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Natascha

Celiacs With Gallbladders Removed?

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I found out I was celiac 4 years ago. I have been gluten-free since. This past year I had been feeling worse again, and after many tests, I have discovered I have a 1.5cm gallstone and a low functioning gallbladder. I have discovered thru this site and searches that low functioning gallbladder is a common issue among celiacs.

My GI doc doesn't want to remove it until I am really ill. I have nausea, pain, bloating, belching and chest pain that keeps me awake at night, every night. It doesn't seem to really matter what I eat, I have a horrible time.

I am trying supplements from a naturopath...and they do help a little bit....but it's been 3 months now since I've started the diet and supps and I am still feeling pretty lousy.

My questions is, since my doc said not everyone feels better after having their gallbladder removed, I am wondering if those people are celiacs and don't know it?

If you are celiac and have had it removed, do you feel better?

I know a few people who have developed pancreatitis due to their gallbladders and have been hospitalized for weeks...and I certainly wouldn't want to let it get that bad if there is no hope of it healing itself or having better function.

Has anyone been able to avoid surgery thru diet and herbs? Have you been able to increase your gallbladder function?

Thank you so much for all your help!

Natascha

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Natascha - good question! I've wondered the same thing. I went through all the tests about five years ago, and they could find nothing...so the answer was clearly to remove my gall bladder. :rolleyes: I questioned the surgeon before the surgery, and he said I had a 70% chance that it was the issue...but it could just be IBS! So I declined the surgery, as he said there would be no harm in it. I've lived with the pain in my belly since I was 8; I can live with it longer.

Fast forward to today...I'm 32. Since I've been gluten free, the pain I expect in the morning has lessened, and for the first time in my life, I'm sleeping 10 and 12 hours. I've NEVER slept more than 6 or so, without waking up with such pain in my belly - a burning discomfort - that I had to stand up. It truly amazing, and confirms to me more than ever, that I have some issue with gluten.

Good luck, and I hope you are able to find some relief.

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Natascha - good question! I've wondered the same thing. I went through all the tests about five years ago, and they could find nothing...so the answer was clearly to remove my gall bladder. :rolleyes: I questioned the surgeon before the surgery, and he said I had a 70% chance that it was the issue...but it could just be IBS! So I declined the surgery, as he said there would be no harm in it. I've lived with the pain in my belly since I was 8; I can live with it longer.

Fast forward to today...I'm 32. Since I've been gluten free, the pain I expect in the morning has lessened, and for the first time in my life, I'm sleeping 10 and 12 hours. I've NEVER slept more than 6 or so, without waking up with such pain in my belly - a burning discomfort - that I had to stand up. It truly amazing, and confirms to me more than ever, that I have some issue with gluten.

Good luck, and I hope you are able to find some relief.

Thanks! Almost 20 years ago I was first diagnosed with IBS....I can still get angry when the GI doc said after one of the many scopes while hospitalized..."gee...you have a lot of scar tissue in your intestines for someone so young!"....I was 19......you would have thought he would have put 2 and 2 together and diagnosed me with celiac then.....

I am glad you are feeling better.

I see my naturopath again on Wednesday....I am so sick of feeling so lousy...it gets really bad once I lie down....the chest pain and pressure is horrible.....I am really starting to lean towards getting it removed. I just can't imagine years and years of feeling so rotten again.....I was just starting to feel good since finding out about gluten ....and now I can't eat any spices or fat either....

I hope someone who has had it removed already can shed some light for me. I think it makes sense though that the percentage of people who do not feel better afterwards are gluten intolerent or celiac and don't know. I will mention this to my ND and GI doc and see what they think.

Thanks and have a great evening!

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I found out I was celiac 4 years ago. I have been gluten-free since. This past year I had been feeling worse again, and after many tests, I have discovered I have a 1.5cm gallstone and a low functioning gallbladder. I have discovered thru this site and searches that low functioning gallbladder is a common issue among celiacs.

My GI doc doesn't want to remove it until I am really ill. I have nausea, pain, bloating, belching and chest pain that keeps me awake at night, every night. It doesn't seem to really matter what I eat, I have a horrible time.

I am trying supplements from a naturopath...and they do help a little bit....but it's been 3 months now since I've started the diet and supps and I am still feeling pretty lousy.

My questions is, since my doc said not everyone feels better after having their gallbladder removed, I am wondering if those people are celiacs and don't know it?

If you are celiac and have had it removed, do you feel better?

I know a few people who have developed pancreatitis due to their gallbladders and have been hospitalized for weeks...and I certainly wouldn't want to let it get that bad if there is no hope of it healing itself or having better function.

