By Connie Colbert.
Director of GCU Health Services
Unless there is a problem, one of the parts of your body that you do not think is your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ right under your liver.
The main function of the gallbladder is to store the fat that helps our body break down and digest fats. It does not cause swelling. The liver produces bile and circulates it normally during food and sends it to your small intestine through a tube.
When the small intestine is working, most of the gallbladder travels to the gallbladder, where it is stored until it needs to be reabsorbed. Then, when you eat fatty foods, your gall bladder releases the gallbladder into the small intestine and mixes it with partially digested food.
If it has to be removed, people can make it without a gall bladder. When the gallbladder is removed, the body compensates for the bile ducts, which move to the small intestine and store excess gallbladder instead of the gallbladder. (Isn’t the human body amazing?)
Gallbladder problems are usually the result of a blockage in your bile ducts (the ducts that move between your liver, gallbladder and small intestine). The most common cause of blockage is gallstones, also known as colitis in medicine. Gallstones are a solid collection of digestive fluids that can form in your gallbladder.
Gallstones can range in size from a sandstone to a golf ball. Some people develop only one gallstone, while others develop multiple gallstones at the same time.
What are some signs and symptoms of gall bladder?
- Sudden and rapid onset of pain in the upper right part of your abdomen lasting several minutes to hours, especially after a fatty meal.
- Sudden and rapid onset of pain in the middle of your abdomen, below the breastbone
- Back pain between your shoulder blades
- Pain in your right shoulder
- Nausea or vomiting or loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Black urine
- Oily or light-colored stools
Can I get rid of gallstones?
Yes! There are some factors that may increase your risk of falling:
- Age 40 or older
- Being Hispanic Native American or Mexican Native
- Obesity or overweight
- To be seated
- Eating a high-fat diet
- Eating a high cholesterol diet
- Low-fiber diet
- Family history of gallstones
- Existence of diabetes
- Presence of certain blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia or leukemia
- Losing weight fast
- Take estrogen-containing medications, such as oral contraceptives or hormone therapy
- Existence of liver disease
What happens next when I experience these symptoms?
Make an appointment with your doctor to have your bladder examined.
Gallstones or cholecystitis are performed by blood tests and one or more imaging studies such as abdominal ultrasound, hepatobiliary immunosuppressive acid (HIDA) scan, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) or endoscopic ret. cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).
If more serious signs and symptoms are present, seek immediate care in an emergency room.
- Abdominal pain is so severe that you cannot sit still or find a comfortable position
- Yellow skin and white eyes (jaundice)
- High fever with cold
Once diagnosed, your doctor will discuss treatment options, such as removal of the gallbladder, known as cholecystectomy.