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gall bladder help

(16 Posts)
Syork Wed 19-Feb-14 09:36:39

Hello, spent the last 10 or so days with terrible right abdominal pain, went to gp twice, told it was constipation. Went to emergency docs on Sunday who admitted me to the hospital for observation. Had xray and scan and doctor said found 2 small gallstones, and recommended having it removed. The waiting time is 6 to 8 weeks
i am back home, still in a huge amount of pain, even with painkillers
got to follow low fat diet. Does anyone have any experience of this? Will the pain settle down as the doctors said? Feeling really low and tearfull. It's half term and we've had to cancel plans. Just worried in case anything horrible happens! I am very stoical, should i have made more fuss? Why is it so painful? I have lost loads of weight! Thanks, i also have under active thyroid. Also cross as been to go before with similar pain.

RoxyRobin Wed 19-Feb-14 11:40:15

I have gallstones and know how dreadful the pain is; I used to swear when the pain was at its height that if I'd had a loaded gun on the bedside table I would have shot myself. Painkillers have NO impact.

For complex medical reasons I didn't have surgery, though. I haven't had a recurrence for some time - three years I think - but live in dread of it returning. Obviously I know nothing about the surgical aspects but over the years have seen many, many threads on here where posters relate their experiences. If you put something like 'gall bladder surgery' in Advanced Search you should find some helpful information.

Madmog Wed 19-Feb-14 11:45:08

Sorry to hear you're in so much pain. I've never had gallstones, but my friend has. The doctors don't want to operate on her at the moment as she's recently had other major surgery, so she's trying to manage it by diet. She's found cheese, cream and wine are all big triggers for discomfort. On the lead up to my neighbour having hers out, she said the only things she could cope with eating were fruit and veg. I appreciate it might be miserable living on these for 6-8 weeks, but perhaps you could eat a good variety of them and a few other things and see if you can find out by process of elimination if anything is a trigger.

PinaColadas Wed 19-Feb-14 11:46:35

I'm not wanting to scare just wanted to share my experience, For months I got sent away from my doctor who told me I had excess acid and kept prescribing anti acids. After weeks of really bad suffering (and even went to docs the night before and vomited all over his room) I woke up really poorly with wee the colour of iodine and was jaundice, called 999 got taken to hospital they confirmed I had pancreatitis caused by my un treated gall stones and ended up in hospital for a month recovering, and had my gall bladder removed.

You have every right to stomp your feet until you get seen, you can't be left in pain. I would say listen to your body and keep an eye out for signs of complications.

Really sympathise regarding the pain, nothing can take it away. I found being on all 4's was the only thing that eased it.

lanbro Wed 19-Feb-14 11:56:10

I can't believe you have to wait so long for the op! I had mine 2 weeks after finally being diagnosed. For me the pain of gall stones was so so much worse than childbirth. I would push for a quicker op but in the meantime try homemade soups, pasta with homemade sauce; basically anything you can make so that you can control the fat content.

The key hole surgery is amazing. I had mine on the morning and was home that same evening. You will need someone with you at home, I couldn't get myself out of bed for the first couple of days so needed help to go to the loo etc. I was back to work after 2 weeks.

holycowwhatnow Wed 19-Feb-14 11:57:23

I had gallstones and had my GB removed 3 years ago. I had the most awful pain (and like you I am stoic and don't like to whinge) accompanied by vomiting. I honestly thought I wsa dying and I'm not prone to feeling sorry for myself. I had 3 attacks in total before I had my operation. While you wait, eat NOTHING with fat, seriously, nothing and you should be ok. This attack will die down and if you stay fat free, you shouldn't get a recurrance. Each of my three attacks, I can pinpoint what triggered it (fatty fried potatoes followed by apple tart with lots of pastry- the first and the worst attack by far; a curry made with coconut milk; a slice of pizza.)

The operation was done by keyhole, I was off work for 2 weeks and it was a bit sore after but not too bad. TBH, I could have gone back to work after a week but my cert was for 2 weeks and I'm never off work so I took the time.

I've had no after effects. I think you're supposed to follow a low fat diet after having your GB removed but I'm not conscious of it and have had no issues at all after it.

Syork Wed 19-Feb-14 13:03:41

Thank you so much everyone for replying. It's so hard feeling poorly when you have young children. I don't understand why this pain is taking so long to settle down, is that normal? I suppose I'm just looking for reassurance that it will go if I eat low fat. The whole area feels so painful, but not with the agonising jabbing/squeezing of last night. It settled down when I was in hospital, can't believe how sore it is. I'm a bit confused about low fat too, does that include cholesterol and things like avocados? Thanks again!

Lottiedoubtie Wed 19-Feb-14 13:10:40

I lived on low fat sweet and sour chicken and dry bran flakes for about six months waiting for the OP. it is awful. I to had constant pain, although not constant 'attack' pain, this came and went. Because of this I had to have an MRI to check the bile duct, fortunately it was clear, but it meant an extra couple of weeks on waiting lists before getting the OP.

