Pain occurs on the gallbladder due to two reasons. One is formation of gallstones and another is cholecystitis. Gallbladder is a small bag located on the right side of the stomach under the liver. This organ is part of the biliary system which constitutes liver and pancreas. Stones are formed due to number of reasons in gallbladder and it may cause inflammation and pain.
Gallstone formation is the major cause for gallbladder pain. When the gallbladder develops swelling, it is called cholecystitis, which would also cause pain in the gallbladder.
It is not a rule that people who consume more fatty foods will get gallbladder pain and people who are veggies and thin will not get any attack. You can get gallbladder attack if your parents had it, if you are obese of if you are diabetic. You are increasing the risk of getting gallbladder pain and attack if you are taking alcohol, if you have hypothyroidism, if you are resistance to insulin and if you are using estrogen pills for delaying child-birth.
How do Gallstones Cause Pain?
Gallstones, once they are formed naturally get lodged inside the bile ducts (a small tube like structure) that extends from the liver or that passes into the intestine. Biliary colic is the pain that is caused due to gallstone blockage in the ducts. A stone or few stones can block the neck portion of the gallbladder thus blocking the free flow of bile (an enzyme) that facilitates digestion. This would cause back pressure of the bile which may force the duct to extend gradually, causing biliary pain. However biliary pain is present in one in three persons who have gallstones.
Many times, gallstones do not cause any problem and the person will not experience any pain. Around 70-80 people out of 100 never know that they have gallstones. Thus gallstones remain in their body “silent” without causing any disturbance.
The doctor will look for appropriate symptoms like severe pain in the right abdomen and back. Further he may do ultra sonogram test on the abdomen or endoscopic scan for detecting the presence of gallstones. Computerized tomography or HIDA scan is done for detecting the presence of gallstones. For some patients, ERCP is performed for locating the stones and removing them.
Apart from pain in the right abdominal area, there can be dizziness, nausea and vomiting. The intensity of the pain may range from moderate to severe depending on the distention of the duct. In addition there can be additional symptoms like fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, pain radiating towards right shoulder and back for some people. There can be abdominal bloating and belching for many persons apart from abnormal bowel movements.
Gallbladder attacks often are felt during night or after overeating. This is more particular when the person takes a hefty meal with high fats or oil content. Pain may worsen when the person takes deep inhalation. A typical gallbladder attack can last anywhere from 15-30 minutes.
Not all the people having gallbladder pain will have to undergo surgery. It depends on the intensity of pain and the size of stone formed. Ursodiol is administered for reducing gallstones. But surgery is the best option for completely removing gallstones. You need to make dietary changes and lifestyle changes for not getting gallstones again.
Doing gallbladder flush is another option for removing gallbladder pain. Lemon tea is effective in dissolving gallstones and preventing them to form again.
You cannot prevent getting gallstones. However you can reduce the chance of gallbladder pain by taking fiber rich diet. Eat plenty of vegetables and fresh fruits. Use Omega 3 oil and other mono-saturated oils like olive oil and avocado. Avoid taking too much of trans fats and saturated foodstuff. Reduce your weight and exercise regularly.