What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
The gallbladder concentrates and stores bile until the liver needs it to aid in the digestion of fats. Frequently, this tiny organ causes more problems remaining in the body than if it never existed in the first place. “Pathophysiology: A 2-in-1 Reference for Nurses” states that the removal of the gallbladder or cholecystectomy, is commonly performed to cure chronic gallbladder disorders 2. Post-operatively, patients should follow a low-fat diet and reduce their intake of gas-producing foods in order to facilitate easy digestion.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
The “Johns Hopkins Guide to Symptoms and Remedies” reports that gallstone formation, clinically known as cholelithiasis, results from an excessive cholesterol in the bile which forms solid masses 1. A less common disorder, hemolytic anemia (characterized by rapid death of red blood cells) may develop gallstones composed of bilirubin. Most gallstones present no symptoms and do not require medical intervention, however, when gallstones become large enough to cause blockage of a bile duct then inflammation ensues. Bile ducts become blocked, then fill with pus which results in bacterial infection. At this point, the gallbladder is best removed 4.
As bile ducts become blocked and inflamed, jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and sclera around the eyes) may occur.
Can Food Sensitivities and Allergies Cause Gallbladder Problems?
Gallstones increase the risk of gallbladder cancer, although occurrences often prove rare 4. Less than 10,000 new cases of gallbladder cancer are diagnosed each year according to the American Cancer Society 4. Gallbladder cancer has very few symptoms, therefore, it is usually not diagnosed until the advanced stages 4. Some signs and symptoms to note include itching around the area of the gallbladder, fever, nausea and pain in the upper right-hand quadrant of the abdominal region 4. Cancer of the gallbladder typically strikes the elderly population; if the cancer is discovered late, after age 70, it is usually inoperable in 75 percent of the cases according to the Johns Hopkins Guide 4.
The symptoms of gallbladder disease, clinically known as cholecystitis, typically manifest in a series of gastrointestinal and digestive issues 4. According to the Mayo Clinic, patients complain of constant nausea and vomiting with abdominal pain after every meal. Abdominal fullness, bloating, severe belching and flatulence are also common symptoms. Should the disease progress and form gallstones, fever and chills may ensue. The patient complains that they feel sick all the time. Weight loss may occur as a result of the constant nausea, vomiting and pain, and the patient's experiences a loss of appetite because of fear of reoccurring symptoms.
- The symptoms of gallbladder disease, clinically known as cholecystitis, typically manifest in a series of gastrointestinal and digestive issues 4.
- According to the Mayo Clinic, patients complain of constant nausea and vomiting with abdominal pain after every meal.
Can Food Sensitivities and Allergies Cause Gallbladder Problems?
Yellow Stools & Stomach Pain
Symptoms of Cecum Carcinoma
Appendix Stones Symptoms
Reasons For a Gallbladder Removal
Signs and Symptoms of a Low Functioning Gall Bladder
Gallstone & Gallbladder Sludge Symptoms
Side Effects of Gallbladder Surgery
Pain in the Upper Right Back After Eating
Early Symptoms of Pancreatic Disease
- "Complete Home Guide to Symptoms and Remedies"; Johns Hopkins; 2004
- "Pathophysiology: A 2-in-1 Reference for Nurses"; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gallstones and gallbladder disease - Symptoms
- The Mayo Clinic:Gallbladder Cancer: Symptoms
- Njeze GE. Gallstones. Niger J Surg. 2013;19(2):49-55. doi:10.4103/1117-6806.119236
- Maurer KJ, Carey MC, Fox JG. Roles of infection, inflammation, and the immune system in cholesterol gallstone formation. Gastroenterology. 2009;136(2):425-40. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2008.12.031
- Halpin V. Acute cholecystitis. BMJ Clin Evid. 2014;2014:0411.
- Balmadrid B. Recent advances in management of acalculous cholecystitis. F1000Res. 2018;7: F1000 Faculty Rev-1660. doi:10.12688/f1000research.14886.1
- Ahmed M. Acute cholangitis - an update. World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. 2018;9(1):1-7. doi:10.4291/wjgp.v9.i1.1
- Derici H, Kara C, Bozdag AD, Nazli O, Tansug T, Akca E. Diagnosis and treatment of gallbladder perforation. World J Gastroenterol. 2006;12(48):7832-6. doi:10.3748/wjg.v12.i48.7832
- Toouli J. Biliary Dyskinesia. Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol. 2002;5(4):285-291.
- Ahmed M, Diggory R. Acalculous gallbladder disease: the outcomes of treatment by laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2011;93(3):209-12. doi:10.1308/003588411X563402
- Shaffer EA. Gallbladder cancer: the basics. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2008;4(10):737-41.
- Wang JK, Foster SM, Wolff BG. Incidental gallstones. Perm J. 2009;13(2):50-4.
- Bree RL. Further observations on the usefulness of the sonographic Murphy sign in the evaluation of suspected acute cholecystitis. J Clin Ultrasound. 1995;23(3):169-72.
- Robinson P, Perkins JC. Approach to Patients with Epigastric Pain. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2016;34(2):191-210. doi:10.1016/j.emc.2015.12.012
- Pejić MA, Milić DJ. [Surgical treatment of polypoid lesions of gallbladder]. Srp Arh Celok Lek. 2003;131(7-8):319-24.
- Genc V, Sulaimanov M, Cipe G, et al. What necessitates the conversion to open cholecystectomy? A retrospective analysis of 5164 consecutive laparoscopic operations. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2011;66(3):417-20. doi:10.1590/S1807-59322011000300009
- Katzarov AK, Dunkov ZI, Popadiin I, Katzarov KS. How to measure quality in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Ann Transl Med. 2018;6(13):265. doi:10.21037/atm.2018.05.01
- Catalano MF, Thosani NC. (2016). Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. Howell DA (ed). UpToDate, Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc.
- Lee JY, Keane MG, Pereira S. Diagnosis and treatment of gallstone disease. Practitioner. 2015 Jun;259(1783):15-9,2.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (n.d.). Gallstones. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gallstones
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2018). Gallstones and gallbladder disease. https://www.umms.org/ummc/patients-visitors/health-library/in-depth-patient-education-reports/articles/gallstones-and-gallbladder-disease
Gloria Attar is a registered nurse specializing in cardiac critical care. She has been a professional writer since 1983, covering health care, wellness and nutrition topics. Attar earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Kent State University.