Presence of gallstones often leads to the inflammation of gallbladder. The condition is known as ‘cholecystitis’. The upcoming article provides comprehensive information on the signs and symptoms of this inflamed condition.
Cholecystitis is a gallbladder disease and is often caused by cholelithiasis, which in simple words can be described as the ‘presence of gallstones (rock like chemical deposits) in the gallbladder’. Gallbladder lies in the upper right side of the abdomen, below the liver, and it appears like a sack. It is called the storehouse of bile, as it stores bile which is a fat-digestive substance produced by the liver. Bile helps in breaking down the fats.
Cystic or bile ducts help in transferring the bile into the small intestine during meals. Gallstones directly block the cystic duct which in turn traps the bile. Chemicals in the trapped bile or secondary infections by gut organisms like E.Coli result in the inflammation of the gallbladder wall which is known as cholecystitis. In extreme but rare cases, gallbladder rupture is noticed. When the infection spreads to the outer covering and the surrounding structures like diaphragm and bowel, these structures are also irritated.
Even in the absence of cholelithiasis, the gallbladder can become inflamed and infected. This is known as acute acalculous cholecystitis, where the pain lasts longer and is severe too. Cholecystitis symptoms are similar to the symptoms of so many other diseases; however, this condition may not be detected until you have an episode of more severe indicants during a sudden attack.
Symptoms of Inflamed Gallbladder
Pain in the upper right quadrant of the body (right side of the rib cage) is the main symptom of cholecystitis. Usually, a constant and severe pain is noticed. It can be confusing sometimes, as the pain can be mistaken to be a chest pain or vague abdominal pain. The pain is prominently noted when greasy or fatty food items, like pastries and fried foods are eaten.
Vomiting and Nausea
Vomiting and nausea are the commonly observed indicants. Loss of appetite is also common in many patients.
Fever and Chills
Initially, a low-grade fever is observed, which might turn into high fever and chills if left untreated. High fever accompanied by shaking chills or shock can be an indicant of some further complications.
Belching and Diarrhea
Chronic cholecystitis can be the cause behind frequent belching and diarrhea. Indigestion is a common problem observed in such cases.
Jaundice indicates abscess formation, infection of the bile duct, and perforation too. Skin and eyes appear yellowish. If gallstones block the pancreatic duct, intense pain is noticed which indicates gallstone pancreatitis.
If the perforated gallbladder abnormally connects with the small bowel, forming a fistula, then a severe abdominal pain due to intestinal obstruction is noticed. This is one of the complicated gallbladder problems known as gallstone ileus.
Dark Urine and Grayish Bowel Movements
When gallstones come out of the gallbladder and block the common bile duct, the flow of bile out of the liver is blocked. In such cases, pale grayish bowel movements and dark urine is noticed.
If you are diagnosed with gallbladder dysfunction, you should follow a well-designed gallbladder diet. Transabdominal ultrasonography and cholescintigraphy are the tests performed to detect cholecystitis or acalculous cholecystitis. Abdominal CT provides information about gallbladder perforation or pancreatitis. Analgesics and antibiotics are suggested by the doctors. Proper hydration is essential if cholecystitis symptoms are seen.
Cholecystectomy (surgical removal of gallbladder) can be helpful for acute cholecystitis and for relieving biliary pain. It is preferred and done around 48 hours after diagnosis if the diagnosis is clear and the patient has no surgical risk. Elderly patients having diabetes are at a high risk of developing infections and complications. They are, therefore, advised cholecystectomy immediately after diagnosis. If there is any severe chronic disorder, then the surgery might be delayed.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.