Has anyone been able to avoid surgery thru diet and herbs? Have you been able to increase your gallbladder function?

Thank you so much for all your help!

Natascha

Natascha,

Unfortunately the majority of my digestive problems began with the removal of my gall bladder. My gall bladder was removed because of polyps not gallstones. I had mild digestive problems and some food allergies / intolerances prior to the surgery. Following the surgery my whole digestive system seems to have gone haywire. It has been two years now since I had the surgery. You can read more of my story under the thread "Giving up on the celiac diet". And yet, I know many people who benefitted greatly from the surgery so it appears each case is highly individualistic.

Joyce

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I had IBS-D for about 20 years off and on. My gall bladder tested low funcitoning after about a year of feeling like I had a golf ball under my rib cage and pain in my upper back. I decided after a year to have it removed. BIG mistake!! I wasn't eating gluten free then (I am now on the SCD diet as gluten free didn't quite do it for me) and I often wonder if I had made dietary changes first if that would hav taken care of my problem. I have had a hard time controlling the diarrhea since having my gall bladder removed - I would somtimes go 20 times a day and immodium would only stop it for a few hours. I am now on the Specific Carb Diet and doing better, but I have to think if I hadn't had my gall bladder removed I'd be doing much better. On the other hand, my hubby had his removed and is perfectly fine. I think though if you have a compromised gut going into surgery it might just make things worse. MHO :)

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Mkat,

You described word for word what I have been describing this feeling as "golfball" and all. I have been gluten free for over 5 years and these symptoms have developed suddenly. I am going through further tests to prove it is gallbladder related before having surgery.

Thank you for your post. It is valueable information for me.

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I had IBS-D for about 20 years off and on. My gall bladder tested low funcitoning after about a year of feeling like I had a golf ball under my rib cage and pain in my upper back. I decided after a year to have it removed. BIG mistake!! I wasn't eating gluten free then (I am now on the SCD diet as gluten free didn't quite do it for me) and I often wonder if I had made dietary changes first if that would hav taken care of my problem. I have had a hard time controlling the diarrhea since having my gall bladder removed - I would somtimes go 20 times a day and immodium would only stop it for a few hours. I am now on the Specific Carb Diet and doing better, but I have to think if I hadn't had my gall bladder removed I'd be doing much better. On the other hand, my hubby had his removed and is perfectly fine. I think though if you have a compromised gut going into surgery it might just make things worse. MHO :)

I agree with your assessment 100% "if you have a compromised gut going into surgery it might just make things worse". I posted just before you and as you can see my digestive issues really went through the roof after having the gall bladder surgery. Interesting that you previously also had IBS - D. I had no formal diagnosis prior to the gall bladder surgery but had developed a number of food intolerances/allergies that would cause very quick explosive diarrhea. I was always watching my diet in order to control this tendency to develop diarrhea. After the surgery, like you I had constant diarrhea for 1 1/2 years. And then all of a sudden it changed to constipation. Because I had never in my life suffered from constipation I didn't catch on very fast. I developed so much pain that I went to the ER. An X-ray showed an impacted bowel. This was followed by high colonic enemas that hurt like the blazes. Now 'constipation' has become the bain of my existence. But if I do any of the normal things for constipation (more fibre, prunes, flax seed, Senokot, psyllium, and so on, I suffer terrible abdominal pain and then diarrhea the next day). And then sometimes later in the day my bowel will go back to spasming and start producing little rocks again. It is unbelievable. I wish I could have my gall bladder back!!!

Joyce

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I am a celiac without a gall bladder.

I began my gluten-free journey in Feb 2009 and started to feel better quickly, then I kept getting this horrible pain under my right rib cage through my back and shoulder. IT was AWEFUL! I was in the hospital twice, do to severe gall bladder attacks. They found that my gall bladder was only working at 13%, so I told them to take it out. The test that finally solved the puzzle was a Hidda Scan with CCK contrast, the Hidda Scan alone generally doesn't show the functionality of the gall bladder in percentages, it only shows that there are no blockages. (in case anyone out there is having a issue with doctors not asking for the right test....been there done that).

Best decision I ever made. I finally after 10 years of hell and pain I am pain free and gluten free and HAPPY! :D

When they first took it out, I did have some stool adjustments that had to happen. Some D and then a bit of heart burn, but once the body figures it out..it seems to regulate itself.

I feel FANTASTIC!!

Best of luck in your decision.

