The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that is located just beneath the liver. It assists in the process of digestion and also stores a dark green to yellowish brown, bitter-tasting liquid called bile or gall. Bile is produced by the liver. This liquid is discharged into the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine) when food is consumed. The human, adult gallbladder is about 8 centimeters in length and it can store about 50 milliliters of bile. The bile released from the liver becomes more concentrated when it is stored in the gallbladder. It is a digestive liquid that has the capacity to emulsify fats and neutralize acids in partly digested food. The amino acids and the proteins of these fats are then absorbed by the walls of the intestines. So, to put it simply, bile, that aids in digestion, is produced by the liver and gallbladder serves as its storage center.
Diseases that are concerned with the gallbladder are called gallbladder diseases. The gallbladder and liver are connected to the small intestine through a tube called the common bile duct or the biliary duct. Sometimes, the components of bile crystallize and form what is known as gallstones. These hard, small gallstones can cause an inflammation of the gallbladder. These gallstones may sometimes pass out of the body on their own but they could also become lodged in the bile duct, causing a serious blockage. Under these conditions, the gallbladder will have to be removed surgically.
Another gallbladder disease, called porcelain gallbladder results in the calcification of the gallbladder. This could be caused due to the presence of excessive gallstones but the exact cause for this disease is still not very clear.
Another gallbladder disease is gallbladder cancer.
Pain in the Gallbladder
One of the symptoms of getting a gallbladder disease is that the patient experiences an intermittent pain in the right or middle sections of the upper abdomen. This gnawing pain could occur near the rib cage and when it is severe, the patient might experience pain in his upper back. Some patients experience pain behind the breast bone. This kind of pain is also called biliary pain or biliary colic. The patient may also suffer from nausea and vomiting. It is said that these episodes of pain occur after consuming a meal rich in fats. They are also said to affect the person during the night.
Treatment for Gallbladder Pain
Gallstones can be removed without undergoing surgery in cases where the inflammation of the gallbladder is not extremely severe and when there is no sign of an infection. Surgery may also have to be avoided for patients who have other serious medical issues and cannot afford to undertake the risk. The non-surgical options include taking pain relievers prescribed by doctors. A treatment that is used to break the gallstones is called lithotripsy. However, this treatment is most effective only in the case of solitary stones that are not bigger than 2 centimeters in diameter.
In the case of acute cholecystitis or severe gallbladder inflammation, surgery is considered unavoidable.
Care to be Taken After Gallbladder Surgery
Although gallstones are eliminated after surgery, it is still recommended that the patient should avoid the consumption of fats. It is advisable to lose excess weight by monitoring the patient’s diet along with a regular exercise routine. It is also advisable to consult a doctor regularly and follow his / her instructions regarding diet, exercise and pain medication. There are good websites.