Lessons I've Learned from my Gallbladder

Three days before Christmas last year, I was sitting on the couch watching television after supper. Over the course of about an hour I developed what I took, at the time, to be the worst case of “heart burn” I’d ever had: a dull pain, very strong, centred under my rib cage. The pain was accompanied by tremendous gas that manifested in burps the likes I’d never knew myself capable of producing.

I figured the problem was simply related to something I’d eaten, and when it passed a few hours later, I forgot all about it.

Then, two days later, the same thing happened.

On and off for the next several weeks I developed a regular pattern of symptoms: about two or three hours after eating I would begin to feel a pain in my lower back, followed, over the next half hour, by increasing abdominal pain, the aforementioned burping and, at its worst, chills and irritability.

I had no idea what was happening to me, but it wasn’t pleasant.

The week after New Years, I made an appointment with my family doctor, and she diagnosed me as having a stomach ulcer. There are two types of peptic ulcers, those of the stomach and those of the duodenum. Mine was pegged a stomach ulcer because of the time of day, and because eating more, which sometimes makes duodenal ulcers feel better, made me feel worse.

Because I’d appeared to have some relief from Pepcid Complete, my doctor prescribed me Ranitidine 150, which is a genericized version of Zantac.

I dutifully took the Ranitidine twice daily for 30 days. It had no effect whatsoever, and my symptoms only got worse.

Starting from the first time I noticed the symptoms, I started to modify my diet to try and reduce them. I continued this, and broadened the foods I limited or eliminated, once the problem was diagnosed as a stomach ulcer. Following the sort of guidelines you can find many places, I eliminated citrus fruits, caffeine, chocolate, fried foods, milk, tomatoes and spicy foods. While I could easily identify foods I could say for certain would cause me problems, I had a more difficult time finding foods guaranteed not to cause problems.

About three weeks into this experience, in late January, I’d managed to stay symptom free for a week, and naively thought I was “cured.” Catherine and I went out to dinner at The Pilot House, and I had what, in an earlier time, would be considered a pretty non-spicy, innocuous meal. We went out to the movies afterwards, and when we got home I was descended on with the wraths of hell, and was up, with the worst symptoms to that point, until 6:00 a.m. It wasn’t fun.

With neither the Ranitidine nor my dramatic change in diet offering any reliable relief, I made another appointment with my family doctor for late January. At that appointment she did two things: schedule me for an ultrasound, and change my prescription to Nexium.

An interesting sidenote: I was sent to Summerside to the Prince County Hospital for my ultrasound because they could see me right away whereas my doctor characterized the wait at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown for an ultrasound to be “several months.” Thank goodness for Summerside!

I was on the Nexium for a week, and, like the Ranitidine, it offered no more relief than taking nothing offered.

I had the ultrasound the following Tuesday, and three days later I was in the office of a surgeon in Charlottetown talking about gallbladders.

The gallbladder, an organ I’d given no thought to before, ever, is a small organ located near the liver. Its function is to assist in the storage and pumping of bile (“A yellow, or greenish, viscid fluid, usually alkaline in reaction, secreted by the liver.”) from the liver, where it’s made, into the intestines, where it assists with digestion.

Gallstones are formed when “when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material.” When gallstones form, they can block the normal flow of bile from the gallbladder to the intestines, and when this happens, the result can be a “gallbladder attack.”

I learned all of this from the surgeon I was referred to because my ultrasound showed that I had something in my gallbladder that was causing problems.

When I read about the usual symptoms of a gallbladder attack, it was a pretty spot-on description of what I’d been going through.

The “cure” for gallbladder problems is to remove the gallbladder. There are other approaches that have been tried that involve trying to remove or dissolve the gallstones, but my surgeon advised that the reoccurrence of gallstones, assuming these methods are even successful, is high.

Fortunately, we mostly don’t need our gallbladders. I get the impression that it’s “mostly” because it seems that the gallbladder, while we can live happily and healthfully without it, hasn’t quite reached the stage that the appendix has reached in terms of being totally useless. The best description I’ve read says this:

Once the gallbladder is removed, bile flows out of the liver through the hepatic ducts into the common bile duct and goes directly into the small intestine, instead of being stored in the gallbladder. However, because the bile isn’t stored in the gallbladder, it flows into the small intestine more frequently, causing diarrhea in about 1 percent of people.


With things getting steadily worse — the frequency and severity of my attacks was increasing from “once or twice a week” to “once every couple of days” — I had to do something, and it was pretty clear that the gallbladder was the source of my problems. So I agreed with my surgeon that we should schedule its removal.

Easier said than done.

It’s all very well and good to listen to reports about the “health care crisis” and think of it as an abstract problem. In my case the problem was very concrete and clear: the wait for a “cholecystectomy” (aka gallbladder removal) in Charlottetown was six weeks.

Now, granted, I could live through the pain, and I wasn’t in imminent risk of more serious injury (gallbladders, it seems, don’t “rupture” like appendixes do). So I can understand more serious operations going ahead of me. But I’ll tell you, back on February 28th when my appointment was made, the first week in April seemed pretty close to “the end of time.”

But here we are: I’m scheduled for a laparoscopic cholecystectomy tomorrow morning at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The “laparoscopic” part means that the operation is done with a video camera and some lower-impact incisions; this in contrast to an “open cholecystectomy,” which, from descriptions I’ve read, sounds like what you see the surgeons doing on M*A*S*H every night. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is day surgery — you can leave the same day as the surgery — while an open cholecystectomy requires a week-long recovery in hospital.

What have I learned from this three month odyssey?

First is patience. I’ve basically been unable to eat a normal diet for three months. I’ve been subsisting on oatmeal, apple juice, rice, and toast. I’ve been able to function — not thrive, but at least function. I watched as “the end of time” receded into 5 weeks, 4 weeks, next week, and now it’s tomorrow. That’s been a good lesson in patience.

Second, I learned a lot about my diet. When you have to think seriously about whether or not to put something into your body, lest it cause you to hunch over in pain three hours later, you tend to take eating more seriously. I’ve gotten good at reading labels. I finally figured out the difference between protein, fat and carbohydrates. I know a lot about the relationship between what I eat and how I feel. I’ve learned a lot about the kind of foods I was used to eating, and how easy it is, relatively speaking, to do without them. I’ve shaken off an addiction to (or at least a predilection for) sugar, fat and fast food. My diet for the past three months has been abysmal, but at least I’ve been thinking. These are all lessons I hope will last.

Third, I’ve learned that one way to lose weight is to eat less. There’s nothing like threat of gallbladder attack to motivate, and because I’ve been averaging about 700 calories a day for three months, I’ve lost almost 40 pounds in the process as a pleasant side-effect. This fact alone has gone a long way to keeping my spirits up, as it’s just plain easier to live without an additional 40 pounds to carry around all the time.

Finally, I’ve had to come to grips, if not with my own mortality at least with my own fragility. Up until this point in my life, I’ve been pretty ignorant of any connection between my actions (or lack thereof) and my well-being. The “cheeseburger to body connection” has been an abstract ill, with effects in some nebulous future. I consider it a great gift from my body to alert me to this in such a determined but non-life-threatening way.

I’ve also learned the following very practical techniques for reducing the pain of a gallbladder attack; your mileage, obviously, may vary:

  • Take a hot bath. This is like wearing a hot water bottle. It’s a great pain reliever, and also takes the stress off the lower back, where gallbladder pain lasts longest.
  • Take Tylenol 3’s. This only worked some of the time for me, and only during the last couple of weeks. My surgeon prescribed these after the attacks increased to the point where they were going on for 6 or 7 hours. Rather than eliminating the symptoms, the Tylenols appear to shorten the attacks and make them easier to take. At least sometimes.
  • Go on a liquid diet. My surgeon recommended going on a liquid diet for 24 hours after an attack. When he initially suggested this, I thought he was insane, and I ignored his advice. When things got really bad, I followed his advice, and it helped. Often I found myself symptom free for 4 or 5 days after 24 to 48 hours of clear liquids alone.
  • Relax. I’ve found that if, at first sign of symptoms, I go upstairs and lie down, listen to the radio, and trying and just lie still, I can shorten attacks considerably. On the other hand, if I try and push through, or stay downstairs in the hubbub of family life, it’s amazing how the little stresses of everyday life can make things worse.


I’ve not written about any of this earlier because, frankly, writing about it would have made things worse by making it all appear more real and concrete. I was happier pretending it was all a sort of private dietary fantasy. But I thought it important to at least say a few words now, if only so that my experiences can go on the record and perhaps be of assistance to others.

