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!


Shauna's picture
Shauna on August 6, 2007 - 18:09 Permalink

I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments. I had my gallbladder removed by LAP 5 days ago. I am amazed how much better I feel each morning. I only had 3 attacks before I had my surgery but that was more than enough to convince me that the “little monster” had to come out.
My father passed away 2 years ago at the young age of 58 from a massive heart attack. I truly thought I was having a heart attack when I experienced my first gallbladder attack that lasted from about 12:30 am until around 6:00 am. I saw my family doc later that morning and she immediately suspected my gallbladder. (by the way, if you suspect you are having a heart attack, NEVER wait. Call 911 immediately! That was just plain stupid of me and THANK YOU, GOD that my problem was just my gallbladder!) She scheduled my sonogram for the next morning and I was seeing a surgeon 2 weeks later. It was a long 2 weeks as I suddenly was eating almost nothing but my surgeon was able to schedule my surgery 2 days after seeing him. I have never even had so much as stitches in my life so I was very, very scared of the surgery but all the research I did during my two weeks of waiting just reinforced my confidence in my surgeon. The percentage of having more gallstones form after the gallbladder removal is so much smaller than the fact that more stones will form and more attacks will occur with the gallbladder still intact.
I have not had any pain in the 3 small incisions in my side. The belly button incision has been painful but it significantly gets better everyday. I do not do well with anesthesia (sp?) so I vomited for about 12 hours after surgery which probably contributed a lot to the pain in my belly button and ribs area.
I started out eating very, very lightly in the beginning due to my upset stomach. I have worked up from water and Jello to pudding, scrambled eggs, and spaghetti with just a teeny, teeny amount of spaghetti sauce on it. (Just enough to convince me that I wasn’t eating plain noodles.) I did have a little indigestion last night, probably from the spaghetti sauce, but nothing like what I experienced before the surgery. I have even had 1/2 cup of coffee today (I missed that more than any other food!) without any problems.
I am wondering if anyone else has had the LAP surgery and if they feel it was a success. I would also like to know if they have noticed any problems since such as still not being able to eat certain foods, other health problems, nutrition issues, etc.
I have definitely learned my lesson on treating my body as the Lord’s temple. I am very careful of what I put in my mouth, am researching various diets that will teach me good, healthy habits and am planning on starting an exercise routine as soon as my dr. gives me the go ahead.
I am praying for each of you and hope you will find relief soon by whatever method is best for you. God Bless!

Jennifer's picture
Jennifer on March 18, 2015 - 20:35 Permalink

I had this surgery 25 years ago. After suffering for 6 months they finally figured out that I had gallstones. Once the surgery was complete I immediately felt better. Took a while to get back to eating normal but have been fine ever since.

Jackie M's picture
Jackie M on August 7, 2007 - 11:43 Permalink

I have been experiencing the same pains for a year now, on and off. Since Dec 06 attacks have increased steadily to thepoint where I am now getting them every three o four days. Finally went to my Doc last week who says the most likely culprit is gallstones. She’s booked me in for a ultrasound to confirm, but she’s pretty assured of her diagnosis. She’s mentioned surgery too.

So, been doing lots of research on the Internet on what I should expect, which is how I found your blog.
While I wait I still have the attacks to deal with, but I am doing the same as you — as soon as I can feel an attack coming on I go lie on the bed and begin controlled breathing. That’s all I focus on, streadily breathing in and breathing out. I don’t know if it makes the attacks any shorter but I find that if I don’t panic, I can deal with the pain better.

I am just worried about my family afterwards — since I do all the washing, ironing and cleaning (my husband does the cooking bless his heart), I have no idea how they are going to cope with finding clean shirts and socks etc! Guess I’ll just have to iron a shed-load of clothes before I go into hospital!!

Well, I hope your op went well and that you’re recovering as you should. I’ll check back to see how things pan out for you.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Dee's picture
Dee on August 19, 2007 - 10:01 Permalink

Thanks all for your stories… they sound remarkably like my own. After having suffered with these terrible pains for the past 12 years, with no help from the Dr’s I thought I would do some of my own research into the matter. The only thing that I’ve ever been told by the medical profession is ‘well at least you know it’s not lifethreatening if you’ve had the symptoms for so long’! Yeah, I spose I can be thankful for that, but the pain is excrutiating at times I’m barely able to take solace in that diagnosis. I have had numerous tests to try and figure out what the problem could be — ultrasounds, laproscopy, etc, but all have come back clear. The only test I haven’t had done is the camera up the back end one (sorry — can’t remember what that one is called), and I’m not sure that I would benefit from this, but I do find that my bowel movements change after an attack, particularly if it has been one that has lasted for a few days. I have never been able to pinpoint anything in my diet that brings an attack on though — you know, sometimes I’ll get it if i eat ‘this’ but then other times when I eat the same thing, I get no symptoms. It’s just so frustrating and painful, I feel for you all. I just wish I could figure this thing out and put an end to it… I might not be dying, but surely there is something to be said for ‘quality of life’ *shrug*

Mar's picture
Mar on December 3, 2007 - 18:02 Permalink

This posting helped me a lot. It’s pretty much the same story as me. Doctor at first told me it was acid reflux and put me on Nexium. It does nothing for me. I have an ultrasound booked tomorrow and I’m sure it will come out that it’s a gallbladder problem. I have way too many attacks to have it be acid reflux. One night I ended up in the hospital on IV pain meds because it the pain was so bad. I only started having these attacks after delivering my twins. Not sure if the pregnancy caused it to be more irritable. Oh well, whatever it is, I hope it gets fixed soon!!

