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    I've lost 51 lbs and now I have stomach problems!
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    JenNS12 posted:
    In June of last year I drastically changed my diet. Completely quit eating fast food, which I had been consuming in excess of 5 times per week. Also gave up soda, almost all fried foods, and sweets. Instead I started eating more fruits and vegetables. I still ate things I wanted just in moderation. Since that time I've lost 51 lbs, down from 214 to 163.

    In July I started having some slight stomach issues which included abdominal tenderness, burping, and some bloating. Nothing severe until October rolled around that is when I had my first gallbladder attack. Ended up having 3 attacks in less than a month, an ultrasound revealed a gallstone, so I had my GB removed in December.

    Now I have some symptoms of acid reflux which I've never had before. My appetite is really good but I have abdominal tenderness, burping, hiccups, and some upper abdomen and chest discomfort.

    Prior to the weight loss I had never had any real medical issues. Anyone else have stomach issues after losing weight? This may sound crazy but did the sudden change from a diet high in calories and fat to eating healthy cause all these problems?

    Depending on what website I go to the list of food you should/shouldn't eat when suffering from acid reflux are different. What are some foods that I should be eating, ones that are fine it moderation, and what should I absolutely avoid? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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    ginamc50 responded:
    OMG! I swear I could be reading my own story!! I changed my diet at the end of Sept last year and lost 30 lbs by December. I stopped the fast food, which was also in excess of 5x per week, and started having upper abdominal pains that would come and go quickly. Never lasting over 10-15 minutes. I assumed it was indigestion and maybe my system was not used to all the fruit I was eating. Then in Dec I had my first real attack...lasted over 8 hours that night. I would have gone to the hospital, but we ate pizza that night and I assumed I had just eaten too much. 2nd attack was 5 days later so I went to the doctor. Sure enough I was positive for gallstones. I assumed the "little" attacks I was having were from that as well. Had my gallbladder out in January and exactly 1 week later woke up with the same pain. It went away before I could get to the hospital. They did an MRCP to check for stones that could have been lodged in a duct, but nothing was there. Since then I repeatedly have those pains but they only last 10-15 min again, and Tums will actually help right away. So now they say it's reflux, but I had no relief after 3 weeks on Nexium. Now they have me on Zegerid (sp?) so we'll see what happens.
    I actually can't pinpoint a certain food that triggers my pain. What I have found out is that if I don't eat, I hurt! If I eat too much...I hurt! And most of my problems occur in the middle of the night to early early morning. They say not to eat at least 2 hours before going to bed, but if I do that, I'm guaranteed a wake up call. It's like my stomach can't stay empty over 4-5 hours.
    And to your point, I have to believe that losing weight and / or changing my diet has something to do with this. The only other time I had indigestion is when I was prego. I did however have high cholesterol and blood pressure...which prompted my change in diet and weight loss. The blood pressure is fine now, but the cholesterol is still not down enough. I will not let them start me on meds for that until my stomach issue is resolved though. I just don't understand why they haven't done and endoscopy to look in there!!
     
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    JenNS12 replied to ginamc50's response:
    Did you know that losing weight quickly can cause gallstones? I sure didn't! It's not like I went on a crash diet or anything just started eating healthy. Thought I was doing something good for my health but it's been downhill since then. Do you feel that way as well?

    You are the first person that has went through pretty much the same thing as me. Never had I even had heartburn until the gb removal now I've had it several times. Like you, I've noticed no specific food triggers. I'm experiencing abdominal tenderness (breastbone to belly button as well as right side), I burp all the time and frequently am getting hiccups. I don't feel well on a completely empty stomach either and wake up in the morning just slightly nauseous. I can only eat smaller meals because if I don't my stomach aches. Even drinking water too quickly will cause abdominal discomfort and burping.

    I took Nexium for a month and had no improvement at all. In fact, I felt worse on it than I had. After being off of the Nexium for several days I had an appointment with a gastro doc who thought some of my symptoms could've been side effects from the medicine.

    Anyway, I stupidly decided to have an alcoholic beverage last Friday and I'm still feeling the effects of that. Ended up with a back ache and worse than ususal upper abdominal tenderness. This had happened before and the gastro doc thinks it may be pancreas related.

    I have another appointment in less than 2 weeks. Probably going to end up having an MRI of my pancreas and biliary tract, she said there may be a gallstone left over from surgery, as well as an upper endoscopy. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Also, this situation is now giving me a great deal of anxiety. Keep thinking something is seriously wrong with me and that it wasn't my gallbladder. My health is all I can focus on 24/7. This is no fun and I just want to get back to feeling like my old self. People keep telling me how great I look after the weight I've lost and assuming that I must feel better...wrong! Felt much better 52 pounds heavier.