I’ll be away from this space for the rest of the week. Talk to you all on the other side of the anaesthetic!


sammig's picture
Hello i came apone this blog when i was yes googling my sympotoms i am still unsure of what i have everynight i am constantly being woken up by these terrrible heartburns and my stomach is almost in a constant pain i dont want to go to the ER as the wait is usually over 6 hours to get to see the doctor, and as ia m writing this i am suffering one of the worst heartburns attack yet. My mother says tha nothing is wrong but i am strong to disagree because for over a week and a half now i have been like this. i cant even seem to hold down my food any more. Anything i try makes it worse and i am afraid to try something even now for fear it may get worse. i try to find a comftorable position to stay in but laying down cause to much pain sitting makes it hard to breath and the heartburn worse and standing makes me want to vomit. i am a 17year old female with only this and a heart murmur but other wise healthy i am in my correct weight limit if any one has any advice for me on how to make my pains better please email me sammi_greene@hotmail.com
Misty  Theobald's picture
i got mine out after living with it for 2 months of attacks after EVERY meal. Olive oil and lemon juice didn’t do anything for me. I mean, if you can’t afford to get it taken out, then yes I would recommend it. But I eventually got to the point where EVERYTHING gave me an attack. Everything. SO… I got it out. When I woke up in the hospital I instantly felt better. I did have diarrhea for about 2 weeks. Had a slice of pizza and no more diarrhea. I occasionally get diarrhea, but not sudden and not all the time. And I am much more sensitive to spicy foods (which i wasn’t before) I do get heartburn more often but not constantly. PLEASE do not be too scared to get it out that you live with the pain for as long as I did.
Misty  Theobald's picture
i got mine out after living with it for 2 months of attacks after EVERY meal. Olive oil and lemon juice didn’t do anything for me. I mean, if you can’t afford to get it taken out, then yes I would recommend it. But I eventually got to the point where EVERYTHING gave me an attack. Everything. SO… I got it out. When I woke up in the hospital I instantly felt better. I did have diarrhea for about 2 weeks. Had a slice of pizza and no more diarrhea. I occasionally get diarrhea, but not sudden and not all the time. And I am much more sensitive to spicy foods (which i wasn’t before) I do get heartburn more often but not constantly. PLEASE do not be too scared to get it out that you live with the pain for as long as I did.
Macedonian's picture
All, 1. Purchase milk tistle and drink a pill once a day. It will help you in a great way for your overall gallbladder/liver health and reduce bloating quickly. 2. Eat lots of vegetables, fish. Avoid meats and fatty foods. 3. Drink at least a glass or two of apple juice a day for 2 weeks. 4. The day of your gallbladder cleanse: put a table spoon of epsom salt in a purified glass of water. This will help you pass your gallstone without much pain. Few hours later, preferably before you go to bed drink 1/4 of a cup of olive oil to flush out your gallstones. When you are done drinking go to your bed lay on your right side. Some may experience little bit of pain during the process, though others may not and shouldn’t thanks to the 2 weeks of apple juice (softens gallstones). In the morning, make sure you check your stool for any flushed gallstones. Frankly, it’s scary to read some of your comments here and doctors not giving much thought and simply removing your gallbladders. That’s unacceptable. Good luck!
Roberta's picture
A few years ago I started having gall bladder attacks and they are awful. They felt like what people say a heart attack feels like. Right behind the center of my chest. Every week or so I would have one. I tried to alter my eating habits; but the weirdest thing was that Koolaid often triggered them. I eliminated fatty meats, butter and most other greasy foods because that is what I read. Well, after a year of this and no change, I asked an out of town friend who happened to be a surgical nurse and had the same problem. She said the only way to eliminate the pain immediately is to make yourself vomit. The next attack happened and I did what she told me. It was a miracle. I continued to do this for 2 years because I had no insurance. I then got some insurance and had the surgery. I can’t believe no one on this site ever mentioned this solution. She said that once the food is out of the stomach; your brain tells your gall bladder to stop shooting out bile. Now 5 years later I still have digestivee problems. Some times for a week or so, everything I eat makes me cramp up and have diarrhea. I can be fine for months then it happens for a week or so. I don’t know what that is about; but I assume it is because there is not enough bile being shot out from the liver to make up for the missing gall bladder. Whatever it is it is better than all that pain. I have been wondering if there is a pill that you can take that has bile in it to help with your digestion after you have had this surgery. Any one know?
Lesley's picture
Thank you. I just had my first “diagnosed” gallbladder attack last night. In the Emergency room all evening. It was the worst thing I’ve ever experience. “Descending into the Pit of Hell” is a good descriptor. This was very well written and made me feel like there is still some hope.” Thanks!
Dora's picture
I had my gallbladder out 3 days ago. I was in and out of the ER since before Thanksgiving for pains that were leading to my blood pressure going through the roof. Every time they did EKGs and blood work to find nothing. I went to a Cardiologist. I couldn’t go more than 4 min on the stress test before I was short of breath. I assumed my anxiety was taking over. That and all the ultrasounds came back normal. Because of the heart disease in my family I insisted on a Cardiogram. The night before the Cardiogram I was back in the ER. In prep for another EKG Ijumped when putting the patches on.The Dr asked if I still had my gallbladder…the only one Who ever asked after months of ER visits. After the cardiologist did the cardiogram and found my arterie clear’, I was taken for an ultrasound where they found the stones. For months I had been short of breath, pains between my shoulder blades, chest pains, elevated blood pressure. It was a relief to know I was not crazy. I’m hoping to get back to a normal life now even though I know I need to alter my eating habits.
kat's picture
Wow so many people with gallbladder problems! I have had IBD since I was 17 years old…33 years ago now….in 1993 I was rushed to the ER with my first what I know now was a gallbladder attack. It wasnt until 2002 that after yet another emergency trip to the ER we finally figured out I had been having “gallbladder” attacks on top of Crohns attacks. Two things are important to know about the gallbladder: 1. The remedy for gallbladder stones is not the same for gallbladder sludge or inflammatory gallbladder disease. I would want to be darn sure which I was dealing with before taking any remedies. I dont have stones so have never done the flush but have been taking care of my inflammed gallbladder with herbs and diet for ten years now and am still hanging on to the thing. I dont know but think that drinking all that olive oil would cause me big problems…:(( I will only submit to surgery if there is no other option. I have been researching this for ten years and it seems that many many people end up with just as big a problem post surgery as before the surgery …which is not an option I will choose as I have IBD already my life is hell from that and I dont need constant diarrhea or the potential of constant diarrhea in my life on top of that! My sister had her gallbladder out and has gained weight ever since and is now diabetic….yes there is a link between having your gallbladder removed and diabetes apparently and then once you are diabetic then your risk of Alzheimer’s also increases…a.k.a.type 3 diabetes. 2. Yes your gallbladder can rupture and kill you so go to the ER and find out what is happening and then go home and do your research. There are herbs to take. Research these yourself to find the counterindications that may apply to your own case. I take catnip….catnip tea is wonderful to move things along…peppermint….beetroot…dandelion milkthistle for the liver…liver and gallbladder need to be supported….ox bile is awesome…doing a liver detox was great for me…..estrogen and the gallbladder are affected by each other…a liver detox helped me with my estrogen and gallbladder issues….castor oil pacts are amazing….primal defense is a probiotic which seems to eat up the infection in my bile ducts…I have also read and found it to be true that apples bananas some other fruits are triggers for the gallbladder and to be avoided…..I cant eat them. Definitely cut out eggs. I loved eggs but feeling much better without them in my diet. Cut out diary…all diary even butter and get margarine:(((( I am sure alcohol is big no-no for the gallbladder. Avoid fat and fried food. Garlic sent me to ER last week…its a trigger for my gallbladder. It takes a long time to find what your body can handle. Another strange complication is something called Familial Mediterranean Fever which is very difficult to diagnose and often is misdiagnosed as gallbladder disease. I had no idea I had Mediterranean dna but turns out I did through my Acadian grandmother. I recommend getting as much info as possible …also consult an naturopath or nutritionist and get educated as you can and dont just believe everything your doctor tells you. The most successful patients are the proactive ones that educate themselves. Use the doctors as diagnostic tools…if possible and then do your research. Make your own informed decision.
Stacey W's picture

I had my gallbladder (full of large stones) removed laprascopically 5 days ago, and while I am still experiencing some post-operative pain, I can already guarantee it was the best option.  The gallstones were diagnosed by ultrasound 8 months ago, but suspected by a GP 12 months before that ( and I suffered GERD symptoms for 4 years before that which dissappeared as soon as I went on a gallbladder-friendly diet).  My attacks were frequent (once to twice a week) and long-lasting (48 hours at a time)but usually mild in severity.  Despite the (usually) mild pain level, I lost 20kg due to the change in diet and the frequent fasting sessions and am so much healthier now than before the symptoms started. 

