- What exactly is Gallbladder Pain?
- Gallbladder Pain Location
- Gallbladder Pain Symptoms
- Gallbladder Pain Causes
- The bile consists of excessive cholesterol
- The bile consists of excessive bilirubin
- The gallbladder does not empty properly
- Cholesterol gallstones
- Pigment gallstones
- Gallstone complications
- Gallbladder inflammation
- Common bile duct blockage
- Pancreatic duct blockage
- Cancer of the gallbladder
- Gallbladder Pain Treatment
- Pictures of the gallbladder
- Tests that check the bile ducts for stones
- Blood tests for complications
- Gallstones that don’t cause symptoms and signs
- Treatment of gallstones that cause symptoms and signs
- Surgical removal of gallbladder known as cholecystectomy
- Dissolving gallstones with medications
- Gallbladder Pain Relief
- Do not skip meals
- Most days of the week – exercise
- Slowly lose weight
- Keep a weight that is healthy
- Eat a high-fiber diet including healthy fats
- Take vitamin supplements
What exactly is Gallbladder Pain?
Gallstones are deposits of digestion fluid which have hardened in the gallbladder. The gallbladder holds bile which is a type of digestive fluid that is released into the small intestine.
Gallstones form an array of sizes from small like a sand grain to some as large as golf balls. Many individuals develop only one gallstone, while there are others who develop quite a few gallstones at the same time.
Gallstones are fairly common in the US. Individuals who have symptoms from these gallstones normally need gallbladder removal surgery. Gallstones which do not cause any symptoms or signs normally do not need any treatment.
Gallbladder Pain Location
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped, small organ on the right side of the abdomen, just underneath the liver. Location of gallbladder pain includes the right shoulder, between the shoulder blades, center of the abdomen below the breast bone.
Gallbladder Pain Symptoms
Symptoms or signs of gallstones can in some cases not develop. But if a gallstone gets stuck in a duct and causes blockage, symptoms and signs can develop for instance:
- Abrupt as well as quickly increasing pain in the center of the abdomen, right below the breastbone
- Sudden as well as quickly escalating pain in the upper right part of the abdomen
- Discomfort in right shoulder
- Back discomfort between the shoulder blades
- Discomfort that last several minutes to a few hours
An appointment should be made with a physician if any signs or symptoms develop that concerns you. Seek speedy medical care if symptoms or signs of a grave complication of gallstones develop such as:
- Pain in the abdominal area so bad that you are unable to sit quiet or unable to find a position that is comfortable
- Yellowing of the whites of the eyes as well as of the skin
- Chills with high fever
Gallbladder Pain Causes
Medical professionals are not sure what is the cause or causes of gallstones forming. But they believe that gallstones can develop when:
The bile consists of excessive cholesterol
Usually, the bile has chemicals that dissolve any cholesterol emitted by the liver. However if the bile has extra cholesterol than can be liquefied the cholesterol can develop into crystals and then into stones. The cholesterol in the bile has no association to the cholesterol levels in the blood.
The bile consists of excessive bilirubin
This is a chemical that is produced when the body is breaking up red blood cells. Definite conditions can cause the liver to produce too much bilirubin, including, infections of the biliary tract, blood disorders as well as liver cirrhosis.
The gallbladder does not empty properly
If the gallbladder does not completely empty or does not empty often enough. This can cause the bile to become too concentrated and can contribute to the forming of gallstones.
Kinds of gallstones formed in the gallbladder consist of:
This is the most frequent form of gallstones and they usually are colored yellow. These gallstones are made up of mainly cholesterol that is not dissolved, but they also can have additional components.
These are black or dark brown stones that form when the bile contains excessive bilirubin.
Facts that can increase the risk of gallstones consist of:
- Being 60 years of age or older
- Being female
- Being Mexican-American
- Being American Indian
- Being pregnant
- Being obese or overweight
- Have a high-cholesterol diet
- Having a high-fat diet
- Having a low-fat diet
- Having diabetes
- Family history of gallstones
- Weight loss quickly
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Drugs containing estrogen such as drugs for hormone therapy medications
When a gallstone gets blocked in the gallbladder neck it can cause gallbladder inflammation known as cholecystitis. This can create pain that is severe as well as fever.
