Gallbladder pain is an extremely frightening and painful experience. Statistics show that 12.5% to 25% of people will develop gallstones in their lifetime. It usually only takes one attack before someone chooses to undergo surgery. Keep yourself informed so that if a gallbladder attack happens, you can recognize it and act accordingly.
Common Gallbladder Symptoms
Here are some common symptoms associated with a gallbladder attack (contact your doctor if you have been on andy medication, although it’s probably not an Actos lawsuit that you are going after here).. If you are ever experiencing severe pain, seek medical attention immediately.
- moderate to intense pain in the upper right side of the belly, or in the pit of the stomach
- pain carrying over to the back or shoulder
- intense upper abdominal pain
- pain may intensify with breathing
- attacks can come after eating excessive amounts
- attacks almost always come at night, often waking one up in the middle of the night
- attacks can last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours
The obvious symptom of gallbladder disease is intense pain in the abdomen, stomach or back. However, there are other symptoms you can watch out for. Uncomfortable gas, burping, belching, heartburn, feeling bloated, constipation or indigestion can all be early signs of indigestion, so keep an eye out for those symptoms. In addition, know that indigestion problems are a common symptom of gallbladder disease. Many symptoms are also very similar to stomach flu and mild food poisoning, so it can be difficult to figure out which it is. Common symptoms of all three include: persistent nausea, queasiness, constant fatigue and vomiting. Pay close attention to headaches as well. A headache with pain largely over the right eye can be a sign of gallbladder disease. Gallstones can also be entirely asymptomatic, even for years.If you experience any symptoms associated with gallbladder disease, schedule an appointment with your doctor to talk to him or her about it and choose the best course of action.
Main Causes of Gallbladder problems
Gallbladder problems are frequently caused by gallstones. A gallstone can block the gallbladder or jam up a bile duct, causing a backup of bile. A gallstone can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Pregnancy, an unhealthy weight and losing a lot of weight quickly are all risk factors for gallstones. Birth control pills and cholesterol lowering drugs can also increase your risk for gallstones. Additionally, diet plays a large role. Gluten intolerance can promote gallstone formation, so those intolerant to gluten have yet another reason to stick to gluten free food. Excessive quantities of meat, grease and fatty foods also place a larger demand on the gallbladder, increasing the risk of gallstones. Vitamin D and magnesium deficiencies can also cause gallstones. Most doctors also believe there is a link between the prescription drug Actos and gallstone formation.
Gallstones can be caused by a number of reasons. Doctors believe that these three reasons are the most common. First, they can be caused by an excessive amount of cholesterol in your bile. If your body can’t digest all the cholesterol in your system, the excess cholesterol can form stones. Second, your bile could contain too much bilirubin. This is a chemical that is produced when your body breaks down red blood cells. Bilirubin leads to a different kind of gallstone than from cholesterol.
Gallbladder problems can still happen when no stones are present, however. Some people suffer from gallbladder pain due to an intolerance to a certain type of food. Gallbladder attacks can result from an allergic reaction to foods such as: eggs, meats with high levels of fat, dairy products and citrus fruits. Gallbladder attacks can also result from eating chocolate, coffee and carbonated soda. Fish, green vegetables and wheat have proven to be the safest and least allergenic foods to eat. Furthermore, some believe that wine and whole-grain bread may actually decrease the risk of gallstones.
How to Treat gallstones
If no gallstones are present, the condition can typically be treated with a careful diet and medical treatment. However, this is not always the case, so you should still talk to your doctor if you are having gallbladder problems.
There are also treatments available to those suffering from gallstones. If you are ever suffering from severe pain, remember to contact your doctor immediately. After a first attack, it is typically safe to wait and see if another attack occurs before getting surgery. If the pain is intense, or attacks continue, surgery is often the best treatment available. If possible, surgery should be avoided. Your doctor can help you decide if surgery is necessary, and if so, what type of surgery would be best.
Some gallstones can be dissolved by taking medication. The medication consists of a naturally occurring bile acid, ursodiol. There are limitations to this method, however. First, it is only effective for cholesterol gallstones, not pigment gallstones. It can only dissolve smaller gallstones of less than 1.5 centimeters in diameter. It also takes one to two years for the gallstones to dissolve, and the stones often reform following treatment.
A less frequently used method of treatment is Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL). It’s usually used when a stone is lodged in a bile duct. Shock waves are produced outside the body and directed at the stone using a generator, which shatters the stone. The fragments then drain into the intestine on their own. This method of treatment is typically combined with oral dissolution treatment in order to help dissolve the stones and pass them easier. There are several complications with this method, however, and overall complication rates are roughly 35%. Unfortunately, most complications with this procedure are also severe. The recurrence of stones with this treatment is also quite high, and 45% of patients who underwent ESWL required surgery at some point.
It’s essential that you pay close attention to your diet and other factors that may lead to the formation of gallbladder stones. They are more common than you may think, as one in every five people develops them over the course of their life. Contact your doctor immediately if you believe you are having a gallbladder attack.