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Gallbladder signs, symptoms and treatments

With 206 bones, about a dozen major organs, the circulatory system, the endocrine system, and the other moving parts in the human body it stands to reason that when someone begins to experience pain or discomfort they may not know exactly where the root of the problem lies. And with so much attention given to the organs like the heart and lungs, rarely do people connect the dots when it comes to gallbladder signs, symptoms, and treatments.

The gallbladder is a small, pear shaped organ situated just under the liver in the upper right corner of the abdomen. We don’t think about it too much but this little organ is responsible for taking the body’s store of bile and mixing it with a combination of other fluids, fats, and cholesterol and then sending that mixture to the small intestine where it can break down fat from the foods we eat allowing fat-soluble minerals and vitamins to get into our bloodstream.

On a day to day basis, we rarely give much thought to what our gallbladder is doing until we have a problem. Then, when symptoms begin to arise we’re not really sure where to look for a solution. It is important, however, that we understand the important role of the gallbladder in our overall health so that we can take the necessary steps to treat it before it escalates into a major health problem.

The Symptoms in Gallbladder Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments:

One of the first signs in gallbladder signs, symptoms and treatments is a pain in the middle, upper right area of the abdomen. It could be a mild pain that comes and goes intermittently or it could be more severe to the point of radiating out to other areas of the body like the back or the chest.

Nausea and vomiting could be another sign of a gallbladder problem and in more severe cases it could lead to a number of digestive issues such as acid reflux disease or a buildup of excess gas in your stomach. These are usually the result of a release of excess bile into the intestinal tract or a backup of other digestive fluids in the system.

If the symptoms are not addressed it could eventually evolve into infection, which can lead to even more severe, life-threatening conditions. A clear indication that the body is infected is evidenced by the presence of an unexplained fever. If left untreated, the infection could spread to other parts of the body leaving you weak and vulnerable to all sorts of complications.

Common Gallbladder Problems:

There are several common gallbladder problems that you may not think of when these symptoms appear. Any condition associated with the gallbladder is considered to be a gallbladder disease and should be addressed as soon as possible. Unaddressed issues with the gallbladder could be the source of major health problems in the future.

Cholecystitis: This is the inflammation of the gallbladder. This condition could be chronic or intermittent in nature. Cholecystitis, if left untreated, could eventually damage the galbladder causing permanent damage to the point that it no longer functions as it should and could lead to complications you would have to deal with for the remainder of your life.

Gallstones: These are small, hardened deposits that accumulate inside the gallbladder. They usually develop from an a buildup of cholesterol in the bile or from an abundance of calcium bilirubinate (a chemical that forms when the body breaks down red blood cells). These stones can range in size from as small as a single millimeter in thickness to several centimeters. Many people do not realize they have them until they grow to a point where they block the passages that lead out of the gallbladder causing severe pain in the process. Gallstones, in general, do not necessarily result in a major health issue but if allowed to continue to build up can lead to a small tear in the gallbladder that can allow drainage to seep into other parts of the body leading to widespread infections that could become life-threatening.

Infection: Infection usually develops when the bile duct is blocked (often by gallstones) and if left untreated could escalate to a life-threatening condition.

Empyema: This is an extension of an infection indicated by a buildup of puss (a combination of white blood cells, bacteria, and necrotic tissue) in the gallbladder. Acute and severe pain in the abdomen is usually the first sign that the gallbladder has developed empyema and needs to be treated as soon as possible.

The Treatment in Gallbladder Signs, Symptoms, and Treatments:

Gallstone problems are rarely life-threatening but they do need to be addressed. When not taken care of as soon as they appear they can lead to major life-altering complications that can be very difficult to recover from.

Treatment options can be anything from simply attempting to dissolve the gallstones with ursodeoxycholic acid to a more complicated surgical procedure. In patients where these two options are not possible, doctors may suggest an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatolography (ERCP). The patient is given a local anesthetic and then a fiber optic camera is inserted through the mouth and down through the digestive tract into the gallbladder. Then an electrically heated wire is used to open the bile duct so that the stones can be removed.

Another treatment option is to use ultrasonic shock waves to break up the gallstones to the point where they become small enough to pass safely through the digestive tract and out through the stool.

Often gallbladder signs, symptoms, and treatments are only discovered and discussed when the patient goes to see the doctor for another matter. However, it is very helpful if everyone knows the benefits of recognizing gallbladder problems early as it can do wonders for improving one’s quality of life. While most cases of gallbladder disease are considered to be minor inconveniences, when left untreated for too long a period of time they can easily escalate to the point where one’s life could be threatened. Therefore it is imperative that everyone grow to understand the seriousness of addressing gallbladder issues as soon as the symptoms present themselves.


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