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Ask Dr. Gott 1/30
Pain persists after gallbladder removal
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: Since I had my nonfunctioning gallbladder removed six months ago, I continue to have occasional discomfort where it used to be. It can be random sharp pains to a dull ache and does not seem to be affected by food. It is always in the same spot (right upper quadrant, beneath the rib cage), and sometimes the pain will radiate to my back. Some of my co-workers also have similar symptoms that have continued since their gallbladder removals. I am a nurse, and we often talk about our various symptoms. Can you give me any insight into this phenomenon?
    DEAR READER: Your experience appears to be common among people who have had gallbladder-removal surgery. In fact, is it so common it has been titled postcholecystectomy syndrome. It occurs in 5 percent to 40 percent of all patients following gallbladder removal.
    Symptoms may include persistent upper-right abdomonal pain, gas, bloating, nausea, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Diarrhea from this disorder can be eased by taking the medication cholestyramine.
    Pain that persists should be followed up on with your gastroenterologist to ensure that another condition, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, pancreatitis, peptic ulcers or sludge in the bile duct, is not to blame.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Gallbladder Disease."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a T10 (midback) paraplegic in good health. About once a year, I get an attack of chills, shakes, fever, etc., that is usually caused by a urinary-tract infection. In every instance, my left foot and ankle swell, turn red and stay hot well after my temperature has returned to normal. The redness and swelling go away after about a week, and then the foot begins to peel just like it's been badly sunburned. I have no light-touch sensation in the foot (or below the point of injury), but I know it "hurts" because it is very spastic until it returns to normal. I have asked various doctors about this but have not received an explanation. One doctor said the infection originates in the foot. Does that seem reasonable to you?
    DEAR READER: Yes. But I am also concerned about the possibility of a recurring infection, the source of which is still unknown.
    The next time you experience symptoms, have various areas checked for infection. This can be done easily and should include a culture and sensitivity (C and S) of your leg, blood stream and urine. If your problem is caused by a hidden infection, the source must be identified, the bacteria defined and antibiotics prescribed.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Bladder and Urinary Tract Infections."
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