    Hope we can both get some answers soon as to what is causing our problems. Best of luck to you! Keep me updated.
     
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    iFeelYourPain responded:
    This is really something, after reading btoh JenNS12's and ginamc50's comments, I can totally agree and know what you guys are talking about. Im literally in the same exact boat. I cant believe how similar the story is to mine, but just to recap with my story (still in progress):

    I've always been a slim fellow my whole life, from childhood to my mid-20's. Then, I suppose without much exercise and not eating right it finally started to catch up with me. I began gaining weight, putting on a belly, and had to punch a couple extra holes in my belts. Then, in June of last year (yes, June as well!) I stepped onto a scale and was blown away at how much I weighed! Just a couple digits over 200lbs! (Mind you Im 5'10 with no real muscle mass so I knew it was all fat)

    Well, like both of you, I put a stop to the madness right there and then. I cut out all the junk food, no soda, never over-do it when eating out, and minded my calorie intake. I also put myself on a rigorous exercise program to help take the weight off. After several months (fast forward to the present) I have now lost 50lbs and am smack in the middle of "Normal BMI" range! So, lets pause here and congratulate ourselves for actually doing the right thing, so kudos to you two! -- But, unfortunately theres more to our stories isn't there?

    So, as my diet and exercise went on throughout the months I started to notice something on occasion within the last few months. I noticed that if I actually *did* go out and have a big or greasy meal that I would have some slight discomfort in my right-side area. It wasn't pain, so much as discomfort that I would usually wake up to in the middle of the night to. (Mostly because I ate something greasy / fatty for dinner) I would wake up and feel the warmness and discomfort and try to walk it off and burp or pass gas - which often times helped. Usually after about 30min or so it would subside and I could fall back asleep. This would happen so randomly I never realized what it was. Until --- One day I made a mistake Ill never forget now for the rest of my life. I had McDonalds, yep. I know I know, bad move. But I did, and a lot of it - especially the large salty french fries! Oh man, was I setting myself up for a night of pain. I woke up around 2am and tried my usual "tricks" but nothing was working. The discomfort kept growing until I felt it hard to even stand up! It was like someone kicked me in the upper stomach - right side area but I didn't feel the pain of the initial impact - just the after effects of it.
    I had to go to the ER but (luckily) the discomfort went away on the way there. This was about a month ago, so the next day I made an appointment to the doctor to check it out.
    I got blood and urine tests done, but doctor also told me to get a UGI and an Ultrasound so I did, which I just had recently. Thats when things started to come to light, doctor told me it was "Multiple Gallstones" and that I would be going in to see a surgeon for a initial conference about it.
    So, here I am researching online and finding your stories and after reading your comment about losing too much weight quickly might cause gallstones Im thinking that probably contributed to my problem.
    I am a bit concerned with post-surgery effects, like the ones your describing but theres no turning back now - I need to have the gallstones out. I don't think I can live with knowing I *might* have another attack like that. Im confident with my new healthy diet that after the surgery I can avoid this happening again. I will keep you posted and watch this thread as its very interesting how doing something so good for your body can have a bit of a backfire situation unfortunately.
     
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    JenNS12 replied to iFeelYourPain's response:
    iFeelYourPain: Don't get me wrong, while I'm frustrated by the fact that I don't feel well, I'm so relieved to not have had another gallbladder attack. Had 3 of those before having mine removed. One was so severe I was sure I was going to die. It happened really suddenly and the pain was so intense I couldn't stand up and it hurt so badly just to breathe. Acutally had the phone in my hand about to call an ambulance when it finally eased up. I know many people that have had their gallbladder removed and have suffered no side effects. Hopefully you will be one of those success stories. I'm not completely sure that the current problems I'm experiencing have anything to do with the gb surgery. Part of me thinks there is another underlying issue, maybe acid reflux and a hiatal hernia, I don't know.

    We have all 3 accomplished something that's not easy to do and we should all feel very proud of ourselves. Hopefully we will get our medical issues resolved and start feeling better real soon.

    iFeelYourPain: Best of luck with your surgery! I'm such a big baby about having any medical procedure done, I had never had surgery before, but it was really no big deal and the recovery process was pretty easy. Take care and keep us posted!
     
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    ginamc50 replied to JenNS12's response:
    JenNS12 - I absolutely feel like I was better off before losing weight. I know it was "silently" killing me, but at least it was silent! LOL!! No, really, I know I'm better for it, but it really sucks to try and do the right thing only to feel worse than before! My doc also informed me of the whole "losing weight quickly puts you at risk for gallstones"...after the fact! Keep me posted on your tests coming up. I had the MRI (MRCP) to check for stones and didn't have any and they're not worried about my liver or pancrease since all of my blood work is fine.

