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Gallstones and low fat diets

(110 Posts)
chocaholic73 Mon 06-Aug-12 19:50:27

Have had gallstones for a few years. Following an agonising night a few weeks back, I ended up at A&E and had to stay in for a few days to be stabalised. They wouldn't remove the gall bladder at the time - said it increased the risk of bleeding as it was inflamed. I am now awaiting an outpatient appt which will then lead to a date to go back in for removal. In the meantime, I have been told to have a low fat diet - but that is the limit of the guidance I received. I have since read that too little fat can lead to the formation of additional gallstones so I am very confused. How much is the right amount? In the 2.5 weeks I have been home, I have lost about 4 pounds which is just about OK but I don't want or need to lose much more and I think if I carry on eating just what I have been eating the weight will continue to drop off. I am at the moment following the 5g in 100g rule but I am wondering whether I need to be quite that rigid. The bottom line is that I will do (almost) anything to avoid a recurrance of that horrendous pain while I wait for surgery! Those of you who have been there, will know what I mean. Any mumsnet guidance from people who have done this would be brilliant, or if there are any medical people, dietitians etc too.

BambinoBoo Mon 06-Aug-12 20:32:44

I waited for 6 months to have my gallbladder removed as i had a stone stuck in my bile duct and that had to be diagnosed then dealt with first. During that time, my diet was

Breakfast. Rice krispies and skimmed milk
Lunch lentil soup and rice cakes
Dinner jacket potato and beans.
Lots of water.

Every day, including through Christmas. sad . I did however, get lots of carbs which I think stopped me losing weight too quickly. I was losing 4lb per week at one point.

I couldn't tolerate anything. Absolutely no butter, cream, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, cheese, coffee or alcohol. I couldn't tolerate any fish or meat either but many can. If you do, stick with steamed cod or chicken or turkey. I hope you get your op soon as it really is a hideous illness. It's been 3 months since my bile duct was cleared and I had my gallbladder out and I feel like a totally different person. I can eat anything now too!

Also, keep an eye on your wee and skin. Sounds mad but if your wee goes brown and/or you notice a yellow tinge to your skin or eyes, get to a&e. It is a sign of a blocked duct.

chocaholic73 Mon 06-Aug-12 20:49:55

Hi Bambino - fortunately I don't need to be as rigid as you. The attack was triggered by some exceptionally high fat food - garlic bread, magnum etc all within a few hours!

pictish Mon 06-Aug-12 20:55:07

I am suffering a bout of delightful biliary colic as I speak. I've had three days of pain on and off, and am also waiting for a date for removal.

I have meds coming out of my ears. Man this is ghastly!

chocaholic73 Mon 06-Aug-12 20:57:02

you have my sympathy pictish. I think it the most horrendous pain ever ...worse than childbirth, toothache etc

Eating fat triggers a hormones that causes your gall bladder to contract. Therefore ideally you should avoid all fat, but you will know how much you can eat before the pain starts.

Eating high cholesterol foods can also result in the formation of cholesterol gallstones which is obviously not what you want.

pictish Mon 06-Aug-12 20:59:59

It's fucking miserable isn't it?

pierpressure Mon 06-Aug-12 21:00:09

OH Thank you all for being there,
I am verging on tears all the time at the moment. Had my first attack 10 days ago, and the inflammation will not go down. It is agony.
Am counting the minutes to my next pain killers, which are not working well.
Really horrid.

To answer the question I have just had some home made butternut squash soup. Roasted the squash, no oil, just thyme, salt and pepper. Chicken stock, fat skimmed off, some left over veg. It was good and seems to have digested Ok, but we will see when I lie down, and cant sleep again tonight.

pierpressure Mon 06-Aug-12 21:04:02

Oh and the joy of side effects from codeine. Constipation resulting in being admitted back in to A&E...

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:06:53

oh, i feel for you all - chocoholic, you really do need to be quite rigid if you want to avoid attacks. I was hospitalised three times before my operation. It got to the point where i had to go ZERO fat! i lost four stone (i was breast feeding - absolutely nightmare and i had to give up sad ) in about six weeks shock. God i was so ill! When you eat a fatty meal the gall bladder contracts to push bile through the bile duct, into the stomach (via the duodenum, i think, cant remember) So any fat will aggravate if your gall bladder is inflammed. It will also cause the stones to move (its worse if you have small stones) and cause pain, but then of course it leads to inflammation, the cycle starts all over. It was awful, i remember my MIL trying to force fat on me on boxing day, i just coudlnt eat any fat (not even chicken/turkey) so i just had veggies, my MIL bless her kept offerin me things like sausage rolls (yeah, cos they dont have fat in them do they hmm) as an alternative. It was quite upsetting actually as i was starving but knew if i ate id end up in agony.

Walking about during an attack (if you can) helps, also i used to get my DP to rub my back. Oh god, it was agony, worse than childbirth, much much worse sad

Good news is, once they take the bastard thing out, you can eat normally - less good news, i put all of the four stone back on.

DottyDot Mon 06-Aug-12 21:07:47

Hi there - I'm in gallstones hell too... Had my first episode in December which landed me in A&E - I had no idea what it was and thought I was having a heart attack. A scan showed I had 'sludge' and was referred to a surgeon but this all took until May and I hadn't had any more attacks and had started to introduce fat back into my diet.

Second episode happened a few weeks ago and I ended up in A&E again... sad. So now I've got an appointment with the surgeon in 2 weeks' time (finally!) and hopefully will then get on the waiting list to have my gallbladder out. I know it'll be another few months so I'm being fat free/low fat all the time now - definitely lesson learned!

I'm sticking to less than 5g per 100g fat but am not losing weight - I've lost 2 stone over the past year and don't seem to be able to get below what I am anyway. I'm also making up for the lack of fat by inhaling Haribo and red wine.

I'm also Coeliac so most carbs are out for me anyway - I should be like a twig! grin

One thing I'm noticing at the moment is a pretty much constant dull ache under my ribs - not anywhere near an actual attack, but an aching that's very annoying... Does anyone else have this?

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:08:28

fuck the codeine, get your doctors to prescribe tramadol (its morphine based so i coculdnt have it as i was breast feeding) but this is an industrial strength pain killer which i i did have when they removed the gallbladder and i had complications and it really worked.

