Does This Sound like Gallstones?

Updated on February 22, 2011
M.K. asks from Glendale, CA
18 answers

I have had this pain for about 2 or 3 years, and I put it down to indigestion, because it comes on after I eat stupid foods like a huge bag of potato chips or something.
The pain is really severe, and lasts a couple of hours, and I can generally be found writhing on the floor and taking everything in my medicine cupboard to try and get rid of it.
It struck me last night at 2 am, while pacing the house in extreme pain, that this may be something other than indigestion, as the pain starts below my breastbone, then gradually spreads under my rib cage, and it feels like my back is burning, and my jaw hurts - and NOTHING helps it, it just has to run it's course.
I looked at the symptoms online, and they really match my pain, so all these years I could have been thinking I have indigestion.
So, people who have had gall bladder trouble, does this sound like the same thing?

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answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, sounds like gallstones to me. I had the same symptons - I thought I was having a heart attack. I went to the doctor a couple of times before they diagnosed me with gallstones. I had my gallbladder removed. No more pain, no problems. Please see a doctor.

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answers from St. Louis on

Kind of........the pain is dull and persistent, it gets stronger after eating fatty or fried meals. In my case, the pain woke me up in the middle of the night, but I was not able to stand it more than TWO DAYS......About your jaw hurting... I did not experience it, that is one of heart attack symptoms....
I suggest you to see your doctor right away whatever it is.
Take care!



answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like it. Just know, even if an ultrasound doesn't show gallstones, it could still be your gallbladder. Ten years ago I went through 8 doctors trying to see what was wrong with me. The ultrasound showed a little blip in my gallbladder and they had another person look but then decided it was nothing. But I knew from the pain when they pressed down on that spot they were wrong. So I went back to the gastroenterologist I saw a few weeks earlier and told him (he told me if I had any more information to help him help me to call). He put me in for an outpatient test where they injected a dye into me and found out that my gallbladder was functioning at 7 or 14% (been ten years, can't remember) its capacity. No gallstones at all, which is why they couldn't see the problem really with the ultrasound. I had a genetically bad gallbladder is what he told me! I was so weak at this point from the contant pain that my poor roommate had to take out the garbage because I couldn't pull it out of the bin. I even had they guys at the grocery store help with my bags I was so worn out (and I never do this, even when I was pregnant afterwards). Unloading the dryer was torture, because getting in front of the machine to unload was so uncomfortable, I could only do one load per day. My Mom was so scared, I was so scared. There is definitely something wrong, please see a doctor. Also, for me, it was milk products that set it off, even low fat yogurt. And I haven't been able to eat jalapenos since, I got the gallbladder out, I get an elevated heart rate. Small price to pay.



answers from Johnstown on

Absolutely! I had to have mine removed when our older daughter was 6 weeks old. It was absolutely horrible and was 1,000x worse than the labor I'd experienced just a few weeks prior to. The great thing, though, was that I had emergency surgery on Saturday and was back to work on Tuesday.



answers from Phoenix on

my jaw hurt also. I was sure I was having a heart attack but gallbladder.



answers from Toledo on

Yes ma'am, that certainly sounds like your gallbladder. You didn't mention which side of your ribcage, but your gallbladder is just under the mid-section of your right rib-cage. Please see your doc ASAP and get in to see a specialist. You want to get this taken care of before it becomes a life-threatening problem. I discovered my gallstones when I was 5 months pregnant with my 3rd child. I had to finish the pregnancy, being able to take nothing but Tylenol PM (which given the fact that you've experienced the pain from the attacks, you know that is like taking a mult-vitamin for pain). I had my surgery when my daughter was 3 months old and I have never felt better. The only "issue" I've noticed is that I can't eat certain foods unless I'm willing to devote the rest of my day/night to the toilet. Some things go right through me and they never bothered me before. Mostly fatty and fried stuff, so its not like I'm hurting by limiting those things :)



