What is Gallbladder Disease?
Gallbladder disease encompasses conditions that can affect the gallbladder such as inflammation, infection, stones or blockages. The gallbladder is the small organ located under the liver that stores bile.
Conditions that are included in gallbladder disease include:
These are small, hard deposits of digestive fluid that block the passage to the gallbladder and bile ducts. These stones can lead to gallbladder inflammation, pain or infection.
Cholecystitis describes inflammation of the gallbladder. It occurs when bile is trapped in the gallbladder, which can lead to infection.
Acalculous Gallbladder Disease
This is an inflammation of the gallbladder without the presence of gallstones.
Congenital defects of the gallbladder
A congenital defect is a structural or functional abnormality that occurs at or before birth. There are many different congenital defects that can affect the gallbladder, including congenital reduplication of the gallbladder, bilobed gallbladder, anomalous positions of the gallbladder and more.
Gangrene of the gallbladder
Gangrene, or dead tissue, can happen when the gallbladder develops inadequate blood flow.
Confined pockets of pus called abscesses can occur when the gallbladder becomes inflamed.
This is a slowly progressing disease of the bile ducts. Inflammation causes scars within the bile ducts, which can lead to serious liver damage.
Tumors of the gallbladder and bile ducts
Tumors, or abnormal growths, can occur on the gallbladder and bile ducts. They may be noncancerous or cancerous.
Individuals with gallbladder disease may experience the following symptoms:
- Recurring pain in the upper right abdomen or behind the breastbone known as biliary colic.
- Inflammation of the gallbladder known as acute cholecystitis.
- Gas, nausea or diarrhea.
- Gallstones which may cause dark urine, fever, chills or jaundice.
How is Gallbladder Disease Diagnosed?
Patients who are experiencing symptoms associated with gallbladder disease should share this information with their doctor for proper diagnosis. Your doctor will ask for a list of symptoms you are experiencing, your medical history, and may also perform a physical exam. Further testing may include chest or abdominal X-rays, ultrasound, HIDA scan, CT, MRI or more.
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Treatment Options for Gallbladder Disease
The treatment option that is right for you will depend on the specific form of gallbladder disease you have, as well as your medical history. Your doctor may create a treatment plan that includes the following:
Being overweight or having diabetes can increase the likelihood of gallstone formation, so weight loss can help to lower your risk for developing more. Increasing your physical activity can also decrease gallstone formation.
Gallbladder inflammation and the discomfort associated can be treated using prescription pain medications.
Surgery to remove the gallbladder may be required if many gallstones are present or the gallbladder is no longer functioning properly. This surgery can often be performed laparoscopically and as an outpatient procedure.
Your South Denver GI Team
At South Denver GI, our team of physicians and advanced practice providers have the expertise to provide you with outstanding care. If you would like to learn more about Gallbladder Disease or need to schedule an appointment at our office, contact us today!
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