Tips for people suffering gallstones are fasting (total fasting - no water, no chewing gum), sit in a straight-backed chair, slightly reclined, with right arm raised (seriously, this relieves all physical pressure on the gall bladder), Ibuprofen, and no-fat diet (low-fat is not good enough, it must be no-fat).  Also, throughout the time I experienced gallbladder attacks, I smoked, quit, then started again.  My GP & surgeon both assured me that there is no correlation between smoking and gallbladder symptoms, but I know that as a smoker the attaks were much more frequent and severe.  Also, as per AmandaRud in 2009, menstrual cycles seem to effect attacks and I didn’t find anything to help with this.

Apple juice, apple cider, lemon juice, olive oil (seriously???) and epsom salts might all be helpful and good luck to those who want to eat those 5 things + rice for the rest of their lives… If anyone is unsure PLEASE check quackwatch.org - the “stones” that are flushed are NOT gallstones, they are actually a product of the oil+salt+lemon juice - you can make them yourself in a saucepan.  These “stones” then soak up what bile is able to pass into your intestines to get the bile colour to them.  Read the article before wasting time on this “cure”.

Apparently up to 80% of gallstones are caused by faulty gallbladders which CANNOT drain properly, so recurrence is almost guaranteed.  Get the gallbladder removed!!!  Pregnancies contribute greatly to the occurence of gallstones in women… get the gallbladder removed!!!  Waiting, and wasting time on natural “remedies” may simply allow time for the stones to get bigger, and the gallbladder to become diseased…GET THE GALLBLADDER REMOVED!!!  If you are still not sure, malfunctioning of the gallbladder causes backflow of bile into the liver and in the long term (5, 10, 15 years if lucky) this damages the liver - would you prefer a quick, laprascopicic cholesystectomy or a big painful liver transplant???  GET THE GALLBLADDER REMOVED!!!

To the idiots (sorry, but it’s true) who think that doctors just whip out a gallbladder for the fun of it, perhaps you should do 10 years of studying human anatomy, biology, chemistry, and medicine before you tell people not to take the advice of someone who has done all of this study.  Dr’s are generally neither stupid nor lazy, and have a duty of care to provide people with the advice that is BEST for their health.


P.s. I just ate toast, with marjarine and lashings of Nutella and I feel fantastic!!!  No pain…I almost forgot what that was like.  :)




Dee's picture

I happened to looking for information on Atkins w/o a gallballder and found all of these posts.  My heart aches for everyone who suffers with gallballder attacks as I did for over a year before my was removed a little over 4 years ago.   At first I thought I was having a heart attack!!  It was the worst pain I had ever experienced with the exception of childbirth.  But at least that was expected.

The reason my gallbladder was removed was because after a year of “self-diagnosing” on the internet and being convinced it was a hiatal hernia, i rushed myself to the emergency room because suddenly the pain would not subside.  After all the test and scans and the fearful look on the ER dr’s face, It was confirmed that my gallballder was gangrenous and was effecting all of my organs.  If I had not agreed to have it removed, I could have seen my Maker!!

Grateful does not begin to describe the days, weeks, months and even years to follow.  In addition, it had to be done the long way in because of scar tissue from childbirth.  Ugh!!  Everything was a mess in there and everything was dangerously effected because I didn’t go to a gastro specialist in the first place. 

I have gained weight, but I’m committed to losing that, and the need to stay close to the restroom post surgery was quickly squashed by an “angel” who happened to blog that calcium carbonate was the trick in absorbing the extra bile in the small intestines.  It was incredible!!

All of you who are prolonging the inevitable, take note, it’s not worth the risk.  Get the endoscopy or ultra sound and go for it!!  Life is so much better without the threat!!

Good Luck and Blessings!!



Xizzi's picture

I am certainly glad I had my gall bladder removed.  I went through a year and a half with emergency room visits thinking I was having a heart attack.  The last time the surgeon just happened to be walking past the doctor trying to diagnose me when he overheard them talking, he walks in and asks for the symptoms and ordered a gall bladder test.  It was found in extremely bad and diseased and it was actually overproducing bile directly into my stomach which caused a very bad ulcer condition, doc doesn’t even know if my ulcers will ever heal, I have to watch everything I eat and can never take anti-inflammatories for the rest of my life.

But that horrible chest pain is gone, thank God.

Northern mommy's picture

If you are having severe attacks, please do consider surgery. I tried to go without & almost died. I had a 5 month old baby & my selfishness almost left my husband alone to raise her. A stone blocked my bile duct near my pancreas & it almost killed me. My stones were caused by hormones, not me being unhealthy. I am now likely to develop diabetes due to the extensive damage to my pancreas, I also had tissue damage to my liver to the point of having to be hospitalized several times during my second pregnancy as my liver is unable to support both myself & baby. After my surgery, I felt immediate relief. Three years later, I have started to have occasional attacks, but they are my fault, I get lazy & eat foods I shouldn’t. Post surgery, yes, you will get diarreah, no you can’t just grab a burger at the drive-thru, but when I look at my two beautiful children I am happy to make those sacrifices to be around for them.

ramona's picture

What a relief finding this site ) My gallbladder was daamged ina a car acccident in ‘95 and I suffered from debilitating “episodes” since.  I always thought it was heartburn or kidney stones until flying back from Germany in 2010 I could not stand up for the pain.  I landed and took painkillers - the pain persisted - went to ER - was put on morphine and had my gallbladder removed the next day - laprascopic.  I had a reaction to the anitbiotics and swelled up to 2x my size! and had to stay in hospital for 10 days! I was also told I could eat anything - just in moderation.  Well…since then I have constant diarrhea, bad stomach bloat and gas, painful right collar bone and shoulder pain, nausea, cold sweats, shortness of breath and throw up when it just gets too much. So… in a nutshell - surgery beats the pain of gallstones / gallbladder attacks.  Now if I could only found some advice on how to deal with the diarrhea and shoulder ache… :-) 

skottie's picture

Oh the dreaded gallbladder, how for an organ that’s supposedly isn’t supposed to be that important does way more than you’d think!

Anyways, I had mine out in Feb of 2008. I’d had symptoms on and off for a couple years but nothing super severe until the winter of 07/08 when I stopped being able to eat a lot of foods because I felt sick CONSTANTLY. The first time I thought “uh oh I have a problem” was after eating perogies. I dry heaved about 3 times, and didn’t think anything of it cept that maybe I ate too fast. That was just the start.

In the following weeks, the eating went from normal meals to barely being able to eat babyfood without feeling sick. Broth, anything was making me super ill. I finally went to the doctor and she immediately said “gallbladder”. Which was funny because everyone else thought it was anxiety, or the meds I was on for heartburn/acid reflux. 

Anyways I was told to schedule an appt and I went home, thinking ok now I know what it is (I forgot that i had an ultrasound that showed a pretty big stone just sitting in there cause me misery.) The damage was already done, I was so panicky about eating at this point that I just didn’t want to do it. After the ultra sound, I went home and had something to eat, when the doc immediately called me and told me to go to the ER because my liver looked inflammed and she’d sent special instructions. Well, I got to the ER and waited about 3 hours before being looked at. The doctor who finally saw me told me I didn’t look sick enough to even be there, I was so nauseated and frustrated at that point that I could cry. (I actually did get angry and cry and had some choice words). They gave me some zofran (WORKS WONDERS) and I went home, fell asleep still feeling sick about 8pm and slept until 10am the next day. When I woke up the nausea was still there and I thought “this is the one” and went downstairs to have it out with the porcelin god. 

At any rate, I ended up taking an ambulance to the ER and after 4 days of testing the geniuses decided it was my gallbladder acting poorly and removed it.

But my life is still in shambles, I still get nauseated from time to time with no rhyme or reason. I still get anxious about food in general and what I can/cannot eat. This was now 4 years ago and my partner even gets sick of hearing it!

One of the major things that bothers me now is if I get too hot my stomach feels all upset and usually I have to use the restroom. They also put me on questran to stop and slow down the “racecar” trips to the bathroom after eating, I recommend it for anyone having issues.

BUT let me address one thing.

A gallbladder can burst. It can become gangreen. Do not take it for granted, that happened to my father who waited til the last minute to get checked out. They told him if he’d waited another day he might have died. Do not fool around with alternative medicines, just get the surgery. Not -everyone- has the same experiences with it. Alternative medicine is hokey in my eyes but that’s IMHO, the surgery is very invasive and you go home that day unless complications arise. You are off your feet and can’t work for a week or so and then you are back to normal. You have to watch your fat content and a few other things but who cares? Aren’t you supposed to do that anyways?

Don’t mess around with gallbladders, as little and insignificant as they may seem they aren’t. There’s a reason it all happens, just get the surgery.

