The human gallbladder is a small organ located near the liver that stores bile and helps in the process of digestion. Bile helps in the emulsification of fats that enter the digestive system, and it increases in concentration when stored in the gallbladder. Since the functions of the gallbladder are related to digestion, the symptoms of bad gallbladder dysfunction are often misinterpreted as indigestion and treated accordingly. However, consistent neglect of chronic symptoms may lead to a gallbladder attack and involve far more complicated procedures, requiring at times, gallbladder surgery. What are the signs of a bad gallbladder? Following are some of the symptoms to watch out for:
Although the following symptoms may indicate a gallbladder problem, they may also be related to other digestive problems. Therefore, the higher the number of symptoms you experience in the following list, the higher is the likelihood that the condition is linked with a gallbladder disease.
These symptoms can occur over an extended period, and will be different from the symptoms of a gallbladder attack in terms of severity and duration.
- Chronic constipation
- Light-colored stools
- Feeling of heaviness, especially after the consumption of greasy foods
- Pain in between the shoulder blades
- Abdominal pain
- Bitter tasting fluid (bile) that seems to come up after eating
Symptoms of a Gallbladder Attack
A gallbladder attack can last for anything between one hour to fifteen hours. Although the symptoms may overlap with those of gallbladder disease, the difference will be in the severity experienced. Most gallbladder attacks will occur at night, triggered by a heavy meal, high in fat content.
If you experience the following symptoms, it may mean you are having a gallbladder attack, and therefore you need to seek medical help immediately.
- Severe pain underneath the right side of the ribcage
- Acute-abdominal pain, tenderness in the stomach when touched
- Pain radiating through the shoulder blades
- Repeated belching
- Difficulty in breathing, especially during inhalation
- Distended abdomen
Symptoms of Gallstones
Gallstones are deposits of digestive fluids that harden over time and remain in the gallbladder. They can vary in size and strangely enough, sometimes, remain in the gallbladder without giving rise to any symptoms or pain. Sometimes, doctors may recommend surgical removal of the gallbladder. Gallstones mainly cause problems when they cause duct blockages and give rise to the following symptoms; however, if you experience any of these, seek immediate medical care.
- Severe, unbearable abdominal pain
- Sudden intense pain between the shoulder blades
- Sudden, acute pain underneath the right portion of the ribcage
- Skin and the whites of the eyes appear yellow
- Fever, accompanied by violent shivering
Following is a guideline to help you understand the dietary restrictions and allowances with a bad gallbladder:
Although fats rank high on the list of foods to avoid in this condition, they should not be completely eliminated from your diet. There are certain foods that contain fats that are necessary and even beneficial for overall health. These include foods that contain monounsaturated fatty acids, like olive oil and canola oil, as well as those which contain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like tuna and salmon, fish oil, and flaxseed oil. Omega-3 fatty acids increase HDL cholesterol level and lower triglycerides level, and are recommended for heart health as well.
People with high levels of sugar intake are at a higher risk of a number of diseases, including gallbladder attacks. Therefore, cut down on your intake of sugary foods and drinks to avoid such problems.
Drinking coffee daily seems to reduce the occurrence of these symptoms; however, the same does not hold good for beverages that contain caffeine. Therefore, reduce the consumption of tea, sodas, and other aerated drinks.
Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, and Fiber
A healthy diet which includes fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber content will be beneficial. Also, nuts like walnuts, which are fortified with omega-3 essential fatty acids may help alleviate the symptoms.
Most of us fall prey to the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle and develop conditions that can easily be prevented. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle incorporating a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient rest can work wonders for your health.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.