What Are The Most Common Causes Of Gallbladder Pain?
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of experiencing a gallbladder attack you know the aching, gnawing pain is something you want to avoid at all costs. Often brought on by a high fat meal, or seemingly out of the blue, in the middle of the night, gallbladder pain grabs attention anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. Unlike stomach pain, this problem is not usually resolved by medications, vomiting, a bowel movement or change in position.
So why does this little organ give us trouble?
The gallbladder is a small, pouch-like organ under the liver that stores and concentrates bile used for digestion. When stimulated by the fats in our diet, the gallbladder squeezes and releases just the right amount of bile into the small intestine. There the greenish fluid emulsifies fats and helps to make fat soluble vitamins absorbable.
Bile contains cholesterol, calcium salts and bile pigments. When the ingredients are unbalanced, crystals can form and grow into stones. Some of these are as small as a grain of sand, while others are an inch or more in diameter. These stones can sit silent in the gallbladder for years and cause no symptoms at all. Sometimes one ravels through a bile ducts and becomes stuck, however. This creates pressure and nerve pain radiating from the area.
While gallbladder pain is often caused by a blocked bile duct, it can also be caused by a condition known as cholecystitis. This is the medical term for gallbladder inflammation. When we eat fat, the gallbladder squeezes. Each day the gallbladder needs to empty its contents and have fresh bile created by the liver taken in.
When the output of bile from the liver is thickened and high in cholesterol, or when the gallbladder’s contractions are diminished, sludge, known as biliary sludge, results. This is another common reason for aches and pains that generate from the gallbladder.
Maximal gallbladder pain is usually felt in the upper, midline or right abdomen. It can radiate to the back, shoulder and even chest. Sometimes pain is accompanied by nausea. If you have severe pain that lasts several hours, or fever, or chills, you should seek medical attention. These symptoms can indicate a blocked duct that has become infected.
The best ways to get gallbladder pain relief are thru natural gallstone treatment options: to stay healthy, pay attention to good nutrition, exercise and optimal body weight. Obesity is a known risk factor for gallstone development, as is being female and over 40.
If you have known risk factors, you may need to take extra care to reduce the amount of dietary fat you consume, including fried foods. Other food that can irritate a gallbladder are processed foods, sugar, white flour, spicy food, coffee, alcohol and heavy meals. Try to increase bitter herbs and vegetables that support liver health and increase bile production.