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How bad is "too bad" when it comes to gallbladder attacks??

I have been having what they think is gallbladder attacks for nearly 3 months now. I have them 3-4 times a week (sometimes more - a couple of times less). I finally went to the ER a few days ago where they were fairly positive it was gallbladder attacks but just gave me intense pain killers & sent me to my doctor for a follow-up the next day. My doctor agreed that it was probably gallbladder attacks, but before she schedules surgery for removal she wants me to have an ultrasound to check for stones. That appointment is on Feb. 3rd. Until then she gave me Zofran for the nausea & Vicodin for the pain...but she told me if it gets "too bad" to go back to the ER. Well, how bad is "too bad"?? This pain is horrenous EVERY time! The Vicodin barely works & she only gave me 10 to last me until Feb. where I need 4 each attack just to not be heaved over in pain (yet still in SOME pain). So when does it constitute as ER worthy??


Asked by WannabeMommy87 at 3:12 AM on Jan. 18, 2010 in Health

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This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • Could also be a stone blocking the duct to the liver, they should check your liver enzymes. That's what mine was. My doctor said that's called billiary colic. Sometimes the stone is small enough it passes through, but sometimes it will stay there. It could be dangerous and cause liver damage. I would go in and insist on a ultrasound, and if nothing is there, then I would insist on a HIDA. but you need to go in while you are in pain because the HIDA works better when the symptoms are present.

    Answer by AprilDJC at 3:50 AM on Jan. 18, 2010

  • I would go if you feel it through the Vicodin. When you have to double over in pain, you should go to the ER. You could have a gallstone in your pancreatic duct and that can kill you. I had gall bladder attacks for YEARS before I found a doctor to diagnose me and sent me for the right test. I did NOT have gall stones. I had an infection! My gall bladder was not working. I think you should go to the ER if you are having an attack.

    Answer by Whatkids at 3:21 AM on Jan. 18, 2010

  • I'd say the next time you have one. Taking that many vicodin is not at all a good thing. Go to the ER. They can do an ultrasound there for you if you insist on it. Also, if nothing shows up on ultrasound, they can do a HIDA scan, to detect smaller stones. I had 2 gallbladder attacks, and they didn't see anything on ultrasound so my dr put me on a strict low fat, no dairy diet and I haven't had any attacks since. I don't know if they talked to you about that. Avoid foods with high fat content (no dairy, nothing fried, eat lean chicken and turkey not beef and pork products, etc.) the fat in foods causes your gallbladder to constrict or something like that and it hurts like he**. It's called biliary colic and I'm pretty darn sure that is what you are experiencing. It can be so bad that the pain moves from your gallbladder into your chest and you think you are having a major heart attack and it hurts and is hard to breath.

    Answer by AprilDJC at 3:21 AM on Jan. 18, 2010

  • April - That is exactly what it feels like. Every time. But I already eat very bland because I am afraid of the pain. The ER didn't do the ultrasound last time & my doctor said the soonest she could get me in was Feb. 3rd. The bottle of Vicodin says 1-2 every 4hrs as needed. My attacks last about 4-6 hours so 4 is not over-dosing or anything. I just don't want to look like a fool going to the ER 3-4 times a week, ya know?

    Answer by WannabeMommy87 at 3:28 AM on Jan. 18, 2010

  • WannabeMommy,
    Go to the ER. If you go, and are in pain, they will do the HIDA scan and get you into OR faster. They should check to see if you have a stone blocking the common bile duct (pancreatic)

    Answer by Whatkids at 3:41 AM on Jan. 18, 2010

  • Well I'm not in pain at this very moment, I was just wondering what I should do between now & the ultrasound when I do get an attack. They tested my blood for the liver enzymes last time I was in the ER & they said it was elevated & put "Acute Biliary Colic w/ Possible Gallbladder Stone Problem" on my chart that they had me take to my doctor. My doctor said the soonest was the 3rd for an ultrasound unless it gets "too bad". So they know I need one & that I will likely need it removed...I just don't know what she meant by "too bad" since I explained how bad each one was. I guess I'll just go into the ER again next time I get the pain, at least the meds they gave me there were a lot stronger even though they had to administer it every half hour to an hour to keep my pain under control...Ugh.

    Answer by WannabeMommy87 at 3:56 AM on Jan. 18, 2010

  • I agree. If you feeling it through the meds or can not stop throwing up even with the zofran.

    I had mine gallbladder out in 2004 after my second child. It was horrible, the attacks not the surgery. I got an ultrasound in the ER and had surgery three days later. They shouldn't let it go too long. If they get it out early enough you can have laproscopic surgery like i did which nothing to recover from. I had a lifting restriction for a little bit but the incisions were so small I had next to no pain. No pain meds the day after at all. If it goes too long or gets infected they have to do the open procedure which from what I hear is agonizing because the incision is huge. If you go back to the ER try to get an ultrasound there.

    Answer by heatheryn at 7:47 AM on Jan. 18, 2010

  • GO to the ER every time you have an attack. I spent yesterday there myself. I've had them for the last few years. They can do the ultrasound & ct scan in the ER. I had both yesterday. I don't have stones but my gallbladder is enlarged. The dr is pretty sure it is biliary dyskinesis. Which is the biliary duct is too small to release enough bile so it builds up enlarging the the gallbladder. It causes the gallbladder to clamp down like there is a stone.

    You should also ask for a script for Bentyl. It is for stomach cramping.

    Answer by motherofhope98 at 7:47 AM on Jan. 18, 2010

  • The ER can find the stones and speed up things. I wouldn't endure constant pain.

    Answer by admckenzie at 9:02 AM on Jan. 18, 2010