Jessica's picture
Okay so I have recently learned that I am having these same issues and they occur every night after eating and granted I do not have a healthy eating habit, but I need to eat because I am five months pregnant! The pain gets so bad it makes me afraid to even eat, I can’t just go right to surgery so I need a diet that I can live with while also being pregnant until I can have the surgery. P.s. Both my sisters had theirs removed last year, does it run in the family or something??
Gabriela's picture

Well, I’m glad its not stomach cancer.. I had my first gallstone attack around the holdiay season at Christmas. I’m 38 with 4 kids.  It was a regular day for me. I dont even remember what i ate but that evening i woke up at 3am with sore shoulder muscles, then a cold sweat and a ‘mal estar’ feeling. I felt like a belt was tighting up under my rib cage and that i would soon pass out. Then my heart started beating heavily and for the first time i could feel it rocking back and forth in my rib cage. I though it was a panic attack. So i prepped my husband to take me to ER if i passed out. Suddenly, i had a craving for a banana, a bottle of water and a really hot bath. I was stretching in the hot bath. I trusted my gut instinct. In 20min i felt relief. My husband also gave me a few antacids.  I finally went back to sleep on my left side since the right side was extremely tender.  The following day i was encouraged to see the doctor. I got the ultrasound done and the blood test and yes there were gallstones and i was scheduled to see the specialist to discuss my options. I found that what i ate was directly related to when i had these pains. I found that i could NOT eat fast foods, fried food, homo milk, nor 2%, no pies, ice cream, cake, and Nooo cheeeeeese or, oily foods.  Well yesterday I had my second attack at 1:30am. When i felt it coming on, I immediately went for the hot bath and yes, in 5 minutes i was ready for bed. I knew that i had asked for trouble eating those 4 onion rings and panzarotti that afternoon and evening. This only emphasizes for me how important it is to eat healthy, non processed foods. I crave oatmeal, apples, skim milk, probiotic yogurt-low fat, salads, and lemonade and lemons, water. I calculate the dose of fat i will have a day as a splurge and that my body will be able to process for the day.  I hope to keep my gallbladder for the next 38 years. Keep you posted!

Klay's picture


Thanks all for posting. I wonder, has anyone else experienced exhaustion, ‘flashes’ of pain in joints, headches, sensitivity to light and sound and muscle twitching as part of the gall bladder issues? 

I have been generally unwell and exhausted in thhe last few weeks so I went to the doctor. As part of her examination she pushed around my abdomen and found that I showed classic signs of gall bladder  sensitivity. She has sent me for blood tests and a scan which I will get the results of next week. Since then I’ve been reading all I can about the gall bladder, and I have discovered that pain I had normalised over the years - pangs under my rib cage on the right-hand side, as well as back and shoulder pain on that side  after eating a fatty meal - are symptoms of a diseased or dysfunctional gall bladder. 

So is it possible that my feelings of being exhausted and generally unwell are associatied with a gall bladder problem? 


angelian's picture

I would not be against natural remedies if your gallbladder has stones and you are not in danger. I know of a person who had gallstones and had several attacks, including myself. There is a reason why we have gallbladders. My mother had hers removed. I know of a few people who kept theirs by means of natural remedies and have had no attacks 20 years later, I think that it depends upon the situation. When I did gallbladder flushes I did not have any attacks for about 3 years. I did not upkeep myself, not simple since I used the epsom salts and later in the eveninbg olive oil. There are now other things which people use to help break up stones, modern medicine does not know everything but often we do need it, one must know one’s situation. The food we eat have changed, lots of things about how we eat changed. What did our ancestors do to take care of these problems. They used natural means. always check around to see what others use. The internet has lots of material just look at if some have been successful or not. If your gallbladder must come our because it puts your life in danger then do that but if you can save it then do that, Some people have had trouble after getting theirs out so it depends. Do a lot of research.

Sharon's picture

I had been having alot of pain & finally went to the Dr & told him I wanted to save my GB he said there was no treatment tosave the GB but I knew  there was. the Dr said he would schedule an ultrasound on the 29th of Feb so on the 22nd of Feb I decided to do a natural cleanse using  extra virgin olive (I was told by a family friend who is very knowledgeable in natural remedies) 4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive oil  followed by  2-3 TBSP of  fresh squeezed lemon juice every 15 minutes  for 2 hours till you have finished the 2 cups of Olive oil & while doing the treatment make sure you lie on your right side with 2 pillows under your hips you so your hips are elevated so the oil will go towards the gall bladder. the next day I was nauseous did lots of poopng I guess my colon was cleansing out & then on the 24th of Feb @ 4:30 in the morning I was passing gallstones & its not painful passing the stones it just feels like you have to poop. I didn’t feel like eating anything for a couple days the body just needs a chance to heal itself I felt very tired & weak  So in  the following  days I started drinking carrot juice (5days) I ahd no desire to eat anything but was told I should just eat raw fruits & vegetables & in week 2 I started eating cooked spinach… I was also told to drink golden seal tea & red clover tea they help to cleanse the blood  dandelion tea is helpful also am also taking golden seal capsules with my meals & bio curcumin which aid the gall bladder in bile flow.And am also taking milk thistle between meals..

   So on the 29th of Feb I had my ultrasound & last week March 12th I went to the Dr & they said they COULD NOT see any stones….. the Dr did say something about some sludge???? but if I need to do the treatment again I will do whatever I can to keep my GB…. its quite possible that I will need to do the treatment again because I think there may be some residule sludge in there

 Hope this helps


Sharon's picture

I had been having alot of pain & finally went to the Dr & told him I wanted to save my GB he said there was no treatment to save the GB but I knew  there was. the Dr said he would schedule an ultrasound on the 29th of Feb so on the 22nd of Feb I decided to do a natural cleanse using  extra virgin olive (I was told by a family friend who is very knowledgeable in natural remedies) 4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive oil  followed by  2-3 TBSP of  fresh squeezed lemon juice every 15 minutes  for 2 hours till you have finished the 2 cups of Olive oil & while doing the treatment make sure you lie on your right side with 2 pillows under your hips ….. so your hips are elevated so the oil will go towards the gall bladder. the next day I was nauseous did lots of poopng I guess my colon was cleansing out & then on the 24th of Feb @ 4:30 in the morning I was passing gallstones & its not painful passing the stones it just feels like you have to poop. I didn’t feel like eating anything for a couple days the body just needs a chance to heal itself I felt very tired & weak  So in  the following  days I started drinking carrot juice (5days) I had no desire to eat anything but was told I should just eat raw fruits & vegetables & in week 2 I started eating cooked spinach… I was also told to drink golden seal tea & red clover tea they help to cleanse the blood …. dandelion tea is helpful also am also taking golden seal capsules with my meals & bio curcumin which aid the gall bladder in bile flow.And am also taking milk thistle between meals..

   So on the 29th of Feb I had my ultrasound & last week March 12th I went to the Dr & they said they COULD NOT see any stones….. the Dr did say something about some sludge???? but if I need to do the treatment again I will do whatever I can to keep my GB…. its quite possible that I will need to do the treatment again because I think there may be some residule sludge in there

 Hope this helps


Janey's picture

Sammig, my son had the same symptoms that u r having & I brought him to the ER & it was appendicitis…he had emergency surgery quickly that same night. Surgeon told me that if I would’ve waited 5 more minutes to bring him to the ER it would’ve ruptured. As soon as I got there I told them at the ER that Drs in the past had told me that he might b having problems w his appendix & they took him quickly…didn’t make him wait…thank God. I advise u to see a Dr ASAP & ask for a CT scan of your appendix or ultrasound…hopefully it’s not that. God bless u & I hope u feel better.

Kelly's picture

Hello. I am a 35 yr old female, with a history of chronic loose stools and often urgency when eating dairy, sugary or fatty foods. I have been previously told its irritable bowel syndrome, and I have coped with the symptoms since I was a teenager. The last few months I have been having increased urgency and intestinal pains as well as a feeling of “movement” in the upper abdomen. These symptoms increased further after I returned from a trip to Mexico a month ago, so I went my family doctor and was given a course of Ciprofloxacin. Within a few short days, I found myself constipated (which I am NEVER) and having more of these “movements” in the stomach and esophagus. A couple of more days later, after eating Caesar salad and ribs when I was put for dinner, I came home, took my Cipro, and went to bed only to be woken by extreme pain in my left upper abdomen a few hours later. The pain was  like something was clenching/biting/gripping/ripping at me from the inside. It was like it was coming from stomach, on the left side behind my heart, and something was trying to push its way out. It was unrelenting so I ended up going to the emergency room, and after doing bloodwork(liver panel and pancreatic enzymes normal), a 12lead, and an ultrasound, they diagnosed me with several gallstones 1 cm in diameter. The “extreme” pain which took me to hospital lasted 6 hours, and then subsided to a dull pressure and gnawing which is still with me over one week later. The most bothersome, however is the continued moving and writhing feeling in my stomach and esophagus. I am also constantly belching for comfort,which i never used to do. Also i feel like there is something in my throat/esophagus which i can’t swallow down. It makes it very difficult to sleep at night. I am propping myself up on pillows, taking gaviscon and famotidine as well as pepto bismol at times. I have cut out all dairy, bread products, and am mostly drinking fluids and eating banana or spinach or apple and vegetable juices. Right now I can feel tightness in the eaophagus and it is very disturbing and tonight I am feeling dull achey pain like a bladder infection in my lower back.  I am finally passing soft stools again, but was constipated for about 4 or 5 days. I have a Barium swallow this coming week. Do you think this all has to do with gallbladder or could it be something else? What is causing this upper abdominal and esophageal discomfort ? And if it IS the gallstones, isnt it odd to be paining me on the LEFT side? Does anyone else with gallstones experience this? 

