Friday, November 19, 2010

Sphincter of WHAT?

The gallbladder surgery did not fix me. Yes, my gallbladder was inflamed and the HIDA scan showed that my gallbladder function was too low. It was part of the problem and it needed to come out. But, two weeks later, I'm still having the exact same pain as before the surgery. Excrutiating pain. Pain that feels like I'm in labor and a baby is going to come out of the middle of my back. And then I dry heave for hours. Nothing relieves the pain, not even pain medication.

So back to the doctor I went. Long story short, he thinks it is likely a fairly rare condition called sphincter of oddi disfunction.

Technically speaking, here is the definition:

Sphincter of Od·di Pronunciation: /-ˈäd-ē/
Function: n 
a complex sphincter closing the duodenal orifice of the common bile duct

The HUH? Pictured below, it's the valve, if you will, that allows bile and pancreatic fluid to flow into the uppermost part of the intestines. It helps digest your food. Sometimes the sphincter of oddi can become too tight and it doesn't release the digestive fluids properly. The duct gets blocked since the fluids don't drain out, hurts like heck.


My doctor is not 100% sure that this is the cause. It could be pancreatitis. The pancreas and bile duct work together so it can be hard to tell. I'm headed to a gastroenterologist soon to get his take on this. The treatment options vary for this condition. I can tell you one thing, though. After three surgeries in 2010, SuperMom is not ready for another one anytime soon.

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