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:12:40

Dotty thats normal, probably just where your gall bladder is inflammed. Gallstones are notorious for giving weird symptoms - i used to get pain under my ribs, in the centre of my stomach, pain all around my stomach like someone is tightening a belt around me, i too thought i was haivng a heart attack, it was hurting so much i could not breathe. I was in so much pain that i was writhing naked on my bed when the paramedics came and i didnt give a shit! Id get pain in my back, it felt like someone was trying to insert a ruler between my vetebrae. Horrible just horrible. I hope you ladies get your ops really soon. I called them and told them i was willing to go on standby as it was getting ridiculous, attacks at least once a week - i enquired about going private i was in so much pain but didnt have the £4,000 they wanted to charge me sad

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:13:34

Oh and sickness, horrible sickness - i puked in my GPs sink, he gave me an injection in my bottom grin

DottyDot Mon 06-Aug-12 21:14:51

Thanks - that's strangely reassuring smile The attacks themselves were the most terrible pain I've ever experienced. I passed out at one point and the paramedic couldn't give me any morphine because my blood pressure had dropped to 70/40 shock. Really never want to experience that again and am definitely also going to say I'll have the operation anytime - I'm betting on a Christmas Eve/Day slot grin

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:17:03

Peirpressure - remember you can alternate paracetemol and ibruprofen, that way you are only ever two hours from taking SOMETHING, i know what its like to be counting the minutes sad

lisad123 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:20:18

It was recommended I avoid things that are harder to digest, so apple skins, potato skins and oats ect

pierpressure Mon 06-Aug-12 21:35:33

Thanks all for your advice re drugs,
am a bit stuck as I take a big anti inflammatory for another condition, which does really work, but only from 7am when I take it until 3 ish, the nights are so awful, thanks for reccommending tramadol, but I cant tolerate it, it makes me a bit weird, and I just sleep all the next day, although thinking about it I have some left over from sciatica, so if I get desperate...
I have been being so good about my diet,and the inflammation is still very much there.
Has anyone else had an attack for this long, 12 days now?

DottyDot Mon 06-Aug-12 21:39:27

No - my actual attacks have only lasted a few hours, although this dull kind of ache is a new one and has lasted a few days now - not bad enough to take loads of drugs, but annoying enough to feel winded/like I've been bruised.

Hope you get some relief soon.

Lucyellensmum99 Mon 06-Aug-12 21:39:45

That is a long time peir - it sounds like your gall bladder is infected and you might need some antibiotics, this happened to me once but i dont think it was that long. Id go to the GP in the morning, get yourself sorted out x

I sympathise with anyone suffering from this sort of pain as it is truly ghastly sad

providing there is no infection, have any of you tried applying a hot water bottle? I used to have two on the go (one on the front one on my back)

pierpressure Mon 06-Aug-12 21:56:47

Oh yes it is infected, have been in hospital with antibiotics, now on my 2nd round and it still won't stop being irritated.

It is a comfort hearing from others though.

letticepetticoat Mon 06-Aug-12 22:57:54

Also been there! Agonising pancreatitis and then a 2 month wait when I had to stay under 3% fat but still got flare ups. Hope you get good treatment and feel better very soon

Cheesy peeps that sounds awful sad

I ended up being admitted when I had my last attack, after 5 days of back and forth, being given anti-sickness jabs, morphine etc etc. Just could not stop puking and fecking hell it hurt

Because it was so bad, on the fifth day they kept me in, filled me up with anti-biotics and did the op after a week

Hope you get sorted out soon

MadgeHarvey Mon 06-Aug-12 23:14:24

Also going through this right now - seems any amount of fat sends me right into one. Shared a meal with my son tonight containing less than a tsp of olive oil and I'm right back in hell. Co-dydramol not even touching it. I had no idea how unpleasant this whole thing was before now! Thankfully have private healthcare through DH work and hopefully seeing a consultant this week. My heartfelt sympathies to all of you with this right now and wishes for a speedy recovery

pictish Tue 07-Aug-12 09:29:09

Uuuurgghh - I had a bad night. Pain pain pain.
I ended up taking co-codamol which really disagrees with me...as I decided the side effects of puking and feeling like I am floating (but not in a nice way) was preferable to the burning agony of my poor gall bladder.
I finally dropped off to sleep about 3 am. Kids had me up at 7.
I am fine this morning - but fuck me they cannot take the buggering thing out quick enough!

Pleiades45 Tue 07-Aug-12 10:24:08

Pictish, how are you surviving?

I have only had one episode which resulted in my being admitted to hospital, discharge for 10 days whilst I had antibiotics (for inflammation) and then re-admitted to have my gall bladder removed. Like Bambinoboo, I had a stuck stone.

Is it possible you might need some antibiotics for inflammation?

My sympathies to all those who suffer from this. The one episode was enough for me. In those 10 days I lived on lucozade and jelly. They were the only things that didn't make me sick.

pictish Tue 07-Aug-12 10:30:10

I am on concoction of meds from the doc, prescribed months ago when I had my last bout of attacks. A stone must have got stuck in the duct.

I need to lose a stone in weight before they will operate. I now have my incentive. I am avoiding anything which may trigger it atm, so the weight will fall off.
I am hungry but I can't eat.

It's co-codamol and fingers crossed for the time being.

I would not wish this on anyone.

MadgeHarvey Tue 07-Aug-12 10:40:26

That's the thing I find so odd about it - you feel like a bag of crumpled shite and it hurts but you're still hungry! It's a special kind of torment!

chocaholic73 Tue 07-Aug-12 17:09:02

wow ... all of you have actually made me feel very fortunate! Because my gall bladder was inflamed I had iv antibiotics in hospital which must have calmed things down nicely. I actually feel a lot better than I have for some time at the moment. Hearing all the stories has made me feel I do need to keep under 5% until things are sorted, but it's not actually that difficult, just a bit boring. Hope you all get sorted soon!

WkdSM Tue 07-Aug-12 17:17:04

There is a really good Delia recipe for root vegetable soup on her website - it has no fat in it at all - is easy to make and very yummy.
I am making a load up as I am in next week to have gall bladder removed.
No stones, but thickened wall and suspected 'malignancies'. So will be on a low fat diet for at least a few weeks.

Pleiades45 Tue 07-Aug-12 18:47:06

WkdSM, good luck for next week and come back and let us know how you are.

