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  1. #1
    God sent me an angel!!! Tbrown's Avatar
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    Default Metformin and Gallbladder problems

    Okay, this is my experience with met.
    I just want this out there to maybe help others avoid surgery.

    I had a lot of stomach problems with met from day one (such as diarhea, stomach spasms, extreme admoninal pain and cold sweats in middle of night followed by explosions (use your imagination). I tolerated this all for the overwhelming desire to conceive. About 8 weeks into taking this I experienced terrible pain in my chest, neck, throat and back. I went to pcp and told him I suspected the met but he said no and ordered, bloodwork, xrays and ultrasound. (about $5000 plus in tests) I was told I had sludge in my gallbladder and immediately sent to a surgeon to have it removed. He also said that the ultrasound revealed I had complex cysts in my left ovary and needed a MRI (another $4000 ) I told him that it was normal for me to have cysts due to PCOS but he isisted on the test. He had nurse call me back in a week to reveal that OMG, I have PCOS!!!. I told him before he did this 2 hour MRI that I had PCOS.

    Now to the surgeon, The week before I saw him, I stopped taking the Met because I figured if I really had to have surgery, I didnt want to get pregnant yet anyway and for my own peace of mind, I wanted to rule out the Met as cause of the intense pain. The pain went away 3 days after I stopped the met and has remained gone since. The surgeon scheduled another ultrasound and a hapabilary scan (spelling stinks)
    (another $3000. in tests) that revealed that sludge was gone and my gallbladder function was fine.

    My advise is that if you have terrible chest pains that radiate into you neck and throat and back. Try stopping the Met. for a couple of days before you agree to costly tests.....and possibly surgery that although they say is laproscopic and easy to recover from, can have complications and become major open surgery with weeklong hospital stay.


    Thanks,
    Tracey

  2. #2
    Registered User berta's Avatar
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    Default Interesting. Thank you

    I too have been having GB pain since I started Met. I haven't had any tests yet.

    Thanks for posting this helpful info.

    I know firsthand about GB surgery, as my hubby had a very complicated laparscopic GB surgery last year, which had horrible complications and required about 3 weeks of hospital time, and multiple extra procedures to fix the complications.
    **2/10/04> DIAGNOSED IR**
    **2/4/04> DX-High Blood pressure--taking Methyldopa(Aldomet)
    ****Started MET 500 mg 2/13/04, now taking 2000 mg/day***
    6/11/04> Saw RE> I DO HAVE PCOS!
    1/30/04 weight: 247 lbs.
    1/7/05 weight: 223lbs.
    Current Weight: 216 lbs.

    HSG done 1/6/06- All Clear
    "How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good dead in a naughty world."
    William Shakespeare

  3. #3
    God sent me an angel!!! Tbrown's Avatar
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    Default

    You should be able to tell if its just the met by stopping it for three /four days.
    My pain wasnt even specifically in the common area of the gallbladder region and they started the tests. I have heard from a nurse friend that doctors have a saying that if the patient is over 30, female, fat and flatulent then it is automatically assumed to be gallstones. How fair is that? LOL
    Good Luck

  4. #4
    Proud Stepmom! amora's Avatar
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    Default Well, I don't know

    I just had gallbladder surgery just over a week ago. I've been on met for a year. I'm not really sure if the met was the cause of my gallbladder problem. I suspect that my problems started before then.

    I think I read somewhere else that women with PCOS are more likely to have gb problems than the average woman. That might have something to do with it. Who knows? Sounds like an interesting topic for a study...
    Me 28, DH 42
    IR, PCOS, fatty liver, gb removed 5/14/04
    Metformin 2000mg/day, B complex, extra folic acid
    Stopped Yasmin as of 6/26/04
    Stepmom to 2 beautiful girls!

  5. #5
    God sent me an angel!!! Tbrown's Avatar
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    Default

    I DEFINITELY do not want it to come across that I am saying that every incident of a PCOS woman on met developing gallbladder symptons is the met. I am just saying that in my case, it would have made more sense to stop the met temporarily to rule out the met rather than having $10K plus in tests and numerous appointments (which, with a two year old is not the easiest think in the world to work around, lol). And the other thing is that my PCP was sending me to schedule the surgery asap and it turns out that I did not need it.

    Many people have gallstones and considering that many PCOS women are obese and probably have bad eating habits and are subceptible to many serious health conditions, it is not unusual to believe that we are prone to gallbladder problems.

