The gallbladder is a small organ located below your liver. The gallbladder’s function is to store the bile produced by your liver and pass it through a duct that empties into your small intestine. Even though this organ is small, it can cause horrible pain if it becomes diseased.
Types of Gallbladder Disease
There are several different types of gallbladder disease. The following list is not comprehensive. You should discuss with your doctor if you are experiencing any gallbladder symptoms.
- Gallstones – this is perhaps the most widely known gallbladder condition. Gallstones are formed by substances in the bile such as calcium or cholesterol forming hard particles that block the bile ducts.
- Cholecystitis – the most common gallbladder condition. Caused by gallstones, this condition causes pain on the upper part of the abdomen, and can also cause fever, nausea and vomiting.
- Choledocholithiasis – this occurs when the bile ducts or the neck of the gallbladder are clogged with gallstones. This can cause the gallbladder to become distended, and cause extreme abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea and pale colored stools.
- Acalculous gallbladder disease – this condition occurs when there is inflammation of the gallbladder without the presence of gallstones.
- Gallbladder cancer – this rare form of cancer can present symptoms similar to cholecystitis, but often there are no symptoms.
Diagnosing Gallbladder Disease
In order to make a proper diagnosis, your doctor will perform a detailed medical history. Since there is a genetic component to gallbladder issues, your family history will play an important part. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam, placing their hand on your abdomen. They will direct you to take a breath while they feel the area. If you feel pain during this examination, you may have gallbladder disease. Your doctor will order an x-ray to look for stones, and to rule out other conditions. You will then undergo an ultrasound to give your doctor a more in-depth view of the organ. Your doctor will decide, after these exams, if your gallbladder should be removed, or if there is another cause to your discomfort.
If you are experiencing abdominal pain, it is crucial to be examined by a gastrointestinal surgeon who has the skills and experience necessary to provide you with the best possible care. Contact the offices of Dr. Shouhed today to schedule an appointment.
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