestive problems, I've just had an
ultrasound and it was discovered I have multiple, but smallish,
gallstones. Surgery has been suggested although it would not be
a large incision; rather a small incision and use of a long
tool. Has anyone had this surgery? Did you feel much better
afterward? Any complications or new problems? How was your
recovery from the procedure? Many thanks.
I had my gall bladder removed last January using laproscopic
surgery, which sounds like what you are talking about. I had
had only one attack, but it was decided that removal was the
best treatment (and I am glad I did, as I turned out to have a
4cm gall stone, which would have inevitably caused further
problems). The surgery itself was very straightforward, and my
only complication (which sent me back to the emergency room two
days later) was really due to an extremely painful buildup of
gas. I had two friends who had the surgery about the same
time, and neither one of them had that problem and both were up
and about the next day. Interestingly, both myself and one of
my friends had just lost 20-25 pounds on the Weight Watchers
program when we started having problems, so I am convinced
there is a connection (which does not seem fair!). It has been
almost a year since my surgery, and I have not had any further
problems and have not had to make any significant dietary
I believe you are referring to laparoscopic surgury to remove
your gall bladder. I had this done about six months ago and it
was very easy. It was a day procedure so I was home in by the
mid-afternoon. I was mildly uncomfortable in the abdomen area
for a couple days and I felt completely back to normal within a
week. I now have four very small scars.
Gall bladder attacks for me for almost unbearable -- extremely
painful and I would never know when they would occur and how
long they would last. Since the surgery, I've had no more
I had undiagnosed pain for 18 months before my situation became
acute and I had to be admitted to the ER because my gall bladder
was inflamed, and I had stones. I had laproscopic surgery to
remove the gall bladder and have felt much better ever since - my
mysterious 1.5-year old pain finally went away. Because the
surgery was laproscopic, recovery was really pretty quick and
easy - probably not even a week, and the scars are amazingly small.
Best of luck!
I had laproscopic gall bladder surgery when I was 20 weeks
pregnant (ugh). I had developed good-sized gall stones and I
had one sitting in whatever that duct is called that goes to
the liver, so I was told I had to have the surgery in spite of
the lousy timing. The surgery went well, recovery was pretty
easy (though the first day post-op was, I must say, not that
much fun). I was feeling quite good after about a week. I
haven't noticed any difference in what I can eat--I adore bacon
and other fatty foods and I've had no trouble eating them.
It's been almost 2 years and I haven't had any problems. Good
luck to you. Gall stones are a drag.
I had my gall bladder removed in 1999, after several excruciating
gallstone episodes. I also had it removed by ''tube'' with four tiny dot-
sized incisions. I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and had a day of
incessant vomiting after the surgery, but other than that my recovery was
fast and easy. I haven't had an problems since then, and before that I
had had what I thought was an ulcer. But it turned out to be related to
the gall bladder, because after I had it removed, I never had the ''ulcer''
Had mine out four yrs ago w/ laser surgery. Quick recovery,
minimal scarring. I certainly don't miss the pain -- thought it
was worse than labor -- so there's no question I did the right
thing. The only residual effects I've noticed are that I'm more
susceptible to weight gain from eating fats and for some reason
pickles now give me mild indigestion (maybe completely unrelated
Good luck w/ your decision
I developed gallstones during pregnancy and I had my gallbladder
removed three weeks after having a c-section. Both the surgery
and the recovery were really quite simple. You will have three
small incisions, including one in your belly button and the
biggest hassle will be keeping your incisions dry. Immediately
after the surgery I remember feeling like someone was sitting on
my chest, but after drinking some hot water and burping, I felt
better immediately. I recovered very quickly from the surgery
and talked my way out of the hospital that evening...I didn't
even have to spend the night. Unfortunately, two weeks later I
began having symptoms again, like a gallstone attack. So yes,
there can be complications. During the surgery, as they pulled
out the gallbladder, a stone or two came lose and lodged in my
common bile duct. I had to have a second procedure called an
ERCP that unfortunately gave me pancreatitus and a 5 day stay in
the hospital. But even given all of my complications, I'm glad
I had the surgery.