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I don't know if this will help you in your decision but my story is that I had my gallbladder taken out at 16. After a year of pain and several trips to the family dr. (the pain was never localized) he ordered an ultrasound and they found a gallstone. The GI dr. said the stones would just keep coming back and that it would be best to just take it out and my body would adjust. I still had stomach problems post-gallbladder surgery and was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia from supposed reflux, so I was put on axid and had my bed propped at night and was told to avoid a HUGE list of foods (wheat was not one of them by the way). Still issues and so we sought a third opinion who diagnosed me with IBS. I was on a pill that he told me would relax my bowels which was what was causing the pain he said. I don't know what the pill was but it worked and I eventually weened myself off of it after a year of taking it and just figured out what foods were causing the most problems and tried to avoid them. After I was married and my husband got a job, one of his new co-workers was having us over for dinner and they were gluten-free and so the subject came up. Most of the symptoms he had were a lot like mine so I got tested through enterolab and found out I was gluten intolerant. I haven't had any symptoms again since being on the diet. Since I did have a gallstone I don't know if that would have still given me issues had I gone on the diet first rather than having the gallbladder out first. But, I had never even heard of celiac until we were at dinner with this co-worker so I don't think there's any way I could have found out at 16 years old that I had gluten problems unless I had done an elimination diet or something but none of the dr.s suggested that so I just kept trying what they told me. Anyway, long story. Good luck. If the pain is bad enough and the risk for pancreatitis is high enough, I'd probably have it out.

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I was told I had IBS for decades....had bouts of terrible abdominal pain in my 20s and 30s, so bad at times I would literally end up on the floor, screaming.

Finally the doctor decided I had gallstones and removed my gallbladder when I was 37. It did seem to reduce the number of those painful attacks I'd been having, although I continued to have lots of other gastric issues....until I finally figured things out and went gluten free a year ago. :)

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Thank you for all your responses! I saw my Naturopath today. She basically advised that I have given it my best shot to try to keep it in, I have changed my diet, been doing herbs and supplements for 3 months, and it is still worsening, so she advised that sometimes we just have to take it out.

She said having a diseased organ that is compromising the other organs is not good either, and since I am not responding to a herbal/diet treatment, just tells her it is too far gone to fix.

She said keeping it in longer is just creating far more stress on my entire body and especially my pancreas, so it is better not to wait to much longer to get it taken care of. And then we can concentrate on helping the rest of my body deal with the stress of surgery and having it removed.

So, I see my GI doc tomorrow to discuss getting it taken out. Thanks for all your responses, and I will certainly update here since it seems to be so common a problem.

Dh found an article that said anyone under 20 needing their gallbladder out has tested 100% of them were celiacs....and the ones that weren't, only weren't because they were never tested!! But it's basically a positive diagnosis being under 20 and having your gallbladder removed!!

Happy Holidays!

Natascha

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I am not sure if I am celiac at this moment but I am going in for testing. But I do have all the symptoms. But 7 years ago I had my gallbladder removed, because I had 4 gallstones. And I still feel ill. I still get severe side pains, where I can not move and I get horrible stomach aches. Was my gallbladder a first sign that I might have celiac disease, if it was I could have known this 7 years ago.

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I have not been diagnosed with celiacs, but last October my GI doc told me to try a gluten free diet (after 20+ years of pain and other problems). I've had huge improvement since then. About three years ago I went through a really bad spell with extreme abdominal pain to the point I was in and out of the hospital and had to take a medial leave from work. Eventually they took out my gall bladder for chronic inflammation (no gallstones). This made a big difference for a year or so. Once they finally also put me on a gluten free diet things have been great except for my liver. They suspect I may still be getting small gallstnes lodged in the bile ducts. I can't say that it will fix everthing for you, but it certainly may help - as it did for me. Good luck!

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Anyone have gallbladder problems without pain? I don't have pain per se, just a feeling like a "cramp" every now and then. I have had hearburn when I eat(from nothing particular), gas and belching that have been terrible and more frequent bathroom trips. I also had a couple of episodes where my esophagus went into spasm and caused horrible pain in my chest until it quit (had to regurgitate) and have been having trouble swallowing pills. I'm exploring the possiblity that It could be gluten sneaking in somewhere, but want to r/o the gall bladder too. However the past couple of days no problems. Go figure. :huh:

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Went Gluten Free in July 2008. Never had any issues with gallbladder that I knew of. In January 2009, I got a really bad attack and went to the Doctor, thinking it was gluten related. WRONG! Doctor said I had gallstones and had to have the gall bladder removed. Within 2 weeks, I was under the knife. Back at work within 1 week, never had any other issues with the gall bladder removal. Never suffered with "D" like I hear other people complain about. Felt great right out of surgery.