Sharon Briant's picture

I had my gallbladder out and it took a long time due to terrible doctors. First, if anyone has sludge and attacks, I would get it out right away! The dangers are the following, it can burst and like appendicitis spread to your abdomen. It can become infected but intact and slowly send the infected mess through your intestines, ripping them up and spreading the infection into your system. Once infected, it becomes sticky and starts sticking to other organs and then when they do the surgery, they have to cut it from from your stomach or your liver. They may have to take a piece of your liver out! It can cause you a lot of heartache because so many doctors will tell you "sludge doesn't mean anything." This just means, they don't know what it means! I will tell you that sludge is small stones. Don't let anyone get in the way:get that sick thing out of your body. Find a surgeon who does a lot of gallbladder surgeries and he or she will be able to explain the whole thing including your individual experience to you and you will be clear, clear of pain, clear of worry, clear to live your life! Also, stay away from gastroenterologists! They don't know gallbladders, the very best you'll get from them is, "I think you may have a gallbladder problem, I'll send you to a gallbladder surgeon for his opinion. Surgeons treat gallbladders! The path is short--excellent primary care doctor to gallbladder surgeon, to relief and life! Anything else is foolish! oh, go to healthgrades.com to check out doctors: patient surverys, education, experience, any sanctions, malpractice, etc. Also go to vitals.com that sight lets people actually comment on doctors so you can see the good ones from the bad ones! Good health to everyone! Sharon

Chris's picture

Thank you for such a well written account. This is just the information I have been looking for. I went in last week because of possible heart issues (high blood pressure). Tomorrow I will be having a CT scan of my mid-section and the gallbladder is on the list of questions. The salad from last night is still screaming at me - I will be having rice for dinner tonight!

Geena's picture

I am 33 and I just had mine out 6 months ago and I remember reading all these kinds of things on the internet before the surgery. There are a lot of horror stories on here. My surgeon said that 80 percent of people have this surgery and nothing bad happens. And I thought about it for a while and thought, if nothing bad happens after, the people probly forget they did it, never come on these sites to tell their stories of how everything went ok. I decided that if everything went ok, I would remember. So here I am. Everything went fine, I have slight heartburn everyday. But all my back pain and stomach aches that I never knew what it was for years is gone!!! I would have my kids walk on my back daily! I would get stomach aches and think, OH, I just ate too much. All of that is gone now. I still eat too much sometimes, but no stomach ache just heartburn. I can drink coffee and chocolate and pizza. I am very good now. I hope that somebody reads this and can sleep tonight knowing there is hope in surgery. Oh, and ALL of my back pain is gone.

gigi's picture

Hi. I had an emergency gall bladder removal in the emergency room way back in 2001, I never knew what it was but I ws in pain one night for many hours so it was bad, anyway I never had any pain before this night. Afterward I did gain weight, I did not have any diarreaha but I do get some heartburn every once in a while. The pain was awful. I remember it like it was yesterday, oh yea just to mention, I don't drink or smoke. Thankfully will never feel THAT kind of pain again.

Debby's picture

I am 23 and have been dealing with back pain and abdominal pain since i was 17. and thanks to this site i think ill be making an appt on monday with my family doctor. i just went to the doctor last week and he had given me tramadol (90 pills 50mgs), i normally do not like to take pain pills bc i dont like how they make me feel and i normally get pretty nauseated from them but this pain is unbelivable, i explain to my mother and husband that it feels like im in labor all over again but worse! what i can also suggest is to take a hot bath and try to have a bm. also a heating pad works wonders. and im using one right now. good luck to ya'll

Chuck Fresco's picture

Hi - Great article/journal and tips! I started having gallbladder problems in Nov 2011, approx 2-3 am, sudden urge to go to the bathroom, which in minutes turned into a heavy sweat and severe pains and multiple vomit sessions. It took approx 4 hours in the beginning, and prior to my surgery, was an all day thing, which started at 2-3am. I'm a vet, I goto a VA hospital, I looked up in MedMD, all my symptoms, and started to write down exactly what hurt where and when, crosschecked on webMD and found allot of indicators pointing to the gallbladder.

January 2012, I made back to back emergency rm visits, first was the chest pain (was given antibiotic's) and the second time was the severe vomiting and heavy sweating (was given shots and 4 IV's). I had a few episodes in February, not too much. My doctor scheduled a Ultra Sound and a Scope to check my stomach. March came, on the 19th, I got up and was taking my daughter to school and it hit me, I was driving which made it soo bad, I had to stop and call my wife to come get me.

I remember going to the emergency room and having allot of IV's again and meds for nausea and pain. After being in the emergency room 3 hours, the doctor was going to sent me home, when I got another attack. Needless to say, they admitted me and my gallbladder came out March 21st. Live has been more predictable, but not having the gallbladder means learning what you can cannot eat. So, that's where I am-- I take the following meds daily-Cholestyramine powder 2x a day, promethazine for nausea -as needed, docusate- to make sure of no constipation and last- omeprazole 2x a day. Easter was a day where I ate things off my gods food list, so I paid dearly the next 3 days...I hope this helps someone..Chuck

Meladee's picture

I have been reading all these post about gallbladder stones/disease. There are alot of pro's and con's about having your gallbladder removed. I would just like to be pain free, I hate feeling nauseated all the time, along with heartburn, indigestion, constipation, diahrrea, pain on right-side under rib cage (stabbing feeling all the time), tired, irritable, bulching and passing gass and now dizziness. Which I thought the dizziness was from my new glasses, it was not. I had an ultrasound done, a few months back it showed I have sludge in my gallbladder and my liver is slightly enlarged...I have tried alot of things to help with these symptoms, change in diet, slowing down with housework, not over eating, etc..Nothing has helped. I just want to feel normal again. I have a slight case of OCD, so its really hard for me to slow down, even when I'm in pain. I also don't like to complain, not even to my husband or family. So basically I've been dealing with this behind close doors.

henry's picture

Been battling gall bladder issues for 3 years. After my first attack, doctor was trying to schedule surgeryd. The problem is, most western docs are programmed to operate or medicate. My aunt had her gall bladder out and has had problems for years. I do a cleanse every so often to purge the stones. Drink 32to ounces of organic, non filtered apple juice a day for six days to soften and shrink the stones, some people use malic acid pills... on the sixth day, stop eating at noon, that night at 6the pm drink 8 ounces of water mixed with a tablespoon of epson salts (they make the bile ducts expand and start the cleaning process. Drink another glass at 8pm. By ten pm, yer guts should be clears of food/fecal matter. Then i drink graperfruit juice olive oil mixture and go to sleep. I can feel the stones move into my stomach. At 6am and 8am, i take more epson salts/water mixture to keep the ducts expand dialated and wash the stones out of my guts. I will pass as many as a dozen pea sized stones and 20 bb sized stones, plus the sludge... i have to do this regularly as my body keeps producing stones... hey, i like a fatty diet. I am trying to changing my diet, because my gb builds the stones after i get rid of them, but if yer young... dont get yer gb out... it is not worth the risk.... a specialist told me i should wait if i can... and admitted the surgery is often recommended so a surgeon can make his money... it is an easy surgery and they make 12-15k. heal yerself ewith preventative medicien or at least try to. P.S. gall bladder attacks are the worst pain i have ever known. I sympathize with u guys... but u can treat yerself...

georgia leggett's picture

i had severe pain in my stomach also, i was nine months pregnant and thought i was finally going into labor. i went to the hospital just to hear i was just beginning. I finally went into labor 2 week later, having severe what i thought at the time third baby birthing pains, but less then a week later find out it was much more than that, it was my gull bladder. what i dont like now it where it was i have this lovely looking puffy pouch... oh well, i guess it could be worse.gull bladder pain is much much worse than labor, and i am one that can take major pain, e.r. drs asked if i wanted pain meds, at first i said i said no, then i changed my mind.

georgia leggett's picture

i had severe pain in my stomach also, i was nine months pregnant and thought i was finally going into labor. i went to the hospital just to hear i was just beginning. I finally went into labor 2 week later, having severe what i thought at the time third baby birthing pains, but less then a week later find out it was much more than that, it was my gull bladder. what i dont like now it where it was i have this lovely looking puffy pouch... oh well, i guess it could be worse.gull bladder pain is much much worse than labor, and i am one that can take major pain, e.r. drs asked if i wanted pain meds, at first i said i said no, then i changed my mind.

