Patient Comments: Gallstones - Symptoms

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

Comment from: Natben, (Patient) Published: March 16

I have just had a second attack of stomach pain 4 days after the last attack. I had to go to the emergency room with brutal pain, very, very painful, which built up over an hour, then 2 hours of agony, and then slowly over an hour or so it goes away. The doctor thinks it is gallbladder related, perhaps gallstones, so now I am waiting to see when I can get it removed, but for the moment I fear another attack will be along shortly until I get the gallbladder out. The pain is at the top of my stomach and then spreads all around my abdomen along with sweating and feeling like I am going to vomit. It starts with a pain between my shoulder blades and then onto my stomach area.

Comment from: Natben, (Patient) Published: March 15

I have just had a second attack of stomach pain 4 days after the last attack. I had to go to the emergency room with brutal pain, very, very painful, which built up over an hour, then 2 hours of agony, and then slowly over an hour or so it goes away. The doctor thinks it is gallbladder related, perhaps gallstones, so now I am waiting to see when I can get it removed, but for the moment I fear another attack will be along shortly until I get the gallbladder out. The pain is at the top of my stomach and then spreads all around my abdomen along with sweating and feeling like I am going to vomit. It starts with a pain between my shoulder blades and then onto my stomach area.

Comment from: Kate, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 12

I had severe back pain that got very bad lasting hours that even pain medications wouldn't touch. Having endometriosis and already years of back pain known from the disease I thought nothing more. Then it progressed from what started off, with ongoing rib cage pain suddenly. I turned to doctors who eventually sent me for an ultrasound to find I had a gallbladder full of stones and made an appointment to have it out. I'm a month out and have no back pain at all. I went from taking two 400 mg extra strength Advil every four hours, 10 to 12 tabs a day, to zero now. I hope anyone with such pain just for the sake of knowing gets it checked out. Don't assume like me it was a different health issue. What I would have given to not have that pain for goodness knows how long! I feel great now, eat the same, no issues. The first week is sore like any surgery but so worth it.

Comment from: Sunshine501, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 09

All of my gallstones pain was in my mid back, along with nausea and flu like symptoms including a low grade fever. Fatty foods were my trigger.

Comment from: fred1234, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 12

I am a 44 year old male in average shape, only problem I have had is anxiety besides the big problem! I was diagnosed with a gallbladder that is functioning at 4 percent three years ago, when I got very sick and had pain in stomach. After the HIDA scan and ultrasound there were no stones. After a month and a half pain went away, I only had a few attacks for three years. I have seen two surgeons when all that started, one said take it out the other said if it is not bothering not to worry about it. Well, here I am three years later with severe stomach pain, bloating, and pain going from center of my stomach to back upper right. I went to the emergency room, they did a CT and ultra sound and said no stones, but biliary colic. They referred me to a surgeon but he can't see me till June. So, in the meanwhile I feel miserable each day, extremely tired and no energy. I started vomiting recently which is totally new, I never vomit. No fever but dry itchy skin. I'm so confused. If I had stones I would understand, I can get it out but I wonder if a dysfunctional gallbladder can cause all these problems. I don't want a surgery as that is not going to solve my problems and I have heard so many mixed things online.

Comment from: MeMe, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: January 14

My first attack was when I was 18, I was out with friends and felt a sudden sharp pain on my right side just under my bust which radiated to my right shoulder blade and nausea. Within minutes I was doubled over in pain and finding it very hard to breathe which made me panic making breathing even harder. I was rushed to the emergency room and the doctor diagnosed me with a chest infection. It took another 10 months until I was finally diagnosed with gallstones. I learned to cope with the pain by using a hot water bottle or heat pads on my side or back/shoulder, taking ibuprofen and drinking apple or pear juice. It's now been 4 years since I've had a gallbladder attack.

Comment from: mz Williams, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

I noticed severe pain under my right breast while I was pregnant with my second baby. It was sharp and consistent. I was unable to walk standing straight up and moaned during the attack. It wasn"t until she was 2 months that I got an ultrasound and was told about the gallstones. I have noticed that if I eat greasy food such as collard greens, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese I will normally have an attack. The attack involves that same pain under my breast, nausea, and chills. I try very much to watch what I eat.

