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Thread: Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

  1. #1

    Unhappy Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

    Hi there!

    Was looking for some advice, as recently I have had an ongoing pain, which is more a feeling of discomfort and dull ache in a localized area in my mid/lower right abdomen (just below my rib cage, and next to my naval).

    Going back just before Xmas, I had an ongoing issue with bloating and pain across a number of days that caused me to see a GP. I couldn't get in with my usual doctor, so stupidly went to a walk-in clinic thinking they could shed some light on what the issue was. Within 10 seconds of my mentioning my symptoms (felt bloated, with radiating pains from left to right across my lower stomach), the doctor put a stethoscope to my stomach and somehow came up with the call that I was suffering from an infection in my large intestine, prescribed me pills and pretty much pushed me out the door. I left entirely not convinced of his accuracy, and booked a follow up with my local GP - who ordered a CBC (complete blood count), as well as tests for enzymes, sugar levels etc.

    From this it was found I was suffering from Pancreatitis, with my enzyme levels 3x the normal amount. They urgently got me to do a follow up blood test the very next day, but strangely my levels were back to normal.

    For a week or so, my discomfort and pain that I was experiencing had subsided, which made sense because my pancreas had settled down. However, since then the niggling pain has returned and settled in my mid/lower right abdomen in a specific spot just above my navel and under my ribs. I have had a follow up CBC and tests for pancreas enzymes and all came back as normal.

    Doing some basic research, and from what the docs have recently told me; my gallbladder could be an issue, but the thing is there are times when the pain doesn't come when I'm eating or have eaten, and it has popped up some mornings shortly after waking up when I have yet to eat breakfast. This makes me think the gallbladder may not be the issue and I am becoming increasingly worried it is something else.

    On top of this, I have noticed I have been feeling rather 'tight' in the chest, and the most strange thing is when I have recently played football and copped a bump, the area in my abdomen that presents with the localized pain/discomfort shocks me with a sharp pain.

    At last check with my doctor when they did the follow up CBC and enzyme tests that came back normal, they recommend I try and persist with a clean diet and see if it helps clear up the issue. But at present, it has done very little.

    My question is; if my gallbladder was the issue (gallstones), would this show up in a blood test?

    Recently I have been suffering from Health Anxiety (getting help for it now), and I dropped 3kgs or thereabouts over the course of a month for an entirely separate issue relating to twitches that had me worried about something neurological. I understand stress/anxiety can cause weight loss, but now it has me wondering if it is related to this current issue - however my weight has stayed the same ever since, and thankfully hasn't dropped any further, which gives me hope.

    I am booked in for a chat to my GP tomorrow, where I will ask for an ultrasound to help find what the issue is (and help put my mind at ease). But I am currently super worried it is another major issue like Lymphoma or something else, and having health anxiety certainly isn't helping.

    Thank you for any advice anyone can give.

  2. #2
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    Re: Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

    Quote Originally Posted by ThirstyMMM View Post
    My question is; if my gallbladder was the issue (gallstones), would this show up in a blood test?

    Usually they do a scan with a barium swallow and that's how they find gallstones. That's how my gallstones were found. I don't think they can tell much from blood tests concerning that.
    __________________
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  3. #3

    Re: Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

    Quote Originally Posted by PanickyGuy View Post
    Usually they do a scan with a barium swallow and that's how they find gallstones. That's how my gallstones were found. I don't think they can tell much from blood tests concerning that.
    Oh, I'd never heard of that scan.

    My GP mentioned an ultrasound or CT would be the next step, but am not overly a fan of CT with contrast given it involves small levels of radiation, so think I will opt for an ultrasound if possible.

    What symptoms did you have with your gallbladder, was it anything similar to what I described? Feels like someone is poking me under the ribs with their finger, applying pressure.

  4. #4
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    Re: Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

    Yeah you need to really discuss with your doctor about how reliable ultrasounds are at detecting gallstones. I don't know if it's to do with the type of equipment they use or the person operating the equipment, but I had that done before they found the stones with the scan and they didn't see any stones with the ultrasound. And I asked my doctor why that was, but he had no idea.

    Actually, the reason they found the gallstones was by coincident. Because I was complaining about dull aches and discomfort in my lower left abdomen near my groin area, and my doctor thought I might of had a hernia that area. But that wasn't the case and it was really do to weak muscles and just bad constipation from antacid meds, which I figured out later on when I stop eating the damn things.

