Gallbladder Pain - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms associated with gallbladder pain?

Gallbladder pain may vary; many people with gallstones never experience pain. However, there are some variations in gallbladder pain that help the doctor to make a diagnosis.

  • Biliary colic (intermittent duct blockage): Sudden and rapidly increasing pain (ache or pressure) in the right upper abdomen or epigastric area; some people will have pain radiating to the right shoulder and/or also develop nausea and vomiting. The pain usually subsides in about 1 to 5 hours although a mild ache may persist for about a day.
  • Cholecystitis (inflammation of gallbladder tissue secondary to duct blockage): severe steady pain in the right upper abdomen that may radiate to the right shoulder or back, abdominal tenderness when touched or pressed, sweating, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and bloating; discomfort lasts longer than with biliary colic.
  • Acalculous cholecystitis (no gallstones) has similar symptoms to cholecystitis but occurs as a complication of other problems like trauma or burns; patients have severe symptoms and appear very ill.
  • Pancreatitis: Gallstones from the gallbladder can block the pancreatic duct and cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) with upper abdominal pain that may radiate to the back, tender abdomen, more pain after eating, with nausea and vomiting.
  • Ascending cholangitis (or simply cholangitis or infection of the biliary system) causes fever, abdominal pain, jaundice and even hypotension (low blood pressure), and confusion; it is a medical emergency.
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Comment from: turtle, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I started with severe cramps in the upper abdomen. The pain came and went regularly for over 12 hours, proceeded with increasing bowel movements to diarrhea to blood and mucus. I ran a moderate fever and felt nauseated. The cramps eased and the bleeding finally stopped after 24 hours but the abdominal pain lasted for 4 to 5 days. I lost over 10 pounds and had no appetite. Worst cramps I ever had, felt like someone turning my stomach into a squeegee.

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Comment from: arya926, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 16

I haven"t had much gallbladder pain except for intermittent shock-y pain in my upper right rib area in my back and occasional cramp-y pain in my upper abdomen. My main symptoms are inability to sleep, unbelievable nausea, anxiety, and headaches. The first time it happened I thought I had a stomach virus. After 5 days and no sign of contagion, I thought it was food poisoning. Then it got better. A month later, same thing. Only this time the promethazine did not work for nausea. I went to the emergency room (ER) and they found the gall stones and my white count was high. I still have my gallbladder and I"m trying to dissolve the stones naturally with barberry bark extract. I still can"t eat fatty foods without repercussions.

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