There are many possible causes of the stomach or abdominal pain, and it can be difficult to determine which one is responsible. The gallbladder may be facing one of the most common medical conditions.
Although abdominal pain is common, how do you know when your pain merits a trip to the medical emergency room?
Gallbladder attack symptoms and pain
Stones in the gallbladder can range from tiny grains to boulders the size of golf balls. A surprising number of gallstones are asymptomatic and don’t necessitate medical intervention.
But a gallbladder attack occurs when gallstones block the bile ducts. Bile cannot enter the small intestine because of this obstruction, which builds up.
Your gallbladder that breaks down fats may become inflamed as a result of the blockage. You may experience severe pain, vomiting, and fever if this happens to you.
Yellowing of the skin or jaundice can occur if treatment is not given. So, how can you tell if you have a gallbladder attack?
Some of the signs are as follows:
- Right shoulder subacute pain (In most cases, this pain begins in the upper right abdomen and progresses to the shoulder)
- stomach pain in the upper right side
- Chest pain
The symptoms can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. They often begin shortly after consuming a meal.
Gallstone causes & risk factors
The gallbladder is thought to be the source of gallstones because of a chemical imbalance in the bile. While many factors could contribute to this imbalance, no one knows for sure just yet.
Here are possible causes:
- Concentrated bile. To work, your gallbladder must be able to release bile. Bile duct stones can occur due to insufficient bile expulsion.
- The liver produces more bilirubin than it should under certain conditions, such as liver damage and certain blood disorders. As bilirubin builds up in the gallbladder, pigment gallstones form. Dark brown or black is a common coloration for these tough stones.
- A high level of bilirubin in the blood. The breakdown of red blood cells results in the chemical bilirubin being produced. The liver is the final stop before it is excreted from the body.
- Cholesterol is spilling in the bile. If your bile contains too much cholesterol, yellow cholesterol stones can occur. There are instances when your liver produces more cholesterol than bile can break down, causing these hard stones to develop.
Gallstones can affect anyone. If you’re at risk of developing gallstones, you may want to pay attention to the following risk factors and seek medical care:
- A Mexican or Native American ancestry
- Suffering from blood diseases.
- Include oral contraceptives in your medication regimens.
- Taking cholesterol-lowering medication.
- Consuming a lot of fat and cholesterol
- Currently suffering from Crohn’s illness.
- Have lost a significant amount of weight in a short period.
- Obese or overweight
- A history of gallstones runs in your family
- Older than 40 years of age
How long does a gallbladder attack last?
For the most part, these attacks last for a long time. There is nothing that can be done while an attack is taking place. Once the gallstone has passed, the pain should lessen.
Gallbladder attacks can be so excruciating that they necessitate a trip to the ER. Since severe pain requires an evaluation, that’s good news.
Heart attacks, ulcer perforations, and appendicitis are just a few serious conditions that share symptoms with gallbladder attacks.
There is no need for treatment if you have never experienced pain in your gallbladder (even if you have gallstones).
If a patient has had one or two gallstone attacks, they may want to avoid gallstones and should be checked out. Also, gallstones can cause gallbladder infections or pancreas inflammation if they don’t pass on their own.
Oxycodone is frequently prescribed for acute gallstone pain. Among the available medical options are the following:
- oral bile salt therapy
- dissolution, and
- lithotripsy (shock waves)
A gallbladder operation (or removing obstructing gallstones) is the definitive treatment. As of now, laparoscopic surgery is the most commonly used surgery method.
This minimally invasive surgery involves removing the gallbladder through small incisions. Even so, some patients may necessitate more extensive surgical procedures.
Unless there is an underlying condition that mimics gallbladder pain, most people do well after removing their gallbladder.
What can be done to prevent gallbladder problems?
A proven method for preventing gallstones and other gallbladder problems has not yet been discovered, but studies suggest some possibilities.
- Maintain a healthy weight by eating three well-balanced meals per day
- Engage in regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes a day).
- Avoid alcohol
- Consume more fiber and nuts (at a serving size of one ounce or more)
- Cut back on fatty foods
When to see a doctor
Gallbladder symptoms should be taken seriously if they don’t go away in six hours. The gallbladder may be “clogged,” increasing the risk of infection if the pain persists.
If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention:
- a lot of gas and discomfort
A gallbladder disease could cause right upper abdominal pain and an upset stomach. A doctor can aid a patient in determining the best next treatment steps.
Are gallstones fatal?
Gallstones aren’t life-threatening. However, they can lead to a host of potentially fatal complications. Luckily, this is a one-in-a-million occurrence.
Gallbladder and bile ducts can become infected if a large stone blocks the ducts after leaving the gallbladder. It can cause severe pain and infection.
You may need immediate attention in this case. If you’d like to learn more, talk to the staff at Kingwood ER for medical advice.