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Gallstones and low fat diets

(112 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.

eileenhoops Wed 17-Sep-14 14:20:37

Hi Tembre, I've just got back from a lovely holiday in N.Ireland :D and i relaxed the low fat diet a bit but still didnt have any pain, just had my pre op medical, am due to have my op on the 16th oct and am very scared. the only advice i can give you personally is try and stick to as low fat a diet as you possibly can, i was eating less than 5g of fat a day and so far its worked for me, no pain in over 4 weeks bliss!! good luck x

Tembre Wed 17-Sep-14 10:32:41

Morning ,
I am new to Mumsnet, my partner has tlod me about it numerous times and here i am, really great to be reading all your words about Gallstones that i can totally relate to. I have had gallstones symptons on and off for the past 6 years, I was told i had a few gallstones, so i did a gall bladder/liver flush with the help and advice of a herbalist, and i had thought that i had disolved these stones. unfortunately over a month ago, i had my first proper attack that resulted in total panic and agony, like that has been described by all you women, my partner ,w ho is a first responder thought it was a heart attack and the point was i did not know what it was at all.
I am not keen to get my gallbladder removed , prefer to get the stones removed. I was going to take some time to research my option, but then our 4 yr old got Whooping cough and 1 month later have not had space of time to look at Gallstones issue, in the meantime i was and am on a no fat diet , living on alot of soup/veg/salad/chicken the i went and had another attack while i was at home with child and partner in the UK ( we live in ireland )
this was scary but i managed to stay and home take painkillers and not go to hospital. Loosing more and more weight , which is great for me ,as it has taken a while to loose the 3 stone i needed to after second child. yet this does not feel so celebratory as it is happening fast and i don't recognize my own body.
unfortunately i went and had another attack in the night. my partner here i managed with Buscopan antispasmodics and Tramapine painkiller.
this is scary and i do not want to get used to this or live with it.
Yet we use holistic medicine and therapy so feeling not so sure about getting gall bladder out - not feeling this is going to bring total peace to my body - when there must be a reason why this is happening.

any advice on when attacks happening would appreciate it .

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 ?

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 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 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.

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......

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!!!

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

*and get

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.

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!

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 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

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

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

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.

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?

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


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!

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

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


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

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

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