Gallstones, Fibro, GERD, MS, Etc.--What Now?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by dhcpolwnk, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    My doctor called me tonight with the results of an abdominal ultrasound I had last week to double-check on my liver. He was returning my call, not initiating a call because of an emergency. I think if I hadn't called him, I might not have heard anything about the result at all--the old "no news is good news" approach to medical communication.

    My doctor ordered the ultrasound after routine blood tests showed sudden *extremely* high ALT and AST levels. However, since I'd never had more than slightly elevated liver tests before, and since a follow-up test was more consistent with my usual results, he believes the high test results were probably a lab mistake. Nevertheless, he ordered the ultrasound to be sure.

    Well, my liver *is* okay. However, the ultrasound showed that I have a gallstone (I think he said just one) and a cyst in my right kidney. He didn't seem to think that either was much to worry about as long as I don't have any symptoms.

    After I got off the phone, I started searching the Internet and read about some of the symptoms of gallstones. Now I'm getting a little nervous.

    One of the symptoms described was moderate to severe pain in the upper abdomen under the ribs and sometimes radiating into the back, lasting up to 30 minutes (sometimes more). That description sounds a lot like several episodes I've had in the last few years where at first, I thought I might be having a heart attack, except that the pain was mostly on the right side, not the left. (The fact that my pain was on the right side worries me even more, since what I read suggests that gallstone pain would be on the right side.) Before this, I had just about concluded that the pain was related to my GERD, but now I'm concerned that it might be related to the gallstone.

    I already have fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, GERD and related problems. I also take a lot of medication and food supplements, many of which may have side effects that can mimic other conditions. I don't need another health problem to worry about; so if the gallstone I have is *not* responsible for the chest pain episodes I've had, I don't want to undergo unnecessary surgery. But I also don't want to ignore the gallstone explanation if that's the most likely reason for the chest pain. (It was *very painful and pretty scary.)

    I have some but not all of the high-risk factors for gallstones. I'm a 60-year-old woman of high-normal weight (BMI of about 24). I know that women 60 and older are especially susceptible to gallstones, as are obese people. But my weight is in the high-normal range for my height.

    Lack of exercise also appears to be a risk factor. I can't do many types of exercise, but I do yoga breathing and stretching exercises twice daily, take a weekly yoga class and am receiving occasional physical therapy for sciatica and low-back pain. I have lost 10-12 pounds in the past year. Although I still eat some fatty foods, I've been eating more healthy foods for the past year.

    I haven't had any problems with nausea, vomiting or diarrhea (which have been listed as gallstone symptoms), and I haven't had jaundice.

    I probably will call my doctor back and remind him of the chest pain I've had to ask about a possible connection with the gallstone finding. But I'm so confused about how all of my conditions, medications, etc., may be interacting. I thought maybe some of the wonderful people on this list might be able to offer some insights.

    I looked at some past messages about gallstones, but they didn't seem to deal with the question of how different conditions and/or medications might be involved, either as a precipitating/sustaining factor or as another explanation for the symptoms I've had.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts you are willing and able to share.

    --Laura R.M.
  2. Gail8899

    Gail8899 New Member

    My gallbladder attacks started just like yours did, but I have had 15 attacks since March, and two of them were bad enough to put me in the ER. I'll be having mine out next Friday. (great Christmas present, huh) I had no vomiting, nausea, bowel changes until the last attack. It was bad enough for me to never want another one and that's why I'm not delaying my surgery until after the holidays.
  3. Sandyz

    Sandyz New Member

    This darned disease just never gives us a break does it. You could try a gallbladder/liver flush if you really don`t want surgery. This cleans out the liver and gallbladder. People usually have lots of stones expelled.

    I`m going to do one to try to improve my health. Just type in gallbladder or liver cleanse. Hulda Clark site also has instrunctions.

    My mother just had her gallbladder out. She was feeling so rough, she was afraid she had cancer. Now she feels great and is so glad she did it.
  4. Txslady

    Txslady New Member

    I only developed GERD after the gallbladder started having problems. I had never taken even a tums before that. Now I have had the gallbladder removed (I believe this triggered the FMS) and I was left with the GERD. They do go hand in hand.

    Shannon
  5. tngirl

    tngirl New Member

    Speaking as someone who has both Gerd and also gallstones...the pain from gallstones is different. At least in my case it was.

    My gallstone pain was upper right abdomen which radiated around to the back, pretty much as you described.