Twinkletoes91 Tue 07-Aug-12 21:20:34

Also waiting for removal, I also get awful aches in my shoulders. I find that a hot water bottle sometimes minimises the pain. I'm not to strict on the low fat as sometimes a bit of milk will set it off. Hopefully everyone waiting will get their removal soon too!!! smile

WkdSM Wed 08-Aug-12 11:20:15

One of the things the nurse recommended last week when went for pre-op assessment was a plug in electric heater - I got one called Thermo Therapy by Dreamland in boots - it was about £20 and is like a small electric blanket - she told me this will really help with achy shoulder etc after op.

The good news is that I asked her about diet after the op - there are so many scare stories about not being able to eat etc - she told me that I should have a low fat diet for about 2 weeks - and split meals into 5 small meals rather than 3, and then introduce other things gradually keeping a food diary so I can track back anything that upsets me - but basically I should be OK to eat normally. Thank God - if I had to give up wine and curry I would be distraught!

Feel great sympathy for you all as I have had not had any symptoms (except a bit tired and some bloating but that could be periods!). Hope you all get your dates soon. At least I will give you honest feedback about the op!

Kurdy Sat 11-Aug-12 09:32:45

I'm feeling a bit of a fraud after reading all your posts. I've had what feels like food poisoning stomach ache for 4 days and very bad back ache if i stay in bed too long and feel exhausted if I do too much. Was told by doctor I had gall stones and waiting for blood results and scan now. Is this just the beginning of the storm to come? Getting really nervous now sad

NUFC69 Sun 12-Aug-12 17:49:17

I just wanted you to know that I suffered from what I described as "episodes" for years - but nobody seemed to take them seriously. Eventually in late February I saw my GP and she recommended an ultrasound scan - appointment took 2-3 weeks, saw the consultant about three weeks later and he offered to remove the gallbladder the following week - so don't think it might take a long time for you to have the operation. Oh, the joy of feeling something like normal again!

DottyDot Sun 12-Aug-12 19:11:19

Oooh - I would love that! Am seeing the surgeon a week on Thursday - counting down the days and fully expecting to have to wait another few months for the op but sooner would be wonderful. Gluten free and fat free is no fun at all!

Kurdy Mon 13-Aug-12 23:12:36

Thanks NUFC69. Is it true that i'll need to go to the loo really quickly if you have no gallbladder?

Gabeesh Thu 16-Aug-12 02:54:06

Thanks for this thread, I'm in the early stages of diagnosis and have started trying to cut my fat right out, but it still seems like no matter what I eat sets me off because of the sickness. I have no idea what to eat. This might sound stupid to some but is a serious problem for me so please be understanding, but I am seriously fruit and veg phobic. If I have to attempt to eat fruit or veg I sometimes vomit at the thought and feel horrendously sick if I'm around them ;apart from potatoes). Even seen a hypnotherapist about it, didn't work. I genuinely don't know what's safe to eat. I'm starving and sick.

Trying to look on the bright side - at least I'm losing the baby weight.

MadgeHarvey Thu 16-Aug-12 09:41:46

Blimey! I'm living on bloody bananas at the moment so I can imagine its a problem for you! I have found my appetite has diminished drastically - probably because there's nothing appetising about fat free food! I can recommend Ready Brek made with skimmed milk - its fat free and shouldn't irritate you at all. Might be worth a try?

AvonCallingBarksdale Sat 18-Aug-12 22:01:40

Been there, done that! I had my gallbladder and 57 (!) stones removed a few years ago after months of increasingly agonising attacks. It's by far the worst pain I've ever been in and that's including having 2 DCs. I had mine removed by keyhole surgery and was home the same day (which in hindsight was too early, but there you go). I have had absolutely no problems since having it removed. I avoid high fat food now, ,but that's probably a good thing anyway. Best of luck to you all. Any questions, feel free to ask!

I had an attack last night, not had one for a couple of years. I forgotten how much it hurts. Agony. Going to try(ha,ha) to get into the GP later on today.

Twinkletoes91 Tue 28-Aug-12 19:21:31

I don't know about anyone else but my attacks (or maybe medication) are making me extremely tired and sick, can hardly eat a thing and still have to run to the loo (sorry of tmi). The whole spiral is awful I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy sad

DottyDot Wed 29-Aug-12 08:50:01

Woohoo! Well I'm now on the list to have my gall bladder out. No date yet but they said it would be in about 12 weeks, so hopefully before Christmas..! Can't flipping wait...

mummyneedingahug Sun 02-Sep-12 19:50:54

Out of interest (and fear!) is anyone taking the contraception pill Yasmin. I have gallstones and whilst googling for advice found that Yasmin causes gallstones and the US were banning it!

DottyDot Mon 03-Sep-12 17:02:38

No not me. I have PCOS though and that might be a contributing factor - and my Mum had to have her gall bladder taken out a few years ago - there can be a genetic link I think.

NoWayNoHow Sat 22-Sep-12 17:07:08

I know no-one's posted on here for a while, but I'm hoping I can get some advice.

I was in A&E yesterday after 12 days of stomach pain that's gotten gradually worse and worse and more and more constant. Started as mild discomfort after eating, now it's constant pain and absolutely excruciating agony when I eat. They have diagnosed suspected gallstones (although thankfully blood tests etc confirm no infection), but I have to wait 2-4 weeks just for the ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis, and then who-knows-how-long for the the op to remove.

I'm in so much pain, they've prescribed co-codamol which is really strong, but it's still only lasting a couple of hours. I work and have a DS and don't know how I'm supposed to get on with my life in this state!

I see from the thread that I need to avoid fats - is that it mainly? What about sugar/alcohol/carbs etc? I eat really well normally, but do tend towards quite a protein heavy diet with red meat/pork/eggs which I'm guessing has to go out the window now. What about good fats in fish? Or olive oil? Are they still okay to have?

I'm so confused, I've not really been given any guidance at all by the GP...

