I don't want to lose my gallbladder... help? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 12-17-2010, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I will try to make this as short as possible... I have a lot going on today but I need some advice as soon as possible!  I started having what were apparently gallstone attacks about 3 weeks after my daughter was born in October. They occurred every 2-3 days at first, with stomach pain and vomiting (but no nausea). I don't remember the last time I went to a doctor, but I finally did last week to find out what was going on. My episodes have lessened to about every week and a half now, although they last somewhat longer. Anyway, he ordered blood tests and an ultrasound. His nurse just called to tell me I have stones and my liver enzymes are elevated (though she didn't say how high). They say my gall bladder "needs to come out" and are trying to get me in to see a surgeon on Monday before the holiday. I had pretty much self-diagnosed myself with stones before I even went to the doctor, so I've been thinking on it and I know I don't want my gall bladder out unless it's un-healable. I am not sure how much (or if) elevated liver enzymes complicate the picture. I just feel like we have our organs for a reason and do not buy the mainstream idea that we don't need our gallbladders, anyway. I want to keep it if I can... advice? 


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#2 of 12 Old 12-17-2010, 12:43 PM
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Sorry mama! There are a lot of threads on here with similar stories... I just posted one last week looking for natural remedies because I can't live with the attacks but am not convinced surgery is the only cure (if it is at all!).  One mom suggested drinking kombucha regularly combined with taking apple cider vinegar to treat attacks.  There are some herbal remedies that I'm looking into too, like dandelion root tea.  Good luck!

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#3 of 12 Old 12-17-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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Blessed thistle or milk thistle in addition to what the poster above recommended.  Low fat, low animal product, diet can help to some degree.

 

However, sometimes surgery becomes the only option.  It can become infected, you can get pancreatitis, you can become jaundiced because your liver is inflammed and it can't work.  I know 2 people that put it off as long as possible, both needed 5 day hospital stays with IV antibiotics before they were even well enough to have surgery.  Their stays ended up being 7 days, where I had my surgery as soon as my liver started showing troubles and I spent 24 hours in the hospital.  They were both under the care of a naturopath (a good one, I know her).  My husband's cousin tried a liver flush with olive oil and orange juice and several herbs.  She ended up needing emergency surgery because some stones were stuck in her liver.

 

In my line of work I've seen people get so sick that they went septic and required open procedures for surgery, rather than laporoscopic. 

 

I'm not trying to scare you, but you should know the realities.  Maybe some people are successful in avoiding surgery altogether, but I've never met them.


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#4 of 12 Old 12-17-2010, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Coyotemist, I do realize things can go bad sooner or later... and I definitely don't want that to happen, either! On the other hand, I really feel that there are reasons underlying gall bladder problems, and they need to be fixed with or without a GB. In other words, I feel GB problems are a symptom of something else and removal -- while definitely needed in some cases where the problem has become so severe -- does nothing to repair the underlying issues.  

 

Also, I'm wondering if I should push for a HIDA scan before making a decision...? The doctor said at our meeting that he would order on if my u/s showed stones, yet the nurse said nothing about this and just started on about getting in to see a surgeon. I was too down at the moment to think so ask, and I haven't been able to get back through to the office today.


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#5 of 12 Old 12-17-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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I really hear what you are saying...and I really hope you are successful!  And to some degree I agree, but maybe I didn't communicate well enough.  Even with changing the diet, eating all organic (one of the 3 people I'm speaking of is a vegetarian who eats very very well), and getting some help from an excellent naturopath, people have needed surgery.  I went on a diet eating less than 15 grams of fat a day (I didn't have access to naturopathic care or kombucha then, but I drink kombucha several times a week now, along with herbal infusions, and other herbal supplements) and it didn't lessen my attacks.

 

So seek all avenues, try herbs, eat well, work hard on healing, but watch out for symptoms that increase and don't hesitate to seek surgical intervention if you aren't successful.   Worst case scenario you have a short hospital stay, where delaying can get you an ICU bed, a long hospital stay, and a much more difficult surgical recovery.


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#6 of 12 Old 12-17-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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I think if its affecting the liver it really should come out. I tried for five months to heal my gallbladder, and in the end it had to come out - but I didn't have liver involvement. If I had liver or pancreas involvement, I wouldn't have waited. The risk of ending up in ICU is too high, I think.

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#7 of 12 Old 12-18-2010, 04:36 AM
 
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First I would talk to your doctor and get more information about your liver enzymes and the other scan he mentioned before deciding on how to proceed.

