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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: IBS and Gallstones

 countrygirl - Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:40 am

I have had tiny gallstones for over 10 years and have put off having it removed if I don't have to. It is many years since I had a gallbladder "attack" and when I did it was extremely painful to touch under and below my right rib with pain going up to shoulderblade but only lasted about 5 hrs during the night.
I have had yearly ultrasounds and 6 monthly liver tests since then with no known complications.

Four months ago i woke in the night with severe feeling of pressure around my navel radiating out slightly to two points at the side that felt like I was being poked hard. No pain as such just extreme pressure sensations. I had guglings and had two urgent bowel motions and it took two days for pressure feelings to go away. These attacks which are always the same can be a week apart of 6 weeks apart.

I have had a barrage of tests. I had my aorta scanned, lots of bloods including liver and kidneys and fbc,urine tested, then I had a sigmoidoscopy. The only noticeable thing was at my aorta ultrasound they said I had huge amounts of gas in my colon.
Everything else was normal. I then had a complete abdominal ultrasound of liver/kidneys/pancreas/gallbladder/ducts/ovaries and womb. Only thing was my usual tiny gallstones but ducts clear and no thickening of gallbladder wall.

I saw my consultant two days ago and he said that he thinks the pressure feelings are irritable bowel attacks but his advice is to have my gallbladder removed to remove the risk of any complication arising. He said I am only 46 yrs old and the longer they are there the more likely to cause complications.

I am terrified of surgery as I am overweight and a born worrier!
The questions I didn't ask him were if these pressure attacks are linked to my gallbladder then surely my scan and liver tests would show something other than just gallstones???
During these pressure attacks I have no pain under my right rib cage or into shoulder and can push and prod away without it hurting whereas I remember durin my one gallbladder attack I could't bear anyone to touch under my right rib.

I don't want to subject myself to unecessary surgery and the risk of the surgery and possible aftereffects but also don't want to dismiss these pressure attacks as irribable bowel and I could be doing damage to myself.

Would love your opinion PLEASE
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Jun 07, 2007 1:00 pm

User avatar These attacks do not sound very consistent with gallbladder issues. I think your consultant is probably correct in that this may be IBS.

I suspect that your specialist also does not think that these are gallbladder related but was recommending you have your gallbladder removed as a precaution to keep you from getting an acute attack. Gallstones, even tiny ones, can obstruct the gallbladder or common bile duct. They can also become lodged in the pancreatic duct and cause acute pancreatitis.

None of these things are pleasant and some can be quite serious. Certainly it is an issue of risks of surgery vs. benefits. You may want to talk with a surgeon to get a good understanding of the risks and benefits from their perspective so you can make an informed choice (which may or may not be surgery).

Best wishes.
 countrygirl - Thu Jun 07, 2007 5:09 pm

it is much appreciated. One other question I forgot to post is that the extreme pressure sensations around my navel that is attacking me during the night gets marvellously better if I stand up. Obviously I can't sleep stood up. Sitting down is a bit uncomfortable as it feels like a tight band across my navel.

My Dr said that if your colon is distended then standing up takes the pressure off but sitting and especially laying down makes it worse.

It is such a strange sensation and hard to describe but I hope you undestand what I mean.

Huge thanks
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:39 pm

User avatar I'm not certain what would be causing your abdominal pain while lying down. It's possible that standing may relieve some pressure on the intestines if there were inflammation in the correct area.

You may need to have some imaging studies done to take a look at your abdomen and help figure out what is going on.

Best wishes.

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