    You are both correct, we should be proud of our weight loss. My fear is that I will put weight back on with the stress and worry of this pain I keep having.

    My pain is in the center of my upper abdomen, just below the sternum. It feels like I've been punched and the fist is still there just twisting deeper and deeper. I really haven't had any other signs of reflux, such as the gas or sour taste in my mouth. I've been on the new medicine for a week now and still had 2 attacks this weekend. I know I need to give it more time, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Next stop will be a new GI specialist and I will demand an endoscopy to check for an ulcer.

    iFeelYourPain
    Good luck to you on your surgery! Most people do come out of it returning to normal (whatever that is) :)
    After getting my pathology report from my surgery, I firmly believe the gallstones were not the cause of my pain. It all made sense at the time...lost weight quickly, had the classic pain after a greasy meal and positive ultrasound for gallstones (one of mine was the size of a bottle cap)! BUT..my path report showed I had Chronic Cholesystitis and my surgeon said that meant I had that problem for a while...years even! And since I'm having the exact same pain, I feel like it's an unresolved issue. I'm still glad I had the surgery since there was an issue. Hope you have a very "uneventful" experience!
     
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    JenNS12 replied to ginamc50's response:
    ginamc50: Yeah, you're right, the silence was much better! Haha! With the pain/discomfort I'm feeling on a regular basis it's hard to concentrate on much else. Is it the same for you? At least if I had a definite answer on what was going on, and how to treat it, I would at least have peace of mind. The thought of having to deal with this indefinitely is incomprehensible.

    I also went through a stretch when I was having discomfort at the breastbone area. It wasn't the type of pain you describe more of a constant dull ache. When I went to the doctor in January he said it sounded like a hiatal hernia and reflux. Sounds like you need an upper endoscopy to find out what's going on. So many GI problems have most of the same symptoms. Even though I haven't had anymore "gb attacks," I too wonder if it was my gallbladder. The pain I have after drinking alcohol was there before the surgery and is still there.

    The past 2 days have been horrible. I make it to about 3 pm everyday when the back ache and chest pain hit and usually last 30 min to an hour. This pain also happened a couple times back a few days ago when I ate/drank something hot/cold. It's not severe but it aches enough to drive me crazy along with the burping, hiccups, and abdominal tenderness.

    Finally went back to my primary care doctor today, even though I have an appointment with a gastro doc next week - didn't think I could make it that long. To me that seems like decades away with the discomfort and worry I'm experiencing currently. Anyway, he seems to think my symptoms are related to reflux and possibly a hiatal hernia. Would those cause back pain though? Also my throat has been feeling irritated which he confirmed that it looks irritated at thinks that could be acid getting up in my throat. Gosh, I'm so frustrated!

    Actually ended up getting prescribed anxiety meds too which I've never taken before. This is stressing me out and I'm having trouble sleeping through the night. Some of the symptoms I'm experiencing could be because of anxiety as well. I'm starting to feel as though I'll never feel good again.

    Yes, I felt better 52 pounds heavier, for sure!

    I'll keep you updated on what I find out. Keep me posted on your progress as well! Hope we get relief soon!
     
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    ginamc50 replied to JenNS12's response:
    Hey Jen! Hope all is well! Just wanted to update you on my latest doctor's visit. Last week I had two "episodes" back to back and after those sleepless nights, I decided to find a new GI doc. I saw him on Monday and he immediately scheduled me for a CT of my abdomen and an EGD. I went in yesterday for the CT and this morning for the scope. I haven't heard back on the CT yet, but he did talk to me after the scope and said he found some erosion in my stomach and inflamation in my esophagus. He took biopsies of both, but said it was pretty normal findings for acid reflux....so..it looks like that's my problem! He's changed me to Protonix since the other meds are not working. I guess this is something I'll just have to learn to live with. Hopefully this new medicine will work!!

    As for your anxiety, I really hate that your going thru that, but I completely understand. I had blood clots 5 years ago, and it took them 3 months to figure out what was wrong with. I was a basket case by the time they finally diagnosed me! Be careful w/ the anxiety meds...they can cause you to gain weight.

    Let me know how your doctor's visit goes!
     
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    JenNS12 replied to ginamc50's response:
    Hey! Sorry to hear that you keep having pain. At least you are finally getting some answers as to what is causing those episodes. Acid reflux is bad enough but at least it doesn't appear to be something more serious at this point.

