Recently, my husband had to have his gallbladder removed after a sudden attack which we thought was a heart problem. Thankfully, albeit painfully, it was discovered that his gallbladder had 4-5 stones inside which needed to be removed. His were mainly on the small side, but they can range from tiny up to the size of a golf ball. My grandmother had one removed in her middle age that was the size of a quarter and perfectly round, which the doctors gave to her to keep. That still sits on her dressing table inside a clear plastic bottle all these years later. Yikes!
There are 2 main kinds of gallstones – cholesterol and pigment gallstones. Many people are susceptible to gallstones as a result of heredity, but people will most commonly develop them as a result of a poor diet and/or obesity. My grandmother’s “conversation” stone is gray, black and brown in color which our research suggests that it must be the pigment stone type consisting of Bilirubin.
For over a year, he had been experiencing a deathly and sour taste in his mouth that could not be abated. The flavor was a mixture of the smell of death, metallic and bloody. The closest remedy to the bad taste in his mouth came in the form of Minute Maid Light lemonade, Icebreakers sugar free lemon flavored chewing gum or actual lemon juice, which he despises.
He had been researching on the internet, spoken to doctors and read articles on medical reasons for bad breath. This symptom is linked to a host of several major diseases such as gum disease, cancer and liver disease; however, no one linked it to a gallbladder issue at the time he was doing his research.
After his laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery, he had to undergo a secondary surgery via endoscopy. The gallstones had wedged themselves into his bile duct just outside the organ. After this was done a day later, he experienced the same excruciating pain as the original gallbladder attack. We thought he was truly having a heart attack (since he no longer had the gallbladder) or that he had developed an infection after the endoscopic removal which was a possible side effect. After a nightmarishly long stay at the emergency room, several scans and bloodwork…it was deduced that he hadn’t developed an infection and that he probably passed another small gallstone after the endoscopic procedure. Since the remaining stones were of miniscule size in the bile duct, the endoscopic surgery had apparently dislodged another small undetected stone from that duct.
Now that he has healed from his surgeries, he is no longer experiencing any pain. He does sometimes have issues with diarrhea after eating a fatty food such as bacon, pizza or tacos though. So be mindful of the time period after you eat a rich or fatty meal, should you need facilities. Another benefit of the surgery is that the long suffered foul taste is gone. The doctors couldn’t tell him with certainty the gallbladder issue is what the cause of the disgusting taste was, but he is certain of it now. After dealing with that taste for over a year without relief and now having it suddenly disappeared without recurrence- the gallbladder removal seems to have solved that problem.
If anyone out there is experiencing this issue, please visit your doctor to inquire about testing your gallbladder for stones. My husband had an x-ray and the dye test performed to determine if it was in fact gallstones causing his pain. Those tests are simple, while it can be quite uncomfortable sitting in the waiting room for long periods while experiencing pains from having the stones.
This surgical procedures are way less invasive than they used to be, as they make a small incision in your belly button to remove the organ rather than opening your whole stomach up, which leaves massive scarring. Most people do not have to have subsequent endoscopic stone removal (also done through the belly button incision). My husband was an exception due to his stones already descending into the bile duct which could have caused terrible complications if passed further along into the Pancreas.
Since making this connection to the taste problem, we wanted to put the word out there. We have now discovered a few articles on the internet suggesting this. A recently published list of symptoms and homeopathic cleanse alternatives to surgery.
Do not wait long to see your doctor! The gallbladder may be small and disregarded as a largely unimportant organ, but when it goes bad you will feel it like a ton of bricks in your chest and shoulder blades! Best of luck to you. Take care!
I couldn’t resist this little cartoon below, as I make handmade jewelry and appreciate the unique beads and charms that I collect from all over. I don’t EVER want to make “gut gems” though. hahaha