What Does Gallbladder Pain Feel Like
Gallbladder pain feels different than any other kind of pain youve ever felt in your abdomen. You may feel a sudden, sharp pain in your upper right abdomen. It may feel like someone is cutting you with a knife. The pain is constant and severe.
The pain doesnt go away or get better when you move. Passing gas or pooping doesnt help either. Deep breathing can make the pain feel worse. The pain may hurt so bad you cant sit still, and you may think youre having a heart attack.
Eating often makes the pain worse since it causes gallbladder contractions.
What Does The Gallbladder Do
The gallbladder is a storage pouch for bile, a liquid that aids digestion. The liver continually makes bile, which is stored in the gallbladder until you eat. When you consume food, the stomach releases a hormone that causes the muscles around the gallbladder to contract and release the bile.
Bile helps break down fat during digestion. Its made up of several substances, including cholesterol, bile salts and water. Some of those substances, such as cholesterol, can pack together and form gallstones ranging in size from that of a grain of sand to a golf ball. Up to 15% of people have gallstones, but most never become problematic.
Preparing For Gallbladder Removal
Your surgeon will explain how to prepare for your gallbladder removal. For example, if you smoke, you will be asked to stop as smoking increases your risk of getting a chest and wound infection, which can slow your recovery.
Gallbladder removal using keyhole surgery is routinely done as a day-case procedure but you may also need to stay overnight in hospital. Gallbladder surgery is usually done under general anaesthesia. This means you will be asleep during your operation.
If you’re having general anaesthetic, you will be asked to follow fasting instructions. This means not eating or drinking, typically for about six hours beforehand. However, it’s important to follow your surgeon’s advice.
At the hospital your nurse may check your heart rate, blood pressure and test your urine.
Your surgeon will discuss with you what will happen before, during and after your procedure, and any pain you might have. This is your opportunity to understand what will happen, and you can help yourself by preparing questions to ask about the risks, benefits and any alternatives to the procedure. This will help you to be informed, so you can give your consent for the procedure to go ahead, which you may be asked to do so by signing a consent form.
You may be asked to wear compression stockings to help prevent blood clots forming in the veins in your legs. You may need to have an injection of an anticlotting medicine called heparin as well as, or instead of, wearing compression stockings.
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Gallbladder Attack Symptoms When You Need Emergency Room
Are you suffering from severe abdominal pain? There are many conditions that can cause pain in the stomach, one of the more common causes being a gallbladder attack. If you have been experiencing sudden, sharp pain in your stomach quite frequently in the past few days, theres a possibility that your gallbladder might be infected or inflamed due to the presence of gallstones.
Gallstones are mainly formed by the excess deposition of minerals, bile salts, or cholesterol in the bile. These stones can get lodged in the bile duct and cause blockage which can lead to an acute gallbladder attack.
Now, there are many instances when you might experience abdominal discomfort or pain throughout your life. So, how to determine if the pain you are feeling is a gallbladder attack symptom and whether you need to go to an ER for an immediate medical checkup? This article will help you know everything about a gallbladder attack.
Emergency Gallbladder Surgery: Do You Need It Or Can You Afford To Wait
Study: younger, older people likelier to visit ER repeatedly with gallstone pain before surgery
ROCHESTER, Minn. Gallstone pain is one of the most common reasons patients visit emergency rooms. Figuring out who needs emergency gallbladder removal and who can go home and schedule surgery at their convenience is sometimes a tricky question, and it isnt always answered correctly. A new Mayo Clinic study found that 1 in 5 patients who went to the emergency room with gallbladder pain and were sent home to schedule surgery returned to the ER within 30 days needing emergency gallbladder removal. The surgical complication rate rises with the time lag before surgery, the researchers say.
It makes a big difference if you get the right treatment at the right time, says co-lead author , a gastroenterologic surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The study is published in the Journal of Surgical Research.
Often its obvious who needs emergency gallbladder removal, a procedure known as cholecystectomy, who can delay it and who doesnt need surgery at all. But sometimes patients fall into a gray area. Mayo researchers are working to develop a reliable tool to help determine the best course of action in those cases, and the newly published study is a first step, Dr. Bingener-Casey says.
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Gallbladder Survival Guide: Preventing An Er Visit Over Thanksgiving
How to Avoid a Gallbladder Attack from All the Delicious Thanksgiving Food
Most surgeons on-call during the Thanksgiving holiday and the subsequent holiday season are not surprised when a patient visits the ER complaining of upper right side, abdominal pain, and tenderness radiating through to the back.
There are also no surprises when an ultrasound shows a dilated gallbladder, possibly with a thickened wall, and gallstones ranging from the size of a pebble to the size of a marble or even an egg. At this point, surgery is the next logical step a cholecystectomy, or gallbladder removal, which is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States.
