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Gallbladder Surgery?


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Hi all,

My main question is this: Who has had gallbladder removal, how long ago, and how are you feeling now?  Also, is there some sort of specialist that can determine whether one just has stones, or whether the gallbladder is diseased? 

It was suggested that I have gallbladder surgery back in May because my gallbladder was "filled with stones and sludge." I realized in hindsight that I'd been having mild problems with it for two years. I had one minor attack after eating french fries, fried fish sandwich, and a milk shake that scared me into eating better then I found out I "needed surgery." I decided to change my life completely in an attempt to avoid surgery and have gone from a fish and chips, pizza, muffins and beer diet to eating healthfully.  And from being entirely sedentary to exercising 5 days a week.  Over the course of this, I have gone from 205 pounds to 167.  

I had weeks early on when I barely ate 500 calories a day because I was so nauseous when I'd eat.  I worked with an acupuncturist and naturopath and discovered a variety of food allergies.  In the last 3 months, I have been avoiding foods I'm allergic to and have felt normal.  I had thought perhaps I was in the clear and by being cautious, could keep my gallbladder.  However, last night,  I had an attack that was much worse than the first.  The pain was so great that I drove over to a friend's in the middle of the night so I would be closer to the hospital if the pain got worse.  I survived the night without having to go to the ER, but also without sleeping much... I ate a few too many potatoes last night and had a little bit of food I am mildly allergic to earlier in the day, but other than that, can't imagine what caused it... 

The whole thing has me re-thinking my surgery avoidance plan.  But I'm worried by all the horror stories I have heard about people having problems after surgery.  I'm only 24 and would opt for surgery in a second if it seemed I could conceivably live for another 60 years without problems caused by missing a gallbladder.  Any personal experiences you would be willing to share would be so appreciated.

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I used to work at a radiology facility and there are two ways that I know of to diagnose gallstones.  The first is an ultrasound which will usually show them.  If it's negative, then they can do something called a hida scan which is a nuclear medicine test in which they stimulate the gall bladder and take films of it.  That one will definitely show the stones if the ultrasound doesn't.  I had mine out a long time ago before they had the laproscopic surgery, so I can't speak to that. I do know that those who have it heal up really quickly.  I can also tell you that I didn't change anything about my diet post-op and that in more than 20 years, I haven't missed my gall bladder one minute!  Good luck!

EDITED TO ADD:

Have the surgery.  It's simple and the recovery is quick.  It beats the heck out of having attacks I can tell you that.  Gall bladder attacks were the worst pain I've ever had, dwarfing labor and delivery completely. I did lose my baby weight quickly because for the last month or so all I could eat withoug ending up in the fetal position crying was jello and bullion.  You will be glad you had the surgery.

Thank you so much!  That is reassuring.  I had not found a single person who had their gallbladder removed more than 7 years ago.  Thanks again! I really appreciate it!

Your welcome!  I hope everything goes well for you and I can tell you that it's so liberating when you are free of the attacks!

I had mine out about 5 years ago after about 17 years of pain and being misdiagnoised as lactose intolerant and having a hiatal hernia.  It was done laproscopically and since my gallbladder was totally full of stones and because of my serious size issues it took about 4 hours instead of the regular 1 or 2.... I would do it all over again even with that and 3 days in the hospital (I went in cuase I had a obstruction in the bile duct so that took an extra day to deal with so it would have been 2 or less)

You have to understand that the last few years of having my gallbladder was hell when I had an attack I would be doubled over in bed for DAYS crying, I have had very little problems in the last 5 years, I am a little intolerant to REALLY fatty foods like breaded deep fried foods in that they just make me sick to my stomach for a bit but NOTHING like before.

The op I had involved a 2 inch insision (my stones were BIG) and 4 little 1 cm ones all of which they glued shut and all which healed in 2 weeks, I was up and moving around soon after surgery.

Hi,

I was 24 when I had my gallbladder out 29 years ago and haven't missed it a day since! The surgery was tough compared to the laparoscopic procedues done today but I would still do the same thing again. I do have bouts of diarrhea on occasion but that is a small price to pay for hell my gallbladder put me through. 

I say, have the surgery and don't look back! You will be much happier without your gallbladder! Good luck and take care.

 

Hi,

I'm 18 years old and i had my gallbladder removed less then a week before my 18th birthday (July 2008). I was always so scared of having surgery or even going to the hospital since i've never even been there for myself before. I didn't really have a choice because one of the stones got stuck in my bile duct. They say that is the pain you are feeling. I had the pain for three days in a row - all i wanted was a minute without the pain so i could think about something other than it! It is horrible as you know and is to me not worth putting off getting rid of it. I have not had any problems since i got it removed. Me and my mom ordered a pizza to my hospital room only five hours after my surgery :) I now also eat healthy because i understand it all more, and had to eat healthier while waiting for my surgery. (And that is really good that you are eating healthier too- congratulation on your weight loss- that is wonderful! :]...) But either way i haven't experienced any problems from having mine removed and know a few other people who have had the same surgery with good results as well. I think if you can handle it you should definately have it done and soon so you can live your life not worrying about it anymore!! :) Good luck on what decision you make!

Hi!  I just had mine taken out yesterday, on a sort of emergency basis.  My ultrasound showed exactly what you described, sludge and stones.  Apparently they can become gangrenous if you leave it that way for too long, plus you have to deal with the intense pains associated with eating certain foods.  My doctor told me that I don't have to drastically change my eating habits, just avoid really fatty foods (which I do already).  I had it done laproscopically, and I'm feeling ok right now.  There are four tiny incisions (I still haven't seen them yet, they still have the bandages over them).  They feed a camera through the belly button, and instruments to clamp and cut through the others.  My doctor saved images from the procedure that he printed out for me (AWESOME!!!), and today showed me videos showing the entire process.  I'm not terribly uncomfortable right now, I've been up and walking today--slower than my normal pace, but I'm walking.  I feel very bloated too, because for the procedure they fill the abdomen with air to be able to visualize everything better.  So it takes a couple days for the body to reabsorb it.  It feels bloaty, and a little crampy below my clavicles from it.  

