The gallbladder is a small organ located in the upper right side of the abdomen, and unless you are experiencing pain in that area, you probably haven’t given your gallbladder much thought. Its main purpose is to store bile that the body uses to digest fats, but sometimes that process can get interrupted and cause gallbladder pain. When this occurs, we say it is due to “gallbladder disease,” which is a broad term that describes any condition that affects the gallbladder.
What Causes Gallbladder Pain?
There are a variety of conditions that can affect the gallbladder and cause pain, but some of the most common include:
Gallstones – Gallstones are one of the most common and serious types of gallbladder disease. They are pieces of solid material that form in the gallbladder and typically cause pain in the upper abdomen and back, nausea, vomiting, and other stomach problems.
Cholecystitis (Acute and Chronic) – Acute cholecystitis is usually caused by gallstones and causes pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, fever, vomiting, and jaundice. After several occurrences of acute cholecystitis, the gallbladder will lose its function of storing and releasing bile, resulting in chronic cholecystitis.
Choledocholithiasis – Choledocholithiasis occurs when gallstones become lodged in the neck of the gallbladder or in the bile ducts. This often leads to the gallbladder becoming inflamed and causes extreme pain in the middle upper abdomen, fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting.
These conditions can be painful but are typically easily treated. For gallbladder inflammation that is not caused by gallstones, the first occurrence is treated with antibiotics. For recurring episodes or more severe cases, surgery is often recommended. We technically don’t need our gallbladders in order to survive, which means they can be removed from our bodies relatively easily.
If you are experiencing pain in the upper right side of your abdomen or any other symptom associated with gallbladder disease, don’t hesitate to visit your local FastMed Urgent Care. Most gallbladder diseases can be diagnosed from a physical exam and x-rays, and all FastMed locations are equipped with digital x-rays. Our staff of caring medical professionals is dedicated to providing you with a treatment plan that will have you better as soon as possible.
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