After removing my gallbladder, I had believed my nightmare was over. Unfortunately my symptoms came back. After several diet changes and feeling like all hope was lost, I was given antibiotics to treat a condition called SIBO. I was not given the test due to out of pocket cost and scheduling issues.
I'm happy to say that the antibiotics have provided the most consistent and noticeable relief from my symptoms. The antibiotics were called Xifaxin I believe and didn't have an out of pocket cost through my insurance.
Remember, PI IBS is a BS diagnosis and shouldnt be taken as gospel by your doctor. Look into everything possible.
I'm going to try to keep this post as detailed as possible while also not writing an entire novel. There will be a TL;DR at the bottom if you just want to jump to that, but I believe some details may be important.
My digestive nightmare began after a bout of food poisoning in April of 2015. How I know it was food poisoning was me and other people that ate food from the same party got sick. The food was kept outdoors, uncovered. It was heated, but I should have seen the red flag when the food was left uncovered with flies buzzing around. The sickness only lasted a day or so, and everyone else healed up, except for me.
The months following included constant nausea, dizziness (for a short period, went away after a while), heartburn, and just a general loss of appetite. I lost around 20-30 pounds within the first 6 months of being sick.
Once the heartburn went away, I was left with a constant bloated feeling as well as nausea that would range from bothersome to extreme, but I was taking so many anti-nausea medications (Zofran, Reglan, Dramamine) that I never actually had to vomit.
I tried everything from tea to natural supplements to help, but nothing ever provided long term relief.
My tests included various blood tests, food allergy tests, stool samples, and an Upper Endoscopy which showed "Gastritis and excessive bile in my duodenum". I was prescribed Carafate and Dexilant after the Endoscopy, both did NOTHING.
I was referred to the Mayo Clinic, where I was told that I had Post Infectious IBS and Functional Dyspepsia, both of which are general diagnoses, and a fancy way of saying "We have no idea what's wrong". I was told to increase my Probiotic intake and start a low fiber diet, BOTH DID NOTHING.
After no success with everything else, my Gastroenterologist recommended trying an anti-depressant to relieve the constant sensation I had in my stomach. I could feel everything and it bothered me just as much as the nausea and bloating. I was prescribed Nortryptiline, which did NOTHING.
I also spoke with a Dietitian, which recommended starting a FODMAP Elimination Diet, which actually provided alot of relief, but was not a complete fix. It controlled alot of the nausea and definitely got rid of 95% of the bloating. The only downside was how strict this diet was. I basically ate eggs, potatoes, and turkey bacon every day, for every meal. I only did this because it was easy, cheap, and tasted good. You can make more interesting meals on the diet, I just didn't have the time.
After all this, I went in for another Gastro appointment, and let them know of a pain I was having in my right side. I had told them about this pain long ago, but they dismissed it. They stated it could be my gallbladder and referred me to get a HIDA Scan, which tests the function of your gallbladder and it's ability to empty itself out.
The test was very easy, and found that my gallbladder was low functioning, and was told it needed to be removed. I was told that a bad gallbladder can cause every symptom I was experiencing, so I was all up for removing it after a year of digestive issues.
Well, yesterday I had my gallbladder removed, and was told it was quite inflamed when they went in there, so it definitely was time for it to come out.
Right now I'm healing up, feeling pretty sore but surprisingly, not nauseous. I've ate two plates of egg whites and potatoes (zero fat meal, as recommended by the doctor).
I'll update this as time goes on, but I wanted to make this post to let other people know that if your doctor seems to have given up, or just wants to diagnose you with PI-IBS or Functional Dyspepsia, and you don't want to accept that answer, have your gallbladder tested if it hasn't been done yet.
TL;DR - Gallbladder caused a year of nausea and bloating, other tests and treatments didn't work. Get a HIDA Scan if you haven't tried it yet. Sometimes you don't have side pain when your gallbladder is bad.