What Causes Painful Gallbladder Symptoms?
Many people seek their doctor’s advice each year because of painful and perplexing gallbladder symptoms.
The gallbladder is a little oblong organ tucked just under the liver on the right side of your abdomen. It acts as a storage tank for bile secreted by the liver and connects to the intestines through the common bile duct. Bile, containing calcium salts, pigment and cholesterol is concentrated and precisely released according to the fat in meals we eat.
Once bile connects with fat globules in our food it emulsifies and breaks them down for absorption. Bile also makes fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K absorbable to keep us healthy.
Often, when people seek medical help for the pain and discomfort of gallbladder symptoms, their doctor recommends gallbladder removal, a surgery also known as cholecystectomy. You can live without your gallbladder; however, the digestive process can change for the worse so improving dietary habits before you require removal can be well worth it.
The smooth flow of bile is more important than we give it credit for. When bile ingredients like calcium and sticky cholesterol thicken and concentrate, they can become stuck to the inner walls of the gallbladder. They also form crystals and hard stones.
One leading theory as to why gallstones form is that when bile contains too much cholesterol because of diet or hormonal imbalance, hardened balls of fat form. Elevated estrogen can increase the amount of cholesterol in the bile and today, many women increase their estrogen levels through contraceptive medication. Pregnancy is another common time for gallstones to form because of the same cholesterol factor.
Women tend to be at higher risk for gallbladder symptoms, but age, obesity and family history also appear to play a role.
It’s believed most people don’t even know they have gallstones because they stay silent inside the gallbladder. Symptoms can be experienced differently for each person and may appear as brief episodes of pain on rare occasion, or frequent, prolonged and extremely painful episodes. Often gallbladder attacks have their onset roughly 2 hours after eating a heavy, high fat meal or late at night while sleeping.
Sufferers may not be sure if the symptoms they have are due to indigestion or gallbladder disease. One way you can narrow down your possibilities is that if your abdominal discomfort, gas, belching or nausea appear immediately after eating, it’s not likely due to gallstones.
If you need gallbladder treatment, you may feel a gnawing, aching or stabbing sensation in the upper right abdomen, chest, back or right shoulder blade. This discomfort can last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours and may be accompanied by nausea, sweating and indigestion. If pain persists more than several hours or if you have vomiting, fever and chills, seek medical attention since these are signs of a serious infection or acute blockage.