Haven't had the surgery myself, but my sister had the old-
fashioned kind and had a long, painful recovery. My sister-in-
law had the new kind within the same month(tiny incision, long
tools) and was up and around really soon, with no complications.
I had this surgery when my babe was just 3 months old because of
the intensely painful episodes when a stone gets stuck. The
stones developed during my pregnancy, which I understand is not
uncommon. I wish we had figured it out earlier, as the overall
effect on my digestion was severe and I could hardly eat
throughout the pregnancy, gained little weight, and was
unspeakably miserable. Getting to your question, the surgery was
a breeze. I highly recommend my surgeon, Dr. Katherine Forest. I
didn't even spend the night in the hospital and only missed one
breastfeeding. I felt better immediately, like my old self, and
it was a beautiful transformation. I had forgotten what it was
like to feel good and eat with an appetite. I was a little sore
for a few days, but didn't even have enough pain to remind me to
take my Advil. Good luck!
Two teachers at my daughter's preschool recently had a gall
bladder surgery like what you described (small incision, etc.)
They both said it was a simple procedure and they had little
discomfort. They took only a few days off and were back at work
as if nothing had happened.
I had my gall bladder removed almost 4 years ago. It was
laproscopic surgery which left 4 small scars, each about 1/2''
long: 3 across my abdomen and 1 across my navel. It was done as
outpatient surgery at California Pacific in SF, but I spent the
night as the surgery was done in the mid-afternoon.
I could only eat the blandest foods before the surgery and it
took about a month before I could eat normally again. I still
need to severely limit high-fat foods (for me real ice cream &
tortilla chips), but seldom experience the pain of before. As
for general recovery, I think I stayed in bed for the next 4 or
5 days but didn't need much pain medication.
The gas they use to expand your abdomen causes most of the after
surgery pain. I woke up feeling like someone was standing on my
chest so asked for more pain meds. Make sure you get up and pee
when you wake up the first time as the IV is just filling your
bladder and it can expand beyond your muscle control - not fun.
I had my gall bladder removed a little over a year ago. Before
that I had three gall bladder 'attacks' about 18 months apart.
After each attack I had an ultrasound that revealed a single
gall stone that grew over time. After the first attack, my
family doctor advised that I have my gall bladder removed - she
said that I 'didn't need it' - but I had never had surgery
before, so it seemed like a big deal at the time.
The surgery that I had about a year and a half ago ended up being
emergency surgery because the gall stone had become lodged in the
bile duct, and the tissue around it was starting to die. I think
the four hours I spent in the emergency room before being
admitted was the worst part. I was kind of out of it for about
five days after the surgery, which I think is not unusual in
general. I didn't drive for about a week. I have three small
scars, but they are getting smaller or lighter over time. It
took several months for my digestion to settled down, but I
didn't have any severe diarrhea or anything like that.
The advantage of having the surgery is that you don't have to
worry about being stranded somewhere and having a gall bladder
attack. The first attack I had was the day before I had to go
somewhere on a plane so I was worried that I wouldn't be able to
go. The second attack occurred while I was vacationing with my
daughter, and I was really worried about what would happen to
her if I had to go to the hospital. The third attack occurred
just after a two-day camping trip.
Recently I talked to someone who has gall stones, and she eats
an apple a day and takes a food additive whenever she has a
fatty meal. It's a food additive, not a drug. So there are
some doctors out there who recommend non-surgery alternatives.
You can email me if you have questions.
There has been a lot of discussion about gall bladder surgery. Could
someone explain what the pain of gall stones feels like and where it is
usually localized? It seems most people take a while to determine that
gall stones are the problem, so knowing a little more about others
experiences might be helpful.