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I had the same set of diagnoses, but in a differet order than the OP. I was mis-disgnosed with IBS-D at 17, had my gallbladder out at 38 and was diagnosed with celiac disease at 40.

The gallbladder surgery was awful for me and it took more than a year to recover-- like somebody turned on the D tap. Then it turns out I may not have needed it afterall.

Nowadays they can remove the stone/s with some kind of laser or sonic device. They do this in Italy, for example-- it is considered barbaric to take the whole organ. Perhaps a good solution for the OP would be to find somebody who can just take out the stones.

Good luck!

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I had gallbladder attacks for years but no gallstones. They just kept doing ultrasounds over and over. Then finally a new doctor did a HIDA scan that showed my gallbladder had quit functioning. I had it taken out 4 years ago and experienced some relief. I still had the nagging side pain almost all the time (the pain between the shoulder blades went away though). I also had D almost all the time after eating. This year a gluten-free diet was recommended because of various ailments. For the first time in years I don't have the side pain and I don't have D!!! I do believe my gallbladder need removed because it was swollen and adhered to my liver with scar tissue due to chronic inflammation but I didn't see 100% relief until going gluten-free.

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Anyone have gallbladder problems without pain? I don't have pain per se, just a feeling like a "cramp" every now and then. I have had hearburn when I eat(from nothing particular), gas and belching that have been terrible and more frequent bathroom trips. I also had a couple of episodes where my esophagus went into spasm and caused horrible pain in my chest until it quit (had to regurgitate) and have been having trouble swallowing pills. I'm exploring the possiblity that It could be gluten sneaking in somewhere, but want to r/o the gall bladder too. However the past couple of days no problems. Go figure. :huh:

I would like to hear more from people that had their gallbladders revmoved after celiac diagnosis. I've been gluten free for a little over 1 1/2 years. I had a repeat egd last month and have been treating a stomach ulcer since. I have had worsening symptoms of explosive, yellow, foul diarrhea that appears to have fat floating (Sorry tmi). These symptoms have really gotten worse since my egd. I eliminated dairy thinking that was casusing my symptoms. It did not help. I have had good days, but the bad ones lately are winning out. This weekend has been the last straw. I have a fear of leaving the house because at some points I fear I won't make it to the bathroom. I have had a gnawing sensation/pain in my right upper side and had pain in my right lower ribs down the flank. Tonight the pain is gone but the rest of it is still there. Anyone else have chronic diarrhea as a main symptom of dysfunctional gallbladder? I had a normal ultrasound and had mild reflux into the stomach after cck injection and "somewhat suboptimal gallbladder ejection fraction at 48%". The GI told me it was "normal", I don't think "somewhat suboptimal" classifies as normal. I am scared to have surgery for fear it won't stop the symptoms and complications. However, I can't go on like this anymore. I'm at my WITS END! :( I had a breakdown on the phone yesterday talking to my mother. I never got any explaination for the stomach ulcer. I only take nsaids occasionally (none now) and I was negative for h. pylori. I'm wondering if I am refluxing bile into the stomach and it caused the ulcer.

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When I was trying to find a diagnosis for my abdominal pain problems (among other things) I was told that I had gallstones. At this time, I attributed my pain and cramping to the gallstones, but after a month now of being gluten-free, the pain's finally gone, gallstones or not.

If you are gluten free but are still experiencing pain, talk to your doctor about the options available to you. I know that the best way to deal with gallstones without surgery is being on a low-fat diet, but if that doesnt help, you might want to consider getting them removed to avoid future problems.

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I had gallbladder attacks for years but no gallstones. They just kept doing ultrasounds over and over. Then finally a new doctor did a HIDA scan that showed my gallbladder had quit functioning. I had it taken out 4 years ago and experienced some relief. I still had the nagging side pain almost all the time (the pain between the shoulder blades went away though). I also had D almost all the time after eating. This year a gluten-free diet was recommended because of various ailments. For the first time in years I don't have the side pain and I don't have D!!! I do believe my gallbladder need removed because it was swollen and adhered to my liver with scar tissue due to chronic inflammation but I didn't see 100% relief until going gluten-free.

Lynne

I had gallbladder removed 3 years ago and occasionally I still get the pain bet. the shoulder blades. For the first year after the surgery that scared me because it was the same symptoms my Dad had when he had pancreatic cancer. I do not have celiac disease - my husband does. I did have an endoscopy to rule it out. I had my gallbladder removed because it was diseased, not due to stones. Sometimes it just breaks down. Just recently I read an article that one of the side effects of birth control pills is gallbladder disease. Just food for thought for us womenfolk who have used BC pills during their younger years.

Best wishes

DM

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