Gallbladder Pain (Gall Bladder Pain)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)
    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Bhupinder S. Anand, MBBS, MD, DPHIL (OXON)

    Dr. Anand received MBBS degree from Medical College Amritsar, University of Punjab. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Postgraduate Institute of medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India. He was trained in the field of Gastroenterology and obtained the DPhil degree. Dr. Anand is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Women with digestive pain

What Causes Gallbladder Pain?

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. This is called biliary colic, otherwise known as a gallbladder attack.

Quick GuideWhat's Causing Your Abdominal Pain?

What's Causing Your Abdominal Pain?

What is gallbladder pain?

Gallbladder pain is (often misspelled "gall bladder") an all-inclusive term used to describe any pain due to disease related to the gallbladder. The major gallbladder problems that produce gallbladder pain are biliary colic, cholecystitis, gallstones, pancreatitis, and ascending cholangitis. Symptoms vary and may be triggered by eating certain foods. The pain may be described as intermittent, constant, abdominal, radiating to the back, mild to severe depending on the underlying cause.

A brief review of the gallbladder anatomy and function may help readers better understand gallbladder pain. The gallbladder is connected to the liver via ducts that supply bile to the gallbladder for storage. These bile ducts then form the common hepatic duct that joins with the cystic duct from the gallbladder to form the common bile duct that empties into the GI tract (duodenum). In addition, the pancreatic duct usually merges with the common bile duct just before it enters the duodenum. Hormones trigger the gallbladder to release bile when fat and amino acids reach the duodenum after eating a meal (see illustration below), which facilitates the digestion of these foods. Statistics suggest that women may have up to twice the incidence of gallstones than men. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 4/18/2016
References
REFERENCE:

Heuman, D. "Gallstones (Cholelithiasis)." Medscape. Updated Apr 14, 2016 .
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/175667-overview>

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