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To ask about gallstones

(32 Posts)
Sionella Thu 25-May-17 14:42:49

I have been told I have about 3 small gallstones. All blood tests normal and I've only had one flare up which, whilst v unpleasant, was not the "worse than childbirth" pain that most seem to experience.

Dr was ambivalent really as to whether we take it out or wait and see. I've read very mixed reports online about life without a gallbladder!

Anyone had the surgery? If you had these symptoms, would you whip it out or suck it and see?

MrsEricBana Thu 25-May-17 14:45:00

Honestly I would not have any surgery unless it was necessary. Definitely don't do it unless you experience further problems.

ElphabaStrop Thu 25-May-17 14:47:27

If they are small and few in number, and if you can manage flare ups well, I'd be inclined to leave well alone for now. Perhaps for peace of mind, ask for repeat scan & tests in 6 months' time?

Noofly Thu 25-May-17 14:52:15

I had mine out as emergency surgery two days before Christmas last year. I did have the "worse than childbirth" pains and couldn't move/talk etc, but possibly that was because when they went in, they found that my gallbladder was gangregous. grin

I haven't missed it one bit- am eating normally and have lost just under 2.5 stone since it came out. I did decided to go on a healthy eating kick as I was told to initially avoid fatty food and gradually reintroduce it.

MirabelleTree Thu 25-May-17 14:55:01

I think if it is ok an no more attacks then leave for now. But if it kicks off more then don't leave it too long to get it out. Mine is coming out this afternoon and I without doubt have left it much too long which I regret.

Sionella Thu 25-May-17 15:17:06

Thanks v much guys. Mirabelle - lots of luck for your surgery. Could I ask how you know you left it too long, if you don't mind my asking?

Doodlebug5 Thu 25-May-17 15:19:59

If you get any vomiting any green bile or any yellowing to the skin... go to a&e other than that if you can deal with it leave it

Advicerequiredthx Thu 25-May-17 15:23:21

Eugh get rid! Simple keyhole surgery i was up and about fully within a week. You'll soon have a full blown attack and i would say after experiencing both it is as painful as labour. This will only get worse just be done with the bloody thing! There are no side effects to losing your gallbladder.

user1494409994 Thu 25-May-17 15:28:57

Mine was very necessary. Pesky stone escaped, blocked a bile duct and I was the colour of Bart Simpson all summer. Surgery was eventually in October last year and my gall bladder was a hot mess full of stones and infected too. Recovery took a bit longer because of the mess it was in but I'm right as rain now and no lasting side effects. Wee keyhole scars are disappearing nicely.

MirabelleTree Thu 25-May-17 15:29:40

Thank you. It got to the stage from where it was controllable by diet to kicking off all the time. What I ate didn't matter and sometimes I hadn't eaten anything. I had 3 long attacks last week and one this week, it's been really debilitating can't wait for it to be out now.

CadnoDrwg Thu 25-May-17 15:31:52

I managed mine via diet for 3 years pretty well.

Then one day nothing worked, if I drank water that was too cold it would trigger an attack and literally the only thing I could eat was Weetabix with lukewarm milk. Anything else had me in agony.

Fortunately/unfortunately depending on perspective the pain was so severe I qualified for surgery as an urgent case and the evil organ was removed via keyhole procedure within 3 months of the sudden pain regression.

The first couple of years post removal were iffy from a diet perspective. Too much rich food isn't pleasant but honestly with hindsight I wish I'd had it removed when it first flared up rather than face the agony that followed later.

Sionella Thu 25-May-17 15:33:07

Urgh thanks and sorry to all those whose gallbladders played up. It seems counter intuitive that small stones are actually worse, but I guess they have more risk of going travelling.

I did see this which made me smile:

Catminion Thu 25-May-17 15:35:25

The doctor told me mine had to come out, if your doctor is ambivalent I would leave it.

I am in my early 50s. I also didn't want to leave it for another 10 years or so as surgery gets more risky.

My op was 10 days ago and no particular problems so far other than recovery from the op.

JollySmelly Thu 25-May-17 15:37:50

I had mine out last year. No lasting effects barring some rather spectacular weight loss. I think eventually they will play up OP so I'd probably go for having it out before it gets critical

PopcornBits Thu 25-May-17 15:42:43

I did the same as you! read all the horror stories and convinced myself life without a gallbladder was not best. Well I waited a year and it was a stupid idea because it got worse.

I had mine out this year in Feb. and yes for the first 2 weeks I had bile type diarrhoea which I just took some calcium with vit D from Holland & Barrett, that soon sorted it out and my body self regulated by the third week.

