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General health

Gallstones - feeling depressed

27 replies

lisalisa · 01/07/2003 12:39

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fio2 · 01/07/2003 12:43

lisa you have/are going through the mill, dont know much medically although my sis had problems with her gall bladder and you can survive without one. Lots of sympathy from me, thinking of you

princesspeahead · 01/07/2003 12:45

oh lisalisa, very sorry to hear this. I really don't have any experience with much of it, but I do know that my mother has a grumbling gallbladder and she manages it through diet (she is a gp). basically she keeps away from heavy fatty foods (meats like duck, pork and pork products, etc), wine and alcohol, too much cheese etc. It sounds like you won't be able to avoid surgery, but maybe by staying on a light diet you will minimise the attacks? basically stick to chicken and fish, skimmed milks, low fat dairy products, no alcohol.

best of luck and sorry not to be able to answer any of your other uestions, I'm sure others will be able to. lots of sympathy.

Tissy · 01/07/2003 12:59

lisalisa, sorry you are having such a rough time. Are you having pain from gallstones being passed out of the gallbladder, or inflammation/ infection of the gallbladder itself?

Gallbladder surgery has been done during pregnancy, and the second trimester is the best time to do it, if it has to be done.The risk of problems with the pregnancy due to surgery seems to be low.

I did a google search on "gallstones and pregnancy" and came up with a few useful sites.


lisalisa · 01/07/2003 13:13

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Jaybee · 01/07/2003 13:13

Lisalisa - I sympathise - I had gallstones a few years ago which were removed by surgery in the end. I wasn't pregnant though so I understand your concern. I have no idea re. the medication and all I can really do is ditto what PPH has already said re. low fat foods - usually gallbladder springs into action if you have had any high fat food - if the gallbladder is not needed it reduces the likelihood of the pain as the stones are not blocking the tubes - although it sounds as though you have a stone that may have escaped into the bile duct - hence the liver problems. It may be worth you getting a Rosemary Conley diet book as her diet was developed as a result of her losing weight whilst on a low fat diet due to gallstones. Good luck.

Girly · 01/07/2003 13:40

Lisalisa, can sympathise with you, I am due for surgery next week to remove my gall bladder and have had a few attacks, one was nasty and was admitted, so I understand what its like.

However I am not pregnant so have no advice in that area. Sorry

I passed a stone during the bad attack and the rest of the time it rumbles, always threatening. My op is via keyhole surgery, surely they could do that whilst having your c section, tho it would mean a general anasthetic, the recovery from keyhole is quick, usually 2 or 3 days. Could you not discuss this with your consultant.

Not much help i know, but really know how awful gall stones are.

lisalisa · 01/07/2003 14:18

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Podmog · 01/07/2003 16:18

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Nome · 01/07/2003 17:42

I had my gall bladder out 3 weeks after birth. My consultant said it was pregnancy related. The keyhole surgery was very quick and painless and almost unnoticable compared to the c-section.

I don't envy you having to wait until after the birth tho. Lots of sympathy.

A friend had an ovarian cyst removed while pg - that was keyhole surgery. It was quite early on tho.

Good Luck.

lisalisa · 02/07/2003 10:16

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mears · 02/07/2003 10:24

A midwife friend of mine had her gallbladder removed at 9 weeks post natal (not C/S though). She was breastfeeding and expressed milk prior to going in for surgery. She was advised to express and throw out her milk for 24 hours after the anaesthetic but that is actually questionable now. That was 8 years ago. She took the baby in with her and actually had a bed in the paediatric unit, where the surgical nurses visited her. Afterwards we reckoned that was not actually the best thing to have done as her needs should have taken priority to the baby's, but at the time she thought it was safer for the baby to be in the paediatric ward than in the surgical ward. Again this could have been managed in a single room in the surgical ward with a family member looking after the baby. She desperately did not want to leave him at home despite expressing for the first day. She B/F him the rest of the time.

Nome · 02/07/2003 13:50

lisalisa, I was really glad to have it out - at least it was a diagnosis! I had two visits to two different maternity wards with the pain 14 days after the c/s. It probably slowed down my c/s recovery, but I didn't notice! I was doing fine until the first attack 14 days post-partum (you know the pain where it feels as if someone is tightening a sharp wire around you where your ribcage starts spreading?). I had the g-bladder whipped out 48 hours after diagnosis was confirmed by scan. I had to pump milk for ds to have while I was in surgery and pump and throw for 12 hours afterwards. I used the same painkillers for the gallbladder that I was given for the c/s - didn't seem to affect ds, he was a strapping 9.27kg at 16 weeks! I didn't even have proper stitches, just the stick-on butterfly ones. I stayed on the maternity ward and the surgical team came to see me there - v.good, esp as the midwives looked after ds overnight while I slept off the general anaesthetic, giving him the EBM and some formula. This was at end of January. I can't really tell if the tiredness of ds' first 14 weeks was due to the c/s, the g-bladder or just having a new baby...

JJ · 06/07/2003 05:48

Lisalisa, I had the same thing, but luckily (I guess) mine started later at 7 months pregnant. I couldn't eat anything either, even a small plate of steamed veggies would cause an attack. Anyway, existing solely on a diet of small snacks and heaps of coffee didn't do my son any harm. He was 4.2 kilos at birth. (Just fyi, he does have horrible food allergies which are completely explicable wrt family history and have nothing to do with the whole gallstone thing. I just don't want you to read about that in my other posts and then wonder.)