MadgeHarvey Sat 22-Sep-12 17:56:55

Sorry about you and your pain NoWay - and sorry to have to tell you this, because really who wants to hear it!, but yes - you're going to have to go as near to no fat as you possibly can IF you want to minimise the pain as much as you can before things get moving. Your good diet has little bearing on it really - ANY kind of fat will set you off whether it's 'good' or 'bad' - as I learned very painfully one night from a dish of pasta dressed with olive oil!
Is your appetite still good? I found this the oddest thing - I felt so awful but still had an appetite! Anyway - I just went as close to no fat as I could and for me that meant a steady diet of bananas, apples, bloody ReadyBrek and skimmed milk. Oh, and veg - on which I used a product called Butter Buds (from Lakeland) - taste like butter but v low fat content. For me this was the only option - shades of fat were no good so I just severely limited what I ate. It did help but the pain never really went away until the damned thing was removed!
Hope this is of some help to you and that you get sorted soon

NoWayNoHow Sat 22-Sep-12 18:05:59

Thanks Madge

I'm just so frustrated at the moment - part of me wishes it would get really bad really quickly so that they'll just take it out! Clearly by the time they get round to taking it out, I'll be a massive codeine addict and about 6st!!

Am so desperate, I've even been researching how much it would cost to get it done privately - £4,000 - £7,000! shock shock shock No fat diet it is then!!

I know what you mean about appetite - TBH the pain feels like hunger pangs, but about 789,033 times more sore, so I'm struggling to recognise when I actually need to eat. Just eating little and often at the moment, and feeling my way round what causes more/less pain.

MadgeHarvey Sat 22-Sep-12 18:13:53

It is expensive privately! I was so lucky to have that through my DH's work and we just got the breakdown of the bill - £7500!! No way could we have done that without the insurance. I've said this before on these threads - but I'll say it again - be so so careful of that damned codeine - it does constipate you and then you'll have something else to add to your list of troubles! I had to eat a whole pack of dried apricots just to shift it when it got too bad - and believe me - that was no fun either!!

DottyDot Sat 22-Sep-12 18:38:31

Yes - go as no fat as you can... I'm waiting for my op date - about 12 weeks to go, hopefully.

I started having pains a few days ago in the evening - took 2 x cocodamol and 2 x buscopan and went to bed! Fortunately it eased off so I carry tablets around with me everywhere just in case.

Deep joy. Sadly, I'm not even losing any weight as I'm making up for it by eating way too many Haribo and drinking red wine... blush

NoWayNoHow Sat 22-Sep-12 19:04:43

Yes, I've already stocked up on Dulcolax and dried fruit!

DH is KICKING himself - he's had the opportunity to sort out private health through his work but has been sitting on it for the last 3 months procrastinating.

NoWayNoHow Sat 22-Sep-12 19:07:00

Dotty I can't tell you how pleased I am to read about Haribos and red wine! Will try a small amount of the latter tonight (I know it's fine for some, but not for others, just depends on the individual - hoping I'm one for whom it's fine!!)

Will definitely be stocking up on Haribos and strawberry laces I promise I'm not 5 years old

I am the kind of person who just needs a taste of something sweet if possible.

Has anyone tried really, really, really high % dark chocolate?

MadgeHarvey Sat 22-Sep-12 20:01:05

Don't be worrying about losing weight - after the op it'll fall off you! Trust me on this one! I forgot about the buscopan - they gave me that after the op in the hospital but I didn't realise I had it till I got home! Kind of wondered what it was for!
I think I have tried that chocolate NoWay - but it's very bitter isn't it? Is that the one? I've kind of given up on sweets - for me it would be too easy to not eat properly but stuff myself with candy all day long so it's a total zero regime here. I'm quite liking this losing weight thing since I seem to have achieved quite a bit with no real effort. After the op I just had no appetite and it's still really patchy so I am making the most of that!

DottyDot Sat 22-Sep-12 22:58:14

Mine are sore tonight - might have to take some tablets. But yes, I'm sticking to things under 5g of fat per 100g and that includes wine, gin and most Haribo! grin. I have to be gluten-free as well as I'm coeliac, so I have to get my pleasure from somewhere..!

Ooh - and flying saucers - fat-free grin

madasamarchhare Sun 23-Sep-12 08:07:55

Iam in the early stages of diagnosis still waiting for a scan. I notice the pain is bad when ive eaten fatty foods so am being careful with what I choose. But I find the pain is often a full ache in the day but a severe pain at night. Why is this?

NoWayNoHow Sun 23-Sep-12 08:51:55

madasamachhare I've heard other people saying it's worse at night for them. I definitely find the pain worse when I'm lying down on my back, so maybe it's less to do with the time of day and more to do with the position of sleeping?

Someone advised lying on your left hand side to ease the pain and help any stones pass, and I found that a very comfortable position to sleep in when I tried last night...

MadgeHarvey Sun 23-Sep-12 09:19:33

It's an interesting question - I too found it bad at night and I never did get round to asking anyone why. I wonder though - maybe it's because you're just lying there with nothing much else going on around you so you concentrate more on the pain. With nothing to distract from it I suppose it becomes one constant annoying thing. I also found it very helpful to sleep with loads of pillows behind me - almost 3/4 sitting up so it might be worth you trying that?

DottyDot Sun 23-Sep-12 09:40:40

Terrible night last night for me. Bit sore when I went to bed but then full blown attack at 4am. sad. More tablets took the edge off a bit but the pain was unbelievable. I have to sit through most of it, hunched over bit yes, lying down on my left hand side is the only position I can lie down in.

Just want my op date! Feeling very sorry for myself this morning...

nipersvest Sun 23-Sep-12 09:48:48

those suffering, you have my sympathies, dh was a gallstone sufferer until he had the op last christmas which ended years of pain. he found co-codomol didn't work for him so used co-dydramol instead. you'd have to get it on prescription though. the over the counter version, which wasn't quite as strong but still worked better than co-codomol was paramol.

DottyDot Sun 23-Sep-12 09:57:15

Thanks nipersvest might go to the gp to beg for a prescription. My brother gets kidney stones from time and time and had a stock of morphine tablets, which I was coveting last night..!

NoWayNoHow Sun 23-Sep-12 11:48:28

Sorry to hear about your bad night Dotty sad

I agree, it's really important to find a painkiller that works for you personally - sauce for the goose is not always sauce for the gander.

E.g. my body can't handle Tramadol, it makes me extremely nauseous. Co-dydramol makes me very light-headed, and co-codamol hits the pain hardest without making me too woozy (although all the above make me more woozy than I would like)

Unfortunately, because I had gastritis about 6 years ago, I can no longer take anything anti-inflammatory, so I have no happy medium between paracetemol (which does NOTHING for the level of pain I experience) and codeine-based drugs.

