Your gallbladder may seem insignificant to some (it is only a teeny tiny organ in our anatomy) but it plays a vital role in our body’s functioning. That’s why it may be a good idea to start paying more attention to it since it may cause some serious problems if it is severely damaged.
But what does your gallbladder really do? What are some of the conditions you might have if you left your gallbladder unchecked? And what are the symptoms to look out for when you’re having gallbladder problems?
This article shows you how important your gallbladder is and how to look out for signs that could mean danger to your gallbladder.
What does the gallbladder do?
You may be familiar with the gallbladder from your biology class in school but most people might not know the function of this tiny organ in the body. Here’s a brief description.
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located under your liver. It is 4 inches long and is found in the upper right region of your abdomen.
Its main function is to store bile, produced by the liver to digest fat and helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins and minerals.
A healthy gallbladder usually produces bile painlessly, however, if it isn’t working properly or is blocked, it could cause some pain in discomfort.
Symptoms of gallbladder problems
Here are a few of the symptoms you have to look out for when you feel you’re having gallbladder problems.
- Pain: The most common symptom when your gallbladder is in trouble. It usually occurs in the mid to upper-right section of your abdomen. The pain ranges from mild to quite severe and in some cases can radiate throughout the entire body.
- Nausea or vomiting: Yet another common sign that your gallbladder may be in poor health. It does not usually correspond to digestive problems though except for when you are suffering from chronic gallbladder disease in which case you may experience acid reflux and gas.
- Chronic diarrhea: Having increased bowel movement up to four times a day in about three months can also be a sign that your gallbladder is in trouble.
- Fever or chills: An undetermined cause of fever or chill maybe because you have an infection and should get treated for it right away before it worsens and become life-threatening.
- strong>Unusual stool or urine: Your bile ducts may be blocked if you have light colored stools or dark urine.
- Jaundice: This is a symptom that causes a yellow tinge to the complexion. It may be caused by bile duct blockage or even stones.
Most common gallbladder problems
Here are some of the most common gallbladder problems you may have if you are experiencing the symptoms of an unhealthy gallbladder or blocked bile ducts.
- Gallstones (cholelithiasis): These are solid masses of cholesterol varying in size and are mainly caused when high levels of fat and bile crystallize and become bigger.
- Gallbladder cancer: are one of the more severe problems when your gallbladder is unhealthy. It is rare but it has the potential to spread to other parts of the body if kept unchecked.
- Inflamed gallbladder (cholecystitis): This happens when bile can’t leave the gallbladder which causes swelling and eve infection. If left unchecked it could severely damage the gallbladder.
- Perforated gallbladder: It occurs when untreated gallstones create a hole in the lining of the gallbladder. It can also occur when an inflamed gallbladder is left unchecked.
- Common bile duct infection: Bile duct blockage can lead to infection. It can be treated in its early stages but can be life-threatening when left unchecked.
The gallbladder is an important part of our body no matter how small it may be. Keeping a healthy diet and exercising regularly may keep symptoms and even problems with gallbladder at bay.