In the end I got the OP slightly earlier than I would have by emailing the consultants secretary and basically begging! He replied and said I could have it much sooner if I could get to another hospital where he also worked. I was shock that the NHS isn't organised enough to offer this as standard, but it isn't. It was more than worth driving to the next town to go to a different hospital though!

Lottiedoubtie Wed 19-Feb-14 13:11:41

Your triggers will be slightly different to the next person. I found it easier to restrict heavily rather than trial and error because of the pain of getting it wrong.

PinaColadas Wed 19-Feb-14 13:45:58

I found it useful to keep a diary of what I was eating so I could see what trigger foods were. For me it was things like bread, pasta, tea, coffee, dairy.

lanbro Wed 19-Feb-14 15:45:43

Yes Lottie I got my op so quickly as I was given the pick of 5 hospitals so I chose the soonest date rather than the nearest hospital. Definitely worth asking!

GoingToBedfordshire Wed 19-Feb-14 16:02:21

You poor thing, the pain is dreadful.

I had gallstones last year, misdiagnosed as a stomach ulcer and consequently ended up with pancreatitis as they were left untreated.

To reassure you though, I went on a very low fat diet for 8 weeks between the pancreatitis and having my gall bladder removed and I did not have any more gallstone attacks.

So, skimmed milk, no butter, cream, oil or cheese. Pretty much cut out processed foods. I did avoid avaocado, yes and eggs. Yes, it wasn't great fun, but I found it easy to stick to as I did not want to trigger any more attacks.

I ate cereals, flatbreads, crackers, soup, chicken, fish, loads of fruit and veg, rice, couscous. Made low fat malted muffins, had caramel Snack a Jacks and Haribo for treats. Eating out was tricky, but I could eat sushi.

You can take co-codamol or have tramadol prescribed, but both of those made me sick, so I stuck with paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Definitely seek a second opinion if you are still in pain however. I'm not the only one on this thread who ended up jaundiced and with pancreatitis.

Good luck OP, hope you feel better soon. For me, the gallbladder removal was not too difficult and I can eat pretty much a normal diet now.

MisguidedAngel Wed 19-Feb-14 16:21:11

I hope I don't end up confusing you, but this is my husband's story. He's always been prone to heartburn and also keen to keep his weight down. He has quite a sweet tooth so chose to cut down on calories by avoiding fat - never had butter or marg, cheese, fat on meat, cream or creamy sauces etc. Occasionally of course he would "treat himself" - and once after a few days of rich food (visitors, going out etc) he had a really bad attack. He was diagnosed with gallstones, and they were too big to pass. He was told that the problem was caused by restricting fat too much and then over doing it - because he very rarely ate fat, the gall bladder didn't have much work to do so the gall went all sludgy and formed the stones. Then when it was needed, it couldn't work.

He hasn't had the operation and now he tries to eat a little fat in his everyday diet and avoid excess.

From the other replies it would seem that different people have different experiences, and I think PinaColada's suggestion of a food diary is a good one.

dulwichparkrunner Wed 19-Feb-14 18:35:31

I think if you are very careful about following a low fat diet and also avoid anything you know is a specific trigger for you. FYI - Muesli and rye bread both were huge triggers for me then you should be able to avoid attacks in the short period that is 6-8 weeks.
From experience, attacks do sometimes happen for no apparent reason - but by being extremely careful I was sometimes able to manage gaps of 2 months between attacks. Although over time these gaps grew shorter.

I am sure you will know this, but I did find it very helpful for someone to rub my back vigorously, rather like winding a baby during attacks. Also sometimes stretching up really high (even though your natural reaction is to curl up) did help matters. Some people find standing under a hot shower helpful.

As other posters have advised, do ring Seldoc or head to A&E if an attack lasts hours and/or is accompanied by fever. I waited it out at home for too long on one occasion and when I did go, I was immediately admitted as I was jaundiced and things were more serious than I had realised.

I eventually had my gallbladder operation and it is definitely the best decision I ever made, I have had no problems at all. I wish you luck.

Kundry Wed 19-Feb-14 18:42:33

Pain improved massively when I ate a low fat diet - but you have to be almost obsessional about it and a low/no fat diet is very very dull. No oil/butter/spreads/dairy. Twas essentially grilled fish plus boiled/steamed vegetables. I remember crying when non-fat yoghurt kicked it off.

Absolutely nothing helped in the severe attacks but the diet did reduce the frequency and got rid of the 'all day' pain.

Good luck with the op - best thing I did was get rid of my gallbladder!

Twighlightsparkle Wed 19-Feb-14 20:05:12

I've started another similar thread, then spotted yours Op.

I had my worst " attack" last night after being on a diet for 5 weeks I decided to eat a cheese sandwich a nod some crisps ,.

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