My daughter, who just turned 16 a couple of days ago, and is also very thin, had to go to the emergency room for what they think is probably something related to her gallbladder.
I always thought that gallbladder issues occurred in people that were both overweight and older -- of which she is neither, obviously.
She had an ultrasound yesterday, and we're waiting for a doctor's appointment Thursday -- 12 days after the worst attack. (Though I ended up taking her to Urgent Care a few days ago when she was still not better the way I thought she would be.)
I'm totally at a loss of what/how to feed her (I normally cook with liberal use of olive oil and butter).... She has so little appetite and has already lost weight -- I can just see looking at her that she is thinner. She has constant pain -- not terrible, not on the same level as the night we went to the emergency room, but still, I thought it would go away by now.
How does a perfectly healthy child go from just FINE to really sick? It's so frustrating and upsetting -- and of course too much time on Google never actually HELPS. It just always seems to make everything seem worse than it actually may be.
I don't know a lot about it but it happened to a woman at my church.
She is thin as a rail, and about 30ish. She has been sick for about a month or so. She had her husband take her to the ER over 4 times, she thought she was having a heart attack. She has been tested for EVERYTHING and I mean everything. The gall bladder didn't seem bad. But nothing else worked, and so they took it out, and she is MUCH better. Good luck with your daughter.
Been there, done that, have the scars to prove it!
When I was a year or two younger than your daughter, I started getting horrible upper right quadrant pain. I developed pancreatitis, my liver enzymes went mad, and basically everything I took in caused an incredible amount of pain. After several years of testing and procedures, I was diagnosed with a motility disorder called biliary dyskinesia; I had full paralysis of the Sphincter of Oddi. I had a cholesystectomy and during the procedure they discovered that I had a severely inflammed and damaged appendix as well, so they also performed an appendectomy. I did get some relief from those procedures, but it wasn't 100%. However, the pancreatitis did abate. It wasn't until they performed an ERCP with sphincterotomy when I was 18 that I felt like a normal human being again.
My disease was caused by several factors; I have a significant history of autoimmune disease, I have a collagen disorder called Ehlers-Danlos which causes a lot of scarring and restructuring issues, and I have a very rare blood/immune disorder called Systemic Mastocytosis; basically my body overreacts to histamine and mounts an immune response which causes organ damage. The severity of the biliary dyskinesia was most certainly caused by these co-factors, so in that regard my case was rare. But overall, biliary dyskinesia is not super uncommon.
Does she have a good pediatric gastroenterologist? If not, that's your best place to start. She is going to be uncomfortable and have a poor appetite until this is resolved, but googling a "gallbladder diet" will help you to make things that won't cause *as* much discomfort. There was more than one time, however, that I landed myself in the hospital NPO on TPN via a PICC because I just. couldn't. eat.
Please feel free to PM me, there is a lot more to my story than I've shared here, but I know precisely what your daughter is going through. I'd be happy to chat with her via email or instant messenger if she needs someone to talk to who "gets it".
Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.
Gall bladder removal is a pretty easy procedure as far as surgical procedures go. Everyone I know who has had their gall bladder removed is glad they did, and wonders why they didn't do it sooner.
They took mine out two years ago and the Dr said it was very diseased and should have been out of there ten years ago.
He almost could not take it out laparoscopically, was thinking he had to open me up, but did get it done and safely after all.
When I ended up in the ER, they first thought it was kidney stones.
Not all gallbladders are bad because of grit or stones.
Some just don't function well and need out.
Still, there may be other going on, so wait to see first what the drs decide to do.
If they take the gallbladder out, there is not much to it, according to the surgeons, they do several a day.
Good luck, anything like that is always a bit scary.
Gallbladder issues are actually more common in young women than most people think. I had mine taken out in my 20's. The effect as immediate: i felt a million times better within days! I can eat just about anything now in moderation. Too much oil of any kind makes me need to go to the bathroom, but I can eat most anything. What amazed me was that after I had it out, I realized just how long it had been since I felt OK, and I felt instantly 100%
From what I was told, hormones are a cause. I was on birth control, and was told that could have been part of the cause.
I can tell you that for me, the pain never totally went away until I had the surgery. It would get better, but there was near constant pain of some level, though looking back, there were times when i thought I was feeling ok, until after the surgery when I realized that I hadn't been truly pain-free in a long time. For me, it was a day surgery-I went in in the morning and was home by 2 that same afternoon; they did the surgery laproscopically and I have four tiny scars, one of which is in my belly button and you can't see at all; the other three are not noticeable at all. I threw up from the anesthesia the first afternoon, and my stomach muscles were sore for a few days. I had the surgery Monday and drove and hour for a job interview Thursday or Friday. I was back to my full-time summer barn job (barn work and trail guiding) the following Monday with no restrictions.
