Q:

What are the warning signs that the gallbladder is not working properly?

A:

Quick Answer

Pain in the abdomen or upper right side of the abdomen under the ribs, sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting and fever, can be a sign of gallstones, cholecystitis or biliary colic. To determine which of these illnesses is the issue, professional medical advice should be sought.

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Full Answer

The pain associated with gallstones can lead to vomiting, which can actually help to relieve pressure in the abdomen, according to WebMD. If a gallstone is blocking the bile duct, the patient may experience jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), dark urine, light-colored stools or fever accompanied by chills.

If the pain and vomiting symptoms are being experienced with fever, it could also be a sign that the patient is suffering form cholecystitis, or an inflamed gallbladder. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of cholecystitis are especially noticeable after consuming a large amount of fatty food.

These symptoms, with added pain in the back under the shoulder blade, can also be a sign of biliary colic. According to Allina Health experts, biliary colic is more common in patients who are overweight, are pregnant, are older in age, have a family history of biliary colic or have other health issues like liver cirrhosis or hemolytic disease.

Avoiding alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet can help to prevent issues with the gallbladder.

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