Gallbladder dysfunction is often called cholecystitis – a condition characterized by gallbladder inflammation caused by gallstones. Sometimes, gallbladder can get inflamed without any gallstones present, so we cannot say that this problem is always caused by gallstones only. However, in cases where it is caused by gallstones, cholecystitis occurs when a gallstone gets stuck somewhere in the bile duct, causing severe pain and other problems.
What Are Gallstones?
Gallstones are composed of cholesterol, salts, water, electrolytes, etc. There are three types of stones: mixed stones, pigment stones and cholesterol stones. Some of them are very small, and they do not cause any problems. They are asymptomatic, which is why we call them “the silent stones.”
Gallbladder problems are often caused by gallstones. In most cases, larger stones cause problems, some of which can be very serious.
What Are the Symptoms of Gallbladder Dysfunction?
Gallbladder dysfunction leads to various gastrointestinal problems. The symptoms usually include:
● Abdominal pain
The pain usually starts on the right side of your abdomen. It can also spread to the right shoulder. It may last from several minutes to several hours.
Nausea is another common symptom. It is usually accompanied by vomiting. These symptoms usually occur after having a large meal.
Some patients can experience several symptoms. This usually happens in severe cases.
Gallbladder dysfunction can lead to intolerance to fats. This means that whenever you eat something that contains fats, you may start having problems mentioned above.
These symptoms are quite non-specific, and they can indicate some other problems, too. In fact, there are many illnesses characterized by these symptoms.
How to Treat Gallbladder Dysfunction
Gallbladder dysfunction is diagnosed using tests such as hepatobiliary scintigraphy, CT scan and ultrasound. ERCP is used for detecting gallbladder, liver and bile duct problems. The treatment will depend on how old the patient is, but it will also depend on other factors, like general health of the patient, as well as his/her medical history. Earlier problems must be considered before the patient gets any therapy for gallbladder dysfunction.
If the condition is caused by stones, the patient will probably get some oral medications. However, if there is a severe inflammation of the gallbladder, and it can’t be treated with medications, gallbladder removal will have to be done. This surgery rarely causes complications, but the patient will have to make some changes to his/her diet.