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Gallbladder Infection

Gallbladder Infection

Did you know that gallbladder infections occur more commonly in women than men? The article here has useful information on its symptoms, causes, and treatment.
Aastha Dogra
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018
Gallbladder is an organ which is located near the liver. The primary function of gallbladder is to store bile, a liquid produced by the liver for digestion of fats. Gallbladder infection, scientifically known as acute cholecystitis, is an inflammation that occurs in the gallbladder. Because of acute cholecystitis, the bile becomes trapped inside the gallbladder, thereby creating a pressure in it. This infection can cause tearing in the gallbladder or may sometimes lead to bacterial infections. Below are the causes, symptoms, and treatments for an infection in the gallbladder.
Causes of a Gallbladder Infection

Gallstones in the gallbladder cause an infection in most cases.
Severe illnesses such as whole body infections or sepsis, burns or critical injuries can cause inflammation of the gallbladder.
Tumors, though rarely, could be behind the infection too.
In children, a gallbladder infection could develop from a prolonged untreated viral infection.
Usage of intravenous fluids for a very long duration can cause the infection too.
Gallbladder disease or infection may develop post a major surgery which has been conducted on a person.
Malfunctioning of the immune system resulting in lower immunity can cause an infection too.
Symptoms of Infection

Gallbladder infection causes pain at the back, and in between the shoulder blades. Sometimes, the pain is restricted to the right shoulder only.
Pain from is felt in the abdomen too, especially in the upper part.
The pain in stomach becomes even more severe upon coughing or when the person moves.
Stomach bloating and heaviness is experienced by patients.
Constant feeling of nausea or sometimes even vomiting are experienced by the patient.
Gallbladder infection can cause gas in a person, leading to excessive burping.
Indigestion and diarrhea are some other commonly experienced acute cholecystitis symptoms.
Fever which lasts for more than a day and rises above 100.4 ºFahrenheit, accompanied by chills, could be due to this ailment.
In elder people, symptoms are general fatigue, vomiting, and loss of appetite. Fever may or may not be present.
Gallbladder infections may also cause jaundice in a person resulting in yellowing of the skin and whitening of the eye.
There is a change in the color of the urine and the stools. The person produces dark-colored urine and eliminates grayish colored stools.
Treatment Options
In order to detect a gallbladder problem, certain blood tests and imaging tests are conducted. The blood tests which are done include, CBC, i.e. complete blood count, bilirubin, and liver function tests. Imaging tests such as abdominal X-ray, abdominal ultrasound, abdominal CT scan, gallbladder radionuclide scan, and oral cholecystogram are also conducted. Once a gallbladder infection is confirmed, the following treatments are adopted.
The first treatment usually involves giving antibiotics to the patient, thus enabling him to fight the infection. Initially, nonsurgical treatments such as pain killers to subside the abdominal and back pain and following a proper diet are suggested. However, if acute cholecystitis does not get cured and occurs frequently, then surgery for gallstone removal might be suggested as a treatment option.
Gallbladder infection usually gets cured within a week. However, if it continues longer, and is accompanied by very high fever and chills, then there could be some serious complications behind it such as gangrene in the gallbladder, pancreatitis, injury to the bile ducts and peritonitis, which is inflammation of the lining of the abdomen. Hence, contacting the doctor as soon as the above mentioned symptoms become apparent in a person, is very essential.