    Starting to think that my problems are acid reflux as well. Actually felt it get up to my throat a couple times the past few days. I'm taking Prevacid but it's not really helping.

    Tuesday I was supposed to have an appointment with a GI doctor. She got called away to emergerncy surgery so my appointment was cancelled like an hour before. You think they would work me in soon but no, it's another 3 weeks (May 3rd) before they can see me. All the appointment is for is to schedule and upper endoscopy. I'm frustrated and tired of waiting.

    Ended up calling the general surgeon's office (the one that removed my gallbladder) and getting an appointment there. He deals with stomach issues as well I supposed. My primary doc first referred me to him for an upper endoscopy back in November when I was having stomach pain. Then found out that I had a gallstone so I went to him for surgery instead. Not sure if I should really be going to a general surgeon for my stomach issues but I don't know what to do. My appointment there isn't until the 26th but at least it's a week before the GI doc. Maybe I'll end up going to both, don't know.

    My aunt takes Protonix it and it works great for her. Her insurance recently stopped paying for it so they switched her to Nexium which is not working. I know a couple other people who take Protonix and say that is really good. Hopefully it will work well for you and your symptoms will subside. Hope everything comes back good with your CT scan as well.

    Keep me posted on what you find out and I will let you know as well. Take care!
     
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    Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP responded:
    Hi Jen and thanks for your posting. Congratulations on removing that 51 pounds and keeping it off. Well done. I hope you're also getting plenty of physical activity as that will really help you sustain this wonderful accomplishment.

    You did indeed radically change your dietary intake a year ago. When you went from a high fat to a low fat intake, your gall bladder didn't have much to do since there was little fat to emulsify. Often, that causes sludge in the bladder and stone formation which is what happened to you. This is a common phenomenon. That's why it's important to maintain an intake of healthy fats at a level of 25% in your daily diet. This helps keeps the gall bladder busy enough not to run into problems.

    After gall bladder surgery, the most common problems, apart from actual pain are impaired digestion: bloating, gas, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea. 34% of people who have their gallbladder removed still experience some abdominal pain for months afterward. Even after gallbladder removal, the liver continues to produce bile in order to digest the fats. However, the bile after gallbladder removal is not readily secreted and the liver gets overwhelmed when it encounters larger amounts of fats than it's used to (especially hydrogenated and saturated fats). For some people, even small amounts of fat can cause uneasiness and distress.

    Some of the symptoms you're having are related to the original surgery and not to weight reduction. I would highly recommend you get an evaluation from your physician for any problems related to your GI system. Post gall bladder surgery and with continued symptoms, I'd recommend this assessment and also to sit down with a registed dietitian who can examine your food intake and make correlations with your symptoms. You want to continue to consume healthy fats, but keep the intake to smaller portions in meals and snacks throughout the day, consumed every 3-4 hours.

    Good luck and let us know how you're doing. Dr. Peeke
     
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    JenNS12 replied to Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP's response:
    Dr. Peeke,

    Thank you for taking time to respond to my post. While I am very proud of myself for losing the weight, it's frustrating that I lost my gallbladder in the process. In hindsight, I probably wasn't consuming enough fat like you said. I honestly thought I was doing things the right way, and making changes that would benefit my health, and it seems to have backfired.

    I've actuallly lost 3 more pounds since my orginial posting making me only 15 pounds away from my goal weight (145 lbs), yay! Still keeping a diet that is relatively low in fat and consists of lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and baked or grilled chicken. I really didn't just go on a diet, I made a lifestyle change which I know is going to benefit me in the long run.

    Exercise is something that I haven't been doing a lot of lately. In part because I've been lazy but I also don't feel well when doing so. I'm having lots of issues with belching and exercise will bring it on. Actually normal everyday activities are causing me to burp like crazy. Also having hiccups pretty frequently. My doctor thinks those are being caused by acid reflux.

    Wednesday I went back to the general surgeon that removed my gallbladder. He is convinced that my current symptoms are caused by acid reflux and possibly a hiatal hernia. This is what he was saying back at the end of January which was 6 weeks after my surgery. Since that time I've taken Prilosec, Nexium, and now Prevacid without any real relief. He schedule me for an upper endoscopy next Wednesday to make sure nothing more serious is going on. Guess I'll just go from there and see what happens. Hopefully I'll start getting answers soon.

    Can't wait to get all these medical issues resolved so I can start feeling as good as I look, haha!. Again, thanks for responding. I appreciate your input and advice. Hope you have a good day!
     
