Am I possibly an Endo victim?

About 18 months ago I saw my GP with a loose bowel problem. He said possibly IBS and sent me for a Colonoscopy to ensure no "nasties". However, during the procedure of the colonoscopy, I had a colonic spasm, which I had never had before. Needless to say it was painful but thought it was because of the gas they use to open the bowel. But, since having this procedure done I have been suffering with these cramps ever since. As time goes on they have become more intense. I went back to the GP who gave me meds for reflux. These had no affect, so I went back again. I was then referred for an ultrasound scan and they found gallstones in the gall bladder. I was advised to avoid eating anything fatty, which I do. I eat quite a healthy diet anyway. But still these cramps come. I have now noticed that they seem to happen whenever I am having a period. In fact I can guarantee I will get a severe bout during this time. I normally have a good pain threshold but these pains are much worse than the labour pains I had with my children. They can last anything from 15 minutes to 3 or 4 hours. It starts just under my ribs in the middle as a moderate uncomfortable feeling. Then the pain intensifies and travels down through my abdomen, round to my back and into the pelvic area. The days following an attack I am absolutely wiped out and feel like I have had a 10 round boxing match and lost! It's started to affect my work and home life because I am so tired all the time. I have just recently seen my GP again who has now referred my to see a GI and Liver specialist, but I don't think he is listening to me when I go through my symptoms. I think, because they found gallstones he is focusing on that. Has anybody else had similar symptoms?

6 Replies

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  • Hi reytpetite :)

    I had my gallbladder out a couple of years ago. I know what you mean about that pain, I've had endo for 20 years during which time I've had a couple of cysts pop on me, but that gallbladder pain is worse than anything I've ever experienced with endo. Would you say they were more like waves of intense pain rather than constant unchanging pain?

    The pain I had followed the exact pattern that yours does, I could judge by whereabouts it was in my body as to how much longer it would go on for. The relief when that gallbladder came out was immeasurable...

    I think your GP is right to be sending you to a GI specialist in the first instance, because this does sound more like gallbladder than endo. If they offer you an op to whip it out, grab it with both hands! If the pain persists afterwards, then there is clearly something else there that needs investigating.

    Good luck

    C xxx

  • Hi Chrissie66

    Thank you so much for your advice. I will certainly carry on with the gallbladder investigation. I'll update this tag with results and follow ups so that it will help anybody else with similar symptoms.

  • In my experience you are describing typical gall stone attack symptoms.

    And having your gall bladder removed should sort that out.

    I had 8 years of undiagnosed gall stone problems, and yes the attacks were worse during my period too. I think now I know more about it, that when you are building up to a period, your tummy takes on fluid what we on the endo forum call 'bloat'. And this can be a significant amount of excess weight. This is in the tummy and puts pressure on the gall bladder and can move it in to an awkward spot, and stop the gall stones being able to rattle around quite so much. The gall bladder gets squished between the liver and the bloat.

    This can also lead to constipation right before a period and then when you come on and a combination of the cramps and hormonal changes cause the bloat to be peed away, you can then have diarrhoea at the same time as your period, and partly that is caused by a full and possibly partially blocked gall bladder being able to empty out properly again of all the bile and that gives you the runs.

    So there is definitely a connection between gall bladder and periods, but that is not the same as endo. It sure hurts too.

    The great news is that you do not need a gall bladder, and infact most of us are better off without it in the current lifestyles we lead with fattier diets.

    With the gall bladder out and stones out too, the Liver is plumbed directly in to the intestine and constantly drip feeds bile (which is needed to break down fatty foods) in to your digestive system and makes loo trips easier, well certainly more comfy than having the gall attacks or billiary cholic as it's called.

    Nearly everyone has gall stones to some degree, and the gall problems do tend to hit women in the same age bracket as endo is causing problems, but they are not linked other than same age groups.

    My gall problems started in my mid 20's and I was treated for stomach ulcers and all sorts before the gall bladder eventually got completely blocked putting me in hosp in agony with jaundice.

    I had a lap op, to have the gall bladder out and overnight my gall problems and attacks of cholic disappeared completely.

    The pains from that were quite different to the pains from endo, however it's easy to see why some people do link the two, because undoubtedly in women billiary cholic attacks are worse when women have menstrual bloat putting increased pressure on the gall bladder.

    Endo pain is not 3-4 hours. I wish it was. Gall attacks are typically fairly short but severe attacks of pain, untill the swollen blocked gall bladder has leaked out enough bile to calm down.

    You're not the first person to enquire about endo/gall bladders on here so you're not alone.

    After being hospitalised I had to wait a year for surgery to remove it. Gall bladder ops are the most common keyhole stomach surgery procedures done in the UK. So waiting lists are long.

    From what you have described, it is typical of gall stones and I think your doctors are spot on with their diagnosis. I was getting these attacks 2-3 a week as time went on, for about 8 years. Yes it made a huge impact on my life at that time.

    The attacks usually happened in the evenings or at night, when the gall bladder was not being moved around so much, and it would fill up and not be able to empty out properly or quickly enough after eating supper. Though it did happen at other times too.

    The pain was never felt where my gall bladder actually was. Mostly it was felt in the middle under the lower part of the breast bone and that's where it was most angry but radiating out from there.

    As they have found your gall stones already, I wish you best of luck having a speedy op to remove it. You can live perfectly well without a gallbladder. I'm quite certain your docs are right on the button with your diagnosis.

  • Hi Impatient

    Thank you so much for your advice. Everything you said seems to point to gallbladder/stone problems. Though a friend who suffered from Endometriosis had very similar symptoms to mine, I have probably confused myself and so I will certainly carry on with the gallbladder investigation.

    I'll update this tag with results and follow ups so that it will help anybody else with similar symptoms.

  • Just a word of warning about having gallbladder removed. Yes it does give instant relief from stones, but I had mine removed 16 years ago and developed something called sphincter of oddi spasm, which is very painful. Doesn't happen to everyone, but can happen and I still suffer from pain in that area, especially at period time. Not trying to scare u just making u aware xxx

  • Hi LucyLu88

    Thank you for your reply. I think there is a risk with any surgical procedure and I will have to take that risk I suppose. All I know is that It's starting to affect my day to day life and the pain is getting too much to bear. It was lovely to read your concern though and I will keep your comments in mind when I go to see the specialist. I have made a list of things I want to ask and will express my concerns including what you have advised. Thanks again x x x

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