Nothing ruins the day like a gallbladder attack. After eating greasy or fatty foods, you may notice that you can’t even walk upright due to the pain. Since a gallbladder attack may lead to other health problems, it’s important to know the symptoms so that you will seek treatment when necessary.
What Is a Gall Bladder Attack?
The gallbladder, located just beneath the liver, stores bile that the liver secretes. After a meal that consists of a lot of fat, the liver sends bile to the intestine to aid in digestion of the fatty food.
Gallstones may form when the bile in your gallbladder hardens and, although they are most often harmless, these stones can sometimes block the bile duct or cause inflammation of the gallbladder. When this happens the pain can be intense and other organs, such as the pancreas, can be affected.
Aside from severe abdominal pain, symptoms of a gallstone may also include nausea and vomiting, as well as a fever and chest pain on the right side. The pain may spread to your back, between your shoulder blades, and your gallbladder may even be tender when you touch it.
If you have a gallbladder attack, lie down with the left side of your body elevated by a pillow. The attack may last for as little as 15 minutes or remain through the entire day.
Many people who have gallstones aren’t even aware they have them, since they most often don’t cause symptoms. And just because you have a gallbladder attack doesn’t necessarily mean you will ever have another.
Because of this, your doctor may choose the watch and wait method, advising you to change your diet to see if this helps in the attacks. However, a second gallbladder attack usually means that you will continue to have them. At this point, your doctor may wish to perform surgery to remove the gallbladder.
Surgery to remove the gallbladder usually is done by laparoscopic, consisting of small incisions whereby the surgeon can identify and clip the vessels and duct going to the gallbladder. Then the gallbladder is removed and the incisions are closed.
There are usually no complications after the surgery, and your body can function well without the gallbladder.
If you have had a gall bladder attack, the best way to avoid another is through diet and exercise. Eat low-fat, low-cholesterol foods and limit refined sugars. Begin an exercise routine, since being overweight increases your risk for gallstones.
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