Total Posts:  18
Joined  2012-03-07

Hi everyone,

I have been doing some research (pardon me, Diana, if you’ve already mentioned this) on the vagus nerve. One of the members here mentioned gallbladder issues. This motivated me to look more into our digestive issues and their relation to vagus nerve function (or lack thereof).

Did everyone know that cutting the vagus nerve (vagotomy) used to be a treatment for stomach ulcers as well as GERD? The procedure reduced gastric secretion/acid production. This was done much more frequently before H. Pylori (the bacteria most commonly found to cause ulcers) was discovered. I now understand why my gallbladder pain (still undx, but I KNOW it’s gallbladder pain) makes me so dizzy. When I push down on my swollen and irritated gallbladder, I’m further irritating and stimulating my vagus nerve causing blood pressure fluctuations (thus dizziness), etc.

I believe this is a HUGE PART of our gastrointestinal issues.

I just wanted to post this because once again, it shows how this nerve really can affect EVERYTHING. Now, of course, we have H2 blockers for treatment, but I thought this was something interesting enough to share (sorry if it’s already been shared!).


Sidenote: I did read that some people who had their gallbladders removed wondered if their vagus nerve had been damaged during surgery because they ended up with gastroparesis afterwards. This is so unsettling because this is a risk we may need to take if gallbladder attacks and pain become unbearable. Most doctors say vagus nerve damage was probably not the cause of their GP, but who listens to doctors anymore? (Sorry D wink )

Sr. Member
Total Posts:  113
Joined  2011-08-29

I am one who ended up having my gall bladder removed (2/2010). It was not because of stones, but just that it was dead/atrophied/scarred/etc. My ejection fraction was a mere 8%.

Then, about 6 months after my gall bladder was removed, the pain was back. Huh? I don’t have a gall bladder anymore, so what could it be? It took another 18 months to get a DX. My bile duct was also going bad! Well, more specifically, the Sphincter of Oddi was malfunctioning. It is what opens and closes to let bile into the small intestine. Mine was causing abnormally high pressure in the bile duct (this took a special pressure test, manometry)that was causing my pain. I had to travel to another state to have the test done as it is rare enough it is only done a few places in the US. The treatment is to cut open this opening to keep it open.

It took me longer to heal/recover than “normal”, but that is always true with me (and probably everyone else here, right?), but finally about a month after the surgery I was pain free in my upper right quadrant for the first time in years!

All that to get to my own little vagel nerve theory, and that is that if the nerve is not able to send and receive signals correctly I believe this is what lead to my gall bladder just kind of dying an early death and then also my bile duct malfunctioning in a way that caused those high painful pressures in it.

It is too late for me, at least as far as my gall bladder is concerned, but I would have loved to have had my vagal nerve decompressed and the ctyokines treated FIRST before resorting to surgery, to see if the gall bladder might come back from the dead if the signals were returned to normal.

Hope that made some kind of sense.  =)

Total Posts:  1093
Joined  2011-04-19

This is such a great topic. I put together the vagus nerve involvement about a week after the doctors told me my gall bladder ejection fractions were down to 18%. No gall stones, though. I was having LOWER right quadrant pain (and ruled out ovarian cancer first). The doctor said to have the gall bladder removed. I asked why. “If there are no stones, but it is not working properly, that sounds neurological, doesn’t it?” (I tried to be nice). The pain turned out to be my ileocecal valve (this was AFTER I figured out about the vagus nerve connection for us!). Do you know what shocked me? The G.I. surgeon recommended I never have abdominal surgery unless it was life-threatening, because when they go in and remove organs, they pay no attention to the vagus nerve! This is why so many people have gastroparesis after abdominal surgery. We already fight gastroparesis if our vagus nerve is affected. The vagus nerve goes EVERYWHERE in our abdomens, but I am still surprised they don’t try to salvage at least some of it. Yikes….ohh


Dr.Diana, therapeutic optometrist on professional disability, as Patient cheese

Sr. Member
Total Posts:  558
Joined  2012-04-17

I too figured that whatever was wrong with me had something to do with my vagus nerve, as many of the symptoms I was suffering from, following my head and neck injury in 2002, had some connection to that nerve. I figured this out way back in 2003, when I mentioned it to a Neuro-surgeon (whom I had asked to see for a second opinion, after my Neurologist told me to ‘go home and forget about my symptoms and I’d get better’!!!)  Nearly 10 years down the line and I’m a total bodily wreck, so much so that my children’s pet name for me is either ‘wheelz’ or ‘in-valid’!!)

Anyway, this Neuro-surgeon simply dismissed it, saying that you have a vagus nerve at the left and the right and if one was not working properly the other would compensate for it. He was adamant, so he sent me down the road with a treatment plan of twice a week physiotherapy sessions at £30 a time – which made me worse!  In my mind, I obviously disproved that theory but he wasn’t willing to investigate it, to find out why – so I hit yet another ‘brick wall’ in trying to obtain effective treatment!!

I’ve felt all along that the vagus nerve still held a clue but couldn’t get to the bottom of it.  How thankful I was, when I discovered The Driscoll Theory, especially the part regarding Vagus Nerve Compression by an enlarged jugular vein – and when I went and checked my MRI scans to compare with Dr Diana’s examples, what did I find – yeay!!! – I had an enlarged jugular vein! After reading The Driscoll Theory MANY things are making sense. THANK YOU DR D!