Gallbladder Problems?

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Gallbladder Problems?

Postby Econfused » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:22 pm

So I spent most of the day in the ER yesterday with a suspected gallbladder attack. I have had them in the past, but never as severe and never lasting more than an hour (this one lasted 5 hours!). I was in agony. After lots of bloodwork and an ultrasound it was determined that I do indeed have gallstones and will probably need my gallbladder removed. I have a repeat ultrasound next week to make sure. The Dr. said that no surgeon will want to touch me while I'm pregnant...and I of course don't want to put my baby at risk, but I also need to be able to eat while I'm pregnant without being in horrible pain. I basically can only eat fruit, vegetables and very lean protein. Fats, dairy, refined carbohydrates and red meat are off that table. I'm wondering if any one else has been through this while you were pregnant and what you did to get some relief?
Me: Ellie, 36
DH: 38
DD 2006
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US Feb 11, 2015, baby measured 7w3d, :hb: 134
NT Scan, March 12, baby measured 11w5d, :hb: 160
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Re: Gallbladder Problems?

Postby shadypersephone » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:36 pm

Just wanted to say that I didn't have gallbladder problems while pregnant, but I seriously feel for you. I'm SO sorry that you're going through that much pain. Even eating well (low fat, low carb), I didn't get much relief. Fingers crossed that you can find something that works for you.
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2/26/2015 38w4d: Gwendolyn Anne arrives!
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Re: Gallbladder Problems?

Postby BeeCee33 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:33 pm

This was me 2 weeks ago! Except my attack lasted about 40 hours, at one point throwing up violently every 15-20 minutes. I lost 15 lbs in 2 days and was so severely dehydrated that by the time they pumped me up with IV fluids and I was able to drink, I still didn't pee for almost 12 hours. When I did, it was still dark brown. I feel stupid for not going in sooner, but I thought I had the stomach flu so I just kept waiting for it to pass.

Luckily for me, my ultrasound came back fairly clean. I have a lot of sludge (sandy texture- basically teeny tiny stones) in my gallbladder, but no big stones or infection. My biliary ducts and gallbladder wall were normal and all of my other organs looked good. I just met with the surgeon yesterday and he said that the sludge likely accumulated due to my limited diet (in quantity and variety) during my 6 weeks of terrible morning sickness. He was fairly confident that now that I can eat again, a normal healthy diet with whole grains and lean meats will help clear the sludge. After the baby comes, they will re-evaluate if I am still having problems.

I would suggest arranging a consultation with a surgeon so you know what your options are. He made me feel so much better about the whole situation! While I was at urgent care, they basically told me that my gallbladder would definitely need to come out, but hopefully they could wait until after baby came. They gave me some outlines on diet but it was so limited that I got really sick that week while trying to find things to eat. I was so depressed and in so much pain and tired of being so nauseous.

The one thing they did tell me was this: while they don't generally want to do surgery while you are pregnant, the gallbladder removal is a fairly straightforward procedure with minimal risks. They do it laproscopically through 3 ports- one at the navel, and two up by the ribs. It's usually a one day procedure. You don't even have to stay overnight. They prefer to do it in the second trimester once the pregnancy is well established, but baby isn't big enough for the navel entry to be a problem.

Although I have been cleared to eat a normal diet, I did a lot of research while I thought I had to do the low fat diet. At first I was SO afraid of food- everything was making me sick! I only started to feel better once I started eating again. I found a lot of conflicting information, but some things I found that did help were as follows.

Beans! All legumes, really. They are full of fiber (and calories, and protein) while being low in fat. They will help fill you up, but will also help carry bile out of your system so it can be replaced by fresh bile instead of being recirculated. Eating Arugula also helps increase new bile production from the liver to help flush out the yucky stuff stored in the gallbladder. In order for this to work, you do need to be eating some fat. They suggest about 10g of fat, eaten with fiber at a meal to cause the gallbladder to contract but not overwork it.

I read an article by a naturopath (not necessarily something I normally look into, but I was desperate!) who said that even stones can be reduced with careful diet. She suggested taking citrus bitters in a drop form along with arugula. The process is long, but if you are in a tough situation (like being pregnant) where surgery isn't an option, it can help keep you more comfortable and buy you some time.

The other thing I found helpful was to eat frequently. Eating became such a chore as I wasn't interested in anything, but after I forced myself to have several small meals, I started feeling better. I also found that I had triggers you wouldn't necessarily think would be related. Fruit juice and fruit snacks made me really sick. Early on, so did chicken, but I worked it back in slowly and it's fine now.

