Student Of Medicine

Gallbladder Disease Symptoms

A pear-shaped organ that is located in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen, the gallbladder acts as a reservoir for bile. This Buzzle write-up provides information on the symptoms of gallbladder disease.
The gallbladder is a tiny, pear-shaped organ that is located under the liver. When fully distended, it is around 8 cm and 4 cm in length and width, respectively. It is connected to the common bile duct through a small duct called cystic duct. The function of the gallbladder is to store and concentrate bile, a yellow-colored digestive fluid that is produced by the liver. The release of bile occurs after the release of cholecystokinin, which in turn is released when food enters the small intestine. Cholecystokinin stimulates the gallbladder to contract, which causes bile to be released into the small intestine via the common bile duct. Bile facilitates the digestion of fats in the small intestine.

Cholelithiasis, which is characterized by the presence of gallstones, is one of the medical conditions that commonly affects the gallbladder. Gallstones are stone-like deposits that form when the concentration of cholesterol and bilirubin in bile is higher than usual. Excruciating pain might be felt when the gallstones block the ducts that drain the gallbladder. When the presence of gallstones leads to the inflammation of the gallbladder, one is diagnosed with cholecystitis. If the gallbladder function is adversely affected, it could give rise to various symptoms.

Genetic disposition, old age (usually over 40 years), gender (women are more susceptible), consumption of a diet rich in fat content, obesity, etc., are some of the factors that are linked to gallbladder disease.

Symptoms of Gallbladder Disease

Unusual feeling of abdominal fullness after every meal
Pain that radiates to the chest or the right shoulder blade
Constant fatigue
Burping or belching
Loss of appetite
Biliary colic
Severe abdominal pain
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Abdominal pain that mostly occurs after fatty meals
Pain while taking deep breaths

If the aforementioned symptoms persist, medical assistance must be sought. Diagnostic tests or imaging studies that can help diagnose gallbladder disease include:

CT scan
Hepatobiliary scintigraphy
Cholangiography for examining the bile duct
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography for diagnosing problems related to the gallbladder, bile duct, and liver

The treatment of gallbladder disease would be ascertained after considering factors such as the patient's age, sex, and medical history. In some cases, the use of oral bile acid supplements might be suggested to dissolve gallstones. Shock wave lithotripsy is another treatment that is suggested for those who cannot undergo cholecystectomy, which refers to the surgical removal of the gallbladder.

Precautionary Measures

Since gallbladder attacks often occur after meals, especially when one eats fatty foods. It is advisable to follow a low fat diet. Cut down on the intake of the following food items or avoid them to prevent gallbladder attacks:

Brussels sprouts
Artificial sweeteners
Dairy products
Spicy Food
Red meat
Food rich in trans fats or saturated fats
Fried Foods

Besides excluding the aforementioned items from your diet, increasing your fluid intake (water and fresh fruit juices) would prove beneficial. Apricots, apples, papaya, melons, garlic, okra, carrots, cucumber, and artichoke are some fruits and vegetables that can be safely consumed. Also, you can eat lean meat in moderation. Following a low fat, low-cholesterol, high-fiber diet and staying physically active would certainly lower the risk of gallbladder disease to a great extent.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.