Some people can be opposite and have constipation, but please remember your body will self regulate and you'll be back to normal smile

Schroedingerscatagain Thu 25-May-17 16:47:18

Hi op

Can I tell you a tale of 3 family members

Number one had symptoms in her 40's but put it off and off until it flared big time in her 60's, she ended up having an open cholecystectomy sadly see threw off a pulmonary embolus arrested and died

Number 2 only had small stones and thought she could get away with it, sadly a small one travelled into her duct and she ended up in itu with most of her pancreas destroyed and is now diabetic

Number 3 had one large stone discovered and was asymptomatic, having worked with the surgeon who operated on number 1 she asked his frank advice, it was removed 2 weeks later

I've seen in a career working in theatres some very nasty gallbladder problems, number one was my mother number 2 my aunt and I am number 3

fuckweasel Thu 25-May-17 17:09:29

Apart from one episode of cholecystitis, I was asymptomatic with one gallstone. I had no idea it was there until the scan. Several months later I had elective surgery to remove my gallbladder. Turns out it was severely infected (yet I had no symptoms) and was potentially a very serious issue if it had ruptured. The complication I had has a 25% mortality rate. I could easily have refused surgery as it gave me no problems day to day. If I had, I could have died. You are likely to have keyhole surgery which is usually a quick recovery (I unfortunately had to have open surgery which is a much bigger deal!)

Answeringwhyquestionssince2002 Thu 25-May-17 17:37:29

I had mine out 10 years ago. I had initially opted to hang onto it as the attacks I had had weren't all that severe. Then I had a particularly bad one that lasted several days and genuinely was worse than childbirth, because no pain relief helped and there wasn't even a child at the end of it. That changed my mind.

Operation was trouble free, I was out within 24 hours and the only lasting effects seem to be that caffeine has an escalated effect on me and I get severe heart palpitations if I have more than one coffee a week. Not sure whether it is a direct result of the gall bladder coming out, but it dates back exactly to the operation.

The gallstones themselves were a bit of a disappointment when I was handed them in a container. A bit like crunchy peanut butter whereas I was hoping for something I could dip in glitter and hang on the Christmas tree.

Noofly Thu 25-May-17 18:53:05

Agree with Answeringwhy and the pain relief not working. When I was first admitted the initial dose of pain relief worked but once it wore off, nothing worked! I was transferred to a different hospital for the operation and was SO happy when they said they would give me morphine. Ha! I threw it up (twice) within 15 minutes and it had no effect at all, no matter how it was administered. I ended up very groggy and still in excruciating pain!

JumpingJellybeanz Thu 25-May-17 18:56:41

I had mine out. At first the flare ups were bearable but they got worse. Much worse. On one occasion, while waiting for surgery, I found myself seriously eyeing up the kitchen knives and thinking about doing it myself.

MrsCrabbyTree Fri 26-May-17 01:32:02

I had mine out by keyhole surgery 25 years ago. No problems with the surgery or since.

I used to get mild symptoms and attacks since a child but put off surgery for decades (irrational fears). During those years, keyhole surgery became the norm, so it worked out well. Even had an attack while in labour with my second and that was fun!!

Beerwench Fri 26-May-17 02:00:53

I can see now looking back I had mild symptoms for years, but in our family unless you're dead, there's nothing wrong!
The symptoms worsened and I saw my gp, who said it was my MH problems - depression and anxiety causing IBS, back on AD and carry on.
4 weeks later I was in a&e, as yellow as a canary. I had called 111 for where to see a doc on a Sunday morning and they sent an ambulance. So glad they did!
I was pretty off my face but I do remember the general gist was that my pancreas and liver were being damaged as stones had ruptured something (either duct or gall bladder) as they moved and stuff was places it shouldn't be. Mine was whipped out there and then and the surgeon told me after that I should have had a scan and a removal as I'd presented with classic symptoms and I'd been lucky to get away with no lasting damage.
So things can turn nasty pretty quick, that said with the symptoms I had to that day, I'd rather have them than how I am now. It's odd because I suppose it should be the other way round, but I really struggle with .my weight now, and I still get pain sometimes and I used to have a cast iron stomach but now anything upsets me.
But I'm glad considering how bad my case was, mine is gone.
Good luck!

MirabelleTree Fri 26-May-17 02:06:04

Hugely relieved mine is out. To quote the surgeon mine was massive and the largest he had seen.

tabithaa Fri 26-May-17 02:22:48

I suffered years of gallstones at 22, I had loads in tiny ones. Best thing I did was getting my gallbladder removed. Suffered years of pain, was horrendous when it was at it's worse.

sara221 Fri 26-May-17 03:45:58

I had my gallbladder removed about 5 years ago, the pain from the stones was debilitating-I could not sleep,eat or even sit in one place for long. I do not want to scare you but I literally in so much pain I was hospitalised for about two weeks on morphine. They could not operate because it was infected. My surgeon advised me removing the gallbladder was the best course of action to prevent flare ups. Life post gallbladder is not too different, you just have to be careful about consuming too many fats in one go. Whilst waiting for surgery I followed a very low fat diet, exercised and tried to optimise conditions for the keyhole surgery. Recovery is about two weeks, It is normally day outpatients treatment and you walk out.
I still have the stone, as a gentle reminder to eat well, exercise and not have the fizzy drinks(I used to drink a bit-think at least a few times per week!)
I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do but if you do need surgery, be rest assured it is simple, relatively quick and good recovery times.

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