You should check elsewhere in regards to the surgery. When I was diagnosed, I was told that if I had been a bit earlier and the baby had been in a better position (he was back to back and shoving his knees out for all it was worth), they would have done the surgery. At any rate, they did think that an emergency surgery might be necessary, so I met the surgeon, went through what would happen just in case and all that. The attacks were horrible and did happen regularly, despite not eating. The key is to take the drug (I took demerol, which I think is in the same family as tramadol) as soon as you start having an attack. It takes a while (30 minutes or so) to kick in and the attack is not going to get better. Don't worry about how many times you take it. Take it when you need it.

Have them take your gallbladder out with the c-section if they can. They're in there anyway. I'm serious, it didn't get better for me and I had mine out 6 weeks after birth (after another bad attack).

Luckily I previewed this post. It sounds really dire, but it was just one of those things. I wish I could give you more info, but I've forgotten most of the details. It's not so bad, except when it's happening of course, and it will end. Not much help to you now, but I do want you to know that there have been no lasting effects for us.

lisalisa · 07/07/2003 14:27

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Nome · 07/07/2003 15:44

Poor you. Can't really help, but as regards expressing, in hospital, I used one of their industrial pumps - v. quick and quiet - just held it to the breast and away we went. I tried a hand pump and couldn't get let down. At home I now have a little electric one - v.quick and v. noisy.

lisalisa · 07/07/2003 16:15

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Nome · 17/07/2003 21:36

Sorry about taking so long to get back to you lisalisa, but we were hacked by a particularly nasty virus that destroyed our firewall and then ate internet explorer hadn't realised how deep my mumsnet addiction runs...

The electric pump didn't/doesn't hurt at all - not even the toe-curling moment you get in the early days of breast-feeding. Just held it to my breast and read a book for ten/twenty minutes. Couldn't watch telly though, except with subtitles! The sensation was fine, negligble, but I didn't like dh seeing me 'milking' myself. Silly I know.

I know that my local maternity hospitals hire out electric pumps (the serious version, not the little yellow Medela one I have at home). I think it was a £20 delivery charge and then a pound a day, but I could be making that up. I think the NCT has info about hiring large, fast, quiet ones as well, but I could also be making that up too Suffering from spongy brain today. Might be worth asking your midwife about. (Not my spongy brain, the pumps )


mears · 18/07/2003 01:33

Lisalisa - I don't actually think that the milk actually does need to be thrown away. I have spoken to a few anaesthetists who don't believe it is necessary. Women who have had a general anaesthetic for a C/S are allowed to feed and do not have to express.

Nome · 18/07/2003 10:11

Oops, forgot to mention that one of the reasons I had to pump and throw was that it wasn't clear from my notes whether I had been given a dye to make sure that none of the stones escaped during the op. The midwives thought it best to wait until my surgical consultant had done rounds the following morning. They also weren't sure whether I had been given the same general as the c/s ladies. [shrug] I was so glad to be rid of the gallbladder before the op and so woozy from painkillers after, I would have agreed to almost anyhting! (I was on a maternity ward for the op because ds was only four weeks old and breastfed, so they wouldn't split us)

lisalisa · 22/07/2003 11:09

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Podmog · 28/07/2003 18:50

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caz61 · 28/07/2003 20:40

Podmog - My mum who is 71 had her GB removed last year by keyhole surgery. She was in hospital for a couple of days and spent a few days in bed afterwards. She says she still gets the odd twinge now and again but generally is fine. Had lack of appetite for a little while and the doctors recommended a light diet after the surgery which she is still following. Hope this helps and good luck for your op

Lisalisa - hope you are still feeling okay. You poor thing I really sympathise with you but cannot offer any tips just positive thoughts!

Nome · 28/07/2003 20:41

Post op I was tender (nothing like the c/s though) and it hurt when ds squirmed into the wounds. I was careful about what I ate for a fortnght, but was back on Ben and Jerry's and pizza then I also took my painkillers post op as advised and felt fine within the fortnight.

lisalisa, my gb must have been packed full of stones, but they didn't start to hurt until after the birth. I didn't even know I had gstones until they scanned me! My consultant said the bile was sluggish/slower due to an excess of oestrogen, so maybe it's too slow to squeeze out stones with the bile? She also muttered something about forty, fair, fat, flatulent and fertile being the classic patient profile... I didn't ask more as I fail on at least two of the above

Girly · 28/07/2003 20:45

Podmog, I had mine removed 3 weeks ago, was in hospital for 2 nights and felt back to normal after about 5 days, once the stitches had healed (mine were internal so did not need removing) the soreness went.

I felt a bit tired for a few more days but really 2 weeks recovery is a good estimation. I feel fine now, just have to be a bit careful with heavy lifting, all my incisions have healed really well and the bruising was minimal. HTH

Nome · 28/07/2003 22:36

Oh, and I was scheduled for surgery at 4pm and was discharged before lunch the following day. Not much time to lie around feeling sorry for myself whilst having grapes peeled for me

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