Your gallbladder may be small but it plays a vital role in your digestion. It stores and concentrates bile, the digestive enzyme produced by the liver. 

Bile helps in breaking up fats and draining waste products from the liver into the small intestine. 

The physicians of Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville and Cleveland, TN want you to understand what gallbladder disease is and how it can affect you.

You may end up with a gallbladder disease if your gallbladder gets inflamed, infected, blocked, or developed stones.

There are different types of gallbladder disease. This includes:

  • Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
  • Gallstones
  • Chronic acalculous gallbladder disease (gallbladder stasis which may result in inflammation)
  • Tumors and growths of tissues in the gallbladder
  • Sclerosing cholangitis (a progressive disease of the bile duct system)

When you suffer from a gallbladder disease, you may experience:

  • Pain 

This is the most common symptom of gallbladder disease. It’s usually felt in the mid- to upper section of the abdomen.

The quality of the pain could vary, depending on the type of gallbladder disease you have. It could be mild and intermittent or severe and frequent.

In some cases, the pain radiates to other areas such as the chest and back.

  • Jaundice 

This is common in patients with a blockage in the common bile duct. 

Aside from the yellowish tinge on your skin (including your sclera), you may also notice lighter-colored stool and dark urine.

  • Digestive problems

Gallbladder disease may cause nausea, vomiting, and acid reflux.

  • Chronic diarrhea

Having loose bowel movement several times a day for at least three months may indicate a chronic gallbladder disease. 

  • Fever 

This occurs when you have an infection in your gallbladder. 

If you experience fever on top with other gallbladder disease symptoms, you have to see a specialist immediately. 

Infection in the gallbladder can be life-threatening especially if it spreads in other areas.

When to see a doctor?

You should see a specialist immediately when you experience abdominal pain that lasts for at least 5 hours, jaundice, lighter-colored stool, and low-grade fever or chills especially if it’s accompanied by the aforementioned signs and symptoms. 

Treatment plans could vary depending on the type of gallbladder disease you have, how severe it is, and your current health status. 

In some cases, you may be started with a lifestyle change especially with your eating habits and over-the-counter pain medications. 

For severe cases of gallbladder disease, surgery is usually advised to keep the inflammation or infection from getting worse. 

Premier Surgical Associates of Knoxville and Cleveland, TN,  has board-certified general surgeons who have years of experience in treating gallbladder diseases.

If you don’t have insurance or have a high deductible, we offer gallbladder removal as part of our Premier Surgery Packages.

To learn more about it, or to reach a Premier Surgical office, you can call us at (865) 306-5775.