Though other conditions can mimic a gallbladder attack, a person should suspect she's having one if she feels a sudden, colicky pain in the upper right abdomen, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The pain usually lasts several hours and occurs after heavy meals,
Gallbladder attack pain is accompanied by nausea and vomiting, low grade fever, and jaundice, which is a yellowing of the whites of the eyes and the skin. It also causes dark urine and light-colored stools, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. These symptoms can signal involvement of the pancreas and the liver, and a doctor should be called right away.
A definitive diagnosis of a gallbladder attack can come in several ways. One way is for an individual to have an ultrasound exam, where sound waves are bounced off the internal organs, states the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. This procedure is very accurate in diagnosing gall bladder disease. Other ways to diagnose gall bladder disease are through a CT scan, an MRI and cholescintigraphy, a test that uses radioactive material to help examine the gall bladder. Another procedure, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, uses an endoscope to examine the pancreatic and bile ducts for signs of blockage.