1. Overview of Gallbladder Disease
The term “gallbladder disease” is used for several types of conditions that can affect your gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped sac located underneath your liver. Your gallbladder’s main function is to store the bile produced by your liver and pass it along to the small intestine. Bile helps you digest fats in your small intestine.
The majority of gallbladder diseases are caused by inflammation due to irritation of the gallbladder wall, which is known as cholecystitis. This inflammation is often due to gallstones blocking the ducts leading to the small intestine and causing bile to build up. It may eventually lead to necrosis (tissue destruction) or gangrene. Other diseases of the gallbladder include gallbladder polyps and gallbladder cancer.
2.What Are the Types of Gallbladder Disease?
Gallstones develop when substances in the bile (such as choles
terol, bile salts, and calcium) form hard particles that block the passageway to the gallbladder. Gallstones also tend to form when the gallbladder doesn’t empty completely or often enough. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.
Numerous factors contribute to your risk of gallstones. These include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating a high-fat or high-cholesterol diet
- Having diabetes
- Being age 60 or older
- Taking medications that contain estrogen
- Having a family history of gallstones
Cholecystitis is the most common type of gallbladder disease. It presents itself as either an acute or chronic inflammation of the gallbladder.
Acute Cholecystitis: Acute cholecystitis is generally caused by gallstones, but it may also be the result of tumors or various other illnesses. It may present with pain in the upper right side or upper middle part of the abdomen. The pain tends to occur right after a meal and ranges from sharp pangs to dull aches that can radiate to your right shoulder. Acute cholecystitis can also cause:
- Different colored stools
Chronic Cholecystitis: After several attacks of acute cholecystitis, the gallbladder will shrink and lose its ability to store and release bile. Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting may occur.
Gallstones may become lodged in the neck of the gallbladder or in the bile ducts. When the gallbladder is plugged in this way, bile can’t exit. This may lead to the gallbladder becoming inflamed or distended. The plugged bile ducts will further prevent bile from traveling from the liver to the intestines. Choledocholithiasis can cause:
- Extreme pain in the middle of your upper abdomen
Acalculous Gallbladder Disease
Acalculous gallbladder disease, or biliary dyskinesia, occurs without the presence of gallstones. It can be chronic or acute and may result from the gallbladder muscles or valve not working properly. The symptoms can include abdominal pain on the right side of your body that radiates to your shoulder. Eating foods high in fat often triggers this. Related symptoms may include:
- Loose stools
Inflammation, scarring, and damage to the bile ducts is referred to as sclerosing cholangitis. It’s unknown what causes the disease. People with sclerosing cholangitis may have an enlarged liver or spleen along with a decrease in appetite and weight loss.
Cancer of the gallbladder is a relatively rare disease. If it’s not treated, however, it can spread from the inner walls of the gallbladder to the outer layers and then to the other organs and ducts. The symptoms of gallbladder cancer may be similar to those of acute cholecystitis.
Gallbladder polyps are lesions or growths that occur on the gallbladder. They’re usually benign and have no symptoms.
Gangrene of the Gallbladder
Gangrene develops when the gallbladder stops functioning due to inadequate blood flow. This may occur due to: