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Avatar universal

stomach pains after gastric bypass

I had gastric bypass surgery about 15 months ago.  Two weeks after surgery I had my gall bladder removed and spent a week in the hospital with dehydration and pancreatitis.  I have had that same stomach pain a couple other times since pancreatitis.  Last week as I live by myself I had to call an ambulance as the pain in stomach was so severe.  They did blood work and said my pancreais enzymes were elevated a little.  Gave me pain pills and sent me home.  I had a cat scan and endoscopy which did not show anything.  Pain radiates to the back.  What should I do?  
I live in a small area and do not like the doctor that did my surgery.  Also.  I weighed 248 lbs at time of surgery, and am still losing but not trying.  I am now at 117 lbs.  Any suggestions????????

Please help

81 Responses
Avatar universal
hi cari, my name is Steffany and i think that we are having similar problems.  i had my bypass back in 2004 and really had no problems until this past september. i woke up in the morning with the most excruicating and stabbing pain, the pain is located right in the center of my stomach, above my belly button, but below my chest.  it stabs right straight through to my back and down my lower back. i went through a colonoscopy, endoscopy, hida scan, ct scan and ultrasound. they told me it was my gall bladder and took it out, well, not even a month later, the pain came back, like it never left. i have lived on pain meds since then and have seen a gastroenterologist. i have not seen my original surgeon, basically because he is too far away. and in january they did another ct scan finding nothing, again.  now the other problem is i am almost 5 months pregnant, so i am limited as to what tests can be done on me. the dr. did put me on an anitbiotic xifaxin, and i have been on it for almost a week and feel no different. he really has no idea what it is. this pain has been over a week now. sometimes the pain will last for a couple of days and then go away, sometimes i wonder if it will ever go away.  but when i eat it makes the pain unbearable. does this sound like you? i have not found anyone who can give me answers, it would be nice to find out. let me know if this sounds like your symptoms. if you want, email me at ***@**** if this sounds like you. thanks for your time.

This is exactly the same as me but got bypass and fully deflated band but still get pain in stonach and back really bad going to see my surgeon on 4 dec 2015 hopfully he will do loads off tests x v
Avatar universal
I had gastric bypass back in 2007. I too have stomach pain that no doctor can figure out. I was hospitilized for two weeks with it. I had two CAT scans, an MRI, an endoscopy, and laproscopy. Nothing could be found. My gastric bypass doctor ruled it as stress and sent me to see a pysch doctor. He put me on Effexor. Well, that didn't work either. I still have the pain in my stomach. Its been two years now. I take pain meds for it but there is nothing else anyone seems to know about the pain. My current doctor has taken me off the Effexor because he said I didn't need it. That my pain is real but its pretty much a mystery. Its not a constant pain, it comes and goes. It is right under my chest bone, at the top of my stomach. I have no gall bladder, it was removed in 2004. I no longer see my gastric bypass doctor either because I feel he didn't believe me about my pain. Any ideas, please let me know

I heard a person tht had similar problems and her dr sd hers was a ulcer at the stomach and duodenal area .caused a restriction
Avatar universal
I had gastric bypass in 1998 and have been in severe pain ever since.  I've been to so many doctors in 3 different states that I don't think there's any docs left.  Most of the time the doc will see me once, decide I'm to complicated and won't see me again.  My pain is under my left rib, and goes straight thru to my lower back on left side.  I've been scoped both ways, re-opened,MRI, CT Scans, ultrasounds, etc., and nothing ever shows up.  My blood work always comes back with severely elevated white blood cell count, but all they do is give me pain meds in IV, nausea meds, and a liquid bag, then send me home.  If I eat when it's hurting it gets so bad that I'm completely disfunctional, I've even passed out many times over the years.  I've lost all hope of getting better. My pain doc has had me on Fentanyl 100mcg patches (highest dose made), and they no longer work, I also get norco 10mg every month as well, along with bentyl, phenergan, naproxen, etc.  Nothing works anymore. The doc now is fighting my insurance to pay for a pain pump. I don't want to live with it forever, but I'm out of options.  If anyone has any ideas PLEASE HELP!!!!  I can't hardly even take care of my kids. I had my tubes tied because the pain sent me into pre-term labor with all 3. My last one was only 4lbs, so I tied my tubes.  PLEASE HELP ME!!!  I'm so depressed!!!!
Avatar universal
I am starting to feel like I made a mistake getting this surgery.  I had my surgery in May of 2009 and I have already  lost almost 90 pounds.  I am only 20 pounds from my goal weight.  Every thing was going great until 2 weeks ago when I doubled over in pain, the same pain everyone else has described.  Excruciating, stabbing pain above my belly button and below my ribs.  I just spent 9 days in the hospital and they removed my gall bladder.  I had every test known to man.  I woke up this evening with the same exact pain I was having before they took my gall bladder. I am so weak and every time I stand up I almost pass out. The pain meds are not relieving the pain.  I lost 15 pounds over the two weeks.  Does anyone have any advice.  I am desperate.
Avatar universal
I was just told by an ER doc that since I still have my gall bladder, after my gastric bypass in 98', I should have a HIDA scan to check and see how it's functioning.  All of the symptoms fit....stabbing pain, hurts worse when I eat, etc.  I'll let everyone know what happens after I get it.  I have to get it approved by insurance 1st, but I pray this is the answer I've been looking for all these years, it's been over 11 now.  I have nothing to lose if it doesn't work and everything to gain if it does......like having some semblance of a life.
the pancreas problem ?
Avatar universal
Many docs may not think it's your gall bladder since it's on your right side, but your pain is on the left, under your rib, gets worse with eating, and radiates to your back.  Even after you've told them you've had a gastric bypass they wouldn't think of it.  So if you're like me and had an intestinal bypass as well, your gall bladder, and other things, have been moved around.  My gall bladder is on the left.  Get a HIDA scan, and here's what gall bladder attack symptoms are.


Please note that if you are in severe pain and particularly if your attack symptoms are accompanied by fever DO SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY. The following symptoms are typical of a gallbladder attack.

    * Moderate to severe pain under the right side of the rib cage
    * Pain may radiate through to the back or to the right shoulder
    * Severe upper abdominal pain (biliary colic)
    * Nausea
    * Queasiness
    * Vomiting
    * Gas
    * Burping or belching
    * Attacks are often at night
    * Attacks often occur after overeating
    * Pain will often but not always follow a meal with fats or grease
    * Pain may be worse with deep inhalation
    * Attacks can last from 15 minutes to 15 hours
1052703 tn?1266279337
I had my surgery in 2004 and have had a very similar set of pain sypmtoms that you all have described.  It sounds a lot like gallbladder but since we don't have one...I believe my pain is probably due to gas or a problem with digestion.  I have yet to go to the doc.  I have been keeping a food diary and writing down anytime i feel the pain, what i ate, how long after eating/drinking etc.  I wish everyone luck!  if anyone finds out whats going on let us know!
Avatar universal
I too have been suffering this mystery pain on and off since March '09. I had GB 4/08 and have done wonderfully up until now. I still have no regrets, I just would like to figure out the source of this pain.

I've been reading many posts, on many sites, for many days now. What I've noticed is everyone seems to be focusing on the gallbladder when in fact, the symptoms seem to be more relevant to the pancreas. (I gathered that info from Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Websites and a few other individual websites hosted by bariatric surgeons) And if not the pancreas then Google searches on the following possibilities: perforated ulcer, bleeding ulcer, and adhesions.

I go to see my pcp tomorrow and then the gastrointerologist Friday. These are areas of concern I'm going to have them focus on. I hope to have answers to share with everyone. There seems to be WAY TOO MANY of these mysterious cases and one of us NEEDS to find an answer and SOON! I don't know about you guys but the pain is KILLING me!!!

Take Care...Will be in touch soon!
Avatar universal
Again Im experiencing same situation have been hospitilised 14 times in 9 months. Hwever I am now pregnant and limited to tests. I saw a surgeon today who suggested it may be a hernia due to the gastric bypass I had 2 years ago. I also had my gall bladder removed 6 years ago. The more I google this suggestion the more I see it is a symptom for some patients after bypass surgery. I have 2 kids and the pain is worse than child birth!

Avatar universal
Yea, her we go again.  I had the surgery in December of 08 and was doing well, have lost 104 pounds and wan't to lose 40 more to reach my goal weight, but I intended on losing it  by eating small meals.  However, approximately 2 weeks now, I can't seem to eat anything or drink - except luke warm water.  I have the stabbing in the upper stomach soo bad that thinking about eating makes my stomach begin to hurt instantly.  No joke, and it's not mental.  I don't regret the surgery because I'm off of blood pressure and asthma meds but this pain in the stomach is a mystery to me.  Went to the surgeon and I think he thought light of it and told me to eat more frequently because acid was building up in the stomach and then once I ate, it was fighting against the food.  It kind of makes sense, but if I could eat more frequent without pain I would.  Please someone help me.  I don't want to lose weight from being sick
Avatar universal
I had experienced this kind of pain within 4 weeks of having the surgery.  I had the Roun-Y.  This was back 6 years ago in May 2003.  The Internal Medicine doctor ran a variety of tests and such and discovered it was a diag of  "BLIND LOOP SYNDROME".  Below explains a little about it...


Blind loop syndrome (medical condition): A rare intestinal defect where there is a small loop in the intestines that allow digesting material to enter but not exit. The symptoms are variable depending on the size and location of the pouch.

Blind loop syndrome: stagnation of intestinal contents with bacterial overgrowth, producing substances that interfere with absorption of fat, vitamins, and other nutrients; usually occurs in a portion of small intestine that has been excluded from the flow of chyme. Such bacterial overgrowth interferes with BILE SALTS action, FATTY ACIDS processing, MICROVILLI integrity, and the ABSORPTION of nutrients such as VITAMIN B12 and FOLIC ACID.

A blind loop can be an inadvertent consequence of gastric surgery, such as Billroth II or Roux-en-Y procedures for ulcers and gastric bypass surgery for obesity. Operations on the small intestine and structural abnormalities sometimes can cause blind loops as well. And a number of medical conditions can lead to bacterial overgrowth, including Crohn's disease and scleroderma and diabetes, which can slow the rate at which food moves through the intestine.

A blind loop can trigger an escalating series of problems, including:

Poor absorption of fats. Because bacteria in your small intestine break down (deconjugate) the bile salts needed to emulsify and digest fats, the fat in food as well as the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K aren't well absorbed. This leads to diarrhea and often to steatorrhea — fatty, foul-smelling stools — as well as to weight loss and vitamin deficiency disorders. A lack of vitamin A can cause night blindness, for example, and low levels of vitamin D affect your body's ability to absorb calcium, which can lead to weakened bones.
Damage to the intestinal lining. Bacterial overgrowth harms the mucous lining (mucosa) of the small intestine both directly and indirectly. Toxic byproducts that are released when bacteria break down stagnant food damage the mucosa, as do bacterial enzymes themselves. This damage means that most nutrients, including carbohydrates and proteins, are poorly absorbed, leading to serious nutritional deficiencies.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Vitamin B-12, which is essential for the normal functioning of your nervous system and the production of blood cells and DNA, is absorbed in your small intestine. But proliferating bacteria actually use up the vitamin, reducing the amount that's available to your body. A severe deficiency can lead to weakness, fatigue, tingling and numbness in your hands and feet, and, in advanced cases, to mental confusion. Damage to your central nervous system resulting from a B-12 deficiency may be irreversible.
Brittle bones (osteoporosis). Both calcium and vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption, are metabolized in your small intestine. Damage to your intestine from abnormal bacterial growth causes poor calcium absorption and eventually may lead to bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

Doctors also may switch among different drugs to help prevent bacterial resistance. Ironically, because antibiotics wipe out most intestinal bacteria — both normal and abnormal — they can cause some of the very problems they're trying to cure, including diarrhea and an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive tract.

Nutritional support
Addressing nutritional deficiencies is a crucial part of treating blind loop syndrome, particularly in people with severe weight loss. But although malnutrition can be treated, the damage it causes can't always be reversed.

The following measures may improve vitamin deficiencies, reduce intestinal distress and help with weight gain:

Nutritional supplements. People with blind loop syndrome need intramuscular injections of vitamin B-12 as well as oral vitamin and iron supplements.
Lactose-free diet. Damage to the intestine may cause some people to lose the ability to digest milk sugar (lactose). In that case, it's important to avoid most lactose-containing products including milk and cheese, or use lactase preparations such as Lactaid that aid in digestion of milk sugar. Some people may tolerate yogurt because the bacteria used in the culturing process naturally breaks down lactose.
Medium-chain triglycerides. Trigylcerides are a type of fat consisting of a molecule of glycerol to which three hydrocarbon chains are attached. The chains vary in length, and the way your body processes triglycerides depends on the length of the chains. Most dietary fats are long-chain triglycerides. Food sources include many vegetable oils and animal fats, all of which are emulsified and absorbed in the small intestine. On the other hand, medium-chain triglycerides, found in coconut oil, are absorbed without the aid of digestive enzymes. Because they're more readily digested by people with blind loop syndrome, medium-chain triglycerides are sometimes prescribed as a dietary supplement.



Avatar universal
At about 6 months after having my bypass I started having severe stomach pain. The surgery was oct 2005. I did go to a gastroenterologist and found out that I had acid reflux. The pain was pretty bad. I also have a very tiny hiatus hernia. The doctor showed me the pictures. He said i'd had it a very long time. I told him I never had a problem with it until after the surgery. It was not caught with all the pre surgery testing either. The only pill that would work is nexium. Nothing else worked. But I still have lots of gas problems.
1333328 tn?1275455616
Hi all, I dont even feel like I need to post this, you all have said it for me. I too am post-op 12 months, my Dr. has scopped me 3 times because of my complaining about this pain. My family is sick to death of hearing me cry and complain all the time, from being in so much pain. I have evn gone so far to ask my husband this, should I buy some pot??? Crazy i know, but i am at my breaking point from this pain and will do anything to get some relief. I am so glad to read these posts and know I am not alone. My Dr. is no help and gets mad at me for complaining and his last response was this, i can reverse it and then you can just be Fat & in pain, good grief. I have lost 102 lbs, but agree, I dont want to have to be sick all the time to do it. This is not how I invisioned my life, when I dreamt of loosing all this weight. I stay in bed all the time, take 10 HOT baths a day and cant function normally anymore. God bless us all.
1392553 tn?1280089800
Hello everyone I was just reading the post and feel you all pain (literally). I had the gastric bypass in 06 and about a month later the pain started. I have been diagnosed with H pylori, Stomach ulcers, esophageal spasms, and other things. I have seen numerous docs and they do look at you like your crazy and psychotic. I think this is unacceptable to be treated this way I dont care how many times we go to see them. The docs took an oath to help the sick and that is their job. However the last surgeon I saw suggested I see a Thoracic surgeon he thinks I need my vega nerve cut because my pouch is producing too much stomach acid and my ulcers will not heal. I have been on antibiotics for about 2 years so obviously thats not working. I will encourage you all to keep pressing for answers and dont stop. This is your life and body. If we arent concerned enough about our bodies to keep looking for answers then who will. I will continue to pray for you all and myself. We are worth answers. God Bless everyone!
Avatar universal
I also had gastric bypass in 2003 and had a revision in 2004. Had so many problems. I am now constantly in pain throughout my stomach. And as most of ya'll, they can not find anything wrong. I was on lots of pain meds, but now I am off them all and I'm miserable. Sometimes I hurt so bad I wish I was dead. And the doctors won't give me any pain meds or anything to take care of it. It interferes so much with my well being and my outlook on life. Sometimes I'd rather be fat again then to go through this. I need help and none of the doctors i've seen seem to know what to do. This *****!
Avatar universal
Wow! I thought I was alone in this. I had bari surgery in April 09. I just had my gall bladder taken out in May 2010. Was still having problems with eating and pain ended up also having my apendix taken out. I have had 4 surgeries since May of this year. I am still having stomach pain and sick  to my stomach. Somedays I can't even get out of bed. My family too is sick of me complaining all the time. My doctor doesn't know what to do. I am SO upset. I take pain meds almost every day. I am tired of being sick to my stomach and having pain. I wouldn't wish this on ANYONE!
1422463 tn?1282553469
I too had surgery in 2000, I've been having this pain also, but mine is in the middle right under my rib case.  The pain gets so bad that My stomach seems hard, I can't breathe, my heart starts beating faster, and it doesn't matter if I've eaten or not.  Ive been to several doctors and all I ever get is meds for indigestion.  I'm glad I found this post, God bless all of you!
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
I had gastric bypass surgery in 2003 and had the normal after surgery surgeries - gallbladder and hernia repair.  Everything has been great and I have no regrets having the surgery, however for the past few months I have developed a stomach pain and I have an appointment next week.  I seem to have heartburn, gas, and pains so bad that I want to cry.  I am at a point right now that food is what seems to trigger the attacks, so I am not eating.  I hope to know more by next week, but so far I am concerned because from the posts, it seems as though doctors cannot explain these pains.....
1515876 tn?1290562285
I just wanted to say...everyone's post could have been written by me. I don't have all the answers...and I'm not sure I have THE answer but I wanted to put this out there...Have you all talked to your doctors about the possibilities that your abdominal pain is myofascial pain syndrome? I have severe abdominal pain (also Fibro, CFS, RA, etc.) and had gastric bypass 1/08. All tests normal...no one can find cause or reason. My doctor now... that I searched for until I found someone that would listen and do SOMETHING!...recently diagnosed me with myofascial pain syndrome and gives me trigger point therapy. I get injections in my abdomen on a weekly to monthly basis right now (sometimes they last...sometimes they don't) but in conjunction with pain meds...it is THE most relief I've had!! Sometimes I can go 4 days and actually feel human...with very little pain at all! Please do some research on MPS and Trigger Point Therapy and find a doctor that does it. The pain of the small injections is easy to endure compared to the abdominal pain we suffer without the injections. It so far is the only thing I've found that makes sense and fits. Not sure it explains why or how...but at this point I can't focus on that. I just know that with the numbing injections and the pain meds...my severe abdominal pain is gone or tolerable now, most days. Hope this helps someone! Here's some info I found while doing a search... http://www.myalgia.com/Treatment/Myofascial pain/Understanding MPS.htm
Avatar universal
Wow, so many people with the same symptoms as me!  I had my surgery 15 months ago, and had my gall bladder out due to gall stones in March 2010.  After 2 or 3 months post op I've had occasional minor "stabbing" pain-- sharp and sudden onset that went away rapidly.  I kept mentioning them, but they were dismissed as part of the gall bladder problems.  I also have acid reflux, and take meds for that and some other things, too.  Now the pain is severe and random, lasts 2 or 3 minutes usually, and begins between naval and ribcage, then migrates to my right side.  Right now, it feels like the dull ache after you are getting past a stitch in your side from running.  It's bizarre, painful enough to take my breath away, and it is poo pooed by my surgeon who tells me to just "quit drinking coffee."  I'm weaning off coffee just to prove that's not the problem, or she won't listen to me.  Believe me, it's not coffee, although I'm sure the coffee doesn't help!  But I get pain from drinking tap water, too.  No matter what I eat or don't eat, it will hurt when it wants to.  I haven't found anything to link it too, either.  I wake up in the middle of the night with the pain.  yesterday I was in tai chi class and the movements made my belly start to hurt, so something is sensitive in there!  That Blind Loop Syndrome someone mentioned sounds like a possible answer; or a hernia, but, really, I don't care so long as I can get rid of the pain.  It's getting worse over time!