Charlie's picture
Charlie on December 5, 2007 - 15:29 Permalink

I feel as though I’m in the company of friends, but frankly, you lot, I’d rather we had met under better circumstances. Here’s my story. I met with an MD in early October for treatment of sudden-onset, chronic constipation that started in June. I could only go once every week or so. Lots of pain in my lower left ab — duh, the colon was all full and, I guess, backed up. He said “Gall Bladder” at that first meeting, but first wanted to rule out obvious things — so we scheduled a colonoscopy a couple of weeks later. Two days later, in early Oct, I had my first “GB attack”. It was very reassuring to read that’s how all of you refer to it. It lasted two days, GROWING in intensity. I frantically called the MD, to find that he had left for the weekend. I went to the ER, where they were so backed up that they didn’t even TRIAGE me for 2 hours. The H*** with that, I could be sick and in pain just as well at home as in the ER waiting room. It finally went away, and I was left sore for the next day, as though I’d been pummeled in the stomach. Every two to four days after that for the next couple of weeks, attacks lasting 8 hours or so, mostly waking me up out of a deep sleep. debilitating, especially trying to account for myself at work, as well as the after-effects. Sometimes vomiting brought some relief — food from my dinner 8 hours before, NOT digested. I had had some pretty large ulcers a couple of years ago, and although this pain was not exactly like the higher-up ulcer pain I remembered, it was lower, coming in waves like labor contractions, when the time came for the colonscopy, I asked for the endoscopy too. Might as well look in there too while I was out. Turned out the colon was clear, but I did have another ulcer — not h.pylori. Hmm the ulcers two years ago weren’t h.pylori either. The MD decided to do the GI follow-through and the sonogram, both negative. I had gone to an almost completely veg diet, no spicy food, no caf, no alcohol. Just the thought of citrus made me shiver. When I blew it, giving in to one craving or another, every 4-8 days, the attacks were fairly predictable. I had been an atkins person — and no, I didn’t eat a lot of fat, just avoided non-veg carbs in order for it to be effective. Unfortunately on the new veg diet, the pounds started to come ON, contrary to what I’ve been reading here. I had blood tests showing slightly elevated liver functions. Did the HIDA scan, which finally showed less than 10% functionality of the GB. Over the years, I’ve lost the appendix and tonsils, am ready to chuck this other mal-functioning organ that I now loathe. Question for everyone, and one I’ve not heard mentioned elsewhere. I have noticed as my gallbladder disease “progresses” that if I lie on my right side, in bed at night, I’ll almost certainly have a GB attack. I can feel it start to swell, and throb, and then it starts aching, then the pain in the middle between the ribs, then the left side, then the right back under the shoulder, then the waves of contractions through the ab, always with the pressure/pain right side under the ribs. Same thing happens more slowly when I lie on my back. Lying on the left side is fine for the GB. When I wake up and realize my sleeping faux pas and roll over to the left side, praying I’ve caught it in time, I feel/hear the gurgling as (I guess) it drains, and the pressure drops, and the pain diminishes. This is almost ok, except… I’m an heriditary reflux problem person, many in my family have it, and for years got relief from night-time reflux, especially while pregnant, by lying on my right side. If you look at the anatomy of the stomach, it DRAINS into the intestine to the right, so by rights (hee) if you’re on your right side, the stomach acid should go OUT the proper way and not be as, um, tempted to go back UP the esophagus. Lying on the left, the stomach acid would kinda pool over on the left side and if you’ve got a hiatial valve issue (hand waving!) out it seeps or squirts into the esphagus. So, I’m up a tree now, because I’m NOT a face sleeper, sleeping on the left side makes me feel the lump in the throat and the burning in the center of my chest, on my back and right side I have a GB attack. Many are the nights I’ve spent in the tub of hot water, where all acid or alkaline is somehow mysteriously calmed (I guess). I mean, what else are you going to think about during those long, tormented hours? Aside from “Is it time to get out of the tub and dry off enough that I won’t slip on the floor as I head for the toilet, AGAIN?” One more question, I know this is long: Is there a relationship between gallbladder issues and ulcers? Is it possible the sludgy gall that builds up in and may occasionally be released from a diseased gallbladder is so concentrated that it may actually burn the stomach or duodenum if it splashes up there, and cause an ulcer? It’s a strong alkaline, right? So, acid-pump inhibitor meds for ulcers, IF they are the 10% of ulcers not caused by H Pylori, may actually work against the body, making the acid environment stomach less able to defend itself against alkaline gall? Food for thought. Sorry bad pun. I’m getting mine out after the xmas singing season, if I can wait that long. Good luck everyone, thanks for the apple juice tip, I’m going to try it.

Michael's picture
Michael on January 4, 2008 - 20:12 Permalink

I don’t understand that if you learned how to manage the pain through diet then why did you decide to have the organ removed? Did you go through with the surgery? Did you gain your weight back? Is everything wonderful now?

I’ve been told I have to remove mine but I’m doing what you did and trying to manage the attacks through a better diet… But I’m going to try and keep the offending organ in me as long as I can.


Mike's picture
Mike on January 6, 2008 - 16:06 Permalink

I’ve spent the last few weeks googling “gallbladder” trying to get more information and reading these posts has been great and very comforting.

In November I got a sharp pain in my right ribs which I attrubuted to a muscle pull. I had a similar pain in July which lasted a week but went away so I assumed this one was the same. Was I ever wrong!

What started out as a pain in my side worked its way to a pain up my right side and also in my back. Unlike most posts I’ve seen about gallbladder attacks — my pain is always there. It usually hurts in my ribs in the morning and then moves up my side or in my back. It does get worse at times but since I’ve given up eating a lot of foods it is less likely to be severe.

I’ve had lots of blood-work and xrays (kidneys, ribs and chest) and all have been negative. My next test is an Ultrasound on my gallbladder. I’ve been waiting a month and only another 2 weeks to wait. Then I have an appointment with a specialist — 3 months away. I don’t know if I can take the wait.

Its not so much the pain (but I can do without it) but its the not knowing what my problem is which is concerning. Hopefully something will showup in the US. However, given that I don’t have “attacks” I’m thinking I’ll need the Hida scan to properly diagnose my problem.

Leading up to when I first started having the constant pain I did notice increasing discomfort from eating red meat. Initially I blammed it on the Montreal steak spice but after I cut that out I still had the problem, I realized it was probably the meat. I’ve always had a problem with flatulence and bloating from certain foods but I’ve controlled that by avoiding really greasy food. Now that I’ve given up eating just about everything I used to enjoy that is under control… but now the weight is falling off me (15 lbs in 7 weeks)

I’d really like to hear from others who have had similar symptoms as me.