answers from Detroit on

My gallstone issues started out of the blue when I was about 5 months pregnant with my 4th munchkin (who is now 9 months old). They would come on at any time, with no warning. Never did figure out what would set them off... But I found that a HOT tub of water would help a bit...
Yes, it was WORSE than any labor i've ever had... At least when your in labor it doesn't hurt to breathe!
You need to get it diagnosed... If it is a gallstone issue then they can give you pain meds to help you! After 8 weeks of attacks, I had a really long attack and finally went to the hospital... Although its rare, I had pancreatitus while preggers... (that is when a stone blocks the duct and the pancrease becomes inflamed) 4 days in the hospital and a no food diet till it calmed down... Then random hospitalizations after that till I had the baby... A few weeks later I had the gall bladder out laprascopically...

All I can say is yes, there are those that have the surgery and are up and at em in a few days... BUT if you have it, don't schedule anything pressing for about 2 weeks... It may be that I had had a baby not long before, or that I was nursing the baby, etc, but it took me a good 2 weeks to be back up and running fully... Your shoulder may hurt a bit so you will want to have that pain med prescription filled just in case you need it!

Now I have no worrys about it at all and tell hubby that IF we have another child there is now more room for them. lol Call your dr and see what they say...



answers from Washington DC on

Sorry to say but yes it does. I had severe gall bladder attacks where it felt like someone was stabbing me in my breastbone area as well as my back, almost felt like a heart attack. My DR diagnosed it immediately however I was recovering from pulmonary embolisms at the time and wasn't strong enough for another surgery yet. I had to suffer for two years before they were comfortable that my lungs could handle the surgery. Honestly, I think I'd rather give birth again than have another gall bladder Contact your DR today, do not wait. If this has been ongoing for years you may be like me and have gallstones damaging your bile duct as well as your liver duct. They will be able to tell by a simple sonogram if it's your gall bladder. The surgery itself isn't so bad. They made a 2 inch incision over my belly button along with 2 other small incisions up towards my breast. If you wait too long the gall bladder could be so inflamed that they can not do the laparoscopic surgery and you'll need the old fashioned zipper cut. Good Luck and God Bless.



answers from Seattle on

Yup. And eating fats is generally what brings it on. For me, animal fats were the worst (with french fries a close second).

The key, mentioned below, is that there will be a particularly painful spot on your right side just under your ribcage. I also thought I was having a heart attack during one gallbladder episode. (And this was after LOTS of episodes, so you'd think I would have known better.) You may also feel like someone is tightening a band around your ribcage, squeezing it more and more.

Get it out. You will not be sorry. The surgery is easy and not experiencing the pain anymore is so worth it. You'll have to take it easy on the fatty foods for a while, but you already have to and your body will learn to adjust eventually.



answers from New York on

Other than the jaw hurting, it sounds a lot like gall stones. Of course, there's only one way to be sure, see your doctor and have a ultra sound done. Until then follow a fat free diet plan.



answers from Eugene on

Sounds like the Gall Bladder - go to the doctor and have an ultra sound done to confirm it. I didn't have pain in my jaw...but it could be caused by you clenching your jaw during the pain. I felt like I was dying. I would end up throwing up - I lost 30lbs in one month because of how severe it was for me. I would go and get it checked to be safe. I was about 2 more months away from dying because my gall bladder was so ill it was literally getting ready to poison me.



answers from York on

I does sound like it could be gall stones. I had them and when I would get an attack, it would start with a bloated feeling and then the pain would gradually increase from under my breast bone around to my shoulder blade - mostly on the right side. Call your doctor - they can do an ultrasound to see if you have stones. The surgery is relatively easy and recovery isn't too bad either - just no heavy lifting for a week or two.


