One of the most common causes of gallbladder pain is gallstones (also called gallstone disease, or cholelithiasis). Gallstones occur when cholesterol and other substances found in bile form stones. When the stone passes from the gallbladder into the small intestine or become stuck in the biliary duct it can cause pain.
Gallstones also can become trapped in the neck of the gallbladder, which results in persistent pain and fever, especially if it becomes infected (pain that lasts longer than just a few hours is a red flag for infection). Rarely, gallstones can get out of the gallbladder and enter and block the bile dua (which leads from the liver to the small intestine), causing more severe abdominal pain and possibly jaundice (a yellow tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes), or block the duct leading to the pancreas, causing a condition called pancreatitis.
At Desert West Surgery, our surgeons recommend gallbladder removal if it is causing a severe, acute problem or has become a chronic concern. Some symptoms that may indicate the need for removal include:
- Sharp pain in the right upper portion of your abdomen that can radiate to the middle of your abdomen, right shoulder, or back
- jaundice, or yellowing of your skin, which typically indicates a bile duct blockage when due to biliary disease
Questions to ask your surgeon before Gallbladder Removal Surgery:
Creating a list of questions before you see your doctor will help you get the most from your appointment. Questions you might ask include the following:
- Could there be other reasons for my abdominal pain besides gallstones?
- Are there tests you can do that diagnose my condition?
- If I ignore my symptoms, could they go away on their own?
- Will I need to have my gallbladder removed?
- Is surgery safe, and how long would it take me to recover?
- Are there other treatments I can consider?
- Is there information I can read that will help me make a decision?
Be sure to ask other questions during your appointment if you don’t understand something your doctor tells you. Make an appointment today with one of our exceptional surgeons at Desert West Surgery and call 702.383.4040.