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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 17339
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I would prefer to ask a gastroenterologist, but I dont see

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I would prefer to ask a gastroenterologist, but I don't see a choice for this online. If there is no one available to answer my question, please just let me know, so I can know to look elsewhere. My question is as follows: My son Michael is 21 yo and in excellent health with one exception. He has a chronic problem with a suspected sleep disorder breathing, as he has a problem getting to sleep, staying asleep and awakening feeling refreshed. He is positive for the Cottle maneuver in feeling greater than 25% more air flow. He has had a chronic history of GERD that he has had treatment by the gastroenterologist with little to no improvement. He has had chronic pain on his left side. The GI doc has recommended removal of his gall bladder. We have tried a well respected homeopathic MD, who has tried liver / gall bladder cleanses and nutritional counseling in hopes of non surgical improvement, with no success. His gall bladder efficiency has decreased from 10% to 8% function, so I am thinking of surgical gall bladder removal as the only option to relieve his pain.

I am concerned because of the following: 1) If his pain is on the left side, why are they suggesting gall bladder removal, if it is on the right side? 2) Why did the gall bladder go bad? It seems that we need to address the cause or origin of the gall bladder dysfunction or other symptoms are to occur later. I am concerned with his liver and pancreas having problems later if the origin of the problem is not found. 3) Is there a link with sleep disorder breathing…. and his symptoms with his gall bladder ? 5) Is their a link with SDB to liver and pancreas problems?

I am just trying to be preventive in addressing his health . I appreciate your input.

Harvey Chin, DDS
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I'm sorry that no one has answered your question, but I will be glad to assist you, as it cannot be known when a Gastroenterologist may be available.

To address each of your questions:

#1. Yes, the gallbladder will typically cause pain on the right side, which can radiate to the center or left side of the abdomen. However, any condition can sometimes present solely with pain in an area that is not the usual primary location of pain. This is due to the imprecise nature of pain perception in the body. For example, heart attack pain is usually in the center of the chest and radiate to the neck and left arm, but sometimes a heart attack may present solely with left arm pain.

#2. There are usually many factors that can contribute to the development of gallbladder inflammation, but most often is related to the process of concentration of bile in the gallbladder, dietary factors that influence the content of bile, infection of the gallbladder, or muscle defects of the gallbladder. Removal of the gallbladder will either correct these issues or make them moot. There is no risk associated with later liver or pancreatic disease if the gallbladder is removed.

#3&5. There is no distinct relationship between sleep disordered breathing and diseases of the gallbladder, liver or pancreas. However, there is a general relationship between any condition that causes chronic pain or other significant symptoms and interference with sleep. Pain is something that can interfere with sleep regardless of location of the pain.

It is worth noting that there is a direct relationship between GERD and difficulty sleeping. GERD is frequently worse at night because lying down allows for an increase in reflux. Since reflux may worsen when lying down, it can cause irritation that interferes with sleeping. Some people do better by sleeping on an incline, such as by placing 6-8" blocks under the feet at the head of the bed, but some people with more significant reflux will continue to have difficulty sleeping despite this.

If you have any further questions, please let me know.

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