(1) pain in right ribs — actually behind them but not below them.
(2) pain up right side
(3) pain in back but not between shoulder blades
(4) can’t sleep on right side or back or if I do I will pay for it. When this happens I’m forced to sleep sitting up for a while before I can lay on my left side again.

Thanks in advance for replying.

Joy's picture
Joy on January 29, 2008 - 17:22 Permalink

So glad I stumble on this website. The comments are very helpful. I was given Nexium also after a negative endoscopy. Dr. suspected reflux. It has helped the constant pain in my stomach. Attacks have been extreme pain in the stomach only after eating SOME greasy foods. Ultrasound was normal. I go for a hidiscan Friday. Not sure I want to lose the gallbladder. I know there is the possibility of having more pain and getting an infection. I will be discussing with doctor the detailed pros & cons of surgery. Thanks again for this site.

Suzanne's picture
Suzanne on January 31, 2008 - 23:45 Permalink

i am horrified to see people getting their gallbladder removed. the surgeons never trll you, you may get diabetes, cancer or both, after removal. Fortunately, there are 2 supps on the market to replace one’s gallbladder function. I don’t knoe if I am allowed to recommend them, and or give you a phone no. etc

SARAH's picture
SARAH on April 8, 2008 - 05:47 Permalink






Amy's picture
Amy on May 4, 2008 - 23:48 Permalink

I have found great comfort in reading everyones posts. My first gallbladder attack was Dec. 20,2007 after eating pizza two nights in a row and mexican for lunch. I didn’t go to the ER since my dad was in for Christmas he gave me some prescription pain killers and I called the doctor for nausea meds. A few days later I conceived unknowingly and had another terrible gallbladder attack. I thought I was having a heartattack and the nurse told me to go the the ER over the phone. I was severe nausea, dizziness, and extreme pressure in my chest where I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I ended up calling an ambulance since I was alone with my kids and my husband was an hour away. I thought I was fixing to die right there.

At the hospital they ended up telling me I either had an anxiety attack or a gallbladder attack all the while pregnancy tests came up negative. Nothing was wrong with my heart, lungs, etc. They did see sludge and later on at the OB doc a stone in my gallbladder. So I go home with anxiety meds, pain meds, nausea meds, and heartburn meds. I was miserable for the next 10 days on all this medicine. I find out I am pregnant and get off some of it except the heartburn meds and nausea meds when needed.

I tried to alter my diet by eliminating fatty foods. The longer my problems went on the less I could eat. The surgeon and OB doc didn’t want to take out the gallbladder if possible. IF they had to around 18weeks gestation is optimal. I tried to cure this by eating the stuff on the websites. You just can’t gain weight by only eating what these lists say.

Before I had it taken out I had about 12-14 gallbladder attacks and went into surgery weighing 105lbs at 19wks pregnant. The month before it was taken out I could only get down around 700-900 calories a day. My stomach felt like the size of a golf ball and most of what I ate felt like it was going to come right back up. I stayed on Zofran for 2months. I ate alot of oatmeal and apples and banana/strawberry smoothies. Milk and dairy and red meats gave me most of my attacks. I also got attacks from too much white flour/white sugar products. It is a miracle I didn’t lose but one pound since I was 103lbs prepregnancy.

It is now 11 days post surgery and I have felt the best the last two days. I finally stopped taking Zofran for nausea, my appetite is definitely better. I can finally breathe better. When I woke up from surgery I was still nauseated but the chest pressure was gone. I still have to take Zantac for heartburn but this may be both gallbladder and pregnancy related.

I don’t wish the last 4 months of misery on anyone. I hope this gives someone else some comfort. Thank God it is out and hopefully the next four months of my pregnancy I can gain weight and be excited about the little life growing within me.

If you have surgery give yourself 10 days before expecting to feel too much better. Take eating slowly since your digestion is still not where is needs to be. God Bless!!

John's picture
John on May 11, 2008 - 16:17 Permalink

Your story is an exact duplicate of my husband’s, he goes in two days for his surgery which has been re-scheduled three times due to more important surgeries. This has been going on for over 2 years, he has been perscribed every acid blocker on the market for his supposed acid-reflux or what they then called “GERD”. Finally, finally they did an ultrasound, but it was all too little too late as 3 months ago he ended up in hospital for 5 days as his gallbladder became infected…it was pain, pain and then more pain. He is a mere shadow of his former self, it is hard not to be critical of the system, we are trying to be just thankful he is getting the surgery even if it took this long!! So good to read your story, and your lessons learned.


LPA's picture
LPA on August 8, 2008 - 18:44 Permalink

Wow — your story sounds just like mine. Thanks for the courage to share it and to help me figure out what the heck is the matter with me.

Eri's picture
Eri on September 17, 2008 - 03:03 Permalink

Thank you all for your stories. I am in my thirties, vegetarian and lead a very healthy lifestyle. I am also always in pain, lower back and abdominal cramps and burp constantly (which would have been unheard of behaviour for me last year.) The list of foods that I am unable to tolerate continues to grow, to the point where I feel as though not eating is easier than suffering after a meal. I have lost 10 pounds over the course of a year, despite having to forfeit my run frequently because of abdominal cramps. For the first time last month I exclaimed ‘I wish I could just eat something, anything and feel okay after it.’ I always attributed my pain to IBS but after vomiting all night about a month ago, I paid a visit to the doctor. The ultrasound concluded gallstones. I now feel more confident with the diagnosis having seen my experience mirrored in so many others’.

Ali's picture
Ali on September 23, 2008 - 15:28 Permalink

Hi everyone!

I feel like I’m reading entries from my food diary. Here I thought I was going nuts “imagining” all these symptoms!!!

I’ve been where I am now for a least a year (my hubby says longer..), but am a healthy 33 female with no other medical conditions. Eri said it best…when you reach a point where you contemplate not eating for fear of the suffering after it.

As the list of food items I can no longer bear to eat grows EVER longer…and I’ve exhausted all OTC meds available my doctor prescribed Domperidone thinking I have a motility problem. I gave up on this one after 4 days since no relief was found and I started to have terrible acid reflux. UGH! Talk about frustrating.

I have been fortunate to date (touching wood) that I haven’t had an “attack” in the true sense of the word…I know I am heading that way.
Fingers crossed the ultrasound I had yesterday confirms my instincts and shows stones….Cause I’m tired of being told its IBS!!!

