Do Gallstones Cause Gallbladder Symptoms?
Many people first seek treatment for gallbladder symptoms when they begin to experience pain. Often, sudden abdominal pain following a meal can come as a surprise and the discomfort that may spread to the chest, back or shoulder, may lead a person to believe they are having a heart attack. These painful episodes, commonly known as gallbladder attacks, are caused by a small, hard pebble called a gallstone becoming lodged in a bile duct. Often the body can flush a stone back out but the pressure of bile and inflammation at the site of the blockage may cause excruciating pain before it is cleared.
Perhaps surprisingly, many people who have gallstones don’t know it and they don’t experience any gallbladder symptoms. These small stones may be detected on an ultrasound, but doctors will not usually recommend any gallstone treatment in the case of, “silent stones.”
Gallbladder problems develop when the gallbladder becomes dysfunctional. A condition known as porcelain gallbladder involves a hardening of the walls of the organ so that it cannot squeeze and release bile properly.
Bile, which is a greenish-yellow fluid composed of bilirubin, cholesterol and bile salts, may thicken if the gallbladder is under stimulated, the contents are imbalanced, or it cannot empty for other reasons. This thick, biliary sludge impairs and blocks flow which also leads to pain and digestive problems.
Cholecystitis refers to gallbladder inflammation which means that the walls of the gallbladder are irritated and sore. Infection will also cause inflammation and pain and is a serious medical concern.
Though what we often think of as the primary gallbladder symptom is pain, there are other digestive and health symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting after meals
- Indigestion including belching, bloating and heartburn after meals
- Stomach cramps and diarrhea
Recurring gallbladder symptoms, if not addressed through dietary and lifestyle changes may become more severe. Gallbladder pain which is accompanied by fever, severe nausea and vomiting, unrelenting pain or jaundice (yellow skin and eyes) should be addressed by a doctor immediately. In rare cases, a gallbladder which is blocked with a gallstone and untreated may become infected and risk rupturing which is a serious medical emergency.
There are steps you can take to rid yourself of gallstones before they become a serious problem.
If you are experiencing pain or digestive discomfort, start today removing bad fats from your diet and replace them with the good ones. This means you’ll need to stop eating fried food, most animal fats, heavy cream, butter and cheese and saturated, hydrogenated and chemically treated oils.
Eventually, when your symptoms decrease, you can reintroduce small amounts of grass fed dairy. Do consume coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds and fish. A small amount of good fat is key to staying healthy and keeping your gallbladder functioning as it was intended.