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Ask Dr. Gott 7/17
Gallbladder pain lingers
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am 48-year-old female. Following gallbladder removal four years ago, I have suffered with chronic diarrhea. My surgeon told me this was common, and it would stop within six months. Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case.
    Within 30 minutes after eating, I have a spasm in my side (where the gallbladder was), feel a pinching sensation and then have the urge to have a bowel movement. The first five or six hours of nearly every day are spent running back and forth to the bathroom. Often, the first BM is normal, but, as the day progresses, they look like dark sand mixed with liquid.
    I have had several tests done throughout the past four years, but no one seems to be able to pinpoint the cause. During one test, I was told there were two spots caused by the staples from the surgery.
    I am in constant pain and suffer from infections at least once every two months. I cannot lie on my back at all, and, if I am on my right side for too long, my incision site starts to hurt and develops a heavy feeling. I feel as though something is going to burst in the right side of my lower chest. I was given morphine for the pain but don't like it. I have real pain and no one to turn to for help. My doctor and the operating surgeon haven't done anything for me other than antibiotics when I develop an infection. I just want to feel better. Please help.
    DEAR READER: I urge you to seek a second opinion from a gastroenterologist. A new look at the situation with fresh eyes may reveal something that the other physicians have missed. It is possible that your problem is coming from the staples themselves, or there may be painful "sludge" that became trapped in the area of surgery.
    Because you do not specify what tests you have had, I can't comment about what you have had done. However, I believe it's in your best interest to have a colonoscopy if you have not already to ensure that there's no physical cause for your chronic diarrhea, such as polyps or cancer. The new gastroenterologist may want to order additional testing to assess proper bowel functioning.
    Try taking an antidiarrheal medication, such as Imodium or Digestive Advantage, to reduce your frequency. This will not only improve your quality of life, but it may also reduce your chances of developing another infection. You may also wish to add more fiber to your diet, such as Metamucil, which will bulk up your stools, making them more solid.
    To give you related information, I am sending you copies of my Health Reports "Gallbladder Disease" and "Constipation and Diarrhea."
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