Common bile duct blockage
Gallstones may block the ducts thru which the bile runs from the liver or gallbladder to the small intestine. Bile duct infection – cholangitis – with jaundice can result.
Pancreatic duct blockage
The duct that goes from the pancreas to the common bile duct is known as the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic juices that aid in digestion flow thru the pancreatic duct. A gallstone may cause a blockage of this duct that can cause pancreatitis or pancreas inflammation. This causes constant, intense pain in abdomen and normally requires hospitalization.
Cancer of the gallbladder
Individuals with a gallstones history have a risk which is increased of cancer of the gallbladder. But cancer of the gallbladder is extremely rare, so even with an elevated risk; the probability of this cancer is still quite small.
Gallbladder Pain Treatment
Procedures and tests normally done to make a diagnosis of gallstones consist of:
Pictures of the gallbladder
The physician will want an ultrasound of the abdomen or CT scan to picture the gallbladder. The images may be evaluated to look for indications of gallstones.
Tests that check the bile ducts for stones
This is a test using a distinctive dye that highlights the ducts of bile on images helping the physician to conclude whether a gallstone is producing an obstruction. Tests can consist of a “hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid” or HIDA scan, MRI or “endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography” or ERCP. Gallstones that are exposed using ERCP may be removed with this process.
Blood tests for complications
These tests can reveal infections, pancreatitis, jaundice, or other difficulties created by gallstones.
Gallstones that don’t cause symptoms and signs
Gallstones that do not cause any symptoms but are found during CT scan or ultrasound for other conditions normally do not need any treatment.
The physician can recommend that the individual stay aware for indications of complications from gallstones such as pain in the right upper abdomen that is very intense. If gallstone symptoms occur any time in the future, the individual will need treatment. But the majority of individuals with gallstones that do not cause any symptoms will probably never need any treatment.
Treatment of gallstones that cause symptoms and signs
These options for treatment consist of:
Surgical removal of gallbladder known as cholecystectomy
The physician might endorse surgery to take out gallbladder, especially when gallstones recur frequently. When the gallbladder is detached, bile will flow directly from the liver to the small intestine, instead of being kept in the gallbladder. The gallbladder is not needed to live and its removal does not affect the capacity to digest food but can cause diarrhea.
Dissolving gallstones with medications
Drugs that can be taken orally can assistance in dissolving gallstones. However often it can take up to months or even years for gallstones to dissolve in this way. There is an investigational therapy currently that involves injecting gallstone drugs straight into the gallbladder to dissolve gallstones quickly. Testing is ongoing to show whether the procedure is effective and safe. Drugs for gallstones are not frequently used and are set aside for those individuals who cannot undergo surgery.
Gallbladder Pain Relief
The best way to relief the pain of gallstones is to make some lifestyle changes that prevent gallstones from developing. These consist of:
Do not skip meals
Stick to normal meal times every day. Fasting or skipping any meals can increase the risk of developing gallstones
Most days of the week – exercise
Being sedentary can escalate the risk of gallstones, so make physical activities a normal part of each day. If you have not been very active lately, begin slowly and work up to at least 30 minutes each day during the week
Slowly lose weight
If you must lose weight, do so slowly as weight loss that is rapid will escalate the risk of gallstones.
Keep a weight that is healthy
Overweight as well as obesity escalates the risk of gallstones. Reduce the amount of calories that are eaten and increase quantity of physical activity.
Eat a high-fiber diet including healthy fats
Have a diet that is full of fruits as well as vegetables. These high-fiber foods can help prevent gallstones. Also include unsaturated and healthy fats in the diet. These include nuts as well as fish.
Take vitamin supplements
Individuals who do not get enough vitamin C, vitamin E or calcium have an increased risk of gallstones but there is not enough evidence to maintain that supplements containing these vitamins will prevent gallstones. Talk with your physician about risk as well as benefits of vitamin supplements. It is usually safer to get these vitamins from foods that have them.