The gallbladder is a pear-like organ positioned under the liver. Its function is to store and release bile. Bile is a fluid produced in the liver and it helps in digestion of fats. In the presence of food, bile is released from the gallbladder into the small intestine through a tube called the common bile duct.
The gallbladder is susceptible to different diseases. Gallbladder disease often occurs when the flow of bile gets obstructed which usually results in an inflammation and infection of the gallbladder. Women are more susceptible to gallbladder diseases, although men can be affected too.
Most common cause of gallbladder disease is a gallstone. Gallstones are developed when excess cholesterol in bile forms into crystals. Gallstones can vary in size but they typically cause gallstone attack when they obstruct the duct. Gallstone attack is characterized by sudden and intense pain in the upper right part of the abdomen that can last for up to several hours. Back pain and pain in the right shoulder blade is present too.
Inflammation of the gallbladder is known as cholecystitis and it in most cases results out of a buildup of bile in the organ when gallstones block the common bile duct. This gallbladder disease can also be caused by an infection, injury and tumor. Cholecystitis is accompanied with steady and severe pain in the upper right abdomen that usually occurs after a meal. A sufferer can also experience nausea, vomiting, fever and abdominal bloating.
Cholecystitis can be acute or chronic. The symptoms of this gallbladder disease are generally triggered by fatty foods, chocolate, pastries and alcohol.
Jaundice is another common gallbladder disease that is often a result of gallstones presence. Jaundice occurs when a gallstones blocks the common bile duct and prevents the bile flow from the liver. The symptoms include excretion of dark urine, yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes as well as other symptoms associated with acute cholecystitis.
The gallbladder can also be affected by other diseases such as: polyps in the gallbladder, abscesses, gallbladder tumors, congenital defects of the gallbladder and chronic acalculous gallbladder disease.
Treatments for Gallbladder Diseases
Any gallbladder disease is serious and potentially life-threatening if not treated in time. Therefore, if you experience symptoms of gallbladder disease you must immediately seek medical help. Although important, gallbladder is the organ that can be surgically removed, which does not affect digestion of foods since bile can flow directly from the liver to the small intestine.
Symptoms of gallbladder diseases can be relieved in many ways. Gallbladder attacks can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and warm compresses applied to the stomach.
Gallbladder symptoms can also be treated with over-the-counter supplements such as vitamins A and C, garlic and Ginkgo Plus.