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How Do I Know My Abdominal Pain Is from Gallbladder Disease

How Do I Know It’s My Gallbladder?

Gallbladder disease can manifest with many symptoms, some relatively minor and others much more debilitating. Because of the location of the gallbladder, however, these symptoms can be confused for other unrelated diseases and conditions. In this blog, we are going to explore some of those symptoms.

The telltale signs of a gallbladder problem

The gallbladder is located under the lower right side of the rib cage, in the vicinity of the liver. Therefore, the most common area of pain, when dealing with a gallbladder issue, is in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen just under the rib cage. This area may also be swollen as a result of the enlarged gallbladder pushing on the abdominal wall.

When you feel pain can also be indicative of gallbladder issues. The gallbladder functions by squeezing out bile to mix with the food we consume. High fat foods and big meals stimulate the gallbladder to release more bile and this is when, if there is a gallbladder issue, one could expect to feel the most pain. So, if you notice that you have pain in the upper right quadrant immediately or even a few hours after a very big or fatty meal, it’s possibly due to gallstones.

Pain when pressure is applied to the general area of the gallbladder suggests inflammation and should be investigated further. Typically, the gallbladder does not cause a constant pain. Pain usually comes and goes and can be varied in its severity.

What else it could be?

If the pain is moderate and accompanied by gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting, it could be food poisoning or a stomach bug. However, patients with gallbladder problems also may have these symptoms. Therefore, if symptoms persist, a visit to your doctor is the first step to finding out.

Pain that radiates around the back can be suggestive of gallbladder problems or kidney function issues. This could also be indicative of a muscular issue. Persistent or severe abdominal pain should always be checked by a qualified physician.

Pain radiating to the left side of the abdomen can be a symptom of pancreatitis – an infection in the pancreas. Gallbladder problems can cause follow-on issues with the pancreas, however the pancreas itself can also be to blame. Pancreatic issues are serious and should be evaluated urgently.

Lastly, a gallstone attack may also feel like a heart attack due to the two organs’ proximity. It may also feel like severe acid reflux. Be sure to seek immediate emergency attention if you ever believe you are having a heart attack – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ultimately, any abdominal pain should be evaluated by a qualified medical professional. Diagnosing gallbladder issues doesn’t require much more than an ultrasound to determine if there is inflammation or if gallstones are causing the problem.