    The gallbladder episodes occur worse after a meal, particularly if eating something high fat.

    I had my gallbladder removed and the upper right pain in the abdomen went away.

    My GERD symptoms are sore throat, pressure in chest (but I also have diffuse esophogeal spasms) liquid/food rising in throat, I only occasionally have had heartburn. I take nexium twice a day for the gerd and rarely have those symptoms now. I still have the esophogeal spasms at times though.

    I don't know if any of your meds could cause the symptoms you described but it doesn't seem like the meds would cause the pain to localize in that one area.

  6. Dee50

    Dee50 New Member

    I'm happy you started this thread. I've learned a lot reading it.

    Monday I'm having an ultra-sound on my gallbladder. and then a Hida-a-scan if doctor doesn't see anything on the ultra-sound of my gallbladder.

    Doctor thinks my gallbladder is the problem. I have pain in the upper right side in my rib cage and wrap around pain into my back. I'm not hungry most of the time and I'm very weak (total body).

    Hope you get all your problems straighted out. It's crazy just trying to keep up with all the health problems one can have. I've got nothing figured out yet-except I know I'm very ill.lol I've got that part figured out.lol

    Happy Holidays,
    Dee50
  7. Sheila1366

    Sheila1366 New Member

    Hey Laura,
    Gallstone attacks are painful I am sorry to say.But just one stone may not give you any trouble.I also have GERD.I suffer from gastritis constantly.If I don't stay on my meds. for that I get chest pain and stomach pain that is awful.I will say that the biggest difference between the gastritis and the gallstone attacks was that the pain in my rib upper ribcage was a pain that was different from previous stomach problems.It was sharp and stayed that way for awhile.It felt like I sharp stab in the ribs,it took my breathe.
    You have so much going on,so sorry.It must be hard to tell what is what.Try not to worry about the gallstone.When it is ready to come out you will know it is the gallbladder.Hopefully you will never have an attack.My mom has 1 gallstone and has never had an attack.They found the stone while checking her rib for a crack.
    You take care,I will lift you up in prayer.{{{HUGS}}}
    Sheila
  8. tandy

    tandy New Member

    Just adding:
    My poor SIL just got admitted to the hospital yesterday for a gallstone stuck in the bile duct~

    she was having really bad stomach pain (she said almost felt like a huge bubble was stuck in there) she was gassy,..and threw up a few times.
    She went to the ER and had lots of tests ran.

    I guess its so bad that her pancreas is affected or inflammed so she's on heavy duty pain killers/and antibiotics,...she can't eat at all.(drs. orders)
    She's sceduled for surgery to remove her gallbladder on Tues.
    Sure hope she's out for Christmas~ She has a lil guy at home,he's 1 and a half yrs old.
    Best of luck to you~
    sure does'nt sound like any fun. then again,...is any of this crap we go thru fun??

    Hugs
    Tandy
  9. dhcpolwnk

    dhcpolwnk New Member

    Thanks to all who have responded. My internist responded to my call reminding him of my chest pain symptoms. He didn't think the gallstone I have would have caused the chest pain because it didn't occur after eating a high-fat meal. He also said the test didn't indicate any gall bladder disease. He's perfectly willing to refer me for gall bladder surgery if that's what I want, but we kind of agreed to wait and watch for now. At the moment, I'm fighting off my third bladder infection in the last few months, and unless it's really necessary, I don't think I want to have the surgery at least until my neurogenic bladder problems can be resolved.

    Has anybody else had the kind of pain associated with gallstones/gall bladder disease without any association with a high-fat meal?

    --Laura R.M.
  10. getfitat40

    getfitat40 New Member

    Laura - sorry to hear about all of your troubles. I think that the internist is wise to tell you to wait. I had a liver ultrasound on Wednesday because my liver enzymes are very high.

    I posted this on another post but the tech saw a gallstone in my gallblader too. And to humiliate me just a bit more marked down in my chart that 'due to obesity' he couldn't get a good shot of my liver. Now I have to have a abdominal CAT scan.

    What a wake up call. I don't think I have had any gallbladder attacks as of now. In fact, no pain on the right side until yesterday when he was pressing so hard on my right side.

    Two years ago my brother had a severe gallbladder attack. All the tests showed that all was normal so they ended up opening him up to see what was going on - his gallbladder was so diseased it was gangreous (sp). Not sure if he just ignored previous attacks or what but he ended up in the hospital for almost 3 weeks. It was a huge wake up call for him and now for me. Take care...Nancy