Suzanne's picture

I came home from work Fridaý evening started the coffee pot and went to the restroom.I came out doubled over unable to breath trying to make my husband get my 9 yr old daughter out of our room. I swore I was having a heart attack. All I could think was to keep moving keep the blood circulating to the brain. EMS got here and decided it was not my heart and took me to the nearest ER. They found gallstones blocking the opening to the stomach and the intestine and alot of swelling. I was given pain meds and an antibiotic and iv fluid. By next morning I was pain free. The Dr. came and talked with me and gave me some ideas on what to do next. I never want that pain again.So I decided to have the galblader removed When he spoke with me at discharge yesterday, he said it was definitely the right desionthe bladder had many more stones in it and one of the ducts had a tear the next one out could have caused major problems. I am already on the mend just worried about what and how to eat. I never thought I had unhealthy eating habits.

Kelsey's picture

Hi my name is Kelsey and I have been having some severe health problems for the past year and a half. It began pretty suddenly and has gotten progressively worse since then. I have seen 4 different gastroenterologists and had a colonoscopy, endoscopy, an ultrasound and a CT scan. None of these tests found anything except for 2 small gallbladder polyps that I was told wouldn't cause any visible symptoms. My symptoms are dead on symptoms of gallbladder issues. I get chronic pain in my upper right abdomen that radiates to my back. It's extremely tender and painful when I gently press on the area. I get extremely bloated and distended and am CONSTANTLY burping, even first thing in the morning before I've eaten. I can't even stress how much I burp; it never stops and they are loud low sounding burps that don't do much to relieve the pressure in my abdomen. I get a bitter taste in my mouth, especially after eating. When the attacks are really bad I get chills and sometimes nausea. The symptoms are much worse if I eat anything with fat, but since I've had these problems I rarely ever do, and the symptoms are present even when I don't. I am 22 years old, female and I have always been in good health and maintained a healthy diet, but could indulge in high fat foods without issue before the problems started. Now my diet is so limited I am down to 90 pounds. I get attacks, sometimes after eating and sometimes just out of nowhere, where the pain is so severe that there's nothing I can do to ease it and no medication (even prescriptions for abdominal pain) does anything. I eat extremely healthy, exercise regularly and drink a lot of water. I take excellent care of my body and I'm not overly stressed about anything aside from this. As I said I just had an ultrasound and a CT scan done that showed nothing of interest, but based on everything I've read, my symptoms are so specific that I'm convinced it still has to do with my gallbladder. My Dr. thinks that it is just severe IBS but I disagree. Has anyone had known gallbladder issues that weren't detected from an ultrasound or a CT scan? And if so how was it detected and treated? I would appreciate any advice I can get so much, I'm getting increasingly desperate for answers. These symptoms are controlling my life and I know that there is something much more to it than just IBS. Thanks

Helen Spilatro's picture

I pray to God someone can help me and tell me what the heck i might have...i have read all this stories and i dont even know what to say about my gallbladder cuz all i have constant pain on the right..no attacks that come and go..but pain that is always there ..burning pain. Went to ER they checked my liver and my blood and said its all good but that i proly have gallbladder ..they did not make an ultra sound but i am going for one tomorrow. you guys all have more or less similar symptoms and all i have pain under my ribs,such annoying that i cant tolerate it any more...and by the way the food i eat does not seem to matter for pain level...hm..it also started weird..it started 2 weeks ago on wed,same constant pain and was gone by friday nite.Came back again next wed was better by sa..and came back again on mo...and today is tue:-(....anyone please help what is it ???????no pain in my back or chest no fever no nothing just annoying pain that sometimes becomes severe...anyone has the same? im 28 years old, very athletic, eat very well ....please anyone who can give me some answers.....thank you so much and God bless

Marg's picture

On Friday, May 4th I experienced the worst pain ever in my life. Wasn't sure what was happening and called 911. I actually thought I was having a heart attack. Took me to the emerg (Winnipeg) and the Dr who examined me agreed it could be my gall bladder. (That's what the paramedic told me it sounded like to him.) Went back to the ER on Monday, May 7th for more blood work (enzymes in my liver were elevated on Friday so they wanted to retest) and had an ultrasound. Hopefully will get results back this Friday. If it turns out to be my gall bladder I will insist they remove it. I never, ever want to go through such horrific pain again. So glad I was able to get an ultrasound as quick as I did. Good luck to everyone else out there. Don't put up with the pain if you don't have to. Thank goodness for healthcare here in Manitoba.

Liz 's picture

Had my gall bladder removed 5 weeks ago. Had 3 gall bladder attacks. Ultrasound showed 1 large gall stone. My Mom died of a ruptured gall bladder years ago.Doctor sent me to a surgeon when he heard of Mom's history. My stone was size of a golf ball. Best advice is get the gall bladder removed. I had scope surgery and came home same day and in a little discomfort for 4 days and now I am fine and feel wonderful. Diet will not cure gall bladder disease. Surgery will end your attacks and pain and I eat everything now and no problem.

jackie's picture

My pain started two weeks ago. It was so bad that it made me go to the ER for the first time in 12 years. The pain felt like a knife in my solar plexus and radiated along both sides of my lower ribcage. After waiting for 4 hours in the er in incredible pain I left without seeing a dr and went home to lie down and wait it out. To make a long story shorter I was diagnosed with H pylori bacteria years ago and this was reminiscent of the same symptoms (gassy, severe pain, 15lb weight loss in 2 weeks etc) It turned out that I have a disease of the gallbladder called chronic cholecystitis. This has led to my gallbladder being riddled with stones and becoming hard and shrinking in size. Besides the aforementioned side effects heart palpitations are quite common with this disorder. Now I am scheduled for the radioactive dye scan ( can't remember the name) and most likely removal of the offending organ(Im mad at it so I won't dignify it with a name lol) Anyway I have been living off of water, mashed potatoes and lunch meat for the last three weeks. I have missed two weeks of work. Yadda Yadda. Has anyone else had experience with this disease and if so what was the outcome?

Shannon's picture

Thank you for writing this! I meet with my surgeon tomorrow to remove my gall bladder. I'm 23 and never thought any of this would happen to me. I am now a big label reader and agree that it is better to go without than have an attack. I rather give everything up an have an attack again. I had to brushed to the emergency room for my attack thinking I was dying! Sounds silly, but the pain is horrible. I'm looking forward to the long term benefits of revamping my diet so I never have any kind of health problem ever again from being "fat". Wish me luck on my surgery!

Audra's picture

It is good to see some people on here that are going through similar things. I have been going through bouts of pain after eating for about three weeks now and they keep getting worse. Ihad a gallbladder ultrasound last tuesday and am still waiting for the results. I also have a colonoscopy and endoscopy this Friday. I want so badly for the pain to stop and to get some energy back.
Does anyone have tips? I have found that I can eat toast, boost shakes (been mainly living on them) and a little tilapia...but last night i tried grilled tilapia with a little broccoli and woke up at two in the morning in severe pain.... it took 5 hours to subside a little. I am hoping for some answers soon.

duville's picture

You are dead on with the hot water!!
I am having VERY severe attacks. But they are only every few months so I am waiting out any type of hospital stay.

First Tylenol does help with the pain. Take 2 of those right away. If the pain starts to escalate get in the shower ASAP and turn the hot water on as hot as you can stand it the hotter the better just short or burning you, and direct the water to the middle of your chest. If you already have the shoulder pain turn around and let the hot water hit that area too.
It is amazing how this will help you endure a severe attack. After the hot water treatment I then place a reusable hot pad that you micro and place that on my chest and lay down with that in place.

I can take a severe attack that used to last for hours to stopping the pain within 35 minutes or less. It's amazing!

duville's picture

I am having VERY severe attacks. But they are only every few months so I am waiting out any type of hospital stay.

First Tylenol does help with the pain. Take 2 of those right away. If the pain starts to escalate get in the shower ASAP and turn the hot water on as hot as you can stand it the hotter the better just short or burning you, and direct the water to the middle of your chest. If you already have the shoulder pain turn around and let the hot water hit that area too.
It is amazing how this will help you endure a severe attack. After the hot water treatment I then place a reusable hot pad that you micro and place that on my chest and lay down with that in place.

