New Relief for Chronic Diarrhea
Habba, however, encouraged her to be patient. "It took about a month for the diarrhea to go away. Now I can't believe I feel the way I do -- what a beautiful change." Petrozzello spoke to WebMD from her home in West Orange, N.J., just before leaving to spend the weekend at the beach. "I couldn't do that before," she says. "I wouldn't leave the house." She has been taking Questran once a day for five years and reports no ill effects.
"What Dr. Habba has done, using studies of the gallbladder, is to show that in [some] individuals with diarrhea, the gallbladder is not functioning," says Carroll M. Leevy, MD, professor of gastroenterology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Leevy tells WebMD, "This research is exciting because we now know there's an additional ... mechanism for diarrhea related to gallbladder dysfunction, and it is treatable and correctable in a different manner than we used before."
Diarrhea after eating may be the only clue that a patient has gallbladder problems, Habba says. "We never connected chronic diarrhea to gallbladder dysfunction before. Now we do." He recommends testing gallbladder function before tagging patients as having irritable bowel syndrome or other conditions.
"I want to make this known to other practitioners," he says. "Many of my patients were diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, but did not respond to irritable bowel syndrome therapy. I changed their medication to cholestyramine [Questral], and all of a sudden their symptoms got 100% better. It's a dramatic difference."
Petrozzello puts it more succinctly: "Thank God for Dr. Habba"