Gallbladder Removal

While pregnant with my daughter, I thought that I finally had figured out this IBS thing. I stopped having diarrhea. Still dealt with some of the other symptoms but those could just be due to the pregnancy, right? I just knew that this was my new normal. Needless to say, I was far from right.

After having my daughter, it was like a flip was switched. The flares came back with a vengeance. I worked extremely hard to eat what I knew shouldn’t cause issues. It didn’t seem to matter, and only being 21 I was at a loss of what to do. I continued to eat right and do all the right things with hopes that it would go away again.

Chest pain from IBS?

On July 4th, when my daughter was just 3 months old, we were invited to a friend’s house for a barbecue. I played it safe and had grilled chicken breast. Plain, no sauce, just chicken. Later that evening I made it back to my house and started to feel super sick. Within hours I was vomiting and in tons of pain in my chest and back. I called my friend to see if anyone else had gotten sick. I had convinced myself I had gotten food poisoning.

The next day I still felt awful. Now it seemed everything was making me sick. Not just the typical IBS-D for me. My mom called my aunt who was an RN and discussed what was going on. Aunt Kay knew immediately what it was. She recommended some over-the-counter medication to see if it would help and it did. For a couple weeks.

About a month later, I started feeling pain in my chest, it radiated around my back, into my shoulder. I was extremely scared. My mom rushed me to the ER. I was having gallbladder attacks. To be honest without my aunt, I would have sworn it was a heart attack. The pain was excruciating. Nothing helped no matter what I did. The ER ran all kinds of tests to find nothing. Back to square one.

Gallbladder stones

After speaking with my primary and many, many tests later we were able to prove it was gallbladder stones and set up surgery to remove it. WHOOHOO! All of this would be over soon. Or so I thought. I was over the moon with excitement. I could finally enjoy having my newborn baby without all of this pain.

What no one thought to mention to me was what COULD happen to your gut after removal of your gallbladder. What was once occasional diarrhea turned into dumping syndrome. I thought life with a gallbladder was bad. No one prepared me for dumping syndrome. Honestly, I had no idea there was a term for it or that it was even a thing until just a few years ago (gallbladder was removed in 2007).

I wish I knew then what I know now. I don’t know that I would change anything but just knowing what is happening to your body and why give me so much more peace of mind. Knowing that it isn’t my fault that every meal sends me in a run to the bathroom can be normal when not having a gallbladder made me feel more normal. There are medications that can help with this, but they just don’t seem to work well with my body.

Have you or a loved one experienced dumping syndrome after gallbladder removal?

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