The last thing I want is to add another stomach ulcer to my list of ailments.

I'm also in that time of the month, so the poor cocodamol is trying to nuke gallstones and period pains all at the same time!! No chance...

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Sun 23-Sep-12 13:21:04

Sounds like loads of you are having/have had a dreadful time.
I've been having random attacks for about 13 years, was told it was definitely gallstones 6 years ago. I've only had about one a year in the last few years, and always felt the incidence, for me, was more stress than diet related.

Last attack was a week ago, and it had me worried as it lingered for several hours once the main attack had passed. I was left with an aching right shoulder and feeling like I'd been punched in the solar plexus. NHS Direct said I had to go to A&E, where I was given Buscopone muscle relaxant for IBS relief(!)

I've always hoped to avoid the op, as my mother had it and found it really hard to recover from, plus she still has to watch her diet. But now I'm thinking i should at least get a scan to see what's going on.

Just wondering what any of you would advise, really - I'm definitely not suffering in comparison to what could be, but I still have this vaguely tense feeling in my diaphragm, which makes me anxious about eating. And obviously an attack is an attack, and hideous, so to be avoided if poss.

I probably should have the op, shouldn't I?

MadgeHarvey Sun 23-Sep-12 13:56:03

The thing is shotgun - gallstones don't go away by themselves so I'd say you are going to have to face the op sooner or later. That being the case I'd recommend just getting it over with. I don't know how old you are but I'm sure it's easier to get over surgery say in your 40's than your 50's (me) but I could be wrong! I've had a crap time getting over it and it's not done with yet - still having pain which I'm told is adhesions. It's no fun! So yes - my opinion is get it done and over with. Best of luck with it all

DottyDot Sun 23-Sep-12 14:26:38

I'd agree the sooner the better. I'll have waited over a year from my first attack to op and that's with chasing for a scan, referral etc. you never know when the next attack will be and even going low fat doesn't guarantee no attacks - I've eaten nothing with more than 5g per 100g since July and still had a really bad night last night.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Sun 23-Sep-12 14:33:03

I'm 49 Madge. That's a good point about the recovery; I'm sure I'd find it much easier at 50 than 60 or 70 - hadn't thought about it that way before.

Bizarrely, my FIL had a final scan before going down to theatre for the op (must be at least 25 years ago), and was told the stones had gone! He had no clue as to why or how and neither did the surgeon - but I guess it must happen in wvry few thousand/million or so cases.
But don't worry, I won't pin all my hopes on that - will see the gp and discuss options next week.

An acquaintance insists you can just have the stones zapped now, but I get the impression from Dr Google it's not a long term solution as they come back.

Thanks for the advice.

MadgeHarvey Sun 23-Sep-12 17:19:16

shock @ the disappearing stones! DH works in this particular area of healthcare and was most surprised to hear that! In a way it's useful having him know as much as he does about it - but it also means I can't get away with any 'poor me' shit, as much as I would like to grin
Lots of people said to me about zapping them - I just assumed they were idiots who didn't know their kidney stones from their gallstones! I honestly didn't know that was an option!

NoWayNoHow Tue 25-Sep-12 09:26:41

So apparently I can eat half a left over Babybel cheese, which I'm assuming it literally just a ball of fat, but I can't have a banana!!

Why are these stones so WEIRD?

Slowly feeling my way around what I can and can't eat. On the plus side, very low fat dairy (semi-skimmed milk, no fat yogurt, etc) seems to be fine, as are Dark Chocalate, Brazil Nut and Apricot Eat Natural bars.

On a sadder note, the Haribos caused a few twinges!!

I don't think I'm ever going to get my head around what's ok and not ok for my body.

DottyDot Tue 25-Sep-12 18:28:22

I don't think there's any rhyme or reason! I phoned my hospital today to see where things are up to and was told that my consultant's secretary is on long term sick and the August clinic I was seen in hasn't even been processed yet...

I've written a polite e-mail to the directorate manager, expressing my concern and asking for some reassurance that this hasn't added an additional wait time on to what I was told...

sigh...

mrswishywashy1 Wed 26-Sep-12 16:34:28

I got my gallstones out 3 weeks ago after I kept putting the op of because I was scared sad and I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did!

I was told I would have to have open surgery because I have a large thick scar that runs down my stomach and I was dreading the pain and the recovery.

Ended up they were able to do it through keyhole, tho a half hour op turned into a 4 hour op because it was so difficult. I woke up in recovery feeling great and was back on the ward half hour after I had the op and an hour later I was raring to go.

I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did! I was back on my feet and able to do most things normally after two days, the only downside is I haven't stopped eating grin

DottyDot Tue 02-Oct-12 20:04:48

Ooooh I got my pre-op date today - it's next Friday! Quite excited/ nervous now cos it can't be too long before my op - hopefully before Christmas... Aaarrgggghhhh....

BambinoBoo Tue 02-Oct-12 22:21:59

Dotty, try not to be nervous. I have had 2 lots of keyhole surgery to remove my gallbladder. The first one they couldn't complete as it was inflamed and bile duct was dilated but the second one was a breeze. I was a rare case too as most of them go without a hitch. In both cases, I waited around 6-8 weeks for the actual op. I also had to have an ercp and spincterotomy between ops as had a stone stuck in my bile duct so I imagine yours may come sooner. I do feel so much better now although I find some rich or high fat foods abit hard to digest so I tend to eat really low fat Sunday to Thursday then relax sat/sun. You won't look back, trust me. Good luck, hope it comes soon and you can enjoy your Christmas dinner. I was on the waiting list last Christmas and had jacket potato and beans on Christmas day grin . I'll be pigging out this year that's for sure.

PoppyWearer Tue 02-Oct-12 22:35:56

Hello! I've posted on a few gallstone threads on here already, but am new to this one. Am currently awaiting my op, due before Christmas. Very lucky to have private insurance through DH's work, although in spite of this my op has already been delayed once.

I'd been doing so well at managing my diet since diagnosis a month or so ago. But feeling knackered from looking after poorly DS in the night clearly warped my judgement and I ate a microwave lasagne for lunch. BIG mistake, two hours later was necking co-codamol and Buscopan, nearly keeled over in the supermarket from pain/nausea/feeling faint. sad

Feeling so stupid! But I guess it was a timely reminder not to be complacent. the pain has stopped now but I'm constipated and uncomfortable.

