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Galixie

Gallbladder/Gallstones Questions

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It turns out that I have a very large gallstone (think golf ball sized). I know it's been there for over a year because it was spotted on a CT scan that was done in January 2015 as well as one that was done two weeks ago. As far as I know, I've never had a gallbladder attack. (I'm guessing I would know if I had.)

One of my friends suggested that maybe I'd be able to reintroduce the gluten and dairy that I currently have to avoid if I had my gallbladder removed. I thought that seemed doubtful, but I decided to see what I could find online about that topic. I found one article about a woman who was able to go back to eating gluten after gallbladder removal, but by far the majority of the articles all seemed to mention that there is a link between celiac and gallbladder disease. I have, so far, not seen any of the research that backs that. I'm kind of terrible at online searches, so I am willing to assume there really have been studies. It brings up a few questions for me:

1) Some of the articles seemed to indicate that gallbladder disease without stones was more likely in a celiac patient. Does the association only apply to gallbladder disease without stones?

2) My sensitivity to gluten is odd because the only real symptom I've ever pinpointed was gluten ataxia, and gluten ataxia is generally more associated with celiac, which I have never tested positive for. Is the combination of gallstones and gluten ataxia enough to point to it being actual celiac rather than gluten sensitivity? (I realize that, for practical purposes, the answer to this question shouldn't matter. I can't help wondering though.)

3) Does anyone know if it's possible to get rid of a large stone without having to have the gallbladder removed? I'd kind of like to avoid surgery if possible.

4) If I do have to have the gallbladder removed, do I need to be concerned about not absorbing fat soluble vitamins? I've read things that say a person doesn't *need* a gallbladder, but the people I've talked to who've had it removed all seem to have issues from not having one.

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Hi Galixie!

I had my gallbladder removed almost a decade ago (celiac disease dx in 2013).  I often wonder if my gallbladder could have been saved if I had known about celiac disease and had been healed by adhering to the gluten-free diet.  Anyway, I have not researched this much as it is "water under the bridge".  But I can tell you that my diet is heavy in fats (am a diabetic) and I do not have any trouble digesting them.  I have heard of others having issues but I have been lucky.  

My GB was diseased.  It had 0% functionality and was basically rotting away (infected).  I had surgery while on a business trip.  My recovery was fine, but not a quick as I thought it would be (or was told).  

It is always nice to keep all body parts, but in my case, I would have been dead (sepsis) without the surgery. It is a family curse and celiac disease does run on that same side of the family.  My dad is one of 7 and 6 has their GB's out.  No stones, but I did have an aunt who had stones post surgery in her bile duct.  

Finally, I can not eat gluten even without a gallbladder!  I doubt that the woman in the article actually had celiac disease in the first place.  Perhaps, by not eating gluten, she felt much better.   Just like I felt better not eating dairy and nuts.  Turns out those were intolerances as a result of untreated celiac disease.  I eat them now!  

 

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Thanks Cyclinglady.

I think you are right that the woman in the article probably didn't have celiac to begin with. Hope spring eternal that I'll someday stumble upon something that lets me go back to a semi-normal way of eating. (Life would be easier if I could have soy sauce.)

Gallstones seem to run in my family also. Oddly, though multiple people in my family have had them, only one great aunt has had to have hers removed. I'm scheduled for an ultrasound tomorrow, although I'm not too clear on what that would show as far as the health/functionality of my gallbladder. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Was your surgery laparoscopic? I fear that, if I have to have surgery, my stone is so large that laparoscopic won't be an option. :(

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The ultrasound will catch the stones, but a HIDA scan (nuclear test) will determine functionality.  You might not need this if you are not having pain or digestion issues.  

I had uterine fibroid tumors (one huge strangulated one was removed during my C-section).   More grew back, but those never bothered me.  They are still there for all I know.  Maybe your stone just needs to be checked once-in-awhile or dealt with if it blocks the bike duct and causes pain.  

My surgery was laparoscopic.  The main cut was at my belly button.  No scar left.    I would think they could get yours out.  

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Theoretically they can break your gallstones in a similar way as they break kidney stones (lithotripsy), but they won't do this in all hospitals. A single big stone may be much less problematic than small stones, which can leave the gallbladder and lodge in the bile duct, which can cause severe pain. Breaking a big gallstone can cause exactly this...

They could also open your gallbladder and take the stone out, but again, who will do this?

Gallbladder only stores the bile, it does not produce it. When they remove your gallbladder, the bile flows from the liver, where it is produced, directly into the intestine all the time. Some people experience diarrhea or bile reflux after this...You will absorb fat-soluble vitamins just fine, because the bile will always flow into your intestine.

Something about gallbladder pain:

http://www.ehealthstar.com/what-does-gallbladder-pain-feel-like.php

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