    Getting to your question, I still have my gallstones and I do on very rare occasions get a similar dull ache (we're talking once in a blue moon) like you described in the same areas, but on the other hand, in my case I've had that finger pressure you're talking about all over and it's usually just gas for me. But that might be do to my diet, because I also have GERD and I have to watch what I eat.

    Edit to add: I was wrong about the blood test and it depends on what kind of blood test you get. But they do a certain kind of blood test that is called a Liver Function Test (LFT), which checks the enzyme levels in the liver and will show whether the gallbladder is inflamed by gallstones. BTW, that scan I was talking about was the HIDA scan. I couldn't remember the name of it before because I had it done about three years ago.
    Last edited by PanickyGuy; 12-02-20 at 05:34.
    __________________
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  5. #5
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    Re: Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

    An ultrasound will let you know if it is gallstones, a ct wonít. My husband went through this the other month due to intense pain in his flank and shoulder, he thought it was kidney stones but nothing was on the ct.
    He actually ended up having Pleurisy which is fluid on the lungs! He is ok now.

    Get an ultrasound they will check your gallbladder, kidneys and liver ... hope you feel better soon.

  6. #6

    Re: Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

    Quote Originally Posted by PanickyGuy View Post
    Yeah you need to really discuss with your doctor about how reliable ultrasounds are at detecting gallstones. I don't know if it's to do with the type of equipment they use or the person operating the equipment, but I had that done before they found the stones with the scan and they didn't see any stones with the ultrasound. And I asked my doctor why that was, but he had no idea.

    Actually, the reason they found the gallstones was by coincident. Because I was complaining about dull aches and discomfort in my lower left abdomen near my groin area, and my doctor thought I might of had a hernia that area. But that wasn't the case and it was really do to weak muscles and just bad constipation from antacid meds, which I figured out later on when I stop eating the damn things.

    Getting to your question, I still have my gallstones and I do on very rare occasions get a similar dull ache (we're talking once in a blue moon) like you described in the same areas, but on the other hand, in my case I've had that finger pressure you're talking about all over and it's usually just gas for me. But that might be do to my diet, because I also have GERD and I have to watch what I eat.

    Edit to add: I was wrong about the blood test and it depends on what kind of blood test you get. But they do a certain kind of blood test that is called a Liver Function Test (LFT), which checks the enzyme levels in the liver and will show whether the gallbladder is inflamed by gallstones. BTW, that scan I was talking about was the HIDA scan. I couldn't remember the name of it before because I had it done about three years ago.
    My doctor was vigalent about giving me a CT scan, aligning with my own concerns over the fact they use radiation for their scans (albeit in a tiny dose). I've never been a fan of it, so we both agreed on an ultrasound.

    Yep, I had a LFT also, but all levels were normal. My doctor said gallstones could still be an issue due to the fact I have had pancreatitis (the two issues are linked), and that my Dad has had his gallbladder removed. She said from here only a scan would reveal them, otherwise a gastrointestinal doctor (I think that's what she said) would need to investigate further.

    Thanks for the insight - I hope you're doing well now! I've heard a lot of people actually have gallstones, but they are minimal or in such small size they don't cause any issues or end up passing as part of digestion if small enough.

  7. #7

    Re: Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauz View Post
    An ultrasound will let you know if it is gallstones, a ct won’t. My husband went through this the other month due to intense pain in his flank and shoulder, he thought it was kidney stones but nothing was on the ct.
    He actually ended up having Pleurisy which is fluid on the lungs! He is ok now.

    Get an ultrasound they will check your gallbladder, kidneys and liver ... hope you feel better soon.
    Thanks for the response and kind words, Lauz. It feels like the pains aren't as frequent as they once were, so hopefully that is a sign it's getting better.