At Stony Brook University Hospital, we usually see a spike in the number of emergency cholecystectomies that are performed over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Here, , professor and chairman of surgery and chief of surgical services at Stony Brook Medicine, who is a renowned gastrointestinal surgeon, shares a few practical tips on how to prevent a visit to the ER, and keep you at home with your family during the Thanksgiving holiday:
- Yellowish color of the skin or of the whites of the eyes
Learn more about gallstones and how to prevent a gallbladder attack. And don’t let heartburn be a GI holiday spoiler, either: see our prevention tips blog for GERD Awareness Week, which is Thanksgiving week.
What To Expect Afterwards
You may need to rest until the effects of the anaesthetic have passed. You may need pain relief to help with any discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off.
If you’re a day-case patient, you will usually be able to go home when you feel ready but you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home. Try to have a friend or relative with you for the first 24 hours after your surgery.
Before you go home your nurse will give you some advice about caring for your healing wounds. You may be given a date for a follow-up appointment.
General anaesthesia temporarily affects your co-ordination and reasoning skills, so you must not drive, drink alcohol, operate machinery or sign legal documents for 24 hours afterwards. If you’re in any doubt about driving, contact your motor insurer so that you’re aware of their recommendations, and always follow your surgeon’s advice.
If your wounds are closed with metal clips or stitches, these will be removed by a nurse after about a week. Commonly, dissolvable stitches are used with this procedure. The length of time your dissolvable stitches will take to disappear depends on what type you have. However, for this procedure they should disappear in about two weeks.
Once your gallbladder has been removed, your body can’t develop new gallstones. However, if gallstones have passed into your bile ducts and remain there after surgery, you may still get symptoms. Gallstones that have passed into your bile ducts can be removed by ERCP.
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What To Expect In Terms Of Treatments
Surgical procedures include:
- Laparoscopic cholecystectomy: This is the most common surgery for gallstones. It uses a minimally invasive incision. It may be done on an outpatient basis, and recovery usually takes about a week.
- Open cholecystectomy: If your gallbladder is very inflamed or if there is scar tissue in the area, surgeons may have to make a larger incision to remove your gallbladder. You may stay in the hospital for about a week, and recovery generally takes a month.
You do not need your gallbladder to maintain healthy digestion. After gallbladder removal surgery, you may have changes in your bowel habits, such as fewer bowel movements. This is usually temporary.
If your gallstones are made of cholesterol rather than bile, your doctor may treat them nonsurgically, breaking them up using medicine or a shock wave procedure.
However, gallstones are more likely to return if you do not remove the gallbladder. If you have complications from a gallbladder attack, doctors will treat them according to the nature of the complication.
What Are The Potential Complications Of Gallstones
The main goal of an ED visit for gallstones is to primarily relieve the patients pain. During that visit, we will also evaluate for signs of complications that would require emergency removal of the gallbladder or culprit stone.
One of the most common reasons a gallbladder needs to be removed on an urgent basis is for cholecystitis, which is an infection of the gallbladder. When gallstones are lodged in the gallbladder or duct for a prolonged period of time, this can sometimes lead to inflammation and infection of the gallbladder itself. In these cases, the patient is started on antibiotics and typically requires surgery within 24 to 48 hours. There are other, more rare cases when the gallstone is lodged in a particular location such that is causes an infection of the bile duct, or even the pancreas . These conditions are often treated with procedures that endoscopically remove the gallstone, rather than the gallbladder.
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What Causes A Gallbladder Attack
One of the main gallbladder attack causes is the presence of gallstones. These are formed by the deposition of excess bile salts, mineral salts such as calcium or potassium oxalate, or high levels of cholesterol in the bile. There can be many, small-sized gallstones or few, large gallstones that can be present in the gallbladder.
The large ones are particularly problematic as these can get lodged in the bile duct causing the duct to get blocked and not allowing the gallbladder to secrete the bile into the small intestine. The excessive backup of bile in the gallbladder leads to inflammation or infection which are the main causes of severe, acute abdominal pain. This condition is known as cholelithiasis.
The small gallstones do not pose any serious threat and are usually passed out without any aggravating symptoms. However, the presence of these gallstones in the gallbladder for a long period can often lead to calcification or hardening of the stones due to calcium deposits that can cause the gallbladder mucosa to get inflamed, swollen, and infected leading to acute pain in the stomach. In medical terminology, this condition is known as cholecystitis.
Both of the above-mentioned conditions can be acute or chronic and are the primary causes of a gallbladder attack.
