Anxiety - suffering with Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction when I get emotional/panic. Anyone else suffer similar?

I understand that this is quite a niche problem to have, but my anxiety brings on a painful attack that doctors believe to be Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. It feels quite similar to a gallstone attack, but more painful and brought on by stress rather than eating patterns. If I get really emotional, panicky and tearful this attack is either triggered straight away, or the pain will wake me up in the early hours of the morning following a stressful day. Does anyone else suffer from this or similar painful muscle tension when they get really anxious?


Featured Content

Join our community

The community helps everyone affected by anxiety by providing support, information and guidance.


Featured by HealthUnlocked

9 Replies

  • I've never heard of the condition, Sapphire, so I can't say anything helpful. It sounds very unpleasant, as are so many of the syptoms associated with Anxiety.

    (Just wanted to let you know that someone had at least read your post!)

  • Heavens. I need to go and look that up! Keep breathing in the meantime, muscle pains are common due to tensing yourself up, try to relax x

  • Thank you to both of you for your comments. Yeah, Blorengia, I knew it was a long shot, I'd never heard of it before the docs told me. Twisty, there's a bit of info on the internet, but beware some doctors are very sceptical as to whether the condition actually exists at all. Some believe it exists but don't believe it to be linked to anxiety or hormones. Then there are the ones that do believe it exists and it is triggered by anxiety - these are the ones I have my faith in to help me get some answers and ideas on how to deal with it. Although I'm thinking I'll get more answers going down the mental health route now, rather than keep going through gastroenterology ... Thanks again to both of you for your comments xx

  • Hi Sapphire. I'm wondering if you are experiencing this?

    I get this from time to time and it's excruciatingly painful. It usually happens at night and thankfully only lasts a few minutes. xx

  • Hi, sorry it's taken me so long to reply. Nah, the pain I'm describing is different to that because it's mush further up - below the ribcage and at the front. Although, is this a sharp, shooting pain? Because I do get that in the rectal area? xx

  • I fully understand your symtoms. I Have had post operative chronic pain for 9 years since my gallbladder removal. I finally received Sphincter of Oddi diagnosis last year. Stress and anxiety increase the daily spasms to excruciating levels. No pain meds help but once I have finally calmed down the pain subsides to a bearable level. I attend pain management group sessions and a pain psychologist which helps considerably to cope with the pain etc. Hope you find relief soon.

  • I have the same problem. Stress sometimes brings mine on and sometimes it's food but no particular food. My condition is called Sphincter of Oddi Biliary Dysfunction Category 3. Category 3 means there is never any evidence of it on any tests, only the excruciating pain. Biliary means higher in the duct as opposed to the lower portion. I've had 3 surgeries to try to correct it, including one at Vanderbilt university medical center to have a stint put in. So far nothing has helped me in 10 years of this living Hell. My next plan is to have a sphincterotomy which is having the muscle actually snipped. I hope you find relief, dear. I'll pray for you!

  • who was your doctor at vanderbilt? I have the same issue you do, and when i had the stent in after my sphincterotomy i felt no pain. the GI refuses to put stent back in even though that was the only thing that gave me relief.

  • Hi Sapphire! I know that you posted 3 years ago but I am experiencing the EXACT same thing. The gastro wants me to have an ERCP (when they go in and cut the Spincter). I am terrified because there is a 25 to 50 percent chance of developing Pancreatitis and a 2% chance of death! How are you feeling now? Has it gone away or progressed? Please help!

You may also like...