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Inflamed Gallbladder

Inflamed Gallbladder

Gallbladder inflammation is mostly caused due to gallstones. This condition is often accompanied by an intense and sharp abdominal pain and discomfort.
Chandramita Bora
Last Updated: Apr 7, 2018
Know This.
Cholecystitis, also regarded as inflamed gallbladder, is prevalent due to a myriad of factors. Gender, age, ethnicity, race, health-related troubles, to name a few, are but factors that affect the potency of the malady. Estimations spell that 10 to 20% of adults, on an average, endure gallstones in the U.S.

The medical term used for the inflammation of the gallbladder is cholecystitis (pronounced: ko-luh-sis-TIE-tis). The gallbladder is a tiny sac-like organ connected to the liver. It is the reservoir of bile, which is required to digest fats in the intestine. Therefore, whenever we consume high-fat foods, the gallbladder releases the bile into the intestine via the bile duct to facilitate the digestion of fat. An inflamed gallbladder is usually a result of the formation of gallstones. There are generally two types of cholecystitis -- acute and chronic. Acute cholecystitis is characterized by sudden inflammation of the gallbladder, which is accompanied by sharp and intense abdominal pain, while chronic cholecystitis is marked by an inflammation of low intensity, that lasts for a long duration of time.


The formation of gallstones is usually the cause for cholecystitis. Bile starts to accumulate inside the gallbladder when the gallstones block the cystic duct. This eventually results in inflammation and infection of the organ. This is the most common cause of acute cholecystitis, accounting for almost 90% of the total cases. It occurs more often in women as compared to men, and its probability increases with the advancement of age, in both sexes. Hispanics and Native Americans have an elevated rate of gallstones than most other people. Chronic cholecystitis can occur due to repeated inflammation. This can cause extensive damage to the wall of the gallbladder, due to which it can thicken or get scarred. In rare cases, serious illness and tumor in the gallbladder can also be responsible for causing cholecystitis.

Cholecystitis Indicants

It is characterized by pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. This pain may be:

♢ Sharp and intense
♢ Steady
♢ Spread to the back or below the right shoulder blade

Other symptoms include:

♢ Fever and chills
♢ Indigestion
♢ Belching
♢ Heartburn
♢ Chronic diarrhea
♢ Nausea and vomiting
♢ Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
♢ Clay-colored stools

Diagnostic Measures

The following blood tests help detect the condition:

♢ Complete blood count
♢ Bilirubin - blood test performed in cases of jaundice
♢ Amylase - blood test to detect any pancreatic disorder
♢ Lipase - blood test to determine serum level of an enzyme involved in digestion
♢ Liver function tests - to measure various chemicals produced by the liver in the blood

Tomography tests that show the inflammation of the gallbladder:

♢ Gallbladder radionuclide scan
♢ Abdominal X-ray
♢ Abdominal ultrasound
♢ Oral cholecystogram
♢ Abdominal CT scan

Treatment Alternatives

Cholecystectomy (surgery to remove the gallbladder) is usually performed when gallstones are present. The urgency of the surgery depends on the condition of the patient. If a patient has pancreatitis, inflammation of the common bile duct, or gangrene (necrotic tissue), then emergency surgery may be needed. Also, in case of extreme illness, a tube may be inserted via the skin to drain the gallbladder, until the patient's condition improves and is stable enough to undergo a surgery.

The non-surgical treatment options include the following:

♢ Pain medicines
♢ Low-fat diet (only when food can be digested)
♢ Intravenous or oral antibiotics to fight infection

Natural Nostrums

Foods that are known to aid the removal of gallstones naturally are:

♢ Turmeric powder - around half a teaspoon everyday
♢ Lecithin granules - two teaspoons daily
♢ Lime, apples, pears, grapefruit - one per day
♢ Chamomile and cleavers tea - one cup a day
♢ Hemp or olive oil - try around two teaspoons daily
♢ Lemon - one a day

If this condition is not treated on time, it may lead to further complications. Therefore, on observing any of the symptoms of gallbladder inflammation, it is very important to inform your physician about it. Fatty and greasy foods should be avoided by people who are experiencing recurrent attacks of acute cholecystitis or inflamed gallbladder. A diet low in fat can be very helpful in preventing the attacks of cholecystitis. However, surgical removal of the gallbladder is the preferred option for preventing the recurrence of this condition.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.