I can take a severe attack that used to last for hours to stopping the pain within 35 minutes or less. It's amazing!

Cathi's picture

I started having gallbladder pain when I was only 10 years old. I had gallbladder attacks on and off for 21 years. I went to the doctor many times, and a few times a doctor would bring up my gallbladder, but said I didn't fit the profile for gallbladder disease (fair, fat and over 40). At one point, a doctor told me I had a peptic ulcer, and Zantac helped a few days after the gallbladder attack, but when I had a gallbladder attack, I had to go onto an all liquid diet for at least 24 hours. My stomach contents would not empty into my intestine, if I didn't do this.
Here is the VERY VALUABLE information. I had many tests done, and a sonogram ultimately showed that my gallbladder was diseased and filled with ulcers. But when I went to the specialist, he did one very simple test. It's called the "Murphy test". After so many years of suffering, the doctor did this one 20 second test, and was able to see right away that I needed my gallbladder removed. It is very simple. the patient is asked to inhale while the examiner's fingers are hooked under the liver border at the bottom of the rib cage. The inspiration causes the gallbladder to descend onto the fingers, producing pain if the gallbladder is inflamed. While the doctor did this test on me, he also had me move my legs up into the fetal position. I couldn't believe how severe the pain was when he did the test. But, after that, he knew that my problem was my gallbladder.
After I got my gallbladder removed, it took a few months for my body to adjust, but it was totally worth it.
In short, if you feel like you may have a gallbladder problem, ask the doctor to do the Murphy test (also called Murphy sign).

Mark's picture

OMG - Here's my problem! Since I'm a 40 (almost 41 yr old male) and not over weight. About 5'11 160 lbs...A few years ago I would get these spells that would be like a burp that was stuck!!! Like no matter what you did, you could NOT burp and when you finally did, it was such a RELIEF!!!!!! Then, about ten minutes later, same thing, Need to burp again! And you have this pain in your upper right back shoulder blade area and it almost feels like it's from the trapped air because when you burp, that pain goes away......but it comes back when you need to burp again. Exercise makes it worse. The weird thing is I'm not sick to my stomach and I totally have an appetite, I don't have diarrhea or constipation but I eat lots of fiber.....It used to only happen about twice per year but now it's all the time (some good days and some where I just constantly belch.....

Taking OX gile and enzymes helps somewhat but not a lot. It's the most frustrating feeling not to be able to burp. I have had people tell me that sounds like gallbladder but so many people that have gallbladder problems are sick and in horrible pain and that's not me, it's just the critical feeling of wanting to burp and the pain in the back.

Alethea's picture

Thank you so much I think you just figured out for me what's been going on since Feb. I have a HIP (something test) on 6 June, but what you have described sounds like what's going on. Your blog has made we feel so much better and not as scared about it all. Thank you, thank you.

Victoria's picture

Hi, It is amazing that your story is so similar to my own. My pains started around Christmas. when I saw my family doctor they treated me for ulcer and seven months later of pain and tests they found i had gallstones and I am now on my last few weeks of waiting for the same surgery as you waited for. hope the best and thank you for telling your story.

Alexandra's picture

I have gallstones too. I am skinny and young, 25. I used to do a lot of Ketamine recreationally. I have a theory that the ketamine is a causing factor for young women who aren't overweight but have gallstones. Anyone else think this rings true?
The attacks are mostly mild and don't happen frequently. The first one I had was the worst but it hasn't happened that bad again. I would hate to be pregnant and have to deal with severe attacks so I'm thinking of getting the gallbladder out to prevent this from happening. For me my hormones set them off (had to go off the pill). But I also hate the idea of invasive surgery with significant complication statistics.

TASHA's picture

I m TASHA from U.S.A,My ex lover now [husband] is back and we are happily married with kids and i m here to gave thanks and appreciation to Dr IRABOR the spell caster of iraborspelltemple@gmail.com for all the time He stood by me,for all the truth He make me see,for all the happiness He brought into my life,for all the wrongs He make right,for every of my dreams He make come through and for the help i found in Him,i am grateful and thankful unto Him,He was the one that helped me all,He never let me fall,He was the one that saw me through it all,He was my source of strength when i was weak,He was my voice when i couldn`t speak,He was my eyes when i couldn`t see,{spiritualy}He saw the pain wasn`t good for me,He lifted me were i couldn`t reach,i m everything i m today because He helped me,i m so happy my husband is back in my life at last,His email is iraborspelltemple@gmail.com,A temple were sorrows are dropped and happiness is gain in return.

Pat's picture
Hi, I certainly know what you are going through. I have been having some of the same symptoms you have been having and have had the experience of going to the emergency room twice. I have had multiple tests done to try to find my problem. My family doctor believes that my problem is my gallbladder; however, this has been impossible to confirm even with a HIDA scan that turned out normal a couple of weeks ago. I am scheduled to go to Duke Hospital in Durham, NC at the end of this month. I am hoping that they will be able to confirm a diagnosis of what I believe my problem is, a malfunctioning gallbladder. I think insurance companies want assurance that the problem is, in fact, my gallbladder before they will agree to pay for gallbladder removal surgery. I have read some posts stating that some insurance companies will agree with the recommendation of a doctor to remove the gallbladder even without positive results of a test showing a gallbladder problem. I also read that someone got sick after the second part of the HIDA scan, but the test itself did not confirm a gallbladder problem. Because the person became sick during the second part of the HIDA scan test in which they inject the CKK hormone to make your gallbladder contract, their particular insurance company accepted this as a reason to approve of her surgery to remove her gallbladder. Be sure to tell your doctor who is ordering your HIDA scan to order the second part of the HIDA scan, not just the first part. My doctor for some reason did not order this second part of the HIDA scan test which I think would have possibly shown a problem with my gallbladder. I hope things go well for you. Keep pursuing the doctors about your problem. God Bless!
Adrian's picture
I just had my cholecystectomy 4 days ago. Just responding to your comments about feeling the gall bladder poking out. I had felt my gall bladder poking out for a few years. I had gone to see my doctor, she ordered ultrasound and the result was non-conclusive. It didn’t cause me much pain (unless during an attack) but I kind of always felt something. I know its kind of wierd because you are not soppuse to “feel” your organ but I did. Now with my gall bladder gone, I do not have that buldging feeling anymore. I am receovering from the surgery but other than that , everything is fine. BTW, I was pretty scared about putting to sleep too. However, with my recent gall bladder attack, I would have risked “anything” to get that pain off me!
Terry's picture
Yes, a swollen Gall Bladder can be felt, it kinda pulsates even.
Larena's picture
I also am deathly afraid of being put to sleep I don’t think so much that I won’t wake up but from what I heard is a lot of people throw up after they wake up and to me that is the worse thing in the world. I have been having gallbladder attacks since I was like 10 years old. I am 31 now and am currently having one now. That is why I am online reasearching about the surgery.
frenchie's picture
Sorry to tell you that i have the same attacks, thought it was GERD, or Reflux, i was operated 15 years ago for intense reflux and thought it was back, but the pain is different and almost always heavy in the middle of the chest, when the attack happens both my arms especially in the shoulders hurt, my blood preassure goes way up, my heart races and its like someone is shoving a knife in the middle to left middle of my back. I am going in for a scan to verify whats up, however this link all but tells me that i have a gallblader issue, especially now that i have learnt that my mother had hers removed 2 months after i was born. up to now knock on wood, i take light meals, no eggs, nothing fatty or grilled, the meals are very low in everything including taste but it works, lots of orange juice, oatmeal for breakfast with a banana, and a cup of joe and i have been doing great. If i go for steak or hamburgers, i will pay the price, hopefully i can flush it out, it all started after i went on a two month all protein shack diet, had to quit the pain was so severe and having the runs so bad. The supplier of the protein stuff told me to hang in their everyone goes through this as the body gets used to it, so my answer is this is probably what started my issues, so be carfull what you eat and seek good medical advise..
erica's picture
hey i know exactly how you feel- i knew something was up last year and i had it narrowed down to gallbladder just by comparing symptoms on the internet i told the dr. i thought that that was what it was but unfortunatley i to like you was pregnant this go around i had the worst all day “morning sickness” and took diclectin faithfully for about 6 mos and truth be told i just really didn’t eat it felt better not to. In the last trimester i had an attack and i was fortunate enough to have had an appt. the next morning with a maternal hematoligist who test my bile salts which were extremely high, i then became diagnosed with cholestasis of pregnancy and was monitored very closely. My daughter is now 2mos old and i recently had a 36hr attack and made to trips to the er. the first night they hooked my up to ivs and said we’ll book an ultrasound and scope in the next couple of weeks then sent me home- at home was in so much pain i was rolling around on the floor hyperventilating- next am stilll in excrutiating pain went back to er- lucky my dr was on call he took one look at me crying and ordered an x-ray and an ultrasound for next am and a whack of bloodwork- where my liver enzymes were elevated- and ultrasound showed gallstones and inflammation- spent a week at hospital -liver enzymes never normalized- wound up back in hospital after only3 days-with an attack and chest inflammation from the medication- met with the surgeon this past monday to sign my life away and now have to wait to see a hematologist i just hope i see them and get this rectified before another attack- my advice as soon as this pregnancy is over jump on your dr. and if her won’t do anything find one that will
Sonya's picture

I have been going through many of the same symptoms and had all the same tests done. I have a nasty case of gallstones and im supposed to see a specialist and then a surgeon in the next few months. My dr prescribed Buscopan. Its not great but it reduces the severity of my attacks. I take t3's for the pain but i may as well be popping mand m's for the good they do me. I also have crohn's disease and epilepsy so im limited on what medications i can take. The buscopan does help somewhat though.

