What is Gallbladder Disease?

Gallbladder disease is one of those things you don’t really know about, until you are struck with a gallbladder attack. If you don’t suffer from a horrible, sudden gallbladder attack, you might have gallstones, which aren’t any fun either. While both conditions are similar, they are a bit different but still fall under the umbrella of gallbladder disease.

What is gallbladder disease?

Gallbladder disease mostly affects women, however, men do suffer from gallstones and gallbladder problems as well. The gallbladder is an organ where bile that is produced by the liver goes. It aids in the digestion and absorption of fatty foods and fats.  Since its purpose is to deal with fat, excess fat is usually what causes the problems with the gallbladder too.

Gallbladder disease can be the inflammation of the organ, gallstones, or other pains associated with the gallbladder. A gallstone attack or gallbladder “flare up” usually occurs after a fatty meal. The excess fat going through your body overworks the gallbladder and can cause it to act up, causing you the pain of an attack. Gallstones usually take a bit of time to develop, as they are formed by crystals when the liver is overfull of cholesterol and it gets dumped in to the bile duct faster.  Gallstones can also be caused from a shortage of bile acids in the digestive system.


Depending on what type of gallbladder problem you are having, your symptoms might be varied. You could have sever stomach pain, pain that feels like a heart attack, vomiting, nausea, pain between the shoulder blades, pain under the right shoulder and pain in the upper stomach region that is constant.  Other symptoms include gas, indigestion, bloating and intolerance to fatty foods.


There are a couple of different courses of treatment you can take. If you have had your first bout of gallstones or an attack, you might be able to regulate it with a change in diet. Eliminate excess fat from your diet and drink lots of water.

The most common treatment for gallstones or excessive gallbladder pain is to have it removed. The surgery can be as simple as a laparoscopic procedure or it can be traditional surgery where there is an incision on the stomach and the gallbladder is removed. Recovery from traditional surgery can take weeks, whereas the laser surgery only requires a few days of rest.

There are some medicines that are on the market that can work to break up the gallstones, however, many patients have recurrences, especially when the diet is not altered.  There is also the chance that the medicine won’t work and surgery will be required anyway.

If you suspect you have gallbladder disease, consult with your doctor. They will be able to perform an exam and tell you if you need an ultrasound on the gallbladder, a blood test or something else to determine your pain. Letting the pain go can result in you getting much sicker and requiring a longer recovery time. The pain might also be from something else that is not your gallbladder and require immediate attention.

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