Gallbladder Symptoms That You Can’t Ignore
What is your gallbladder’s function and why does it go wrong for so many people? Painful gallbladder symptoms are often the first sign that a person’s health is not optimal, but we shouldn’t wait for pain to start caring for our liver and gallbladder.
If you’re like many people who have heard of this tiny, pear-shaped digestive system organ, you may have also heard that the gallbladder is completely unnecessary. You can certainly live without it, but this small bile regulating pouch plays an important role and you’ll notice when it’s not working well or no longer there at all.
Bile is a greenish fluid secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder to help digest fat in our food. Containing bile salts, bilirubin and cholesterol, this thin fluid can thicken too much and form sludge, or form crystals and stones called gallstones. How can you tell if you have symptoms that indicate your gallbladder is inflamed, filled with sludge, or stones?
Most gallbladder conditions cause similar symptoms. These include:
Pain in the mid/upper and right abdomen. The location of your gallbladder as well as the surrounding abdomen can experience gnawing pain a couple of hours after eating when the gallbladder isn’t functioning well. The pain may sometimes radiate to the back, chest or right shoulder which many people don’t realize is a gallbladder symptom.
Mild nausea is a common early sign and chronic gallbladder disease can lead to acid reflux, nausea, gas pain and/ or vomiting. If you experience prolonged vomiting combined with unrelenting gallbladder pain, seek medical attention as this could indicate a medical emergency.
A fever and chills related to gallbladder disease may indicate an infection and is a symptom you should never ignore. If you’ve been struggling with gallbladder symptoms for some time, and worsening symptoms include fever or chills, seek medical attention right away.
More than four bowel movements a day can be a sign of chronic gallbladder disease and is also a common issue for those who have undergone a cholecystectomy or, gallbladder removal surgery.
Cholecystitis is the medical name for gallbladder inflammation and it can be a temporary problem or cause long term, chronic symptoms.
Choledocholithiasis refers to gallstone formation in the common bile duct. A blockage of the common bile duct can lead to a back up of bilirubin in the system and cause yellow-tinged skin and eyes. Likewise, the urine may darken to a cola color because of gallbladder blockage, and stool become pale.
These stones are usually gallstones that came from the gallbladder and passed into the bile duct where they became lodged, though sometimes stones form there in the duct.
Not all gallbladder symptoms are caused by stones though. Gallbladder attacks related to small stone blockages typically last between 15 minutes to a few hours. Persistent pain beyond several hours should be assessed by a doctor.
Chronic inflammation can lead to hardened gallbladder walls. Thickened bile is difficult to pass through narrow ducts and will cause similar pain to stones. An infection, and abscess or other blockage mean you must seek medical gallbladder treatment because they can be dangerous.