Do you have unexplained pain in your abdomen? That’s one of several symptoms of gallbladder disease. It’s important to seek medical attention for any unexplained physical problem before it becomes an emergency.
At Turnquest Surgical Solutions in Houston, Texas, our board-certified general and bariatric surgeons, Dexter Turnquest, MD, and Victoria C. Chang, MD, have treated many patients with gallbladder disease. They provide prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent serious health complications.
What does the gallbladder do?
Your gallbladder is an organ in your body that sits just under your liver in the upper right part of your abdomen. It’s a component of your digestive system. Your gallbladder holds bile until your body signals it to release the bile to aid your digestion.
The bile helps your body digest fats in the food you eat. It’s a liquid composed of:
- Bilirubin, which is a product of disintegrated red blood cells
As soon as you start to eat, your gallbladder moves bile into your small intestine, where it helps break down the fats in your foods. When you finish eating, the gallbladder deflates because all of the bile has been secreted. Then the cycle starts over again.
Symptoms of gallbladder problems
Sometimes your gallbladder malfunctions. See your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain in the mid or upper right side
- Abdominal pain moving into your right shoulder or back
- Pain after eating fatty foods
- Jaundice (yellowish cast to skin)
- Dark urine or light-colored bowel movements
Common gallbladder conditions
Following are problems that are the result of gallbladder malfunction:
You may have gallstones and not know it because they never become an issue. They’re small mounds of material like pebbles composed of bile products. Some are very tiny, and others are the size of a golf ball.
If you have large gallstones, you likely have pain and you may feel nauseated.
Sometimes gallstones create a blockage that stops bile from emptying out of your gallbladder. The condition is called cholecystitis and is typically accompanied by fever and pain. We usually remove the gallbladder when this is the case.
Like cholecystitis, gallstone pancreatitis occurs when a gallstone blocks bile. Instead of blocking the bile in the gallbladder, it blocks the bile just before it enters the small intestine.
We tell you if your condition requires surgery and explain your gallbladder dysfunction. Gallbladder surgery is routine surgery in almost every case. The good news is that your body continues to function well without your gallbladder.
When possible, we do laparoscopic surgery, which enables faster recovery and healing.
Call us at Turnquest Surgical Solutions or book an appointment online if you’re having unexplained digestive problems. We’re your partner in digestive health.