Does anyone know how the original poster did after his surgery????

S.'s picture
S. on November 21, 2008 - 22:35 Permalink

greetings…did you know that your gall bladder has a memory of it’s own? Even after having the “stones” broken up (laser) it will continue to form stones…interesting…also genetic stuff at work here…probably from many generations of allergies…i have been diagnosed with a gallbladder “full of calculi” for approx. 5 years,now…i was introduced(by a medical practisoner) to a “magic” little pill called “buscopan’…couldn’t have done it without that and a modified diet…do ask your dr. about it…you will have to keep an eye on the gallbladder,however, to make sure it’s ok….(more ultrasounds)…blessings & healing prayers….

Chris's picture
Chris on December 13, 2008 - 01:54 Permalink

First Attack 18 months ago —  one time thing and thought it was a combination of Beer Bread and Beer. 5 Attacks in the past month 3 in the past week. Proper diagnosis on the first shot from my doctor! Ultrasound, Hypobiliary, and a Cat Scan. Meeting with the Surgeon in two weeks. Pain similar to the descriptions above — extreme pressure in the abdomen and everything from the rib cage to my back was in pain for 4 — 8 hours so far each time. Stinks that it only occurs at night which is probably due to slowing down or a culmination of everything I have eaten today. Only relief so far has been extremely hot showers and baths. Medications have not done much so far. Lost 5 pounds in the past week on the positive side but am still figuring out what I can eat versus what I cannot eat. Having the beginnings of an attack right now so I am sucking down copius amounts of cranberry juice ( seems to help so far )

Best of luck to all and Merry Christmas

Chris in Bel Air Maryland

CARRIE's picture
CARRIE on January 1, 2009 - 04:54 Permalink

Wow — so great to read all of these postings as I am scheduled for gallbladder removal in a week. Luckily did not suffer as long as most of the people here. I am 36 and had a few heartburn attacks over the past year but was struck with horrible pain in my back and on upper right side of body and the most awful heartburn I’ve ever experienced, pain in my stomach that felt like there was a hole there, like it was hollow, it lasted 4 days straight about 3 weeks ago! Took double doses of xtra strength tylenol which I was shocked did not relieve the pain, all it did was make me really sleepy but was unable to sleep due to the pain. Tums and Pepcid did nothing, Mylanta helped a little. Doc gave me NEXIUM which completely took away the heartburn but the pain on the right side under the rib cage and under right shoulder blade would come and go. She also prescribed antispasmatic muscle relaxers specifically for the pain associated with IBD and gallbladder problems called BUSCOPAN- I never had to take them as the pain has not returned to that extent but thought I’d mention it for anyone who might want to mention it to their Doctor. Doctor ran lots of blood tests right away and freaked me out when she called me into her office as soon as she got the results to tell me my liver enzymes were extremely high and not to panic — yeah right! Then she tested me for everything under the sun that might cause really high liver enzymes (including all types of Hepatitis — that freaked me out!) and I went for an ultrasound. Within 2 days I was in the hospital having 3 stones removed from my bile duct through a scope — the stones were blocking the duct and I guess sending my liver into a panic which caused the really high liver enzymes in my blood! Luckily did not develop jaundice but did have chills and chalky stools (actually had chills and not much of an appetite for months prior). Anyway, surgeon says my gallbladder is full of gallstones so it is being removed. My grandmother had almost the exact same thing happen to her in the 70’s and I am grateful that they can now do this operation by laproscope rather than the huge incision under the rib cage.

I am on a very low fat, no caffiene (that was a tough one!), no alcohol, very limited lactose — mostly soy based products, no tomato based foods, no raw onions, non spicy diet and for the most part it is just fine. Also find eating very small meals helps a lot — I mean a small plate rather than a large dinner plate. Avoiding red meat (usually do avoid anyway). Seems to be working for me, have the occassional twinge of pain but that’s it.

I am going to ask my doctor to test me for Celiac disease (simple blood test) because I have been reading that people with severe gallbladder problems can have undiagnosed Celiac disease. My family carries the gene associated with Celiac and we do have a family member with it. It is also the gene that carries Crohn’s Disease which my father had a sudden and almost fatal onset of a few years ago, had most of his intestines and colon removed and the gene also carries cancer which we have had plenty of in my family (colon, breast, bone, blood and bladder cancers in my family) and colitis which we also have in the family. Just wonder if it’s all connected.

Oh I also read somewhere that if you have gallbladder problems, try to sleep on your left side as it seems to help due to the set up of the digestive system — I tried it and feel much more comfortable than on right side. Will be glad when this is over!!

Take care everyone and Happy New Year!

Karlyn's picture
Karlyn on January 3, 2009 - 08:26 Permalink

All these postings actually seem to help. I am 35 year old female. I was diagnosed with gallstones on December 9th. I woke up in the worst pain I had ever felt. The pain was under my rib cage and shot up to my right shoulder, which scared the hell out of me. I called 911 and the ambulance arrived quickly and they got me to the hospital quickly as well. My first attack only lasted a couple of hours but when I left the hospital that day I knew what was going on. I thought that knowing would make it easier to deal with but it hasn’t. I had my second attack on Boxing Day but I didn’t go to the hospital and I suffered through it. About four hours later I threw up and felt alot better. My third attack was this morning and I did go to the hospital after 2 hours of increasing pain. They made me comfortable until the attack ended (over six hours after it started) and then sent me home. I am waiting for an appointment to be made with a surgeon and I hope to have my gall bladder removed soon. The first symptons of my gall bladder problem was probably masked by the fact that I have bad acid reflux and take a perscription daily for it. My biggest problem right now is trying to find a meal plan that will work for me. The things listed in some of the posts have really helped. I need to know what are considered to be safe foods. I already know what the bad foods are but the safe foods are what I really need to know about. I just have a feeling that this is going to end up being one of the longest processes of my life. I have found the information listed here very helpful thank you.

