Gallbladder Symptoms: Signs Of Gallbladder Dysfunction
The gallbladder, which plays an important role in our everyday digestive process, often goes ignored until gallbladder symptoms are experienced. That is until it starts giving causing trouble – Then this little pear-shaped pouch feels quite painful and uncomfortable.
In order to differentiate gallbladder symptoms from common indigestion, it is helpful to understand how the gallbladder works and why it may not be well.
The gallbladder itself is roughly 4 inches long and located just under the lobes of the liver in the upper right abdomen. The primary function of the gallbladder is to store bile, which is an enzyme-rich, greenish fluid produced by the liver to digest fat. Bile is released by the gallbladder in the appropriate amounts when we eat, to emulsify fat and make fat-soluble vitamins absorbable.
The gallbladder usually functions quietly in the background of regular digestive functions. However, when there is a disruption to its normal functioning, such as a blockage caused by gallstones, the resulting gallbladder symptoms can be very painful.
The most common sign that the gallbladder is not well is pain in the upper right or middle area of the abdomen. Depending on the severity of the problem, this pain may be sharp and persistent or dull and temporary. Gallbladder pain also frequently radiates to the chest, back and in between the shoulder blades.
Those who suffer from long-term gallbladder disease may experience long-standing digestive problems that cause frequent nausea.
In rare cases, chronic inflammation and pressure can lead to a gallbladder infection or rupture. If fever and chills accompany other gallbladder symptoms, this is an indication to seek medical attention right away.
Another telltale sign that the gallbladder is not well, is a change in bowel movements such as unexplained diarrhea and/or a change in color of stools to light and chalky in nature. Urine may also darken when bile flow is impaired.
And itchy, yellow toned skin may also appear. This is because when bile is unable to reach the intestines, and bilirubin levels rise in the blood, it shows up in the skin – known as jaundice.
Although severe pain, especially if lasting more than 5 hours usually requires medical attention, mild pain that goes away on its own is often preventable by making certain lifestyle and dietary changes. You can treat gallbladder symptoms with a reduced fat diet, increasing exercise and taking safe, effective natural gallbladder support remedies.
Research indicates that a healthy and balanced diet can help to preserve overall health, prevent future issues and keep gallbladder-related pain under control.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends following a high fibre diet, with a variety of foods such as beans, peas, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. Reducing the intake of highly processed foods, carbohydrates, sugars and unhealthy fats is also highly beneficial for overall digestive health. Replacing these with healthy fats such as those found in coconut oil, fish oil and olive oil can help to promote liver health and keep gallbladder pain at bay.