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Every month at the start of my period I am experiencing unbearable pain in the upper right side of my abdomen under my right rib. The pain also extends into my right collarbone. This pain is so bad it can leave me unable to walk or straighten for around 2 days and I can feel the pain go into spasm, and I can't breathe in properly as this enhances the pain. The pain can remain throughout the month however becomes a lot more bearable only catching me if I sneeze etc. My doctor is sending me for an ultrasound as she suspects gallstones but I'm not convinced as I have never heard of the pain being worse during a period.

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Well, as far as I know this is the area that hurts when one suffers from gallstones. Another interesting thing that you may have not known is that gallstone formation could be related to hormones and maybe pain from gallstones could be too.

At the time of periods, hormonal levels change, so there could be a link.

Levels of female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, can regulate cholesterol levels in bile. These hormones influence gallbladder’s emptying as well as the work of the sphincter at the gallbladder entrance. The longer bile cholesterol stays in the gallbladder, the bigger are chancing of gallstone formation. This happens when hormonal levels are elevated.

It means that excessive levels of hormones can make a woman form gallstones. The elevated hormones occur in pregnancy (meaning that stones could have formed even then-if you were pregnant at all), from birth control pills (or other hormonal contraceptives), hormone replacement therapy, etc

When the period arrives, the levels of hormones decrease but maybe it is this change that causes symptoms.

I know that usually fat food, stress, caffeine, etc causes gallstones attacks but who knows maybe hormones could do.

Let me know how the doctor’s exam went! I hope everything turns out well!

Now, that I have read that your pain worsens when you sneeze, I have to say that it reminds me of hernia. Hernia is when an organ protrudes in the weak abdominal walls and causes a lump. This hurts and the pain gets worse when a person laughs out loud, sneezing or coughs. As you can see, there could be a few causes of such pain, so you won’t know for sure until and ultrasound.
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I too am experiencing gall bladder symptoms during my period. The pain in the upper right abdominal quadrant lasts about three days, increasing over time and to a point where breathing hurts. I'm also terribly tender to touch. I've had multiple tests, including ultrasound, CT and HIDA scan, twice, with nothing conclusive. The only thing found was a small gall bladder polyp. The OB/GYN has suggested trying to control the pain through diet.

I was wondering if the person who posted similar symptoms ever found a reason for the pain and a resolution.

Preparing for the next round of unexplained pain, and dreading it....
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Yes i have the same problem but not during my periods, dont know when it developed but i have same problem for over a year and found out in December of 06 that i have either a polyp , stone or cholesteral crystal in my gallbladder..i have experience pain for over 8hrs when i eat fatty foods per say depending. it is not an everyday thing but when it does happen i cant breathe or stand up either..i went to see a surgeon and he suggested to take gallbladder out so i will be taking it out next month..and then after i will change my diet..i can't take the polyp or stone out because it would come back possibly and i can't leave it there because it may get worse or i may get a disease from it later on....hope this helps you..
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In response to cpost, yes i have a gallbladder problem too, just recently in december diagnosed with one of three a stone , polyp , or cholesteral crystal in gallbladder..i have had bad indigestion that lasts over 7hrs have a hard time breathing and usually after eating a fatty meal and i am not overweight or anything but i have very bad eating habits of which i am now paying for...the surgeon suggested two weeks ago that i will have to take my gallbladder out they will not take the stone or whatever it is because it may come back or it will get worse if i leave it there, so i will have to change my diet after when it gets taken out..hope this helps out..
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I have been dealing with gall bladder "spasms" for about 5 years now. My gynecologist was the first one to say that there is a link between gall bladder spasms and hormones. I have been to see 4 male doctors...all of which will not acknowledge this link. I have had 3 ultrasounds, which they were looking for gall stones, sludge, etc....and they found nothing. I have had two HIDA scans...where they found nothing. I've also had another type of HIDA scan where they injected a drug that would induce a gall bladder attack - if I had a diseased gall bladder. Nothing happened. I even went to a surgeon to talk about having it removed - and he said he wouldn't remove a healthy gall bladder. The first time I went to see a doctor for this, they prescribed Donnatal (Belladonna/Phenobarb). This is derived from the nightshade plant, and it has paralizing effects. If I feel a gall bladder attack coming on, I usually take one or two of these pills. They usually work really well. They calm my gall bladder down and keep it from spasming. Within 20 minutes or so...the pain is totally gone.I have tracked my attacks closely on my calendar, paying close attention to how well I have been eating, how much water I have been drinking, my level of exercise, etc. I have found a trend in my attacks. I usually get an attack during my period. Although, I only get an attack every 5 months or so. I have noticed that if I have been eating poorly and not drinking a lot of water, or exercising...I can expect an attack.
I have learned to live with the attacks...but I always have my Donnatal pills in my purse just in case.
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I was experiencing this gall bladder pain after eating fatty foods and during my periods for months since January 2007. I became so chronically ill, I lost 13 lbs and I'm a petite woman!