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    iFeelYourPain replied to JenNS12's response:
    Hi again,

    just wanted to check in again to give you all an update, After doing some more tests and seeing a surgeon I have my surgery in a couple weeks. They will be removing my entire gallbladder out so hopefully afterwards I can rest a bit better without so much worry. Just like JenNS12, I've been working out a lot and feel great and making sure I eat right, so I kind of want this whole ordeal over with already so I can truly say Im healthy! :)

    Any suggestions from those who had their gallbladder removed? I heard perhaps doing some ab exercises before help the recovery process. I also wondered what types of food you ate before/after the surgery and did you think it was helpful? I will be going to see my doctor for my Pre-Op next week, what does that consist of?

    Hope others feel better, take care.
     
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    Jis4Judy replied to iFeelYourPain's response:
    good luck on your surgery I hope you heal well
    Hugs Judy:)
     
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    JenNS12 replied to iFeelYourPain's response:
    iFeelYourPain: Hey! Glad to hear from you again. Just think, you're a couple weeks away from hopefully never having to worry about having another gallbladder attack! Have you had anymore severe ones since your trip to McDonald's?

    So many people I've talked to have had their gallbladder removed and have suffered no ill effects. Hoping that you will be one of those!

    I had my gallbladder out 2 weeks after I found out that I had a gallstone. Don't think I could've stood waiting as long as you've had to, as I was paranoid every night before going to bed, thinking that I might have another one.

    My surgeon didn't given me a specific diet after surgery and I've read conflicting advice on what you should/shouldn't be eating afterwards. Be sure to ask your surgeon as some people say continue to consuming a diet low in fat, while others have just said resume your normal diet. I was sticking to a low fat diet before my surgery and afterwards because I'm still trying to lose weight.

    As far as pre-op goes, they might order bloodwork and possibly a chest x-ray? Not sure exactly. I had just had bloodwork a week or two before going to the surgeon so I didn't have to have anything done. They'll probably just schedule the date and time of the surgery and talk about it with you. I could only eat a light dinner the night before and nothing to eat or drink after midnight. They also gave me some antibacterial soap to wash off with the night before and the morning of my surgery.

    I had to be at the hospital at 6:00 AM. Changed into a gown and a nurse started an IV. By 6:45 they took me down to the pre-op area where I spoke to my doctor and the anesthesiologist. They gave me some meds before they took me into the operating room that made me drowsy. I remember sliding over on to the table but next thing you know I was waking up in the recovery room. I remember asking the nurse where I was and she said "you're in the recovery room." I said no way, I didn't have surgery yet. Haha! The worst part of the whole thing is that I woke up with my mouth extremely dry. Other than that I wasn't in any real discomfort. They will watch you for a few hours but I was out of the hospital by 12.

    The recovery process wasn't bad either and I was back to work in a week. The only thing that was uncomfortable was trying to sleep and lay down/get up out of bed. I only took a couple of the pain pills I was prescribed, which I took before bed the first couple nights.

    Just thought maybe you would want some details, I know I did beforehand. If there's anything else you are wondering about, feel free to ask, I'll do my best to answer.

    Best of luck with your surgery!
     
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    JenNS12 replied to Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP's response:
    Yesterday, I found out the results of the upper endoscopy that I had last week. Apparently I've been suffering from some sort of reflux for a while because the endoscopy showed irritation in my esophagus which my doctor said was Barrett's. He didn't seem concerned about anything he found but isn't Barrett's somewhat serious? I'm fairly certain that I didn't misunderstand him but I get so nervous at doctors appointment that I fail to absorb what they are saying and don't ask necessary follow up questions. How long would Barrett's take to develop? I'm only 26, wouldn't that be very young to have it?

    I've tried Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, and took Carafate and haven't gotten any relief. Things seems slightly worse for me when I'm taking those meds. The only guess he has is that maybe I'm not having acid reflux but bile reflux instead. I had never had heartburn until the gallbladder removal and was having it several times while taking the PPIs the last few months. He prescribed Ursodiol which he was hoping would help if it is bile reflux. He is a general surgeon so he said come back to him in a month and if I'm not improving he is going to refer me to a gastroenterologist.

    Seems like my life has become waiting on appointments, which only last a few minutes, and I still don't get answers or a definite diagnosis. Plus, I'm always so nervous that I don't do a good job conveying my symptoms. This is so frustrating but I haven't completely given up hope that maybe one day this will all get sorted out. The most troubling symptom I've been having recently is the chest discomfort. Also still having some back achiness, burping, and frequent hiccups. He didn't find any problems with my stomach but I'm still having abdominal tenderness. Please hope that this medication works for not only my sanity but the people around me as well. Sick of being sick!


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