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    Proud Stepmom! amora's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Oh, I totally agree with you. I was just sharing my experience, especially since it is so fresh in my mind
    Me 28, DH 42
    IR, PCOS, fatty liver, gb removed 5/14/04
    Metformin 2000mg/day, B complex, extra folic acid
    Stopped Yasmin as of 6/26/04
    Stepmom to 2 beautiful girls!

  7. #7
    Registered User ShawnaMarie's Avatar
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    I too think that Met doesn't necessarily cause the problems. Gallbladder pain does come and go so it could be a coincidence that stopping the Met stopped the GB pain. I am only 24 but I have gallstones. I started having problems in my 8th month of pregnancy with DD (Oct. 02). I had attacks off and on until a major one landed me in the ER. Since then I've had attacks off and on. They want to remove my gall bladder but I am holding off on the surgery until next spring because my daughter still nurses a lot and I don't want to be away from her. My point is that I had not been on metformin for months when my GB problems started and that the major problems didn't start until I'd been off 2 years. I'm now back on the Metformin and haven't noticed any problems. One thing I did want to mention is I know very well the symptoms of GB problems and since starting the Met I've had similar symptoms of gassiness, bloating, abdominal cramping. Maybe its possible that some people's gall bladder problems are found out when a person starts having similar symptoms due to the Met. It is possible that those people already had undiagnosed gall bladder problems.
    Shawna 28 dx PCOS in 2000, on 1500 mg Metformin
    DH Michael 29
    DS Elijah Michael Zion 1/18/01
    DD Olivia Antonia Faith 11/9/02
    DD Eliana Eva Jane 1/22/06
    Proud attachment parenting, extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, non-vaccinating, hippy mommy!

  8. #8
    Registered User ShawnaMarie's Avatar
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    Just reread the OP. I don't think gallbladder "sludge" would cause that severe of symptoms. I didn't have severe, severe symptoms until a stone got stuck in the biliary duct and became infected. From what I was told sludge is quite common and would not cause severe symptoms. It sounds to me as if you had a reaction to the Met and them finding the gallbladder sludge is just a coincidence.
    Shawna 28 dx PCOS in 2000, on 1500 mg Metformin
    DH Michael 29
    DS Elijah Michael Zion 1/18/01
    DD Olivia Antonia Faith 11/9/02
    DD Eliana Eva Jane 1/22/06
    Proud attachment parenting, extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, non-vaccinating, hippy mommy!

  9. #9
    God sent me an angel!!! Tbrown's Avatar
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    I am not saying that the Met caused the gallbladder sludge. I am saying that in my case the met caused the pain but due to my age, weight and non specific chest pain my doctor and i suspect many others jumped for the gallbladder removal without properly exploring what was really causing the pain. Like someone said on one of these posts, gallbladder sludge doesnt cause severe pain normally and doesnt always result in gall stones, it actually goes away on its own in many cases. My pain started after about 2 months of Met and my doctor jumped on the gallstones because of my weight and age not because I had classic gallstone symptons. I actually think my pain was from severe reflux caused by my stomach being torn up for 2 months straight although Im not positive. I am just praising the Lord that my pain is gone and i still have my gallbladder and am not recovering from surgery.

  10. #10
    Registered User courtneyd's Avatar
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    Default very interesting

    This post is very interesting. I wonder if Met has any affect on women who have already had their gallbladder removed. I'm 28 and mine was removed when I was 17! I've been on Met off and on for the last couple of months. I get too discouraged by the side effects that I stopped taking it, but I'm going to try again. I'm now doing a 1000 mg a day instead of 2000 mg a day.
    CourtneyD

    Diagnosed on 2/2/04
    **Mom to one doggy furbaby named Gabi.**

  11. #11
    Registered User Stacie M's Avatar
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    Default

    Gallstones and gallbladder attacks are related to PCOS, so even cysters that do NOT take metformin have a much higher chance of getting them. My RE, family doctor, and surgeon discussed this with me. Apparently it is due to high estrogen (or something like that I think, hormonal anyway). That is also why women who have been pregnant (EVER) or are pregnant are at a much high risk of gallstones than women who have NEVER been PG.

    That being said...I am not going to say that met. does not affect this at all. It may or may not. I personally realized that I had been having what my surgeon called "Pre attacks" for probably 3-4 years (BEFORE I started met) which included on and off bouts of horrible indigestion/heart burn, and some slight pain but NOTHING compared to a full blown attack. He said that had I went to the dr. then, they prob would have made the diagnosis before a full attack.