Comment from: curly, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I experienced severe pain in the chest, and abdomen one night in Jan 2013 after I had dinner as usual not a heavy one. The episodic pain reduced after an inflammatory injection at home. Initially I thought it to be a cardiac pain. But next day when I went to the emergency room to find out the cause, a CT scan was suggested which revealed tiny multiple gallstones. Since then I am watching my diet. I have no pain but experience bloating and gas. I am scared to undergo surgery as I am diabetic, hypertensive, had an attack of arrhythmia and have hypothyroidism and on medication.

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Comment from: LC8923, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: January 23

When I first experienced gallbladder symptoms I was 3 or 4 months pregnant. I was 19 at the time. It was by far the worst pain I've ever experienced! At that time the pain was located in my ribs and back. I couldn't eat or drink anything without having an attack. I was losing weight instead of gaining and it caused me to have a high risk pregnancy; I got sick all the time so nothing stayed in my body so I was hospitalized until I got healthy enough. And they told me I had gallstones but surgery wasn't an option because my pregnancy has been high risk. Finally when I hit 9 months it stopped! It made me scared to have kids again. But now, 5 years later, I am having attacks again! At first I thought I was having a heart attack! It's been every day and for a few months. Now I have pain through my back, my ribs and up to my chest. I don't get sick like before but I feel sick to my stomach, get cold chills, and get really bad headaches where I can't move or be in light without it hurting 20 times worse. My doctor before made it seem like its nothing serious, but after doing my research I am very worried that after 5 years maybe it is a lot worse. I am going to see a doctor when my insurance goes through and hopefully I can get my gallbladder taken out with no serious problems. These attacks are no joke!

Comment from: Fariha, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: January 10

One year back I got a severe back and stomach pain. I went to the doctor and got scanned. Then I found that I have 3mm gallstone. Five months back I again got pain in my back total spine and lower back, I am wondering if these symptoms reflect gallstone side effects.

Comment from: gatita, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I started having gallstones symptoms one year ago that landed me in the emergency room. I was never really diagnosed with gallstones until one year later. The pain I experience is directly under my left breast and covers a radius the size of a golf ball. It's concentrated pressure that requires me to lay down immediately. I take 3 Tums antacid tablets ASAP and it usually subsides within one hour. A few months ago, my episode lasted 4 hours which scared me. That's when I went to the doctor and he started running tests. After an X-ray on my stomach area, he found gallstones so I have an appointment in 3 months with a gastroenterologist.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Comment from: sandy, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: July 18

i have gallstones and i just recently went to the hospital and they had told me i had to wait 2 years to get surgery because their is a waiting list for surgery . now every time i eat i get pain and wen i get the pain i go to hospital and they just give me medicine . Can any one help me ? what can i do ?

Comment from: Tootsie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 17

I have just been diagnosed with an enlarged gallbladder with numerous stones. I first went to my medical doctor with a sharp knife life pain on the left side of my back. I had previously had all the tests for gallbladder. I was told it was not my gallbladder due to the pain being on my left side of my back. I was given a Ct and that is when the gallstones were found. I am still confused as to the paid on the left side of my back. Has anyone had a symptom like this? I am scheduled with a surgeon this week.

Comment from: Liv ing and Learning, Female (Patient) Published: February 06

About 8 years ago I had this excruciating pain. My children took me to the hospital on emergency. After several tests, the doctor asked me if I had eaten, I said no. So I ate I left the emergency room. Three years later I got the same pain. I thought it was gas and let it subside. Then it happened again with chills and pains similar to birth. This time after reflecting on the previous pains and feeling unconsciously weak, I left work and went to my doctor who sent me to the emergency room. My gall bladder was removed, I was really scared. Now I await my recovery. I'm still really scared because I was watching my diet.

Comment from: jonsie08, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

Months before having my gallbladder removed, I had an attack of strong pains in my stomach, just below where the rib cage separates, and in my back. I became flushed and hot and couldn't sit still until the pain subsided after 10 or 15 minutes. I didn't have another attack for three or four months, but when I did, I began to have them regularly. Even when I wasn't having an attack, I had persistent pain in my back (between the shoulder blades). After being diagnosed with gallstones, I ate a very bland diet until it was removed via laproscopic surgery.

