Gallbladder Problem - All that you want to know


The gallbladder is a small organ close to the liver to store and concentrate bile, which is a fluid that helps the body break down fats. Although the gallbladder is a small organ, it is capable of giving you a lot of pain and discomfort if it becomes diseased or inflamed. This helpful article will explore the symptoms of a gallbladder and everything else that you want to know about this important organ.

What is a Gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a small organ close to our liver. The work of liver is to produce bile for breaking down fat in the digestive process. This bile is stored in the gallbladder and released when fat enters the small intestine.

Gallstones are common in people with gallbladders. They are usually made of cholesterol and could be as small as sand grains or could be as big as a golf ball. Though you may not experience any symptoms at first, if a stone blocks the flow of bile, you may experience pain, inflammation, and other problems.

Symptoms of a Gallbladder Problem

There are a few different symptoms of a gallbladder problem. The first symptom is pain in the upper right abdomen. This pain can be sharp and intense or it can be a dull ache. You may feel either an intermittent or a constant pain.

The second symptom is nausea and vomiting. This may happen with the pain or it may happen on its own.

The third symptom is fever. This may happen if there is an infection in the gallbladder.

The fourth symptom is yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). This happens when there is a blockage of the bile ducts.

The fifth symptom is clay-colored stools. This also happens when there is a blockage of the bile ducts.

The sixth symptom is abdominal bloating. This happens when gas builds up in the stomach because of a blockage in the intestines.

The seventh symptom is abdominal pain after eating fatty foods. This happens because the gallbladder cannot empty properly and fat from food sits in the bladder and hardens into stones.

Causes of a Gallbladder Problem

There are several possible causes of gallbladder problems, including −

  • Gallstones − These are hardened cholesterol deposits in the gallbladder. Even if they are a grain of sand, they can cause severe pain if they become stuck in the bile ducts.

  • Biliary colic − This occurs when a stone obstructs the duct draining bile from the liver. The resulting build-up of pressure can cause severe pain in the abdomen.

  • Cholecystitis − This is an inflammation of the gallbladder that can be caused by infection, stones, or other irritation. It can cause severe pain and fever, and may require hospitalization.

  • Pancreatitis − This is an inflammation of the pancreas that can occur if a stone gets stuck in the pancreatic duct. It can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Tests and Diagnosis

An ultrasound is often the first test performed because it is noninvasive and can show if there are any stones present. Your doctor may also advise you for a CT scan or MRI if the ultrasound is inconclusive. If gallstones are suspected, but not seen on imaging tests, a HIDA scan may be performed. This test uses radioactive material and shows how well the gallbladder is functioning. Blood tests may also be done to check for certain enzymes that are released when the gallbladder is not working properly.

If you are experiencing symptoms that could be due to a gallbladder problem, it is important to see your doctor so that proper testing can be done and an accurate diagnosis can be made.

Complications

One of the most common complications of gallbladder disease is blockage of the bile ducts. This can lead to jaundice. Other complications include inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and infection.

Gallstones-hardened deposits of digestive fluid in the gallbladder-is another major complication. They are usually made up of cholesterol, but can also be made up of other substances such as calcium bilirubinate or pigment gallstones.

Symptoms of gallstone disease may include pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, bloating, gas, and indigestion. These symptoms typically occur after eating a fatty meal. The pain may be severe and last for several hours. If the pain is accompanied by fever, chills, or jaundice, seek medical attention immediately.

Untreated gallstone disease can lead to serious complication including pancreatitis, cholecystitis, biliary colic, and bile duct obstruction.

Diet

There are different versions of the gallbladder diet, but they all have some basic similarities. Most of the diets recommend eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as lean protein sources such as chicken or fish. Many of the diets also recommend avoiding fatty or fried foods, as well as sugary snacks and drinks.

The gallbladder diet can be a helpful way to manage symptoms and avoid potential problems. However, it's imperative to take advise of a doctor before starting any new diet, particularly if you have a medical condition.

Takeaway

One of the easiest ways to ascertain a gallbladder problem is to look for pain in the upper right abdomen. This pain may be sharp and intense or a dull ache. It can also radiate to your back or shoulder blade. Other symptoms may include Nausea or vomiting, fever, jaundice, chills, sweating, clay-colored stools, etc. If you are having any of these experiences, especially pain in the upper right abdomen, it’s imperative to visit a doctor right away so they can rule out other potential causes and properly diagnose your problem.

Updated on: 24-Jan-2023

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