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British Liver Trust
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Worrying about Hep B/C and in persistent pain. Will it ever go away?

Hi all, I am as yet undiagnosed. I've been having pain under my right ribs from front to back for about six weeks. It changes from a nervous feeling to a stabbing pain to a dull ache to throbbing day to day. No other significant symptoms apart from soft stools and minor fatigue. I had my gallbladder out 3 years ago so now worrying about liver damage. First doc diagnosed gastritis, said I couldn't have acute hepatitis because I wasn't jaundiced, but sent me for a blood tests. Second doc said they found high ALT (did not think to ask numbers) but told me to lose weight and come back for more bloods in a month. Been to GUM clinic and waiting for results. Keeping hoping it will be better when I wake up but it's not going away. Have lost 1 1/2 stone through dieting (and minor loss of appetite) and quit smoking 4 days ago. I have found some comfort in reading your posts so just wanted to say thanks. J.

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ALT being elevated might point to a bit of liver inflammation. Your 'daliance' 6 weeks ago will not be the cause of this pain you are experiencing - even if you had contracted Hep B or C it's probably near impossible that you'd be symptomatic already (still best to get checked out though as you have done).

As you are not diagnosed with anything just now it would be sensible to look after your liver as you await the next lot of blood tests. Loosing weight is a positive step if you were carrying too much fat, eating well with less salt, less sugars and less processed foods. Cut out the booze if you do drink. Exercise a bit and fingers crossed you will reverse those liver numbers at the next blood test.

If you are still getting the pains and bloods appear normalish I would request an ultrasound scan or a fibroscan which will give a picture of any changes within the liver. You can still get gallstones even without a gall bladder so they might need to look at that.

Also, try not to become too anxious. Believe it or not you can get physical symptoms from fretting too much.

See how you get on at the next set of bloods then request follow up if you arn't satisfied with the answers.



Thanks Katie, I recognise that paranoia and worrying can make things worse; I was starting to feel a bit better until doc said high ALT and it suddenly got worse! It's just reading on the internet that liver pain / inflammation is normally a signifier of something more serious. Interesting about the gallstones how can that be?

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People with a history of gallstones or gallbladder disease are at risk for bile duct stones. Even people who have had their gallbladders removed can experience this condition.

The following increase your chances of developing gallstones:


low-fiber, high-calorie, high-fat diet


prolonged fasting

rapid weight loss

lack of physical activity

Some of these risk factors for gallstones can be improved through lifestyle changes.

Risk factors you cannot change include:

age: older adults typically have a higher risk for gallstones

gender: women are more likely to have gallstones

ethnicity: Asians, American Indians, and Mexican Americans are at higher risk for gallstones

family history: genetics may play a role

As regards ALT it can be raised when you have a bug (even without liver disease). It all depends on how raised it was, if it was several times normal then it is something to be concerned about. If it was elevated just above the normal limit then it wouldn't be too worrying.

Hope you get some answers soon.




Please try not to worry yourself too much. If it was a major problem you would not have been left a month for referal for more tests.

Bizarrely you could have gallstones even after having your gallbladder removed so it could be this. The stones form in the various tubes in the biliary system.

I had my gallbladder removed in an extremes difficult operation (specialist words not mine - I was asleep what did I care 😂). I had to be screened for gallstones for 2 years afterwards and was told about them forming elsewhere.

However, I hope your results turn out to be indicative of an infection or inflamation easily treated.

Rita x

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