Diarbe's picture

I would love to talk with you about his Alan.... if you have the gall. You seem not without Gall. You are not gallness, but with gall.... Anyway we'll chat at leas with some kind of humour.

AnonymousJc's picture
Did you ever find out for sure if this was your gallbladder? I have exactly the same symptoms and am hoping to hear you got better!
AnonymousJc's picture
I feel better when I throw up. I have the exact same symptoms. My hida scan was at 0%, and a second hida came back at 50%. I also found out I have celiac. Being gluten free has helped somewhat but not much. Did you find out what was wrong with you? are you better?
Linda's picture
I am having the exact symptoms you describe. I had a killer migraine for 5 days, neck pain and I had an ultrasound yesterday and still waiting for results. I don’t want to have my gallbladder out either. I had my last attack 5 years ago and they found just sludge.
molly's picture
I’m almost begging you - read Andreas Moritz’s book “The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush”. She could get pain relief by grating a beet with juice from 1/4 of a lemon and a bit of olive oil. Eat a tablespoon every hour or so. Also check out the website “Gallbladder Attack” for some natural products and advice. Please do that.
Sara's picture

Well I don't understand why you have to wait that long just to get an ultrasound test. I am in Ontario and my doctor referred me to the ultrasound clinic and I had the test within a week. I would also like to point out before you blame our healthcare system, look at the posts above from Americans who can't have the surgery because they don't have insurance. I'd rather wait six weeks than live with this pain until I die. Not that I think our system is perfect!!

Kathryn's picture
I live in New Zealand and had to wait over four months, obviously a different country but I think healthcare is a fairly universal problem. By the time I got the scan the attacks had stopped and I very nearly didn’t go, I was that convinced that I must have passed any stones and it was all over. Thank God I did still get the ultrasound and found that I had two huge gallstones and a fatty liver. Now my problem is what do I do about it? Do I take the Doctors advice and get it taken out or do I try and deal with this naturally and see if that helps? Just so terrified of aggrivating things and bringing the pain back.
Sunni's picture

Depends on the hospital, some will send you home to schedule an appointment with your doctor, and then wait weeks to get in for an ultrasound (this happened to me), or a few will do like yours -get you in right away. Chances are you are in the US and have insurance. Alot of us don't. (like me). So we wait and eat oatmeal, peeled apples, bananas, Uncle Bens brown rice (not the 90 sec one with cannola oil) and potatoes and carrots. No oil, no butter/margarine, no peanut butter or other nut butters, no fried foods, no animal products, no store bought prepared foods, no onions, no pepper, no ginger (I was told that would help my nausea - but I just got worse and worse. Then I drink lots and lots of water to calm my stomach down. That has seemed to help. Also trying to do some walking. Doing a little better now, but this is a very limited diet and I long for something more.

Finally got my ultrasound done yesterday and waiting for the results. Was told it will take a week to get the results!

Lindsey's picture

I just had an ultrasound done. Been having gallstone symptoms for 6 months or so. i have never had any real bad attacks or anything. sometimes ill get the sharp pains on my right side but it only lasts seconds. i get the bad gas and burps now and then. lol and i get that heavy feeling on my side. and ive been nauseus at times.   My doctor says the only way to totally get rid of the problem is to get your gall bladder removed. which makes me so nervous. i even mentioned to him that i heard people who got their gall bladder removed still showed symptoms and had problems. he just said that that is very rare. The thought of it scares me so much. Im just waiting for the call back of my ultrasound results.. hope its not too bad or anything. this has put so much stress on me. scared to eat and always thinking the worst. Like my gall bladder is going to rupture. lol.. just want to be normal! dont like having to live in fear and worry.. i have also read about several kinds of gall stone flushes and i really want to try them but kinda scared to. i wanted to ask my doctor about it but he was so stuck on having to get it removed. feeling a little discouraged… feel like either way im going have problems. i want to try anything i can before i feel like the only choice i have is to get it removed. ugh help.. lol  

Eliza's picture
Hello there. I just wanted to let you know that vomiting helps me feel better.
Danica's picture

About a month and a half after having my daughter I started to get these pains and I went to the doctors and she sent me for an ultrasound sure enough I have gallstones I go for surgery in a couple weeks the only thing that has helped me is 1 tblsp of apple cider vinegar and lots of pure apple juice nothing from concentrate it works really well within 20 min or so the pain should be gone, my pains would last 2-3 days but try it and it may work for you like it did me :)

Meme's picture
My pain started about July of 2011. I didnt know wht was goibg on,all I knew was this pain on my upperside near or behind my rib cage, I started burping alot and passing gas. I went on thinking I wouldnt have any more symptoms after it was over with. Well low and behold another attack happened in August. This time I was throwing up and that seemed to have help ease my pain. But again a month later same thing. This is December and my insurance does not kick in until January of 2012. I will take heed to wht ive read from u guys because the one I had last night made me not even want to eat. I been drinking water all day. Im scared to eat. But again I will look at gtn a cleanser and drink apple juice and watch wht I eat until I go to the doctor.. This pain is no joke. I dnt wish this on no one.
Diane Hamilton's picture

I know your post is from 2009 but I experience the same thing. I have had that upper gut pain and at times have gone beyond nausa to having to force my self to vomit to get rid the intense pain  in my upper stomach. It hurts when I press on my right side inder the  ribe cage. For most of my life I have had panic attacks off and on since 22. I'm now 53.  What it all means I don't know. I'd like to know how you made out with your situation.

Be well!



shalon's picture

1.  Unless your gallbladder is infected or about to rupture YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE YOUR GALLBLADDER REMOVED!

2.  There are many natural ways to treat gallbladder issues.. Most importantly DIET.

3.  Gallbladderattack.com  has many resources to help

4.  I found during an attack  Drinking 1tbsn epsom salt in unfiltered apple juice every 30 minutes untill pain stops.  Also Apple cider vinegar and help with the acid that backs up into the stomack

Hi, I am 33 year old femail.. I started having attacks after my 30th birthday.  With all the symptoms everyone has described.  I managed to avoid attacks by watching my diet.. avoiding bad fats and adding good ones (Flax oil, olive oil, coconut oil, Avocado)  

I then saw someone for Homeopathy and the one treatment  allowed me to eat anything and not have an attack untill 2 years later… I am now back to sqaure one.. I know now diet is the best possible answer as well as taking supplements to help the gallbladder work better.   

Best of luck to all of you in your journey to a pain free healthy life




Kathryn's picture
I had the throwing up as well. It all started about two years ago for me. If I ate rich fool I would wake up in the night with really bad stomach pain, thought at the time it was just my body “complaining” about what I had eaten. Over time the attacks increased in frequency, from one night a month to the point when it was every night all night. I was so tired and drained and miserable, had rashes on my eyes and eyes were swollen and painful. Just as I thought it couldn’t get worse it went from all night to 24 hrs a day, non stop. I had the vomiting every time, and like you it was never food just bile, it got to the point when I would just make myself vomit to get it over and done with, the sooner I was sick the sooner I would start feeling a little better. As a result of the vomiting I had bad sores like burns around my mouth and felt like It was just too much. Finally I had one bad episode then for some strange reason I haven’t had it back again (thank God!) I’ve been and had an ultrasound and I have two big stones in my gallbladder, and some scaring and debris (apparently bile and other stuff, the doctor didn’t really go into detail) My Doctor has said that my gallbladder has to come out but the more I google this subject the more I read that surgery is not the best option and that I sound try alternative remedies first. My liver is also not good (fatty liver) and I have to get this sorted soon. I want to look at doing a liver and gallbladder cleanse but I am terrified that this may bring the pain back, I’ve not had any bad episodes for about 1.5 months and am honestly terrified of doing something that will aggrivate it and bring it back, I really couldn’t go through that again, was popping pain killers like they were lollies for a few months.

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