Gallbladder Disease: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment



Gallbladder Disease: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is the gallbladder?

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped four-inch size organ positioned below the liver in the upper-right section of the abdomen. It stores bile that helps to digest the fat from food in the intestine. When medical conditions like gallstones or cholecystitis affect the gallbladder, it is called gallbladder disease. Gallbladder problem is quite common and a number of people successfully undergo diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms of Gallbladder disease:

Be it any problem in the gall, the symptoms are all the same. These include:

1. Pain:

Pain and discomfort are probably the most common symptoms of any health issue. Similarly, if you have a gallbladder problem, you will experience pain in the mid to upper right section of your abdomen. The pain can be mild and intermittent to severe and nagging. In some cases, the pain often radiates to the adjacent parts of the body like the chest and the back.

2. Vomiting and nausea:

Vomiting and nausea is another common symptom. However, if it is a chronic gallbladder problem, then symptoms like gas, bloating, nausea and vomiting will persist.

3. Fevers and chills:

Having unexpectedly high temperatures can indicate that you have some internal infection. Visit the doctor at the earliest and get to know the underlying cause to start treatment at the earliest. If the infection spreads to other parts of the body, it can be life-threatening.

4. Diarrhoea:

If the diarrhoea becomes a chronic condition for a couple of months, it is time you get your health checked by the doctor. You might have some problem with your gallbladder.

5. Jaundice and other related symptoms:

Yellow-tinted skin, unusual colored stools, and urine might mean a block in the bile duct.

Causes of gallbladder disease:

The very common cause of gallbladder problem is gallstones. It is formed when there is an excess accumulation of cholesterol or bilirubin inside the gallbladder. Some complications can arise as a result of the gallstones:

  • Inflammation of the gallbladder
  • Blocked bile duct
  • Infection of the common bile duct
  • Bowel obstruction from a gallstone
  • Gangrene of the gallbladder
  • Gallbladder cancer

Besides these complications, other diseases that also affect the gallbladder are

  1. Biliary Dyskinesia
  2. Functional gallbladder disorder
  3. Primary Sclerosis cholangitis

Diagnosis and treatment of gallbladder disease:

When you notice these symptoms, you must visit a doctor. If the diagnosis indicates a gallbladder problem, your doctor will suggest an ultrasound to detect what is the exact issue. Even a CT scan can also detect if it is due to gallstone or not.

If the gallstones in the bladder cause repeated bouts of pain and discomfort, then a surgery called cholecystectomy may be required. However, when people have ‘silent’ gallstones that do not cause discomfort, surgery may not be required.

In case of inflammation due to gallstones, the person is hospitalized and antibiotics are administered before surgery. In most cases a laparoscopic surgery is performed, however, if the doctor finds any complications, an open cholecystectomy is performed. 

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