Gallstones and hypothyroidism is there a link?

sorry long post coming up!

I was diagnosed around 5 years ago as being hypothyroid, I've been on T4 only replacement since and never had any symptoms of gallstones untill after going on the T4. It started with what I thought was lactose intolerance and IBS symptoms but I knew it wasn't IBS. After about 2 years of feeling awful my old surgery basically said that the pain from the IBS and acid reflux was all in my head and tried repeatedly to prescribe me antidepressants!! I was furious! I wasn't depressed just worried about my health! So a year after this I moved house and gp surgery too thankfully. Early last year I started having absolutely horrific pain in my right side and across the middle of my stomach. I couldn't move I was in so much pain, sweating, shakes being sick and could barely breath. So went to the new doctors and straight away she said " I bet it's gallstones" booked me in for a scan and he presto I had gallstones! I'm now awaiting surgery after having a nasty infection in the gallbladder just before Christmas. I was wondering if it could be due to my hypothyroidism as I have never eaten a hight fat diet? Also has anybody had there gallbladder out with hypothyroidism and if so did u manage to lose weight after? I'm so worried as I struggle so badly with my weight! Thank u all in advance :-)

7 Replies

  • Hypothyroidism increases the chances of gallstones due to elevated cholesterol and impaired emptying of the gallbladder due to a slow metabolism. If you are having an attack it would help if your doctor did a liver function test (LFT). This is taking blood and measuring enzymes, in particular bilirubin. If the problem is gallbladder the LFT result will be massively elevated, confirming the diagnosis. Removing the gallbladder is a very successful operation. IF THE CAUSE IS GALLBLADDER. About half the population develops gallstones and have no symptoms. Removing the gallbladder will have no effect on your weight.

  • That's good news, I'm very worried about gaining weight! Yes my LFT were around 50 at the beginning of last year, when the GP last tested them (before the infection) they were over 500, he said it's due to the gallstones. X

  • I'm a bit confused about your question about gaining weight. Removing your gallbladder will not affect your weight in any way, I hope this clarifies my reply.

    I had my gallbladder removed about ten years ago. It is a very successful operation provided the symptoms were due to gallbladder in the first place. This seems to be so in your case. They don't remove the gallbladder while it is inflamed, they have to wait until it has settled down.

    A couple of tips. As this is elective surgery I'd suggest you start a little exercise regime (if you don't have one). Nothing heavy, just some walks or whatever. The fitter you can become the quicker you will recover. It's just a question of gentle exercise. Secondly, after the operation it is a good idea to move around a bit. For the first hour or so you won't be able to do much but after that try moving around the ward (with someone to hold you at first). Then a few hours later you should be able to walk much more. This light exercise is very good as it speeds up your recovery and prevents 'adhesions' which can occur after an operation. You can mention this to your surgeon before the operation and they can advise you.

  • Thank u for the advice, I will try and do a bit of extra walking. I have started bike riding and I have horses so they keep me fairly active.

    I am only concerned about my weight as some people have reported gaining a lot after surgery, I would guess this is due to being able to eat what they want again. So I shall be careful and try not too fall into that trap.

    I will speak to my surgeon about adhesions.. what are those out of curiosity?

    Thanks again for your help 😊

  • Adhesions are when two tissues stick together. This is more likely after an operation when the scar tissue adheres to surrounding tissue. In some cases this can cause problems. Adhesions are quite common and do occur in people who have never had an operation. You will almost certainly have a laparoscopic cholestectomy (keyhole surgery) which I believe is low risk for adhesions.

    I really wouldn't worry about adhesions, I'm sure most people are fine. I had an outstanding surgeon and he is keen that his patients prudently move around after their operation as he believes it benefits their recovery.

  • My gall bladder was removed before my diagnosis of underactive thyroid. I struggle with my weight, but more from the thyroid I suspect.

  • yes and if you have hashi's or are under treated, you will be prone to infections and all kinds of other autoimmune disease.

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