A GALLBLADDER ATTACK?
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac under the liver that stores and concentrates bile. After meals, the gallbladder empties the bile through the bile duct and into the small bowel to aid with digestion. Risk of developing gallstones rises with age, and they’re more common in women than in men. Less common causes of cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) include severe illness and gallbladder tumours. Symptoms of acute cholecystitis include severe pain in the area below the bottom of the right rib cage. Sometimes the pain can reach out from the abdomen to the back, right shoulder or right side of the neck. The pain can last from 30 minutes to several hours. Fever, nausea and vomiting may occur, and indigestion after eating fatty foods is common. There’s been debate in the surgical literature about when the gallbladder should be removed – right when the attack is active and first diagnosed or at an interval after the acute episode of cholecystitis and gallbladder inflammation calms down with antibiotics and a tincture of time. The good news is that you can live pretty well without a gallbladder. Your liver will still produce bile, and your intestines will still have bile available to break down fat. Most doctors recommend avoiding fatty or greasy foods, since this can be a bit of a strain on the digestive system.