What Is Gallbladder Pain?


Quick Answer

Gallbladder pain is a type of abdominal pain that may feel sharp or crampy, explains Everyday Health. It may begin as a dull ache and build in intensity, and may become severe. The pain may radiate to the back in the area of the right shoulder blade.

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What Is Gallbladder Pain?
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Full Answer

Additional characteristics of gallbladder pain include abdominal fullness, heartburn and gassiness, nausea and vomiting, shaking chills and abdominal tenderness, according to Everyday Health. The pain may be worse after eating a fatty or greasy meal, and may increase with deep breathing. In more severe cases, jaundice can develop, and a person's skin may be clay-colored.

Gallbladder pain is most often caused by an inflammation of the gallbladder itself, called cholecystitis, or by gallstones which form in the bladder and can block the bile duct, notes eMedicineHealth. Inflammation of the pancreas, called pancreatits, biliary colic and ascending cholangitis are other causes, adds MedicineNet.com.

Narcotic pain medications may be used to treat acute attacks of gallbladder pain, according to MedicineNet.com. Those who have only had one or two attacks may elect no further treatment other than watchful monitoring of their condition. For those with more frequent attacks of gallbladder pain, surgery is done to remove the gallbladder entirely. Surgery is typically done laparoscopically, though some patients require open surgery. A prognosis is good once the gallbladder is removed.

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