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.
Return to Gallbladder Pain (Gall Bladder Pain)

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Comment from: prettyivet, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 10

I have been having these gallbladder pains for years but more frequent now. They found gall stones after they performed a sonogram. Pain feels like you are being stabbed repeatedly in the upper abdomen. I have continuous vomiting and shortness of breath. Pepcid alleviates pain slightly. Reglan helps nausea. It actually feels like you are about to die; worse that labor pains. I am going next week to have my gallbladder removed by The da Vinci robot technique.

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Comment from: samm, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I starting having my gallbladder pain when my daughter was 6 months old. The pain was under my shoulder blades and the stabbing pain is there constant. I get the shivers even though I am sweating. I have been on strong Co-Codamol and Buscopan as a gall stone goes into my bile duct. I have had an ultrasound confirming and I have had my MRI 3 weeks ago. If anyone is worried about the MRI, there is no need, 10 minutes is all it is. I got an appointment for next month and hoping they tell me when I am going to have surgery. What I found out that is best to ease the pain is, when you first start feeling pain, even little ones, use a hot water bottle and keep on for 5 minutes, then off for 5 minutes.

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