 

I thought I was having gallbladder problems.  Mine was not confirmed by tests so I can't be sure.  My liver enzymes were normal.  My doctor thinks it could also be an ulcer.  I'm telling you all this because we are not in the exact same situation but maybe what I've done could help you out anyway.   I started taking digestive enzymes by theramedix every time I eat, drinking dandelion tea and nettle tea, and taking natural factors liv-gal cleanse 3 Xday.  I did not go on a low fat diet, btw.  I haven't had an attack of the sever pain since I started with the above.  I am taking a prescription acid reducer as well so I don't know for sure if its the "natural" stuff making me feel better or the prescription.  My intuition says it the natural stuff.  My intuition also tells me if I went gluten free I'd probablly be 100% better but I haven't done it yet. 

 

Whatever route you go I hope you feel better soon.


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#8 of 12 Old 12-18-2010, 05:30 AM
 
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Just posted in TF but now I will here...

 

I had terrible attacks but am free of them now and got to keep my gallbladder.  I went to a naturopath that had m take Standard Process supplments called Congaplex and Lactenz.  I took a few capules 2x a day for a few months, and then I ran out and never had to take them again.  Fro the day I started taking them, my attacks stopped and I never had them since.  I was having them everyother day for months.  Everything triggered the attacks.

 

I can eat fatty beef burgers, and am frying my GF pancakes in beef tallow this morning.  My liver feels great now too, but I eventually had ot cut out dairy and wheat.

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#9 of 12 Old 12-18-2010, 05:41 AM
 
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gluten damages the gallbladder indirectly, by disrupting the action of cholecystokinin.

 

if i were trying to avoid surgery, i would find out more about the liver enzymes, but then whilst you're waiting between MD visits, i would absolutely support the liver with herbal tinctures and decocotions involving dandelion root, milk thistle, and so on.  i would lessen the load on the gallbladder by using a lipase enzyme with meals - Enzymedica has a great product, LipoGold (i think).  i would also cut out dairy and gluten, and i would eat pretty much meat and veggies.  fructose (even from fruits) might be hard on the liver.  i might also take a liver glandular supplement.


Jennifer, Naturopath and mom

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#10 of 12 Old 12-18-2010, 08:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluets View Post

gluten damages the gallbladder indirectly, by disrupting the action of cholecystokinin.

 

if i were trying to avoid surgery, i would find out more about the liver enzymes, but then whilst you're waiting between MD visits, i would absolutely support the liver with herbal tinctures and decocotions involving dandelion root, milk thistle, and so on.  i would lessen the load on the gallbladder by using a lipase enzyme with meals - Enzymedica has a great product, LipoGold (i think).  i would also cut out dairy and gluten, and i would eat pretty much meat and veggies.  fructose (even from fruits) might be hard on the liver.  i might also take a liver glandular supplement.


yup.  and the first thing I'd think for elevated liver enzymes is possible gluten intolerance.

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#11 of 12 Old 12-21-2010, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for your help thus far. :) I tired contacting my doctor regarding the HIDA scan, enzyme levels, etc, but it turns out he's out of the office until next Monday. I cancelled the appointment with the surgeon, since I'm definitely not going ahead with that route until I have some more things clarified regarding my tests and results. According to my doctor's nurse, I have "numerous small stones" and none of my test results suggest anything dire, simply I "can't do anything about it" so I "might as well go on and have it out." Hm.


In the meantime, I am taking milk thistle tincture 2-3xs day, and have just recieved some organic beetroot powder to take since I can't find beets reliably in my town. When I do find some I'll be making some beet kvass, though. Personally I've found no correlation between fat intake and attacks -- mine seem more to result from A) eating late; B) eating too much at once; C) eating quickly or under stress. I puzzled this out weeks ago and have never had an attack without breaking at least 2 of those "rules."


...And I've been doing one of my favorite things: scanning PubMed and finding some very interesting studies, like this one that shows fenugreek regressing gallstones in an animal model. I know I have more digging to do, and that none of my attempts may be successful, but at least the pressure's off until next week.


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#12 of 12 Old 12-21-2010, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by APBTlover View Post





In the meantime, I am taking milk thistle tincture 2-3xs day, and have just recieved some organic beetroot powder to take since I can't find beets reliably in my town. When I do find some I'll be making some beet kvass, though. Personally I've found no correlation between fat intake and attacks -- mine seem more to result from A) eating late; B) eating too much at once; C) eating quickly or under stress. I puzzled this out weeks ago and have never had an attack without breaking at least 2 of those "rules."


 




 


I think I'm slowly (and somewhat reluctantly!) coming to realize my attacks follow the same rules. My acupuncturist has been trying to emphasize this but I get really overwhelmed by figuring how how to change it... Mama's busy!!! ;-p

 

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