My best to all of you fellow suffers.
Avatar universal
If you are having stomach pains and you have lost over or around 100 pounds the pain may be caused by the intestine collaping where it attaches to the stomach. You should get ahold of the doctor that did the surgery and ask if this could be a possibality. When you eat the food is getting lodged in the stomach and intestine because it is collaped and making it very painful when you digest your food this is an easy fix to the doctor that did the surgery. It happens to about 10% of the poeple that have had gastric bypass
Good luck to all.
Avatar universal
What is the easy fix ?
Avatar universal
I just want to pray with you and every person (including myself) having pain in the gut following GBP.  "Dear Heaveny Father, in Jesus am, we come to You beseeching , You, oh Lord to look upon our situation of continuous pain, Lord.  Touch KareBear, the others on this blog, and others who've never written in for help, but who are experiencing abdominal pain they cannot control, oh Lord.  With the healing power that You appointed our Saviour to possess, Lord, I ask you to annoint Your people, and those gentile (further asking that those who don't know You, seek You).  Allow us, oh Lord, to touch that area causing pain and tell it 'PAIN, be thou removed in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.'  Forgive us our sins and anything which has caused offense against Thee and Thine perfect work.  Mend us, oh Lord.

And finally, Lord, please continue to bless the hands of physicians who practice to help change lives of people.  Let them be divinely given insight as the the causses and solutions.  In Jesus name I pray, amen."
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