Three Gallbladder Symptoms That Are The Most Confusing
Gallbladder attacks can cause symptoms similar to other, abdominal problems. Gallbladder inflammation is also referred to as cholecystitis and when this small organ is swollen or blocked, you may feel a gnawing ache in the upper right abdomen, cramps, back pain, right shoulder pain or even chest pain. It’s easy then to understand why many people aren’t sure of the cause when they experience gallbladder symptoms.
So how can you tell if you have gallbladder disease or another health issue? The following 3 gallbladder symptoms often seem like something else.
This one is often the scariest! Many people have rushed to the ER for fear of a heart attack, only to find out that their blocked, inflamed gallbladder is causing pain to refer to this area. It is always best to be safe rather than sorry and seek medical attention if a heart attack is suspected.
Sometimes the pressure on nerves in the region of the gallbladder can send pain signals that travel up the nerve’s path, leading to pain in the chest. This is also why many gallbladder disease patients experience our next confusing symptom.
Right Shoulder Pain
When experiencing pain in the shoulder or right under the right shoulder blade, a digestive issue may be the last thing that comes to mind. It’s more common than people realize, however, to feel pain referred here when the gallbladder is in distress.
This is because the nerve that lies near the gallbladder opening is under pressure when a blocked gallbladder contracts and swells. If a gallstone or biliary sludge makes bile and pressure build up here, the nerve sends a painful signal back up along its length, which happens to pass through the right shoulder area.
Severe Abdominal Pain
Many people confuse the achy, excruciating pain of a gallbladder attack for appendicitis. Both of these small organs are located in the right-hand side of the abdomen, though the appendix is lower. Gallbladder symptoms often include nausea and pain that radiates to the back or shoulder, whereas the symptoms of appendicitis will appear in the lower right abdomen.
Gallbladder issues typically arise a couple of hours after eating a high fat meal and will dissipate after 30 minutes to a few hours. Appendicitis pain is caused by infection and swelling of the appendix, so the pain will remain steady, not dissipate, and must be addressed through urgent medical care.
Regardless of whether you know the origin of your pain or not, if you experience pain that does not subside or continues to increase after a few hours, if it is accompanied by vomiting or fever, and if you think you may be having a heart attack, seek medical attention immediately.
In many cases the assessment reveals a very unhappy gallbladder and the good news is, you can take steps to find a gallbladder treatment that will make your gallbladder healthy and pain free again.