Monica's picture
Monica on January 5, 2009 - 08:24 Permalink

Hi all, I’m so glad to have found this forum. I am a 35 yr old female who has been on GERD meds since my early 20’s. Over the last year, I started getting what I’d define as “really bad indigestion”, my attacks are more in the center, not the right side —can last from 2-8 hrs — sometimes puking, othertimes not. They have always occurred in the middle of the night. I have actually had these for quite a few years, but would get them, maybe once/twice per year. Then the last year or so, about every couple of months. up until october — now every couple of weeks — to the last month, every few days — worst and worst they come! Since october I also notice that I have a TERRIBLE taste in my mouth — all the time, does anyone else have this?? Nausea always a part of it too. I have been on Nexium now (was on Losec and ranitidine before) since Nov 2007 — had the scope of my stomach and just had the gallstones dx on Dec 15th by u/s. — am set to meet with my specialist this week on Thursday. I have had 3 attacks over Xmas season and I WAS being careful. I don’t know what to eat anymore — I am nauseaous with pretty much every meal (small meals) and coffee — I cannot stomach it at all—I’ve got some aversion going on with coffee the last 3 or so days???!! I thought coffee was suppossed to be good? LOL I feel for anyone going through this, the quality of life really sucks. As someone else has mentioned (more than one person actually) I have definitely learned my lesson on what to put into my body going forward — I didn’t have the worst diet in the world and I’m not overweight now — but I also didn’t have the greatest and did resort to too much in the way of fast food having a very hectic work schedule (lucky to get 15 min lunch hours) I will definitely be making changes going forward, in the meantime, I’m going to hope that the wait to get this organ outta me is short! Take care all!

nicole's picture
nicole on January 15, 2009 - 15:06 Permalink

i am only 16 nd i keep getting really bad pain in my chest so i went to the doc’s nd he felt my tummy nd he said he thinks it gallstone’s :( nd i kepted beening sick the other day do u think it is gallstone’s email me back nd let me no please nd if u do think it is do u think it wil get any worse then wot it is all ready ??? thanks x

Gerry Siegfried's picture
Gerry Siegfried on January 17, 2009 - 19:48 Permalink

I learned a lot about gallbladders after having read all the above messages! I think what surprised me most of all was how young most of you are. My gallbladder waited a long time (I am 87) before it caught my attention. I had been blaming my bad back (stenosis and scoliosis) for the pain in my shoulder blade the past year. The burping and bloating were a puzzle.

On 12/10/08 the pain in my shoulder and chest sent me to ER where I was diagnosed with a gallbladder problem. My condition worsened rapidly and I was moved to ICU. Surgery was scheduled for the next day.

After being prepared for laparoscopic surgery the surgeon checked my gallbladder with his “little camera” and discovered the organ was totally black. It was gangrene. Laparoscopic surgery was forgotten as a large incision was made below my ribcage and the gangrenous organ was removed. I am not sure what was done to cleanse the site but obviously it worked.

A month later I am home, regaining strength each day, and wondering why this happened in the first place. No gallstones or sludge were found and the surgeon cannot explain it. I thank God for each day. Gerry

sandra's picture
sandra on January 23, 2009 - 01:03 Permalink

I have been having symptoms foe the last 3.5 weeks, first with stomach pain and gas and a feeling of great fullness and nausea to the point I didn,t get off the sofa for days at a time. One night I woke up and was having a racing heart, a lot of constant pain in my stomach in the centre right under my ribcage with nausea. I was home alone as my husband works nights and I was so scared I was going to pass out I called 911. The doctor basically checked my heart and was not concerned at all about my stomach. In the pass three weeks I have been back to the ER, urgent care , my doctor (who said could be food poisoning HA HA)The one ER doctor the second time at least did blood work,took a urine sample, booked a ultrasound, and booked me a specialist to do a scope conc. Although I knew 4 years ago I had gallstones my doctor said they were large and likely not going to give me any problems. Ithen had another and my gallbladder is packed with them. The specialist for the scope said the symptoms I am having are typical smptoms and he feels the surgery will fix the symptom I am now having, with the discussion he also asked was this the first time I had been having stomach symptoms, I told him at the time of my first ultrasound 4 years ago I was having some stomach distresses and she did a few tests and ended up putting me on Losac(which I have been on for the full 4 years) The specialist was surprised that she had not referred me to a specialist many years ago already to try to find out why I had to continue on the Losec. My specialist thinks that 4 years ago my stomach symptoms may have already been gallbladder related and that I may be able to get fully off the Losec after its removal. I will be really annoyed if I find out that because of her lack of followup or thoroughness that I was stuck on an un-nesessary medication for 4 years. Anyway I lucked out and have my appt in a little over a week which is really great because usually people are having to wait for 3-4 months.

Shane's picture
Shane on January 24, 2009 - 20:09 Permalink

I have been suffering more than 10 years with what I know now is gall bladder disease. When I first started with symptoms I had an ultrasound and they found nothing and just sent me home saying that I had a bad heartburn attack. Due to insurance issues I switched doctors, and told the new doctor that I was having these attacks every 2-3 weeks. I also told him I had already had an ultra sound, so he thought I had reflux and prescribed Nexium.

It seemed to make it better for a while, because the frequency of attacks went down. I just figured they were reflux flare-ups and had to deal with it. But then 3 weeks ago I started having agonizing attacks every 3 days or so. So I went to the doctor, and we discussed it and he said that sounds like gall bladder disease and sent me for an ultra sound. And low and behold there was a monster stone in the duct! So now I am waiting for my consult with the surgeon and cannot wait for my surgery, so that I can be past this.

When I have attacks so of the things that help are:
Posture, I squat way down low and gently bounce on my toes. Seems to soothe things.
Beano and GasX pills

These may not help you but they seems to help me.

