Your gallbladder probably isn’t one of the parts of your body you think about on a day-to-day basis, but it does perform a valuable function. The gallbladder, which is found just under your liver, is a small organ that contains the bile that your body uses to break down and digest the fats in your food. Your body can function just fine without one, but may require an adjustment in your diet. Although gallbladder removal surgery is a viable solution for some people who experience gallbladder conditions, it is not usually the first course of action when treating them.
What Conditions Might Affect My Gallbladder?
Gallbladder conditions usually present with sudden pain under the ribs, nausea, vomiting, bloating, loose stools, and gas. One of the most common conditions we see that affect the gallbladder is the presence of gallstones, which can be as small as a grain of sand or even as large as a golf ball. Gallstones are bits of hardened bile and cholesterol and are a result of the gallbladder not emptying completely or frequently enough. Some patients who experience gallstones may experience pain after eating fatty or greasy food, jaundice, or inflammation and irritation of the gallbladder walls. There are other, more rare and severe conditions that can also occur, including gallbladder cancer, perforation of the gallbladder, gangrene, pancreatitis, or a bowel obstruction. There are a number of different medical conditions that affect the gallbladder, but the most common are in some way tied to gallstones.
How Are Gallbladder Conditions Diagnosed?
Gastroenterologists are specially trained to diagnose any conditions that relate to your GI system, including your gallbladder. Thankfully, the diagnosis is usually non-invasive. One of the members of the GI Associates team will take a family and patient history to better understand your individual circumstance, then continue with a physical exam or blood test, and if needed, an x-ray or ultrasound. Most doctors begin treatments with antibiotics, while some more serious conditions could result in surgery. If you have been experiencing any symptoms of a gallbladder condition, it’s important to contact GI Associates now to begin your evaluation and treatment options.