As for what I could eat during the attacks: peanut butter. I ate it on toast, or PB&J sandwiches. For whatever reason, it really helped. Drinking milk helped as well. Potatoes and plain pasta were ok, too, but peanut butter was what saw me through the worst. Hwen i couldn't bear to eat anything else, I could eat that. Most fruits and veggies were out when the attacks were bad, things like carrots and peas were ok in between the worst ones. As I said, as long as I eat a balanced low-fat diet most of the time, I can eat pretty much anything now in moderate amounts.
I hope your DD feels better soon-if the doctor decides on the surgery, it's really a good thing, and if you want to hear more on the experience of the procedure, just let me know, I'd be glad to talk about how it went and the healing process.
My Daughter in Love developed gall bladder issues when pregnant with my G'daughter.
It was awful. Very painful, would come on suddenly and then (until the last one) disappear as quickly. They tried hard to follow a diet that would not trigger attacks, but it did not work and the last one tossed her into pancreatitis and the ER which eventually led to surgery. Pancreatitis is nothing to fool with, it can be deadly and is tremendously painful too. The surgery was probably less than 45 minutes and she's had no trouble since. She, like one of the above posters said, has to go RIGHT now if she eats too much at once, but there have been no more attacks.
As "Henry" said it is actually not that unusual for the gallbladder to be removed in the teen years. Found that out last December when my then 17 year old had emergency removal of her gall bladder. She'd had off and on GI issues & suspected ulcer for over a year at that point. (Later scoping showed no ulcer, so gallbladder was indeed the source of the problem.) Surgery was laproscopic and pretty straight forward. Took about a week for recovery. She was quite fatigued for weeks after. I'm told that is actually a reaction to the anesthesia. The Dr. said the gallbladder was actually more damaged than the ultrasound & MRI showed and it was indeed wise to have taken it out at the time; would only have continued to cause increasing problems. She is much more comfortable now that it is gone and would make the same decision again. Happily won't have to worry about it again though.
Women in general are at more risk. And yes, risk goes up with age, but young people get it too, all the time. There are some associated risk factors like body weight and some dietary factors, but they're just associations, not conditions required for cholelithiasis/cholecystitis.
You mentioned your daughter is quite thin. Eating fewer meals a day is also a risk factor (less gallbladder stimulation), as is weight loss, and restricted eating in general. Many things are risk factors, and sometimes people with no obvious risk factors at all develop gallstones.
I had my gallbladder removed when I was 17. My uncle lost his at 19 and he was in the army- so, not very fat.
The surgery really is no big deal. I was back on a horse 3 days after.
It took a year for me to get diagnosed - I was "too young" and "it couldn't possibly be my gallbladder" so I got to suffer through a lot of unpleasant tests before finally, they ordered an ultrasound. I was having painful attacks several times a week all throughout this. It sucked.
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I had one problem, stomach stasis, where everything I ate for three days didn't get digested and finally came up, still as it went in.
Thankfully everything started moving after that.
Some times, that happens, the surgeon said.
I have not had any problem or dietary restrictions, but when my friend had hers out, she had problems for six months, they put her on medication for those and finally she was off that too and fine since.
I had mine out at 36 but had been in pain for several years. It finally caused pancretitis, and I am no heavy. Although since the surgery I have gained a little weight because I have an appetite! I feel a hundred times better. If I glut it up and over eat I have to run to the bathroom, but otherwise much better.
My best friend also had hers out at 30, with very similar results.
I had mine out twenty years ago when I was in my early 20's, and it should have been done at least five years prior to that. I was only having one or two attacks a year, and thought they were food poisoning - I would feel ill, puke, and immediately feel better.
It's an easy, routine surgery. Get it done and get it over with.
The surgery is much easier then the attacks. Until she has the surgery, and for a while after, it will help her pain to stick to a low fat diet. I went Trick-Or-Treating with my son, 3 days after I had mine out. Unfortunately I now suffer from Spincture Of Oddi Dysfunction. Some say the cause of SOD is due to the surgery, some say it was always there. I'm not trying to scare you, but it's good to be informed. Hopefully she will be able to have the surgery sooner, rather then later. Good luck to her!
Had mine out when I was young, thin, and fit. I was down to eating bread and water in an effort to put off the surgery. Afterwards, when I felt great and could eat anything I wanted I wondered why I'd put it off for so long.
And that was before they did them laprascopically, so I have a four inch scar. Oh yeah, that's why I put it off -- no more bikini. Well worth it, believe me.