Susan's picture
Susan on January 26, 2009 - 21:33 Permalink

I was really happy to stumble onto this site and find so many others having similar frustrating (and painful!) experiences like I have had. I am killing time at home recovering from laparoscopic gallbladder removal that I had done 5 days ago. About two and a half weeks ago I started having deep, dull back aches on my right side that would get sharp stabbing pains in them. This happened in the middle of the day at work. I had no idea what was wrong, (thought maybe kidney stone?) but after spending a night in agonizing pain lying perfectly still in my bed on a heating pad that no pain medication I had would touch, I gave in and went to the ER. They felt around my abdomen and I was extremely surprised to find that up under my ribs on the right side was extremely tender (of course it started hurting here now too). After an ultrasound confirmed that I had several large gallstones and an enlarged common bile duct, the doc’s thought I had passed a stone, and the pain would now start settling down. I went home, still in pain, but relieved to know what it was. The only problem was that the pain didn’t go away at all. The percocet’s they gave me did nothing. 2 days later back to the ER. Repeat of previous visit. Sent home with pain meds. Fast forward 3 more days in agonizing pain and I returned to the ER where I was determined not to leave with a gallbladder. They admitted me and put me on the emergency surgery list and gave me lots of good pain meds in my IV while I waited. Two days later I had it removed laparoscopically. Although my surgeon visited me in my hospital room the morning after my surgery and said all went well, I was still in the kind of pain only morphine would help, unable to move, and still nauseous and vomiting from the GA. I begged not to be sent home but I was sent packing with nothing more than over the counter pain meds and was told that lap surgery wasn’t really painful and I’d be fine! I have now been home for 4 days and am starting to come around a bit, but definintely didn’t have the easy recovery that everyone else has talked about. Food still holds very little interest for me (you all know that once eating hurts you’re not really motivated to try it again!) but I’m trying slowly to get back to eating a nice, low-fat diet. Thanks for sharing everyone!

Jenny's picture
Jenny on February 9, 2009 - 00:25 Permalink

I’m so glad I came across these posts. I suffered a gallbladder attack on January 31st. Originally I just thought my stomach was upset. I was going to run a bath when the pain became excrutiating and I couldn’t stand up. I thought I was having a heart attack and got my son to call 911. At the hospital they did major blood work, cardio grams and nothing came out of it. They ended up giving me percocet for the pain which didn’t help. In the end they gave me morphine for the pain and then I slept like a baby. After I woke up, there was just a dull ache and they sent me home. On the Monday I was called for an ultrasound and then met with the doctor who then told me I have gall stones. She said that due to the size and number of them the gallbladder needs to be removed.
Surgery makes me nervous, but I received a message from the surgeon yesterday to call and make an appointment, so with wait times I’m not sure how long it wll take. I haven’t really been eating, because I’m afraid of what might set off an attack. I’ve got twins and I’d rather give birth again than have another attack.

Thanks for the posts everyone, it’s given me some information re: questions to ask the surgeon when I meet with her.

Good luck to you all.

Amber's picture
Amber on February 10, 2009 - 05:12 Permalink

Anyone have left-sided pain, had their gallbladder removed and experienced relief? I have all the classic symptoms of gallbladder problems except my pain is on the left side (upper left, near the center) of my abdomen. They also can not see stones on any of the 6 ultrasounds or in the CT scan I had. My pain has gotten so bad that I have been to the ER 4 times in the last year. Anyone else have a similar story?

Jess's picture
Jess on February 16, 2009 - 20:25 Permalink

Hi. I am a 20 year old female and was diagnosed with gallstones about 3 months ago!At first I had 2 or 3 severe attacks and pretty much have been ok since then, apart from feeling nausea a couple of days a week! Ive havent had any fatty foods in over 5 months,yet I still get the worst attacks ever! Im scheduled to get my gallbladder taken out, but on thursday night, the worst attack ever happened and ive had an attack every night since then with the worst pain ive ever experienced! Regardless of what I eat, whether i do eat, whether i dont eat, every night im in agony!! The pain across my back is the worst and nothing seems to help! Im not scheduled to get it removed for another 2 months, i dont know how i am going to go on like this.. has anybody else experienced attacks for a couple of days in a row? Im really scared that there is something else wrong! When im having an attack, it feels as if my chest area is about to burst open! What confuses me is that i dnt eat anything remotely fatty and my attacks dont happen until about 7 hours after whatever ive eaten! which is usually cereal or toast or something! I thought attacks were meant to take place quite soon after you had eaten? Can anyone help?
Thanks alot!!

Poppy's picture
Poppy on March 15, 2009 - 19:55 Permalink

Thank God I found this site!! Everybodys comments have been so comforting. Heres my story; I was sixteen when I first started having attacks. Im now 32, and still without a diagnoses. The pain is ABSOULUTLY UNBEARABLE!! It usually starts with indigestion, then the pain starts in my upper abdomen and radiates through to my back. I don t know how many times I have almost passed out from agony. I have three children at home, nd like some of you have said…I would rather go through childbirth anyday! The attacks seem to get wayyy worse when Im pregnant(which I currently am). My family doctor has advised me to go to the ER the next time it strikes, but Im so scared they are just going to say its IBS again, or acid reflux(which I already take medicine for). I feel so hopeless, nd have lost faith in the medical system to be honest. I have suspected my gallbladder for a long time, nd Im pretty sure I have had tests b4, but it came back *normal*. Everything hurts to eat…so tierd of the pain!

Robyn's picture
Robyn on March 16, 2009 - 02:10 Permalink

Hi. Thanks for all your comments. I have been diagnosed with both gallbladder (supposedly needs to come out!) and stomach ulcers. I have been put on Nexium that has mildly helped. Please tell me if there are any ‘natural remedies’ that work. I am keen to try anything rather than have my gallbladder out. I have heard of Pine Nut oil helping ulcers. Does this also help gallbladder problems? Anyone with any help? Thanks and good luck to all.

anita's picture
anita on March 17, 2009 - 22:12 Permalink

Hi, I am waiting for the gall bladder removal. I did work out through the causes of pain and after what food I am getting the pain on my own before the diagnosis and was later diagnosed through ultrasound that I have gall stones. I did have several of those attacks nd for me it is like my chest explodes with the same time really big back pain. like giving birth through the chest???? Once the onset of the pain, due to any of the fatty food I have taken, i will have pain after each meal for few days. today is one of that day, I am sitting at home having liquid food/barely any food or small portions of food till it subsedes. The pain usually starts when it is about to digest…so after 1-2 hr to till it digests. Vomiting usually helps. Then pain will go within 5-10 minutes of vomiting. Sometimes I will think I can probably get away with this food without problem and that sure will cause a series of epizodes of pain. All the best to everyone out there with this problem, and hope it will get better for all of you. Mean while avoid non fatty food and take food in smaller portions when going through the attaks and some times it helps when skipping a meal and later small portions of food can be eaten.