Comment from: socialworkmom, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

When I had gallstones, I had intense nausea that kept me up all night, along with chills, and diarrhea. I am of childbearing age, so everyone kept thinking I was pregnant. After having an ultrasound of my abdomen, they found a 6 mm gallstone and a 4 mm polyp on my gallbladder. My symptoms occurred primarily at night, and I've had about three episodes over the past few months (about four weeks apart). I don't wish it on anybody. I just want to get my gallbladder out and to get on with my life.

Comment from: Maz, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 11

With my gallstones, I experienced pain and discomfort in my sternum, radiating directly to the back just below the shoulder blades and central in the back. If you pressed that area of the back, it would make you feel more nauseous. I felt very sick, and I was unable to sit in a chair. I had to lie down a lot.

Comment from: Shys_mom1999, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 05

I have had at least three attacks over the past six months or so. They would wake me up with the most awful pain in the middle of my abdomen that I have ever felt. Vomiting was the only way to get any relief. I went to the doctor last week and was sent for an ultrasound. Today I was told I had gallstones and could have surgery or try the medication. I have found the medication takes months to years to work ... I can't suffer that long. I am going to go ahead and have the surgery now that I've seen the information on the medication.

Published: July 29

I had two attacks during the last week of June 2008. The attacks were a few days apart and caused severe pain just below my breast bone in the middle. Both times I took Pepto Bismol and the symptoms were relieved immediately. My doctor ordered an abdominal ultrasound, which detected the gallstones. I have an appointment with a surgeon in August 2008 to be evaluated.

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Published: July 17

I had sudden excruciating pain in my mid-back about an hour after dinner. I was also quite nauseous. I felt better the next morning until I ate breakfast, then the nausea returned. As the day progressed, I had increasing pain in my right abdomen, just under my bust. The next day I developed stabbing pain in my abdomen just above the waist. It was painful to breathe. After a few hours of this, I went to the emergency room. After an ultrasound, I was diagnosed with gallstones. The attack eased in the evening with pain meds, and I was advised to see a surgeon. I had my gall bladder removed several weeks later. The surgery was uneventful, and less painful than the gallbladder attack.

Published: July 10

The first symptoms started about 2 years ago; I remember having a sharp, burning pain in my stomach (upper right area). It went away after about 10 min. and didn't have another "attack" until about a year later. Then it started happening a lot. It would wake me up out of a sound sleep and nothing would help it. Finally my husband insisted I go to the ER. After tests and an ultrasound I was told I had gallstones and needed my Gallbladder removed. Two weeks later I had the surgery. Now however, after a year and a half, I am starting to have similar symptoms. The pain is not as localized as the pain felt with the gallstones, but still severe. I am trying to wait to see if it gets better, but I am afraid it may get worse.

Published: July 09

I woke up feeling like mt stomach was on fire. Tums did not work so I tried some crackers. The pain was then up on my right side directly under my ribs and also the middle of my spine felt like it was on fire. A family member told me it was gas so I took two X-tra strength Gas X and that did nothing. I went to Urgent care and was diagnosed with a gall bladder problem and told to go to the ER. In the ER all my tests were normal, blood work, liver enzymes everything. Then they did an ultrasound that showed a ton of stones. One was caught in the bile duct. I had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy the next morning and the gallbladder was already gangrenous. I had never had a single symptom before.

Published: July 01

I knew that I had gallstones because of an ultrasound for an unrelated condition. In the past 3 or 4 years I have had 3 incidents of pain lasting about 15 minutes. The most recent was this evening. The pain was under the breastbone and soon my whole abdominal area was in pain. It took my breath away; I could barely speak. Nausea but no vomiting. This time I broke into a heavy sweat which had me a bit worried. I have been having a lot of itching lately, but that is probably just my sensitive skin. I feel fine now, after half an hour, but will be watchful and careful. I generally eat a very low fat diet but 2 of these episodes were preceded by higher fat meals.

Published: June 17

I started hurting in my chest and upper abdomen on the right side. It lasted for two weeks until I went to the emergency room and the doctor did an ultrasound and found gallstones.

Published: June 11

My pain started as a burning sensation, like heartburn, and quickly progressed to a sharp pain right in the middle of my abdomen, like a spear was going right through me. The pain would last for a couple of hours and I also felt very nauseated. Just as I felt I was on the verge of vomiting, the pain would go away as quickly as it came. At the onset of my third "attack" (over the course of a week) I went to the doctor and he promptly sent me to the emergency room. After examination by another doctor, they performed an ultrasound and confirmed that I had gallstones and the attacks were caused by the stones "passing". I had surgery the next day to remove my gallbladder.

