Gallbladder disease affects more than 25 million people in the United States. Gallbladder disease includes gallstones, cholecystitis (severe inflammation), and gallbladder cancer.
Problems with the gallbladder usually strike after age 40, but they can really happen to anyone. Here are five signs of gallbladder disease that the surgical team at Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, located in Jackson, Mississippi, says you shouldn’t ignore.
One of the most common signs that you’re having gallbladder symptoms is pain. And not just any abdominal pain.
The pain from your gallbladder usually appears in the mid- to upper-right section of your abdomen, and it can be mild, moderate, or severe. The pain can also radiate to your back or chest.
If you have an infection in your gallbladder, it can cause a fever or chills. Infections are serious and can spread quickly, so if you suspect you have one, seek care immediately.
People with chronic gallbladder disease experience digestive symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Others may have chronic gas or acid reflux.
If you’re having more bowel movements than normal and it continues for several months, it could be a sign of a gallbladder problem. A common sign of gallbladder disease is diarrhea right after meals.
Changes in the color of your urine or stool can also indicate a gallbladder problem. Lighter-colored stool or dark urine are signs of a potential bile duct block.
Bile is a substance produced by the liver. It contains a yellow pigment. When you have a blocked bile duct, bile can back up and cause jaundice. Yellow tinted skin, especially noticeable in the whites of the eyes, may indicate problems with a blocked bile duct. A gallbladder stone may also cause jaundice.
While anyone can develop gallbladder disease, you’re at greater risk if you are:
Gallbladder disease can also run in families.
If you come to Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC with symptoms of a gallbladder problem, we’ll run imaging tests to examine your bile ducts and gallbladder. You will also undergo blood tests.
All of these screenings can reveal infection, gallstones, inflammation, or other complications.
Treatment for gallbladder disease depends on your particular case. You may heal with a conservative treatment like antibiotics to resolve an infection or medications that break up small gallstones. We may also recommend that the gallbladder be removed in a procedure called cholecystectomy.
You can live a normal life without a gallbladder, but you may need to make some minor dietary changes. Avoid eating high-fat foods and enormous meals. We also recommend increasing your fiber intake to bulk your stool and avoid diarrhea. If you experience chronic diarrhea following gallbladder removal, consult with our team to rule out other causes.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a gallbladder problem, make a call to Lakeland Surgical Clinic, PLLC, in Jackson, Mississippi. You may also request an appointment using the online scheduler.