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Gallbladder Signs and Symptoms - Magdi Alexander MD - Magdi Alexander MD - General Surgeon in Pasadena California

The gallbladder is a small organ resembling a pouch, sitting just below the liver. The gallbladder stores the bile secreted by the liver. For digestive purposes, the gallbladder squeezes the bile into the small intestine, which helps digest fats. However, the gallbladder itself is not an essential organ and can be removed without causing any observable health problems.

Why Would a Person Need to Treat the Gallbladder?

Cholelithiasis, also known as gallstones, occur when substances in the bile crystallizes in the gallbladder. It can cause pain, nausea, or inflammation. Oftentimes, it is the source to cholecystitis when a gallstone gets stuck in the tube (cystic duct).

Cholecystitis is a common reason for gallbladder treatment. When the gallbladder becomes inflamed it disrupts the flow of bile, which then leads to swelling, pain and possible infection; it can cause severe pain and fever and requires surgery. It can also occur from infection or trauma.

When a gallstone momentarily obstructs the flow in the cystic duct, it will cause a sudden temporary pain, causing the gallbladder to contract, also known as a gallbladder attack or biliary colic.

Chronic cholecystitis occurs over a long span of time. When the gallbladder remains swollen over time it will lead to the thickening and hardening of the walls of the gallbladder.

Gallbladder Symptoms

Cholecystitis usually causes pain in the upper right abdomen. This pain may radiate from the right shoulder or back, and there will be tenderness over the abdomen when touched. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and fever. These symptoms will often occur after a meal, especially large or fatty meals.

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