gall bladder; Getting to know the types of diseases and their problems

What to do if you have a gallbladder attack?

Gallstone attack is also called acute cholecystitis or biliary colic. If you have pain in the upper right side of your abdomen, it may be related to your gallbladder. Keep in mind that there are other causes of pain in this area. These causes include the following:

  • heartburn
  • Appendicitis
  • hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)
  • stomach ulcer
  • Pneumonia
  • Hiatal hernia
  • kidney infection
  • kidney stone
  • liver abscess
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Shingles infection
  • severe constipation

Could it be the cause of gallstones?

Gallstones are small grains made of fat, protein and minerals in the body. A gallbladder attack usually occurs when gallstones block the bile duct. When this happens, bile builds up in the gallbladder. Obstruction and swelling cause pain. The attack usually stops when the gallstones move and the bile can flow out.

There are two main types of gallstones:

Cholesterol gallstones: Cholesterol stones are the most common form of gallstones. They are white or yellowish because they are made of cholesterol or fat.

Pigmented gallstones: Pigment stones form when the bile contains too much bilirubin. The color of this type of gallstones is dark brown or black. Bilirubin is the pigment that makes red blood cells red.

It is possible to have gallstones without having a gallbladder attack. Gallstones that do not block the bile duct usually do not cause symptoms.

Gallbladder attack symptoms

Gallbladder attacks usually occur after eating a large meal. The reason is that the body produces more bile when eating fatty foods. You are more likely to have a gallbladder attack at night.

If you have had a gallbladder attack in the past, you are more likely to have it again. Gallbladder attack pain is usually different from other abdominal pain. You may experience conditions because:

  • Sudden and severe pain that lasts from a few minutes to a few hours
  • Dull or cramping pain that rapidly worsens in the upper right side of the abdomen
  • Severe pain in the middle of the abdomen below the sternum
  • Severe pain that makes it difficult to sit still
  • Pain that doesn’t get worse or change when you move
  • Abdominal tenderness

Pain caused by a gallbladder attack may spread from the abdomen to the following areas

  • Back between the shoulder blades
  • right shoulder

You may also have other gallbladder symptoms, such as:

  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • Fever
  • Shivering
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Dark or tea-colored urine
  • Light-colored stools or clay soil

Gallbladder attack can lead to other complications that will cause other symptoms. For example, this condition can cause liver problems. The reason is that the blockage of this duct can cause the accumulation of bile in the liver. This condition can cause yellowing of the skin and yellowing of the whites of the eyes.

Sometimes gallstones can block the pancreatic duct. The pancreas also makes digestive juices that help break down food. Obstruction can lead to a complication called gallstone pancreatitis. The symptoms of this complication are similar to the symptoms of a bile attack. You may also have pain in the upper left side of your abdomen.

When should you see a doctor?

Only about a third of people with gallstones may have a gallbladder attack or serious symptoms. A gallbladder attack is an emergency that requires immediate care. You may also need treatment to prevent complications.

Do not ignore the pain and do not try to self-medicate with over-the-counter pain relievers. If you have any of these symptoms of a gallbladder attack, see your doctor right away:

  • Severe pain
  • high fever
  • Shivering
  • Jaundice of the skin
  • Yellowness of the whites of the eyes

Gallbladder attack treatment

Initially, the doctor will prescribe painkillers to help relieve the pain. You may also receive anti-nausea medication to help reduce symptoms. If your doctor determines that you can go home without further treatment, you may also want to try natural pain relief treatments.

A gallbladder attack may resolve on its own. This happens if the gallstones are passed safely and do not cause complications. You still need to see a doctor to check the condition.

You may need scans and tests to confirm that the pain is from a gallbladder attack, including:

  • sonography
  • Abdominal radiograph
  • CT Scan
  • Liver function blood test
  • Hepatobiliary scan (HIDA)

Abdominal ultrasound is the most common and fastest way to diagnose gallstones.


An oral medication called ursodeoxycholic acid helps dissolve cholesterol gallstones. This drug may be a good option if the pain goes away on its own or you have no symptoms. Ursodeoxycholic acid only works on gallstones that are two to three millimeters in size.

It may take several months for the drug to work, and you may need to take it for up to two years. After stopping the drug, there is a possibility of recurrence of gallstones.


If the pain does not go away or if you have frequent attacks, surgery may be needed. Surgical treatments for gallbladder attack include:

Cholecystectomy: During this surgery, the entire gallbladder is removed. This procedure prevents the re-formation of gallstones or recurrence of gallbladder attacks. You must be unconscious to perform this procedure. Recovery from surgery takes a few days to a few weeks.

Gallbladder surgery: Gallbladder surgery may be performed laparoscopically or through open surgery.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): In ERCP, you are under anesthesia, the doctor passes an endoscope equipped with a very thin and flexible camera from the mouth to the opening of the bile duct. This procedure can be used to find and remove gallstones in the duct. This procedure is not able to remove the stones inside the gallbladder. Recovery time is short because no incision is usually made during the ERCP procedure.

Percutaneous cholecystostomy: This is a draining surgical procedure for the gallbladder. While you are under general anesthesia, a tube is inserted into your gallbladder through a small incision in your abdomen. Ultrasound or X-ray images help guide the surgeon. The tube is connected to a bag into which gallstones and excess bile are drawn.

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