Back to the sushi and jacket potatoes tomorrow, I just find salad too depressing in this colder weather. My "treats" are dark chocolate (Green & Blacks 70%), G&T and prosecco. I was losing weight but have stalled a bit.

Must eat more fruit and veg!

Good luck everyone.

PoppyWearer Tue 02-Oct-12 22:37:26

P.S. one of my worst attacks was after literally two sips of lager. If anyone can explain that to me, I'd appreciate it!

NoWayNoHow Wed 03-Oct-12 21:18:04

Poppy, I also had a mild "complacency" attack today - had literally one bite of DS's croissant with ham and cheese, and the pain started. Thankfully not a full-blown attack!

I, too, am done with salads, so have started making souls instead for lunch - butternut soup is my favourite. 70% chocolate is a life saver!

Alcohol doesn't bring on an attack for me,but if I have more than a glass of wine, then I get a really upset stomach the next morning. Pity!

DottyDot Sun 21-Oct-12 09:44:14

eeeek! got my operation date letter on Friday - it's on Thursday this week!!

Could have done with more than six days' notice - am freaking out a bit grin

So, have got a manic 3 days at work this week to sort everything out and then that's it.....

AAARRRGGGHHHH....!

Good luck Dotty - hope it all goes well for you!

DottyDot Tue 23-Oct-12 01:41:07

Aaarrgghhh... I'm getting a cold. Am at the bit hot, swollen glands, sore throat stage and my letter says I should phone the hospital if I get or have had a cold but I don't want to! Really don't want it to be cancelled...

DottyDot Thu 25-Oct-12 21:02:21

Woohoo! It's out! Just back home and ready for more sleep - so relieved it's all over..!

PoppyScarer Thu 25-Oct-12 21:08:32

Hooray Dot.

I had a totally random attack yesterday. So scary, not expected at all. Roll on my op!

DottyDot Fri 26-Oct-12 02:32:44

The op was fine as well - I'm in way less pain than when I had a shoulder op a few years ago. 2 of the holes are a bit sore, especially when lying down and sitting up. But I can't feel the other 2 at all, and once I'm up/down it's fine!

Awake at 2am now but I have slept for about 17 hours pretty much without a break!

Absolutely patched but can't be bothered to go and get a drink - might nudge dp - see where it gets me grin

NoWayNoHow Fri 16-Nov-12 11:40:02

Dotty, glad to see it's gone - I did think that I saw from another thread that you'd had it out (was maybe the "worst pain ever" thread? Not certain...)

How are you getting on post-op? Do you feel like you're getting back to normal? Are you able to eat as you did before all the pain started, or is your diet still restricted!

I had my surgical consult on Wed and he wants to take mine out too as I've already had an attack and am starting to get pain again, even though I'm being so strict with my diet. Apparently, even though my gallstone is small, it's extremely mobile, and its size means that it can pass from the gallbladder more easily and stuck in the bile duct.

10-12 week wait for the op, so a not-so-merry Christmas for me! Even alcohol, which was the one thing I could^ have after my last attack is now starting to make me nauseous. Think I might crawl into a corner with my carrot sticks and reduced fat houmous and weep...

NoWayNoHow Fri 16-Nov-12 11:41:21

Poppy do you have a definite date for your op yet? I, like you, am also living on sushi and 70% chocolate!

PoppyWearer Fri 16-Nov-12 11:49:41

Hi NoWay you must be psychic as I was just browsing MN whilst eating some sushi!

Funnily enough, the letter came through this morning with my op details. I don't want to out myself with specifics, but it's in the next month, so that's good.

I had a bad attack at the weekend after a few good weeks. We went round to family for lunch and I ate things out of politeness that should have been borderline-ok, except I then found out that it had all been fried. Cue a frantic and painful car journey home, as the painkillers in my handbag had run out. Really awful attack.

Since then my diet has been featuring a lot of baked beans and red wine.

NoWayNoHow Fri 16-Nov-12 12:02:47

Glad it's soon, and fingers crossed you'll be on the mend for Christmas!

Sorry to hear you had a bad attack - we've got dinner with friends on Saturday, and I've felt so awful about being so picky, but they're being lovely about it which is nice.

Dreading DH's phonecall to MIL about Christmas day dinner, considering that I don't think anything's allowed in their house unless it's been cooked in lard...

PoppyWearer Fri 16-Nov-12 12:18:24

Good luck with Christmas Dinner. My DH is cooking ours, fortunately. Although I'll be post-op by then, I don't plan on having the goose-fat-tastic version of the dinner he's planning.

Would a jacket and beans or beans on toast be bad for Christmas lunch? grin

I expect I'll be having a grilled chicken breast and boiled veggies. Ah well.

NoWayNoHow Fri 16-Nov-12 12:22:57

The roast potatoes I can live without, but a Christmas without port and cheese and mince pies and Hestons' orange christmas pudding, and my mum's trifle and Celebrations and ... oh, the list is endless!

PoppyWearer Fri 16-Nov-12 12:25:57

No Baileys or pigs-in-blankets sad

Christmas aside, the idea that I may never eat a jam doughnut again saddens me. It's not like I used to eat them very often. But not being able to eat one at all...ever? shock

Zippylovesgeorge Fri 16-Nov-12 17:07:10

Hello

Just been told this week that the pains I've been getting are most likely to be gallbladder related sad Have got a date for a US scan next week.

Trying not to think about christmas - though at the moment everything seems to make things hurt and my bottom explode sad

BambinoBoo Fri 16-Nov-12 21:30:39

poppy my christmas lunch last year was jacket potatoes and beans as I was on the waiting list grin

DottyDot Fri 16-Nov-12 22:04:14

Hello!

Yes I'm 3 weeks post op and feeling really good! I went back to work this week, my scars are teeny and only one is slightly tender, but nothing terrible at all. The only time now I notice it is at night - not quite 100% comfortable lying on my front, but it's getting better each night!

In terms of recovery it's been by far the easiest compared to other procedures I've had (tonsillectomy, shoulder op, c-section!).