Shae's picture
Shae on April 16, 2009 - 14:51 Permalink

WOW I am so blessed to have stumbled accross this site… like many people have said it feels like im looking into a mirror reflecting my story too! I am 24, F, australia and though I was having a heart attack in october 08. I had been out to dinner, eating Indian food then topped it off with a chocolate fountain. So I woke up that night in the worst pain i had ever experienced and after 7 hours of pain, and my chest becomming tighter and tighter I went to hospital. They said it was probably gallbladder related but not to worry and come back if it happens again. I then went to the USA over christmas and the attacks came back — but this time not as bad as my first but lasted any where from 40mins to 9 hours. Once I landed back in Australia I booked in to see the doctor and yes I have a large amount of gallstone (too many to count) but they are really small like little grains of sand (maybe slightly bigger)so I then went on a fat free diet and have lost 10pounds and have seen the surgeon. They are ready to pperate when Im ready but i have been on a low fat diet since januiary and recently NOT so low fat and I have had NO attacks…. so im very encouraged by peoples stories of quick recovery after surgery and those of you who are sticking with the low fat diet…. hopefully the diet will be enough for me!
Thanks for all the posts — SO comforting!

Dave's picture
Dave on April 21, 2009 - 05:31 Permalink

Wow great web site. I was just surfing trying to get as much info as posible, cause in about nine hour I go for gull bladder surgery. And I must say you guys all really helped. Thanks so much.

Jenny's picture
Jenny on May 17, 2009 - 13:41 Permalink

Amm having a mild attack right now.. am on my fish and apple diet and drinking bottled rainwater. I will get some fresh pressed apple juice from the juice bar tomorrow.. yes, I have a juicer and I would reccomend half delicious apple and half green apple juice.

Fish stew 1 finely chopped onion, low-acid tomatoes roma (peeled thinly with serrated knife and finely diced), finely chopped cauliflower, finely chopped peeled carrot or pumpkim, baby peas (I use frozen), good qualitly ocean white fish (not oily like salmon), water (I use rainwater)

Put all the vegetables into a stainless steel pot with a little water and simmer until SOFT, let the mix reduce moisture but not become too dry (add abit more water if needed), add cut up fish (make SURE NO bones in fish) and simmer until fish cooked (doesn’t take long).

yes I am going to lose weight on this, but know from eating peeled fresh delicious apples and drinking apple juice, and having fish stew.. well it helps back off the attack becoming full blown..

If I had full blown attack I would sip apple juice, but if there is a stone in the bile duct it could cost you your life.. have to get medical treatment and surgery.. I am going to try some natural health products but won’t reccomend them until I know they do no harm..

Finally, lie on your left side with a pillow lodged under your right arm.. helps a bit too.. best to all,from Jenny

susan's picture
susan on September 20, 2015 - 17:22 Permalink

Hi, it's 2015 and your reply was years ago but I wonder if you found any natural remedy?
I've been in pain for years not knowing and then PAIN for a year and afraid of surgery and after effects. THANKS FOR ANYTHING YOU CAN SUGGEST XO

Christine's picture
Christine on May 24, 2009 - 03:28 Permalink

I was happy to find all you guys. I thought it was just me. I’m waiting for my dr to refer me to a surgeon, this pain is unbearable. I’ll try the apple juice & hot bath. How long are u under the anisetic? Does it hurt? I’m petrified.

Joe's picture
Joe on May 29, 2009 - 01:52 Permalink

Thanks for the information on this site, being the leader of the ‘cowards where doctors are concerned union’, I was very happy to read such positive results. I am still in the process of being diagnosed. I ended up in the out patients after attending a Doc with stomach pain and severe bouts of sweating after eating. They diagnosed Peptic Ulcer and put me on Omeprazole. I am intending to go back to Doc tomorrow as symptoms are still there with the added burden of sleeping most of the day and a fear of going about normal business.The pain on my right side is there constantly and when I lie down my right shoulder feels the pain. Many thanks again for all the shares

midsummerlight's picture
midsummerlight on July 30, 2009 - 05:16 Permalink

GREAT tips for how to feel better during the attack times. I have been in agony on and off for a month and it took me two weeks to seriously eat less (no problem in that pain), eat all low fat and blenderize a lot at the beginning. I also took lots of magnesium caplets and malic acid to help things move and the malic acid to soften the stones. Last two night I drank i tablespoon epsom salts in 1/4 c hot water and I am perfect now. I sincerely hope that if I keep on this new way of eating, I will never suffer again!

Denny's picture
Denny on September 4, 2009 - 06:05 Permalink

Im glad i found this site. About a month ago, I thought I was aving a heart attack and was at the ER. The doc said I had GERD, and gave me nexium. The nexium did nothing. A week later, I was back at the ER again with pains in the center of my chest. I have lost nearly 38 lbs now and can’t eat hardly anything but apples and drink gatorade or apple juice. Bread kills me for some reason and even 98% fat free turkey and chicken. Anyhow, after I eat, I feel a pressure under my right rib cage and center of chest…and then it radiates to my back….I start belching and feel a burning in my stomach. I have a god awful taste in my mouth and it appears to affect my eyes and sinuses and makes them very very dry. I also am very dizzy, and the back of my neck kills me. My anxiety is very bad from all this. I have had numerous tests done..CT of my chest, XRays, blood work to check for H. Plyori, and yesterday a barium swallow test. Everything showed up ok. I finally had to goto an urgent care place and told him it was my gallbladder. He pressed on my abdomen and you could see it was inflamed. I finally got an appt to have a HIDA scan to see if it is in my gallbladder to make sure…the ultrasound found no stones, but that doesnt mean there isnt nor if it is working properly. does anyone else have the symptoms I said? Im scared and been having bad panic attacks from this all, and Im about to take my gallbladder out myself! lol I hope I can hold on 2 more weeks…you can email me at demazzawvu@aol.com to help relive some of this fear, thank you

Denny's picture
Denny on September 4, 2009 - 06:09 Permalink

did anyone have a dry cough from all this?? Im pretty sure its my gallbladder, but I cant quit coughing

AmandaRud's picture
AmandaRud on September 12, 2009 - 09:17 Permalink

Eat lots of rice!! My gallbladder attacks aren’t like many others. Not only do I get the shortness of breath, the belching, the distended stomach, the diarrhea, but it lasts for almost 3 days at a time.