I'm so sorry you are going through this when you are. Has morning sickness set in for you? If I had had this happen at 6 or 7 weeks, I think I would have just wanted to die. I was so miserable already and nothing sounded good to eat. I lived off of peanut butter toast and bagels and cream cheese- two things that are definitely off limits!

If you have any questions about diet or anything else I can help with, ask away. I was lucky to be cleared to go back on a normal diet after 2 and half weeks. The thought of having to eat that way the rest of my pregnancy made me want to cry!

By the way, in case you are worried, ALL of the doctors I talked to guaranteed me that baby will take what it needs, even though I was losing weight (I'm down 25 lbs from my bfp weight due to morning sickness and this mess!). Just try to make sure you are getting your folic acid, even if it means taking it separately with a children's chewable vitamin like I had to because prenatals made me so sick. My doctor also suggested to continue taking fish oil supplements. The amount of oil is small enough that it shouldn't bother the gallbladder.

Sorry you have to deal with this. I can definitely empathize and it is the worst!
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Re: Gallbladder Problems?

Postby Econfused » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:09 am

Thanks for replying guys, I've been feeling a bit better and have a few more tests and an appointment scheduled for tomorrow, hoping to get some answers then. I for sure have stones, they just need to do an ultrasound after I have fasted for 12 hours and get a better look at all of the ducts and stuff (very scientific, I know).

Wow BeeCee I feel bad about complaining now, that sounds awful! My attack lasted 4-5 hours and I thought I was going to die. I had the stomach flu the week before so I was already weak and feeling gross. I have been really careful with my diet...basically eating like a rabbit. I have lost about 10 pounds in the last two weeks...but I'm about 60 pounds overweight to start with so luckily I have some reserves. I still feel pretty awful most of the time, like I'm constantly hung over and I have zero appetite. I find that if I force myself to eat I feel better. I'm not sure if it's MS or my gallbladder problems. I did not have MS with my first two pregnancies (lucky, I know).

I also talked my Dr. in to letting me have a sneak peak at the baby tomorrow. I will be a little over 7 weeks, so hopefully we will see a heartbeat. :)
Me: Ellie, 36
DH: 38
DD 2006
DS 2009

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Expecting baby number 3 Sept 2015

US Feb 11, 2015, baby measured 7w3d, :hb: 134
NT Scan, March 12, baby measured 11w5d, :hb: 160
Anatomy Scan, May 8th, It's a girl!!
EDD Sept 27, 2015
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Re: Gallbladder Problems?

Postby BeeCee33 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:40 am

Oh I hope you get to see baby and hear the heartbeat! It's those little reminders that make all this other crap worth bearing!

I started out probably about 45 lbs overweight, but I've lost 25. I consider it penance for not getting healthy before conceiving lol.

So far I've had a really rough pregnancy so hoping to turn the corner pretty soon and be able to enjoy it a little before it gets uncomfortable!

Keep me posted on what they decide to do about your gallbladder. I was given a "tentative all clear" but if something acts up again, I might be right back in your shoes!
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Re: Gallbladder Problems?

Postby jjst16 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:06 pm

Just found your post and thought I would share my experience with you. I do not and have never had gallbladder issues, but have recently been through surgery during pregnancy. I had to have a very large cyst and one ovary removed at 16 weeks pregnant. In my case leaving the cyst until after the baby is born really was not an option due to the size (about the size of a basketball) and the very high risk that it would rupture, which would risk my life and the baby's. My surgeon was not reluctant at all to do the surgery, although she did outline the risks...primarily to do with the general anesthetic, which put both me and the baby to sleep. She did however say that she would not do surgery until the second trimester and ideally before 20 weeks because by then the risk of miscarriage was very low, while pre-term labour was also unlikely. So I had my surgery at the "perfect" time- 16 weeks. My surgeon indicated that it was not at all uncommon to have this type of surgery during pregnancy and one of the nurses who took care of me during my 3 day hospital stay told me she had a patient in the same circumstance just 3 weeks prior. everything went perfectly fine for me and the baby handled everything well. the recovery has been a bit difficult to the incision being on my abdomen all the way from just above the pubic bone to a few inches above the belly button. Im not sure what would be involved with gallbladder surgery but I don't see why it couldn't be done. Perhaps my surgeon was more willing to operate because she is a gynecologist and has lots of experience dealing with a pregnant woman. No one ever wants to go through surgery while pregnant, but you need to weight the risks and benefits in each case.
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