I remember having boiled rice and a bit of turkey last Christmas - having cooked the works for 10! So I'm looking forward to enjoying my Xmas dinner this year (sorry..!). I'm back to eating anything and everything now with no problems at all - sadly not great for the waistband - have already put on a few lbs and need to start being good soon... blush

Hope everyone waiting gets dates through soon!

NoWayNoHow Fri 16-Nov-12 23:24:34

Just a quick question...

Do/did any of you suffer with the terrible bloating that comes along with a gallbladder that's not doing what it's supposed to?

I'm really struggling with being so uncomfortable all the time, and not only is it actually a little bit painful, but it's making it difficult to fit into my clothes (which it ironic, as in terms of weight on the scales, I'm actually losing!)

I've tried WindSetlers which don't really work, as well as water balance tablets (although I think this is very much a gas issue!). Anyone got any other ideas?

Zippylovesgeorge Sat 17-Nov-12 08:28:55

NoWay - I do. Am now into drinking peppermint tea which seems to ease things a bit and help with the bloating.

BambinoBoo Sat 17-Nov-12 09:16:33

I second peppermint tea or capsules. They help get a bit of the wind out.

NoWayNoHow Sat 17-Nov-12 09:41:41

Have been drinking peppermint tea every couple of days, but if it helps with the bloating, I'm going to make it every single time I boil the kettle! Thanks guys

Zippylovesgeorge Mon 19-Nov-12 07:20:56

Advice - do not eat a roast dinner! Was in agony for most of the night - painkillers wouldn't touch it and the tabs from the docs were useless.

Hunted down a wheatbag and managed to position that on the worst pain site and that helped loads.

Off shopping today for chicken breasts/salmon which I can steam each day for me - whilst I cook normally for rest of family sad

Scan can't come soon enough.

NoWayNoHow Mon 19-Nov-12 18:23:39

Zippy sad

I feel your pain - I'm going through a terrible phase when I get pain no matter what I eat (even if it's veg or fruit - chicken salad yesterday had me doubled over!), and the bloating is so painful and uncomfortable. I'm also constantly nauseous and constantly exhausted and just want to be horizontal all the time.

Also, because of the bloating, none of my clothes fit! I've lost 3lbs in the last 5 days, but I look 4 months pregnant and can't fasten my clothes!

AwkwardSquad Mon 19-Nov-12 20:19:34

Just wanted to say thank you to everyone on this thread thanks I'm now reasonably sure (as someone self-diagnosing can ever be sure!) that I have gallstones. I will stop trying the pretend-you-don't-notice-it-and-it-will-go-away tactic andgt myself to the GP.

AwkwardSquad Mon 19-Nov-12 20:19:59

*and get

PoppyWearer Mon 19-Nov-12 21:30:03

Sorry to hear that, NoWayNoHow sad Before I was diagnosed and changed my diet I was fluctuating between constipation/bloating and diarrhoea.

I was doing WeightWatchers and my weight fluctuations were enormous (a good few pounds) depending on the kind of week I'd had!

I do still get bloating and constipation if I eat too much of one thing and stray from cereal for breakfast. Dealing with some nausea at the moment, but I think that might be a stomach bug rather than the gallstones.

gavind Thu 29-Nov-12 18:44:12

If you have pains on the right side just below the rib area, then it's a high chance of a gall stone. You should have a doctor check on it.

There's also a new concept about gall stone removal rather than gall bladder removal itself. Check this step by step experience in finally getting the gall stones out. whatisgallstone.com

tb Sat 01-Dec-12 17:50:05

I found out at the beginning of October during a routine medical that there was a possibility I had gallstones. I had an x-ray the same week, and a scan 2 weeks later. The 12th November I had my gall-bladder out.

Unfortunately, I did a bit too much once home, and have caused a hernia somewhere around my waist - my GP told me that he could feel a ball of fat that had 'popped' through a gap in the muscle layer. I'm now on Tramadol/paracetamol and enough Naprosyn to floor an elephant. So, ladies, when you do have your gall-bladders taken out, don't rush round like a mad thing the minute you get home.

The pain I'd had under my ribs had been dismissed my 'd'm who told me I was probably a bit stressed - must be prior to 1992. So thinking the 'belt too tight' feeling was down to stress I put it to the back of my mind.

Finally, my op was done in a French clinic, and cost €3000 with about €150 back-hander to the surgeon in 'dépassement honoraires' ie fees about the tariff, and the same amount in specialist appts beforehand - surgeon, lung specialist, anaesthetist and cardiologist all to make sure that I could withstand a general anaesthetic. Otherwise, under French law, outside life-saving emergency surgery, it's illegal for them to put a scalpel blade or gas mask anywhere near you.

DazR Tue 04-Dec-12 15:25:37

Diagnosed yesterday via Ultrasound Scan with a dozen gallstones in a bulging gallbladder. Back to the GP today who has referred to me a surgeon! I think there is a long wait in our area so have been reading this thread to get advice as to how to manage pain and diet. I have suffered for nearly 3 years with pain under my ribcage and especially behind my right shoulder blade and middle of my back. Has taken this long to get the correct diagnosis.... I even specifically asked my previous GP what organs were under my right hand ribcage that could be causing the pain and nothing was said except being prescribed very strong co-codamol! Since my pain started I have had a shoulder op for arthritis - the surgeon said 'why had I waited so long' so it obviously needed doing. During post-op physio to regain mobility in my shoulder the original pains have yet again returned - rib pain, shoulder blade pain etc. The physio kept saying it was 'referred pain' from the op but eventually I had had enough and returned to my new GP who thought I ought to be checked for gallstones - and BINGO it was obviously this all along.... So another year wasted while I wait for treatment for gallstones. Hopefully one day I may be pain free??? Does this day ever come??? How long do most people wait for referrals and then for operation dates? Sympathizing with all my fellow sufferers. sad

chocaholic73 Wed 05-Dec-12 09:55:05

Shocking you had to wait so long Daz for what is a very common problem - particularly amongst ladies of a certain sort of age .... there are certainly a number of us on here. The waiting list will depend on your area. However, your GP should be able to give you a rough idea. If you find out where you have been referred to, you could then be proactive and phone the surgeon's secretary for a more accurate update. In the meantime, I found a low fat diet really controlled things (I also lost over a stone in weight!). It can be a challenge at times but it worked for me. Although, in some cases, it isn't so successful. Anyway, my gall bladder was finally whipped out just under 2 weeks ago and good riddance so far as I'm concerned. Hope you get things sorted soon.

notallowedatall Wed 05-Dec-12 12:23:00

Another one suffering here. I'm awaiting an ultrasound scan to confirm gallstones, but reading this board, I'm about 99% sure it's the cause of all my problems. For years I was prescribed gaviscon (must've had a wheelbarrow full of 'em), then a few years on lanzoperazole but they no longer work. I've been on a low fat diet since July and have lost almost 2 stone, but still getting severe aches under rib cage, shoulder blades etc and generally feeling quite unwell, especially after consuming something a 'little' fatty. Christmas will be interesting!!!

