YOUR GALBLADDER & YOU
Updated: Jun 10, 2021
Symptoms you might not realize are being caused by your gallbladder.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned below, schedule a consult with Dr. Ibrahim and/or have your Primary Care Physician send a referral!
If you’re like most people, your gallbladder is unlikely to cross your mind until it begins causing problems. Gallbladder issues can cause pain and other prominent symptoms as well as vague symptoms that you’re less likely to realize are caused by gallbladder disease. Learn how gallbladder issues affect your body, when to seek professional help, and how treatment can provide relief.
What is the gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ about 3-4 inches in length. Its job is to store bile, a digestive fluid that aids your body in absorbing fat and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
When you eat fat-containing foods, your gallbladder contracts and releases bile into the small intestine, where it breaks the fat down. A healthy gallbladder does this without pain or problems. People with gallbladder problems tend to experience pain and discomfort after eating fatty meals because their gallbladder is either blocked or has stopped functioning properly.
Common gallbladder disease symptoms
In many cases, gallbladder disease can cause significant pain, typically following meals that contain fat. Sticking to a low-fat diet is one approach to easing gallbladder pain. However, doing so doesn’t address the root of the problem; you may need to have your gallbladder removed. Some of the most prominent symptoms of gallbladder disease include:
• Acid reflux
• Abdominal pain
• Gallbladder pain usually occurs in the middle to upper-right part of your
• In some people, the pain is severe and frequent, while others may
experience mild pain that comes and goes.
Complications of gallbladder disease
Without treatment, gallbladder problems can become life-threatening. Gallbladder disease can cause infection that may spread to other parts of the body. It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you experience an unexplained fever. This may be a sign of infection. A bile duct blockage can cause jaundice. Yellow-tinted skin is a warning sign that you may have a blockage in your bile duct. Chronic diarrhea is also a complication of gallbladder disease.
Lesser-known gallbladder disease symptoms
While pain is certainly one of the most common symptoms of gallbladder disease, you may have other symptoms that you might not realize are related to a gallbladder problem. Some examples:
Lack of appetite: If your appetite isn’t as robust as you’re used to, it may be a signal of gallbladder disease.
Fat-soluble vitamin deficiency: Because bile is needed to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, you may experience a deficiency in crucial nutrients like vitamin D. Indications that you have low levels of fat-soluble vitamins — such as experiencing fatigue (low vitamin D) or bruising easily (low vitamin K) — serve as a warning sign that something may be amiss with your gallbladder.
Dark urine: A blockage of the bile duct can cause urine to appear darker than normal.
Change in bowel habits: More trips to the bathroom, a consistency change in your stool, or any change in bowel habits is a commonly overlooked symptom of gallbladder disease.