answers from Los Angeles on

That would describe MY gall bladder attacks to a TEE! I read a couple posts, and not everyone will have the same symptoms. I had mine removed because the pain is so intense during an attack that I couldn't even talk and Advil wouldn't even take the edge off. I would recommend going to the doc and asking for an ultrasound to confirm gall stones or sludge, and then have them yank it out :)



answers from Las Vegas on

Go to the doctor, never had jaw pain associated with mine. But i know that pain all too well. You must tell the doctor you want to see if it is gall stones. My pain was so servere, but only lasted around 20 minutes, relieve was through relaxation, but that seems impossible while you are hurting so bad. What I had was a stone that was going up and down the bile duct and certain foods trigger it. prior to that last one, I passed one and my doctor did not catch it, he said it up acid reflux, my stool turned solid white. I was on baby food for weeks until it passed. Years later went to another doctor who treated me for the same thing, since it started up again. would get the pain about 6 times a year, but was watching everything i ate. Then a few years later the pain starting coming a couple times a month, lived within blocks of the quick care and still no one seemed to know what i was talking about, they would do a ekg and tell me it was just my stomach. I knew something was wrong. Then I had a big one, thought i was dying, ran to quick care and of course by the time i got there the pain had stopped, but after waiting for about 20 minutes it hit again right there in the doctors office, they took me back right away, and a new doctor was there, of course they did the ekg again, and it came back fine and sent me to a room to wait for the doctor, while he walked in it happen again. He just looked at me and sent me for an ultra sound. sure enough it was my gall bladder. Had the surgery, in and out in 2 hours. The surgeon, came to me and said i was amazed, you must have had these gall stones for years, we counted over 100 small stones and 4 large, the size of golf balls, one was lodged in your bile duct. We got them all and will send them off for testing. All most all of them were black, which indicated they had been there for a long time. Recovery was short and you can not see but a little scar near by breast bone, and that is only because my sac was so large. At my after care appointment about a week later the doctor told me it was a clear of cancer and asked me if there was anything questions, I said, yes, when can i have a fat burger with tomato, it has been years. He said go for it. It was the best burger I had ever Just go to the doctor and tell him your thoughts on what you think you might have and ask to be tested for them, no one knows your body like you do. Good luck and let us know what happens. Julie



answers from Los Angeles on

I just had my gallbladder removed in August, and this sounds like it. The pain almost always struck in the early morning after I ate something fatty. My pain was always worse in the back, but it seems most people felt it most in the front. Ask your doctor for a scan in your abdomen and they should be able to see it.



answers from Los Angeles on

i was just looking up symptoms of gallstones too yesterday b/c i was having similar problems ..but i have cut a lot of things out ..and now i only drink a blended smoothie for breakfast..w/ frozen fruits..some powders like Orac Energy and GNC Longevity..ginger root..flaxseed..psyllium husk powder ..yogurt ..almond milk/water.. that's really helped..i have also cut out this energy drink i was may want to get checked for gallstones..or google Serrapeptase and see if that supplement can help..i feel a lot better since taking it..i had been checked last summer and had a cyst on my ovary and thickening of the uterus and the supplement got rid of it..but now i have the acid reflux when i drink the energy drink or i cut them out..feel a lot better..and also make sure you are chewing your food well..u may not be and your stomach could be having trouble digesting..don't drink a lot of liquid when eating food..also find a probiotic drink like Good Belly to drink..probiotics replace bad bacterias in your digestive system...i've heard a few people complaining about the same symptoms lately..

good luck..hope its not gallstones and something easy to get rid of





answers from Lakeland on

Yes! Go to your doctor and have them to an ultrasound to check for stones. There is medicine you can take to "cleanse" your system and/or change your diet. Me? I opted for the surgery! Every female in my family has had theirs out, so I knew it was just inevitable. I had gall bladder "attacks" all during my first pregnancy and I swear I was having a heart attack bc it was so bad. I had my gall bladder out 4 weeks after delivering by c-section. Definitely some of the worst pain of my life! Please go to your doctor and have it checked out! Good luck!



answers from Las Vegas on

Sounds like it probably is gall-bladder related. However, it could also be a hiadal hernia. If you are in that kind of pain, why haven't you seen a doctor?????? Obviously it isn't going away by itself; please go see a doctor.

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