    Another risk factor for gallstones is dieting. Sudden weight loss or significant weight loss increased the risk of gallstones, as does a low carb diet.

    Here is a link to a thread where we discussed this recently...

    Thread about Gallbladder

    Anyway, I just wanted to pipe in that I have had mine out as well and throw out some info...

    StaciieM

  12. #12
    Registered User Stacie M's Avatar
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    Default

    TBrown-
    I also wanted to mention that I read (and re-read) your post. I know that you are not saying that Met causes the gallbladder sludge, just that met caused you PAIN, which your dr. tried to attribute to your gallbladder.

    I read somewhere that if you take a random group of ppl and give them ultrasound of their gallbladder, MANY will have sludge and several will have gallstones. In MOST ppl these are not a problem and will never cause pain. If stopping the met stopped your pain, my guess is that it was NOT your gallbladder at all and the dr. simply ran across the sludge in the work up.

    Good luck with everything. I myself had HUNDREDS of stones in varying sizes. There was hardly any room in it for anything else. However, I DO still have a lot of pain, but I attribute it to my crappy post-op care at the hospital. They removed my IV (which was at my elbow NOT my hand, because the nurse couldn't find a vein) AS SOON as I woke up. Then they tried to force me to drink Coca-Cola. I didn't even smell the stuff and started puking but they NEVER gave me any antinausea meds (just what they gave me BEFORE surgery). I sat in recovery for several hours puking and puking w/out any meds. The nurse kept coming in and telling me that I could leave whenever I wanted, this while I was holding an emesis cup and heaving... Finally when I did leave they gave me a Phenergan suppository (in a baggie) and told me to use it when I get home. Has anyone ever tried to put in a suppository right after abdominal surgery?! Not even funny...

    Anyway...my surgeon said the pain COULD be from throwing up so much that I bled internally (My mom and DH estimated I puked 30 times). I just had a CAT scan to see if the clamps they leave in there had come undone (they were fine). I guess I'll just have to see what happens from here (I am 13 mo. post op)

    StaciieM

  13. #13
    God sent me an angel!!! Tbrown's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for other posts. I never wanted this post to tell people that Met was the reason they were having gallbladder attacks. I just wanted to warn that abdominal and chest pains while taking met could possibly be a side effect of the met and that it would not hurt to try going off for a while to see if pain goes away instead of going to a doctor who is going to automaticaly (spelling?) assume its your gallbladder.

    I also want to add this, my gallbladder sludge is gone now. It could be gone on it's own but I did do a natural gallbladder cleanse that I got the formula from on the internet. This helped me I think and I have a friend who tried it and she passed her gallstones and has avoided surgery due to this.

    I am going to try the Met again, cause I really want to conceive. But I am going to take more precautions in my diet and I plan to stop at the first indication that pain is coming back.

    Tbrown

  14. #14
    Logan Mitchell's Mommy cheribcool's Avatar
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    Default What the doc never tells you until you ask!

    Ladies...you still may have gall bladder problems after having it removed, some docs do not tell you that: when removing the gall bladder they leave an opening that the bial and liver stuffs can still flow properly through your body...well in the tract, which is part of the gall bladder, well...stones form there as well, therefore you may still have attacks after the organ is removed.

    My mother had to have the duct work removed as well (1 year after the origianl sx) She kept having attacks and problems, her second doc explained this. why this occurs and very little docs explain I have no clue! This occurs ESPECIALLY with WOMAN with PCOS, mom has never taken MET.

    Forgive my generic terms, but talking with doctors, several, and taking to us can help your learn. It is not the met it is the PCOS.

    Please check with another doc. you may not be getting the whole story or the care you deserve!

    I wish you well!

  15. #15
    Proud Stepmom! amora's Avatar
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    Default yikes

    "you still may have gall bladder problems after having it removed, some docs do not tell you that: when removing the gall bladder they leave an opening that the bial and liver stuffs can still flow properly through your body"

    My surgeon told me that one of the procedures that they would do during surgery is to x-ray all of my ducts to make sure that there were no gallstones left in them. They did it by putting a small x-ray camera into one of my holes (laparoscopically) and checking right before they take the GB out. I certainly hope that all docs do this, but I realize it may depend on the quality of the care you are receiving.
    Me 28, DH 42
    IR, PCOS, fatty liver, gb removed 5/14/04
    Metformin 2000mg/day, B complex, extra folic acid
    Stopped Yasmin as of 6/26/04
    Stepmom to 2 beautiful girls!

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