I had one attack and lived in fear of another one before
getting my gall bladder out. It came on about an hour after
eating some fast food french fries, and I would have to
describe it as the worst pain I have ever felt (even including
childbirth!). It is an intense, constant, twisting pain in the
abdomen, and there is no relief, no matter what position you
move into. You may feel like you would feel some relief if you
vomit, but you don't necessarily have to, and that may not
help. I was lucky, and mine only lasted about 15 minutes; I
have had friends whose episodes lasted hours and had to go to
the ER. If you believe you have had this type of pain, visit
your doctor and they will likely send you for a sonnogram.
I had two episodes where I experienced excrutiating back pain, which I
attributed to my pregnancy. After the birth, I experienced two more
episodes (a few hours each time) of lower back pain. This time I wrote it
off thinking that I had overdown it on one of my walks up Marin Ave in
Berkeley, carrying our newborn in the babyfront pack. When it
happened yet another time (this was probably all within a 10 month
period) I finally went to the doctor who diagnosed it right away as gall
bladder, and was quickly confirmed with a subsequent test. Although I
had scheduled surgery, these episodes all led up to the big one just
prior to surgery when I ended up in the emergency room because the
pain became so excuriating that I could no longer take it (having given
birth to 2 kids without so much as a whimper, for me to admit that it hurt,
is a slight understatement) I ended up with a morphine drip and passing
a gall stone (which the ER doctor kept insisting was a rarity). I avoided
emergency surgery and opted to follow up with the planned date, some
3 days later. Hindsight is always 20/20 and had I known what I was
experiencing, I would have gotten to the doctor sooner and avoided a lot
I was told I had the classic gallstone attacks, so here is the
The attack would start between 10 - 11 pm and be a tightening
behind my right breast. The pain would progress within an hour
to be so uncomfortable that I would get out of bed and just walk
around the house; there was no position that was comfortable and
no pill could ease the pain. The attack would last until 2 or 3
am. I went to the emergency room once where they did an EKG and
then decided it was major heartburn, so gave me something for
that. I also had a migraine during one attack and was thankful
for the sleep that brought on!
The frequency of the attacks went from less than once a month to
several times a week in about 10 months. Once I saw a doctor
about it, the gallstones (actually mostly sludge) were diagnosed
by an ultrasound. By that time I was only eating toast and
A friend had a similar sludge-gallstone problem, but resolved it
with a regimen of fasting, then lemon juice and olive oil, which
was suggested by her doctor. Easier than surgery!
Gall bladder pain typically starts in the mid back and radiates
around to the front. When I had the pains several years ago, it
was difficult to figure out what was the problem. I was a student
at the time and so I figured that I was carrying too many books
and that it was making my back hurt. This went on for a very long
time. It wasn't until I had a real attack that I realized it
wasn't back pain. I had eaten a peanut butter granola bar and that
made the pain very intense. As I recall, the doctor said it can
start on either side, but mine was on the right side more than the
left. Good luck and hope you don't have gall stones!
Although I've never given birth, I can't imagine anything more
painful than my gallstone episodes. It usually kicked in around
midnight and ended up with me in the Kaiser ER, where a shot of
painkiller in the butt brought relief. I also thought vomiting
would help, but couldn't. I would describe the pain as having a
pipe rammed through your midsection -- just below the sternum.
It's not a stomach pain. My doctor said it occurs when you eat
something with extra fat and the gall bladder tries to squeeze
out bile to help with digestion. When the stone blocks the duct,
it hurts (think of a clogged squeeze ketchup bottle and how hard
you sometimes have to squeeze to get the stuff out). Because I
was a 33-year-old male, I didn't fit the standard ''4F'' profile
(female, fertile, fat, 40) and I had to convince Kaiser to do
the ultrasound. I had one stone the size of a small foil-wrapped
easter egg. My dad had a handful of pea-gravel-sized stones,
while my mom's were like aquarium gravel. Yes, it's hereditary. I
had the old-style surgery because Kaiser considered the
through-the-navel procedure ''experimental'' at the time. I have a
6-inch scar, but it was worth it to avoid the painful attacks.
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