Published: June 11

I had never experienced symptoms that would lead to a diagnosis of gallbladder disorder until the unfortunate weekend I was on a trip in another state and began to have extreme pain in the middle of my upper abdomen. I thought at first that I might be experiencing gas pains although I had never had them before. The pains got so painful that I couldn't bear to have my abdomen touched at all and I was finally taken to an emergency room over 100 miles from my home. By then I was running a high fever, had a high white blood cell count, low blood pressure, and an elevated alkaline phosphatase level. Transabdominal ultrasonography showed no gallstones, but the wall of the gallbladder apparently was very thickened. A MCRP later revealed that the bile duct was kinked and infection had set in. The blood supply to the gallbladder had been shut off and a confined perforation had occurred before I was taken to surgery. There they removed the gallbladder and nearby infected ligaments and tissues.

Published: June 09

It started out with a pain dead center of my abdomen that went straight through me. I thought I just had a stomach bug. After a couple of days and the pain becoming severe, I finally went to the ER where they did an ultra sound and told me that I had gallstones. They sent me home with medication and in less than twelve hours I was back at the ER with pain so severe it felt like I was having a heart attack. It was hard to breath it hurt so bad. They did another ultra sound and told me that I had passed a stone and that my gall bladder was full of stones and surgery was a good option. I had the surgery and was home with in twenty four hours. It was so much relief. I did was I was told which I think made it much easier. I did not eat or drink once I knew I was having surgery. I only did clear liquids afterwards and low fat foods. So far so good. The Doctor told my husband that it was a good thing I had the surgery because I would have had problems for years if I had not had it because it was so full of stones.

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Published: May 27

I woke up in the night with pressure in my back and abdomen. It was painful and kept me awake most of the night. I had several of these episodes spread over a year and then I began to have discomfort in my back and right side daily. This is when I was sent for an ultrasound and diagnosed with gallstones.

Published: May 27

It started in my stomach area and felt a lot like really bad reflux at first. Then it radiated to my upper back, just under my ribs, and was more on the right side of my body. It felt like pressure under my ribs and in my back. It made me feel nauseous and lightheaded, and it was hard to breathe. It was without a doubt, the worst pain I'd ever felt. Within 2 hours of the onset of pain, I couldn't stand up straight because the pain was so severe.

Comment from: Phoebe72, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I just discovered I have gallstones after two trips to the ER/ED in the last two and a half months. My pain began as a severe clenching pain under my xiphisternum (directly under my ribs in the centre). It was cyclic and lasted 45 minutes or so each time and having just had a baby, I likened it to contractions, but under my ribs rather than in my abdomen. I have also had episodes of back pain centered at the level of my shoulder blades, which I now wonder were related to the gall stones as they were often after eating. I had an ultrasound this morning which revealed a lovely collection (30 or so) small gallstones. At least I now know what it is.

Published: October 15

I had my gallbladder removed about 1year ago and have been great up until about 1 month ago and have been feeling the same symptoms, the gassy felling in my tummy and the feeling that I am starving, but only need a bite of something to relieve this. Can the gallbladder return?

Published: October 15

Don't delay in seeking treatment. A friend of mine died when the passing of gallstones caused something to burst, this lead to infection and then his organs shutting down. Then death. All in a period of two weeks.

Comment from: KP, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 16

While walking toward my vehicle at a gas station, I had a severe onset of pain, centered above my belly button. It ran across my abdomen, like a belt. Then there was the sensation of not being able to inhale, like a large air bubble was blocking my breathing. Dizziness and fainting sensation overcame me and eventually my knees buckled. I dropped to the ground. I sat upright on the ground, my breathing recovered, but I felt queazy and dizzy. I got inside my car and sat for 15-20 minutes before driving myself to the ER.

Comment from: marty, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 16

I just got diagnosed today. My symptoms were not like those listed previously. I had no pain, just a feeling of discomfort. My stomach was making strange gurgling sounds that had nothing to do with hunger. I felt bloated, gaseous, and my upper abdomen was tender. My friend convinced me to get it checked out, and sure enough I was diagnosed with multiple gallstones and my doc recommends surgery.

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