Patient Comments: Gallstones - Symptoms

For gallstones, what were the symptoms and signs you experienced?

Comment from: pedsrn, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

My gallstone symptoms started about a month ago. I woke up in the middle of the night with severe bilateral back pain that radiated under my rib cage. Because I have a history of back problems (including two spinal fusions), I didn't think anything of the back pain. After three nights of waking up with pain, I finally went to see my doctor. Based on my symptoms and my medical history, she sent me for an X-ray of my back. Her thoughts were that some of my hardware had broken or shifted. The X-ray was clear. I went five weeks without another episode. Within the last seven days, I have woken up four nights with right-side back pain that radiates under my rib cage, pain in my mid-upper abdomen, abdominal tenderness, nausea, vomiting, and some chest discomfort. I went for an ultrasound, which revealed multiple gallstones. I have an appointment for this week with a surgeon to discuss my options.

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Comment from: Mary, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 04

My gallstone symptoms seem to be different than most. I experienced a "recurring flu" five times between March and September 2008. These “flus” gave me incapacitating nausea, vomiting, chills, with diarrhea during the first day of an episode. I called my doctor and requested Zofran (which went generic the past year). Thank God for Zofran, I would have died without it. Each “flu” lasted for a minimum of five days, and I instructed family members to stay away. An ultrasound yesterday revealed one 2 cm and several smaller gallstones. I see the surgeon on Monday to schedule surgery. I'm relieved to know it isn't my pancreas (my doctor suspected pancreatitis), and we know now what the "recurrent flu" was caused by. I'm glad I haven't had a painful attack, as I've heard about and read about here. Hopefully, I'll make it another week or two without that. I live alone and don't know what I'd do without someone to drive me to hospital.

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Comment from: cpl, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 04

I had just lost 124 pounds over the last year. A week ago, I woke up at 3:30 a.m. with severe pain above my stomach and could hardly breathe because the pain was so bad. Within minutes, I was almost passing out on the bathroom floor, sweating profusely. My husband managed to get me dressed and rushed me to the ER. After two injections of Demerol, the pain began to subside. The blood work showed that my liver and gallbladder enzymes were elevated, and following an ultrasound and bioscan, it was determined that I had gallstones and would require surgery as soon as they could book it. I was sent home. That night I developed a fever, and by 2:30 the next afternoon, I was admitted to the hospital and put on the list for emergency surgery to remove the gallbladder. Two days later I was taken to the operating room. It affected my liver and eventually lead to pancreatitis. Finally, today, my enzyme levels were close to normal, so they sent me home. If I have any more pain or show signs of jaundice, I'll have to go back and have an ERCP. Thank you for the info on here...wish I had the time before going through everything I did to do the research!

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Published: June 27

The first episode began gradually with a burning pain and a lot of pressure just beneath my ribs on the right side, straight down from my breast. The pain and pressure got worse over the course of an hour until I could hardly move or take a deep breath. When I tried to manipulate the area (thinking it must be trapped gas) I could feel a hardening and enlarging of (what I now know was) my gallbladder. After a couple of hours, the pain slowly subsided. The second episode began the same way, same spot, but this time it radiated to my back. I tried to burp, thinking it would relieve the horrible pain, and I immediately and violently vomited until my throat bled. Two days later, an ultrasound showed two small gallstones.

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Published: June 26

Looking backwards from surgery date to symptoms, I had jaundice, uncontrollable itching, nausea, chest pain (that felt like someone took a belt and cinched it under my breasts as tight as they could), abdominal pain from under my breasts down to my lower abdomen, back pain from under my shoulder blades to my spine and then other times I would feel perfectly normal. Of all the symptoms, the only one that seemed to be consistent was the itching.

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Gallstones - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your gallstones?
Gallstones - Causes Question: If known, describe the causes of your gallstones. Have any relatives had problems with gallstones?
Gallstones - Complications Question: Have you ever had any complications of gallstones? If so, what were they?
Gallstones - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with gallstones.

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