My gallbladder is diseased with no stones. My chest always hurts, I’m always popping pepcid. The heartburn is unbearable and I ALWAYS get attacks right before my period.

At one point in time I had a horrible pain in the backside of my head along with the sick stomach. I went to the doctor and it litterally felt like my skull was trying to eject from the back of my head, it was hard to describe. He wrote me a prescription for migraine meds. I tried to tell him it was pain and not a migraine and I started to cry telling him how the head pain and the stomach pain go together. He actually raised his voice to me! He thought I was a lunatic and only wanting pain meds.

Boy was he in for a shock when I refused them because I can’t tolerate pain meds!

My attacks are severe. It feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. Just recently, I was worried about having a blood clot in my leg because my left leg was so achey. It woke me up from my sleep. I am trying not to believe it’s from my gallbladder so I can rule out other causes. I may go to the ER and have a ultrasound on my leg. If there’s nothing there, I know what I can chalk it up to …

The only real thing that works for me is rice. I swear if I cook some steamed rice with soy sauce, I feel awesome. This is the only thing that has really ever helped me out. I try to eat rice twice a day to help with the pain. If I venture outside of rice, I really pay for it.

Has anyone else had any unusual symptoms? Like the leg pain? If so I would love to hear more about it. My email address is amandarud55@hotmail.com

Julie-Anne's picture
Julie-Anne on September 17, 2009 - 15:58 Permalink

I am overweight- 49 and have not always eaten a good diet- in spite of knowing better.
I had my gallbladder out 8 days ago. I couldn’t have been taken care of better in our Chilliwack hospital (in Canada) and I’m just so thankful I didn’t need the big op- which I feared greatly.I’m glad it’s done and I’m still breathing. I have spent the last couple of years trying every healthy alternate method, and I reluctantly gave in and agreed to the op. After finalizing a date for surgery, I then put it off for a year (through fear) but still had lots of mild attacks and a few severe ones. The operation went well, but the day after surgery was my worst- I threw up about 30 times. I still feel a little nauseous at times and the pain around my belly was the worst until 2 days ago when my right side started hurting. I felt like someone had kicked me hard. Thank goodness for T3s!! I’d had an umbilical hernia repaired years ago so my scar is a vertical one. I don’t know whether that interefered with the op and they had do redo my hernia. I don’t get to see the surgeon for another 6 days- which is the part I haven’t liked. I would like to have spoken with her about what wenton- just as a matter of interest.

I’m sure the Atkins diet exacerbated an already existing condition. I lost alot of weight then puton even more. Retrospectively, I’ve had gallbladder symptoms for years- even a naturopath had diagnosed my gallbladder to be faulty and advised me not to eat too much protein or fat. Of course I ignored him and was completely surprised a few years later when my problem was identified during my first vicious attack. ooh- there’s nothing quite like a gallbladder attack.
I’m interested in any post operative diet suggestions and also about the chance of developing cancer/diabetes. Yikes.
Also- what supplements can replace gallbladder function?
Thanks for all of your comments.

Pat's picture
Pat on September 18, 2009 - 08:47 Permalink

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!

Natasha's picture
Natasha on September 29, 2009 - 07:52 Permalink

I have been dealing with my gallbladder issues since I was 19. I am now 30. I am deathly terrified of being put to sleep. I feel like I will not wake up. Did any one else feel like this?? I just got home from the ER. I called 911 because I thought I was having a heart attack, which I’ve felt this way before. I can actually feel my gallbladder poking out. It feels swollen in there. The doctor says that, that is not possible but I’m telling you I feel it… Has anyone else felt that feeling before??

Maureen's picture
Maureen on November 6, 2009 - 04:53 Permalink

I’ve been interested in all the gall bladder postings since I’ve just had a serious problem with mine. Yes, gall bladders can rupture and it can be life threatening. I’m fortunate that when mine ruptured my body’s omentem (fat in the stomach) encircled my gall bladder, dulling the pain and preventing the infection from spreading to the bloodstream. This is something that the body sometimes does to prevent life threatening infection.
I’m 62 and was on a holiday when I had my first attack. Two nurses on the trip thought it was gall bladder. A few days later while still on the trip I had an excrutiatingly painful attack from which I never really recovered for the rest of the trip. The worst of the pain went away but I had a low-grade fever, fatigue and didn’t feel well. When I finally arrived home, I went to my doctor who didn’t think I was as sick as I thought I was. Finally I went to the ER. After an ultersound and then a cat scan immediately after, I had emergency surgery. But because of the inflamation and the fact that my gall bladder was intertwined with the intestines (because it had ruptured), the doctor couldn’t remove the gall bladder. All he could do was remove all the stones and drain my gall bladder which he said was the size of a small football rather than a thumb. I came to with four drainage tubes and after twelve days I went home with one tube still in. Now I have to have another surgery in five months or so to remove the gall bladder “when things have settled down.” Until then the drain will remain in. The next surgery, as the last, will not be laprascopy.

Adrian's picture
Adrian on November 9, 2009 - 01:33 Permalink

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!

harry's picture
harry on December 9, 2009 - 23:27 Permalink

hi .I had my Gallbladder removed 3 years ago,and every now and again I get the symptoms of a gall bladder attack eaccept i do not get the pains or the Diahrrea.just feeling so ill .any idea whats upsetting me

Terry's picture
Terry on December 11, 2009 - 22:14 Permalink

Yes, a swollen Gall Bladder can be felt, it kinda pulsates even.

Neringa's picture
Neringa on December 28, 2009 - 19:21 Permalink

I wonder if anyone of you ever heard of gallbladder cleanse. It worked for me wonderfully with no more pains or heavy feeling in the right side. I repeat the cleanse once in a while, whenever I feel that I tend to burp more often. It seems that removing gallbladder is far from an answer, since stones eventually form in the liver. Also life after removal is not really the same as before. Best health to all of you!