Gallbladder Pain Explained
Many people don’t pay much attention to their gallbladder until it begins causing them problems. When gallbladder pain occurs, a person’s quality of life, their sleep and ability to enjoy the food they eat can all be negatively affected.
The gallbladder is a small but important, pear-shaped organ located just beneath the bottom lobe of the liver, in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. Its primary function is to store bile, which is a greenish fluid, rich in digestive enzymes, produced by the liver to break down fat and fat-soluble vitamins.
In a healthy individual, optimal gallbladder function will go unnoticed, but inflammation or a gallstone blockage may cause intense pain or digestion dysfunction. The gallbladder may develop hardened deposits of cholesterol and other bile elements which collect in the gallbladder and range in size from tiny particles to large marbles.
Due to high levels of dietary fat and imbalances in bile components, crystals form then combine and form larger stones. In some cases, gallstones can move position and become stuck in the common bile duct.
When this happens, the gallbladder becomes inflamed, as bile is unable to leave due to the obstruction by the gallstone.
While stones may go unnoticed, a duct blockage definitely won’t as this type of “gallbladder attack” or biliary colic causes severe pain, coming on swiftly and lasting from 15 minutes to several hours. These attacks can be felt in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, and/or radiating to the shoulder blades. Gallbladder pain relief will often require treatment of the stones which are leading to the blockages.
In some cases, when gallstones are left untreated, a rupture of its contents into the abdominal cavity may lead to widespread infection. In Intense pain coupled with nausea, vomiting, fever and chills should never be ignored, but thankfully, gallbladder pain relief is available for milder symptoms and can prevent severe progression of gallbladder disease.
Due to similarities between gallstone symptoms and common indigestion, people find it difficult to differentiate what exactly gallbladder pain is.
In most cases, gallbladder pain comes and goes intermittently. However, the pain from gallbladder problems may range from dull and irregular to very severe, sharp and frequent pain. This type of pain is commonly experienced in the abdominal area and may also radiate to the chest and back.
Another symptom that may be indicative of a gallbladder problem is a change in bowel movements. Frequent, unexplained diarrhoea can be a warning sign of a chronic gallbladder disease. Stools changing colour to light or chalky may also signal a problem with the bile ducts. Dark urine is another indicator of a bile duct blockage and bilirubin levels rising in the blood cause yellowing of the skin, also known as jaundice.
Although severe gallbladder pain relief may require medical intervention, mild, intermittent pain indicates an early and often reversible gallbladder issue.