Gallbladder Symptoms – The Top 5 Predictable Signs
So, you I think you may have gallbladder symptoms, but how do you recognize the signs?
First, it is helpful to understand what your gallbladder does, and why it may not function as well as it should.
The gallbladder is a small, oblong organ, which sits just beneath the liver on the right-hand side of the abdomen. It rarely causes painful symptoms unless it is not functioning well due to gallstones or inflammation. When we eat meals that contain fat, especially high amounts of fat, the gallbladder releases a precise amount of bile- yellow-green fluid containing cholesterol, bilirubin, and bile salts.
Regular stimulation of the gallbladder occurs each time we eat. A few things can interfere with this delicate digestive balance. One of them, is gallstones which may range in size from tiny grains of sand to large golf balls.
The gallbladder may actually be filled with gallstones and never cause a problem, however when one of the stones moves into a bile duct, it can block it, causing painful biliary colic.
This sudden, aching, cramping pain is also known as a gallbladder attack and may last between 30 minutes and several hours. This severity of a gallbladder attack can cause people serious distress, often felt as the most painful thing they’ve ever experienced.
It’s no wonder that many people go to the ER with their first, severe gallbladder symptoms, thinking that it may be a heart attack. The pain is not limited to the right abdomen area, but may also spread to the chest, the back, and right shoulder blade. If one does not recognize the symptoms, this can be a scary experience and a gallbladder attack is often an important trigger for major lifestyle changes or alternative gallbladder treatment in attempt to avoid repeat occurrences.
Pain that develops within the first 2 hours after eating a meal. Meals particularly high in fat, fried or spicy foods can trigger gallbladder symptoms and attacks. As well, the digestive process may suffer with a lack of available bile for ease of digestion. This leads to symptoms of indigestion such as gas, bloating, and cramps.
Loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting may also occur after eating high fat foods because they cause the gallbladder to contract, pressing on gallstones. Nausea alone is not necessarily a gallbladder symptom, but biliary colic is a type of visceral pain that can lead to nausea as well. Persistent nausea or vomiting require medical attention.
Intermittent abdominal pain, often occurring at night, may also be related to gallstones blocking a bile duct. This can happen at any time, but frequently occurs while laying down, late at night and after a particularly heavy or high fat meal. Biliary colic may occur once in several weeks or months. If abdominal pain attacks on a more frequent basis, this can indicate that a significant change in diet and lifestyle are required.
If the gallbladder cannot move bile through the body, the pigment, bilirubin, leads to jaundice. This is a yellowing of the skin, and whites of eyes, which indicate that bile is not able to flow through the digestive system and bilirubin is backed up in the bloodstream. For this same reason, stools may lose color, appearing chalky, while urine darkens to a cola color.
Fever and chills may indicate a gallbladder infection, sepsis or rupture. Any of these severe symptoms require medical attention as they can be quite dangerous.