DazR Wed 05-Dec-12 15:08:15

Thanks for your words of encouragement chocoholic. Actually i have already given up chocolate (my all time favourite snack) so am feeling quite miserable... Never had to follow a diet before (am 5' 8 and normal weight - but not fit (need to get exercising but pain keeps preventing it!). What have you been eating to keep 'low fat' - any favourite meals? Glad to hear that you have had your op - how long did you have to wait? I haven't had any episodes of extreme labour-type pains but I am just generally in pain (varies in intensity), and sometimes dragged so low with it i am in tears. I feel it is getting worse - and the GP did say there was a risk of blockage due to the size of my stones.
Hi notallowedatall - it's miserable isn't it! I too am thinking that Christmas may well be interesting......

chocaholic73 Wed 05-Dec-12 19:08:13

When had acute gall bladder inflammation in July, they told me I would have an outpatient appt in about 4 weeks. In fact it was 10 weeks. I was then told the actual waiting list was 8 weeks. I kept chasing but could never speak to anyone. Eventually I did and they told me I hadn't yet been allocated a date but it was likely to be the end of January. Fortunately, at this stage DH's work health insurance stepped in and I was done within 2 weeks. Low fat wise, it was a real challenge. I am a veggie and rather partial to cheese - low fat cheese slices just aren't the same somehow! You can get low fat chips that aren't bad, pasta and any sort of vegetable sauce is fine but everything is really limited. I broke the vegetarianism in as far as developing a thing for Cadbury's low fat chocolate mouse .... divine .... well a girl has to have some form of chocolate! Your pain does sound very different to me, on a low fat diet I was fine ... the only time I had a wobble was the 1 occasion I went out for a meal for DH's birthday .... I took some Buscopan and pain killers and it did settle down fortunately.

eileenhoops Tue 19-Aug-14 20:28:24

Hi. I know this is probably a dead thread now but I'm sitting in hospital reading this and wanted to share my experience with you. X about 12 weeks ago I came back from a 2 week holiday in Turkey smile when I got home about a week later i started getting a funny belly ( constipation then diorreah then constipation then diorreah again. And a really unusual full and bloated feeling and some pain too. Went to my gp as I was quite worried. As my father died of bowel canicer 10 years ago and we have a family history I was rushed through for an urgent colonoscopy. I also was tested for ovarian cancer ( family history again sad ) . Both tested clear so I thought ok just a bug. I was asked to do a stool test for the gp as they suspected an ulcer. In the meantime I had a very painful attack after eating 2 dry crackers. So bad in fact my son rang an ambulance the pain was excruciating started under my boobs so high abdomen. Radiating into the middle of my chest like a huge tight band squeezing and squeezing. We were convinced it was a heart attack. Ambulance came did ecg etc etc decided it was an ulcer and I had to see my gp. Later that evening I had another ferocious attack so hubby took me to a&e I was on the floor in agony couldn't breathe. They got me in quickly and gave me a codeine injection and paracetamol injection great the pain went away I was so happy. Literally 2 days later I was back in again same attack and the same drugs didn't touch the pain, after begging for some more pain relief they finally gave me morphine iv. Wow amazing the pain went instantly I was told it it happened again to come in and get seen immediately. The next day I went away on holiday all the while I was barely eating a thing the bloated uncomfortable full feeling was awful. After 1 day on holiday I was sitting on the beach and yet another attack.
I went to the local a&e explained it all AGAIN they gave me buscopan injection codeine and paracetamol and eventually after 3 hours the pain went. We packed up and came home sad anyway I've since had 5 more bad attacks been into a&e 8 times in total and they bandied about. 1. Ulcers. 2 . Gastritis. 3 gallstones and then they thought maybe the colonoscopy had perforated my bowel sad the a and e kept saying they couldn't scan me ( I was begging ) I had to be referred by gp so I went to gp he referred me. I got the date 27th August. It was the 15th by now 12 days time. The following morning at 6 am I was rushed back to a&e vomiting constantly and in severe pain. Sweat was dripping from me and I was so weak I couldn't stand. They took one look at me and decided enough was enough and admitted me ( at last ) and guess what? I could have a scan that afternoon!!! AMAZING eh lol . The results of the scan showed I do indeed have 3 gallstones one of them has recently passed down a tract and got stuck next to my pancreas. So I have severe pancreatitis. The doctor in the hospital told meif id waited the 12 days for my scan I'd be dead. OMG I was so scared. I've been in for 4 days now. On 3 lots or really strong iv antibiotics and litres and litres of drip fluids to flush it. A catheter ( ughhhhhh awful ) and at least 30 needles so far. But I'm slowly on the mend. I've never felt so awful in my life Tbh with you all its horrendous. My white blood count was sky high on Sunday but today is back to normal I wasn't allowed food for 3 days. In the last 12 weeks I've lost 3 stone. Which is great cos I'm a big girl and I needed to. I may possibly be going home 2morro with a strict no far diet to await surgery in 4 to 6 weeks just pray I dont get any more pain in meantime. Sorry it's been such a long read but reading all your experiences has really helped me. I know mines probably a rare experience and I don't want to scare anyone but wanted to share please wish me luck everyone xxx

chocaholic73 Thu 21-Aug-14 18:26:33

wow ... you've had a tough time ... glad you're on the mend .. just realised I started this thread a couple of years ago. I'm shocked that so many people seem to be just given some pain relief at A&E and then sent back to their GP. Maybe it helped that I had already had a scan and knew that I had gallstones before I ended up in A&E.

eileenhoops Fri 22-Aug-14 12:37:24

hi chocaholic, thanks for the reply, im home now after 5 days and awaiting an app to see the consultant about my op, did you have yours ? and how are you now ?

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