Gallbladder Pain – How Long Can It Last?
If you’ve ever had to deal with the misery of gallbladder pain, then you know, “how long is this going to last?” can be a very pressing question. The terms used to describe various gallbladder disease issues can be confusing because more than one type of pain is described as a gallbladder attack.
The gallbladder is a small organ located under your liver and its role is to store, then release bile as needed. Bile is secreted by the liver to aid in fat digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
When you eat a meal containing fat, the gallbladder receives a signal to squeeze and release the correct volume and concentration of bile through the common bile duct and into the duodenum.
Sometimes the contents of bile -salts, pigment and cholesterol- thicken and harden into stone-like deposits. When one of these small pebbles enters a duct and becomes stuck, pain known as biliary colic ensues.
Sufferers typically experience this pain in the mid to right, upper abdomen or back. Described as gripping, aching or sharp, colic often comes on suddenly at night after eating a heavy supper or late-night snacks. When our food contains a high amount of fat, the gallbladder contracts forcefully in response. For ducts that are blocked, this means an increase in pressure and pain.
Typically, onset of a gallstone-related gallbladder attack is 15-30 minutes of intense pain then diminishing intensity over a few hours. Several helpful home remedies exist to help flush the stones out and restore good bile flow.
One such remedy is lemon juice mixed in warm water and sipped slowly as needed to increase bile production.
Cholecystitis means gallbladder inflammation. This issue can be caused by chronic gallstone blockages, biliary sludge or other issues. A gallbladder which is inflamed or infected will cause severe symptoms, lasting longer than biliary colic and causing more than just gallbladder pain.
A fever, chills and vomiting can indicate a serious medical problem. If left untreated, other organs like the pancreas can be negatively affected and gallbladder rupture is possible.
As well, if a person experiences a bile duct blockage for a long time, they may start to notice yellow skin and eyes, dark urine and light stool because the bilirubin pigment in bile is no longer passing through the intestines but backing up into the bloodstream.
Acute cholecystitis will tend to cause similar pain to biliary colic, but it lasts several hours and may become excruciating. Pain radiating to the right shoulder blade, back and chest are also not uncommon. This more serious type of gallbladder attack often lasts for 2-3 days and unless stones are removed, risk of infection can make surgery necessary.
Pay attention to the first signs of gallbladder pain or dysfunction. There are safe supplements designed to break up stones and a proper gallbladder diet may be instrumental in avoiding crippling painful episodes.