All in all, so far it hasn't been so bad (I only had it done yesterday, sorry this is all I have!).  I'll keep you posted on how I feel later!

i'm 20 years old and i had mine out in may of this year after being diagnosed with chronic cholecystitis (gallbladder disease).

 

if you haven't already, you need to go to a gastro doctor and have them set you up with a few tests. you'll need a sonogram to see if you have stones, and they did a test where they inject you with the hormone CCK which makes your gallbladder contract. if you feel the same pain during the test as you do after eating, it's probably your gallbladder.

 

before all these tests, i had several others done to rule out more common problems. i've had an upper endoscopy as well as a small bowel test where they make you drink that barium.

 

anyway, like i said - i had mine out in may. i had it done laprascopically. my sonogram that i had done a few months before didn't show and stones, but when the doctor took out the gallbladder he said it was extremely inflamed and diseased. the surgery was at 9 am and i was home by 8pm the same night. it took about a week to recover from the soreness, and for me, about a month to feel totally normal to the point where i can now eat whatever i want without feeling sick anymore :) it was very discouraging to have to wait a month to feel better, i thought the surgery didn't work. you need to give it time and be patient. it's been 6 months and i'm glad i did it, because i don't know where i would be now if i didnt get it done. i was in your boat - couldnt eat, lost a lot of weight and just looked very sickly.

 

if you and your doctor come to a consensus about getting the surgery done, i'd say go for it. i don't know what 'horror stories' you've heard, but a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) is a relatively common and very SAFE surgery with fairly little complications afterwards. i know some people may experience diahrea for a brief time, but in the end it's worth it.

 

oh and btw, you do NOT need a gallbladder to survive. they used to serve a purpose hundreds of years ago, but now all they do is store bile between the liver and the intestines. trust me, i'm not missing mine and i don't feel any different than i did when i had it besides the fact that i dont feel sick anymore :)

Hi, First you need to have test done. I had my surgery in 1994, it was emergency surgery we were in the middle of moving from AZ to Tn.  Anything with fat would set me off and fast food, OMG I about died from a porkchop. I had the surgery where they went in and make 3 little cuts and took it out. I was in hospital over night and went home. Much better after surgery. Some people complain about the runs after surgery but that was better then the pain and at some point it had to be removed anyways. I have UC any ways so the runs didn't have to do with gallerbadder. I moved the following week after surgery and drove across country with little problem. Hope you feel better soon.

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Hello

 

I have been suffering with gallbladder pains for about 3 years now.  Firstly i was told that I had a clot on my lung and over the past 3 years I have had lots of bouts of severe pain which has ended up with me in hospital on more than one occasion.  Anyway it turned out that i had gallstones (5 to be exact) and the best solution was to have my gallbladder removed as they believed that because of my age etc, i would probably get more gallstones if they just removed the gallstones.

So this week I had my gallbladder/stones removed through keyhole surgery.  I was very nervous of how much pain i would be in afterwards but its not that bad.  Obviously when i first came round from the op, i was in some discomfort but i was given a fair bit of morphine which definitely helped with the pain.  I am in a little discomfort and it does take me a while to stand up after sitting down but obviously this will get better with time.  I was told it can take up to 8 weeks to fully recover from this op. 

The one thing i am concerned about is about the incision under my belly button.  They glued it up afterwards but it seems like the glue has actually gone into my belly button and I am wondering how i am supposed to get this glue out of my belly button as its going to block it and cause infection.

If anyone can help on this one i would appreciate it.

The problem with not having the surgery is that the stones can block off your bile ducts.  This can cause your gall-bladder to swell and burst.  Then you've got a life-threatening emergency.

About 1/3 of people who have their gall bladder out are going to have post-cholecyctectomy syndrome.  I have it myself (gall bladder out in 1995).  It's caused by bile dripping continually into your intestines (as opposed to only being squirted in when you are digesting fat).  This irritates the intestines and can cause a variety of symptoms.  For me, it means severe cramping, followed by bouts of diarrhea.  The diarrhea relieves the pain, and then I am perfectly fine.  My bouts usually follow eating and last about 1/2 hour or so.  It's unpredictable when it's going to happen, and certainly doesn't happen all the time. Worse when I'm stressed and before my period.  You learn to deal with it.

But remember only about 1/3 of people ever have any problem after the surgery.

 

Have your gallbladder rechecked.  If you had stones, healthy eating etc will help stave off an attack, but it's not likely to help the stones.  If the damage is already done, you may need the surgery anyway.  It's also possible that the gallbladder is itself diseased, and they often can't see that until they get in there to do the surgery.  Both me and my fella had ours out because of stones, and discovered that the organ itself was diseased, causing a constant low-grade infection.  Not a healthy way to be.

I had to have my gallbladder removed years ago.  I had some complications from the surgery, but once they got that fixed I have few troubles.  Eating a healthy, lowfat, highfiber diet keeps me very normal.  If I eat a high fat meal, I get symptoms much like irratible bowel syndrone, meaning I get some intestinal cramps, and may have to make sudden pit stops to go to the bathroom.  I had that when my gallbladder was bad as well.  But those symptoms completely dissapear when I am eating healthy and exercising.  It's brilliant to be able to eat, go out and about, and not have to worry about where the nearest bathroom is!

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