I had multiple endoscopies, including scans of my gall bladder, MRI's, Cat Scans, etc etc all showed no problem.

I finally put the two together when I got to the point I could not wear pants above my abdomen when the pain got so bad.

I went to see an Gynecologist who diagnosed me with severe endometriosis. I was put on Nor-QD (norethindrone) since July 2007 and have been improving by more and more as the weeks pass.

I notice that when I eat foods that enhance estrogen, such as black licorice, soy products, etc I do get abdominal cramping and gall bladder pains similar to that of the chronic PMS symptoms I once experienced.

There's something to the estrogen link and the gall bladder pains with women. I just don't think there is enough study in this area to prove it yet.

I have been experimenting with different estrogen enhancing foods and the evidence points stronger every day!

Chickie
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I know that this is an old post, but I must say that I have found a real link between my hormones and gall bladder attacks. I tend to get them twice a month, once when I ovulate and before my period. At first I thought it was just a coincidence but the pattern is regularly occuring.

I am followed by a doctor specialized in homeopathy and with the treatment I am taking it is bearable but not ideal... Does anyone have any other tips on how to keep the discomfort under control or has anyone had any feed back regarding the link between attacks and their mentrual cycle?

Thanks everyone
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I have the exact same problem as Guest. It's really annoying, very painful and has been going on for 2+ years. 2 endoscopies, MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds....none of the docs seem to recognize the relation between the gallbladder pain and the menstrual cycle. Very frustrating!

After much research, I believe it has to do with excess estrogen...however, I still don't know how to deal with this problem. Any info would be good.
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I am currently experiencing the onset of my period and just started having gas, burping, and other gall bladder attack symptoms this morning. I've had gall bladder pain in the past, but not with my period. This is the first time. I'm trying to decide how to relieve this pain because I need to go to work and act normal. I'm glad these posts were here. Thank you.
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If I try to make myself sick during an attack it stops the attack. Weird but it does help me.

I have had some attacks in the last few days and I think its my period returning after birth (nursing the baby for the last year)
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I actually have PCOS, so that means my periods come semi-regularly on a longer cycle. As in, every 42 days my period may or may not come, but when it does, it's on a 42 day cycle.

That said, I get a gallbladder attack just about at the 40 day mark, and it ends on the day when I get (or don't get) my period...very strange, but I definitely think it may be hormone related in my case.
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Im currently awaiting surgery to have my gallbladder removed because of small stones. Ive had 3 attacks in the past (all around my period) which were so severe that I changed my diet DRAMATICALLY and started to eat only foods that prevent attacks. Im now on day 2 of my period and although I havent had a severe attack yet, My Gallbladder is really aching up a storm and burping like crazy! So I definately think there is a strong link.
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I too have this problem before my period. I am actually dreading tomorrow because I know that I should get my period and along with my period, severe Gall bladder preoblems (Vomiting and severe pain in the center of my chest). It hurts so bad that I begin to hyperventalate and eventually have an anixity attack. The only way that I can end the pain is by heading crackers or bread and drink water. I usually give it about 5-10 minutes to soak up and then I force myself to vomit. Within 30 minutes after vomiting, I feel better and then I can get on with my day. So tomorrow I will get up and four am and put up a good fight. Then around six am, I can get ready for work and hope the symptoms will go away.
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There are two different streams here - those who have real gall bladder issues and those who have a spasming gall bladder just before they get their periods. I too fall into the latter category and have had many tests over the years each time being given a shrug by the doctor and an all clear. I have noticed however that diet is an influencing factor and some foods will aggravate it further. For example, a protein shake didn't affect the gall bladder but eating an apple did. This says to me that while the gall bladder is in some way hindered by the release of hormones in the lead up to a period, that I need to ensure that I eat very simply - almost like baby food - shakes, soups, steamed veggies, scrambled tofu etc. Anything spicy, crunchy etc I avoid. Given we are all very different, I suggest you try experimenting too and see what works best for you. My feeling is that this is not something we need to be too worried about. In the lead up to my periods I now take extra care to really look after myself. I guess that's a good thing :-)
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