    I now have a referral for an ultrasound, so will book in and hopefully get it sorted. Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Re: Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

    Quote Originally Posted by ThirstyMMM View Post
    My doctor was vigalent about giving me a CT scan, aligning with my own concerns over the fact they use radiation for their scans (albeit in a tiny dose). I've never been a fan of it, so we both agreed on an ultrasound.
    I understand and your doctors over there probably have better ultrasound equipment. So if gallstones are there, they'll probably find them. My deal in my case was, for some strange reason they just didn't find them with the ultrasound equipment they used on me. And to this day, I still don't know what happened. Equipment failure, who knows? The problem is, I found out that I wasn't the only one that had that problem happen here in the U.S. So ever since then, I never trusted them to be accurate. And I understand your concerns over radiation. I've never been concerned about it, but that's just me and the way I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThirstyMMM View Post
    Yep, I had a LFT also, but all levels were normal. My doctor said gallstones could still be an issue due to the fact I have had pancreatitis (the two issues are linked), and that my Dad has had his gallbladder removed. She said from here only a scan would reveal them, otherwise a gastrointestinal doctor (I think that's what she said) would need to investigate further.
    Yeah I think I recall my doctor having a LFT done on me at one point with my complaints, but I can't remember if he ever mentioned the results or not, probably didn't because he got back good results, so he just decided to do the HIDA scan to be sure, when I kept coming back with complaints and boom - they found them.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThirstyMMM View Post
    Thanks for the insight - I hope you're doing well now! I've heard a lot of people actually have gallstones, but they are minimal or in such small size they don't cause any issues or end up passing as part of digestion if small enough.
    Your welcome and I still got em' as far as I know and so far so good. You know, I asked my doc how long they had been there and he said a loooooong time, which is why I asked him about the ultrasound not finding them, anyway, I've always been suspicious since he told me that, and those gallstones aren't the culprit he always thinks is giving me the stomach issues. Because I never had those stomach issues before I got GAD and panic disorder and I've never had any of the major painful symptoms most people describe with a gallbladder attack. So it's been about three years since they found the damn things and I've not worry about it since then.

    Anyway man, I hope you get it all straighten out and you fell much better. Here's to your health *raise glass* cheers!
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  9. #9

    Re: Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

    Quote Originally Posted by PanickyGuy View Post
    Your welcome and I still got em' as far as I know and so far so good. You know, I asked my doc how long they had been there and he said a loooooong time, which is why I asked him about the ultrasound not finding them, anyway, I've always been suspicious since he told me that, and those gallstones aren't the culprit he always thinks is giving me the stomach issues. Because I never had those stomach issues before I got GAD and panic disorder and I've never had any of the major painful symptoms most people describe with a gallbladder attack. So it's been about three years since they found the damn things and I've not worry about it since then.

    Anyway man, I hope you get it all straighten out and you fell much better. Here's to your health *raise glass* cheers!
    Thanks mate, much appreciated.

    I had my ultrasound yesterday and my local doctor has just called me today to book in an appointment to see her tomorrow to go over my results. I'm praying to god it's nothing bad, as now I'm freaking out a little that there is something wrong given she's called me back so soon to go over results. I'm quietly hoping she is just calling me to put my mind at ease as she knows I've been suffering from terrible health anxiety (especially in recent weeks).

    The pleasing thing is my pains/discomfort have actually subsided over the past week - particularly when eating as well, which makes me think that maybe it isn't gallstone related (or that if I did have a stone it has passed). Having said that, he did seem to take a fair few scan/photos of that area where my gallbladder is located (under my lower right ribcage). The ultrasound tech was pretty thorough, and didn't seem to worried about my appendix either when scanning that area, so I'd say that isn't an issue.

  10. #10
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    Re: Ongoing pain in right abdomen has me worried (Gallstones or something else?)

    I just wanted to say that gallbladder pain does not occur during the eating process, it occurs during digestion which can take place hours later. It took a very long time to figure out my pain was being caused by my gallbladder because it happened so many hours after eating that I didnít connect the dots. I could eat dinner and be woken up around 4 or 6am in serious pain. It wasnít necessarily always that delayed but it was always a few hours or more after eating.
    The more fattier of a meal you eat when your having gallbladder trouble, the more severe the consequences.

    Itís relatively easy to check ones gallbladder. You can start with an ultrasound to check for stones or sludge (sorry just saw in the comments you just had this done) and if nothing is found there but pain persists you can have a hidda scan to see how well the gallbladder functions. The ultrasound can tell them if you have gallstones, sludge or other issues within the biliary system but it can not tell how well your gallbladder is functioning. You would have to have the hidda scan for that. An MRCP is also an option for getting a good look at the gallbladder and biliary system.

    Good luck and I hope it all gets figured out soon, whatever the issue is.
    Last edited by Careful1; 19-02-20 at 06:46.

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