Reasons To Treat Your Gallbladder Issues Now
- Jennifer Owens, MD, FACS
If youve ruled out the possibility that your stomach pain is not just your average stomach pain, you could be experiencing gallbladder issues like gallstones, inflammation or polyps. If your symptoms progress from intermittent to on-going and severe, a trip to the emergency room may be in your future. Thats why it is crucial to listen to your body and schedule a visit with our gallbladder experts now.
5 Reasons to Treat Your Gallbladder Issues Now
Here are the signs to look for that may indicate something is wrong with your gallbladder.
- Sharp stomach pain in the center or upper right area of the abdomen
Pain usually occurs 20 minutes after eating meals with high fat content. If this pain happens at least one time per week for one month, you should not delay in seeing a doctor.
If your provider suspects your gallbladder is the culprit, he or she will order tests like an ultrasound or CT scan to discover the cause of your issues and gallbladder removal may be necessary. There are two ways that your gallbladder can be removed laparoscopically or through open surgery .
- Smaller incisions
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What To Expect At The Hospital:
Your doctor will take a clinical history and perform an examination. If he suspects complicated gallstones, he will order an abdominal ultrasonography scan to confirm the condition.
Gallbladder removal is the ultimate treatment for acute cholecystitis.
But if you have bile duct obstruction with a stone, your doctor may perform a special type of endoscopy called Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography to relieve the obstruction.
When Should You Call A Doctor Or Go To The Emergency Room
You should call your doctor if you have any symptoms of gallbladder pain that concern you.
Certain complications of a gallstone attack can be serious or life threatening. You should seek immediate medical care if you develop:
- severe abdominal pain
- yellowing or discoloration of your skin or whites of your eyes
- a high fever with chills
Doctors may perform different tests to diagnose your condition, including an:
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What Is A Gallbladder Attack
A gallbladder attack happens when stones of crystallized bile or cholesterol get stuck in the cystic duct. This tube connects to another duct from the pancreas as part of your digestive system.
The two ducts merge and connect to the small intestine, where the fluids they carry help break down fat.
The anatomical term for the gallbladder is the cholecyst. If the gallbladder duct is blocked by a stone or stones it is called acute cholelithiasis, and if it becomes inflamed, it is called acute cholecystitis.
Most gallstones dissolve on their own. When they do not pass, however, they can cause complications that require emergency treatment.
The symptoms of a gallbladder attack can also be similar to other serious health concerns. It is important to contact a doctor so you can be accurately diagnosed and treated.
Gallstone Symptoms: When To Get Emergency Care
The symptoms of gallstones are recognizable when the gallstones move into the bile duct and create swelling and irritation. The most common gallstone symptom is severe abdominal pain in the upper right area of the stomach, which can spread to the shoulder or upper back. You may also vomit and feel nauseous. Seek emergency medical care if these symptoms last more than two hours or you have a fever.
Around 80 percent of people who have gallstones never have symptoms.
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Why Does Your Gallbladder Need To Be Removed
You may need gallbladder surgery if you have pain or other symptoms caused by gallstones small stonesthat can form in the gallbladder. They can block the flow of bile and irritate the gallbladder. Common symptoms of gallbladder problems include:
- Indigestion, with bloating, heartburn, and gas
- Sharp pain in your belly
- Nausea and vomiting
- Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes
The good news? You dont need a gallbladder to live, so if its causing severe problems, your doctor will likely recommend surgery to remove it.
You may need gallbladder surgery if you have pain or other symptoms caused by gallstones.
Where Is Gallbladder Pain Felt
The location of gallbladder pain can vary. Your gallbladder is located in your upper right abdomen, so you will most often feel pain in this area. You may also feel upper mid-abdominal pain or chest pain.
You may feel gallbladder referred pain. Referred pain means the pain you feel in one part of your body is caused by pain in another part of your body. Gallbladder pain may spread to your back and right shoulder.
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What Is Cholecystitis
Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder, often caused by gallstones. It can be very painful and usually needs prompt medical treatment.
The gallbladder is a small organ underneath the liver on the right side of the upper abdomen. It stores a thick dark green fluid called bile which the liver produces to help with digestion.
When To Seek Help
If you suspect you are having a gallbladder attack, visit emergency care right away. Finding out the underlying cause for your abdominal pain and getting it treated right away is important especially if you think that your gallbladder might be acting up. If left untreated, the recurrent and frequent bile duct blockages due to gallstones can be life-threatening.
Seek immediate medical help if you or someone you are with is experiencing the following symptoms for more than a few hours,
- Abdominal swelling, distention, or bloating for more than a few hours
- Dark, tea-colored urine and clay-colored stools
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Severe abdominal pain
- Yellowish skin and eyes
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