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You might not know a whole lot about your gallbladder, until you start feeling abdominal pain and are searching for the cause.
In addition to pain, Collin Tully, MD, general surgeon at AdventHealth Apopka explains, “Symptoms related to gallbladder disease can vary from person to person but characteristically, this may include right upper abdominal pain after eating, nausea/vomiting and pain that will radiate to the back.”
What Gallbladder Pain Could Mean
This little pear-shaped organ sits under your liver. Its purpose is to store bile, which digests fat and is made by your liver. After you eat, your gallbladder releases bile into your small intestines through the common bile duct.
Pain associated with the gallbladder can be caused by a few conditions. Often, pain is the result of a blockage in the flow of bile through the bile ducts, which can be due to a gallstone. Gallstones can happen when substances in bile begin to harden, forming a “stone.”
According to Dr. Tully, however, “You do not necessarily have to have gallstones to have gallbladder or biliary pain and symptoms.”
In fact, there are a number of conditions that affect the gallbladder, with some of the most common being:
- Cholecystitis: inflammation of the gallbladder
- Cholestasis: a blockage or slower flow of bile from the liver
- Gallbladder cancer
Gallbladder disease can be associated with other serious conditions; or, it can occur for no known reason at all.
There are, however, a few factors that can increase your risk of gallbladder disease, such as:
- Liver disease
- Sickle cell anemia
- Family history
- Certain medications
Treatment for Gallbladder Conditions
Treatment for gallbladder disease generally involves surgically removing the gallbladder. And fortunately, you can live without your gallbladder because bile can reach the small intestine through alternative ways.
Dr. Tully explains, “The best way to address gallbladder disease is with an operation that is usually done with small incisions via the laparoscopic technique. The best time to perform this procedure is when the gallbladder is not inflamed and aggravated.”
As such, it’s important to recognize any symptoms of gallbladder disease and seek early treatment for the most optimal outcomes.
In general, though, Dr. Tully reassures us that, “Surgical intervention to treat gallbladder disease is often a very safe option and is usually done on an outpatient basis, where most patients can go home the same day.”
Minimally Invasive Techniques That Maximize Quality of Life
The surgical experts at AdventHealth, including Dr. Tully, have specialized training and expertise in minimally invasive and laparoscopic surgical techniques using some of the latest technologies and evidence-based treatments.
These approaches put you, the patient, first by minimizing surgical scars and maximizing your healing as quickly as possible. Less time spent in the hospital and less time to recover means you can restore your whole health and return to living the life you love.