Gallstonesconcept image of doctor checking for causes of gallbladder pain

The gallbladder, located in the right upper abdomen just below the liver, is an organ. It stores bile, also known as gall, which is produced in the liver and used for digesting fats from food. Bile is composed of water, cholesterol, and bile salts. It also contains proteins and a compound called bilirubin. Gallstones can form if bile has too much cholesterol and bilirubin. Gallstones are often not recognized by most people. Sometimes, gallstones can cause inflammation of the gallbladder, which can lead to pain, infection, and other serious complications. Let’s look at the causes of gallbladder pain.

What Causes Gallbladder Pain?

At the office of Dr. Tabib, we see a lot of patients with gallbladder-related pain and gallstones. This causes them to ask, “What causes gallbladder pain? Can it be prevented or treated?” We will answer this question and more below for those interested in learning about the major causes of gallbladder conditions. Visit the office of your local hepatology specialist in Los Angeles if you feel that the below information applies to you.

Recognizing Gallbladder Pain

Gallbladder pain may be located in different places. You will feel the most pain in the upper right part of your abdomen. Your gallbladder is located at the top of your right abdomen. Also, you may feel upper mid-abdominal or chest pain. Gallbladder pain is different from any other type of pain you have ever experienced in your abdomen. Sudden, sharp pain may end up felt in the upper right side of your abdomen. You may feel as if someone is cutting your skin with a knife. It is intense and constant.

Causes of Gallbladder Pain

Gallstones can increase due to certain factors. While some of these factors, such as your family history, cannot be changed or adjusted to reduce your risk, others (such as the foods you eat), can be. Gallstones rarely end up painful for many people. There remain some differences in gallbladder pain that can help the doctor diagnose.

  • Biliary Colic (intermittent blockage of the biliary ducts): Sudden, rapidly increasing pain or pressure in the right epigastric or upper abdomen
  • Cholecystitis: severe, constant pain in the upper right abdomen. This may radiate to the right side or back.
  • Pancreatitis: Gallstones can block the pancreatic drain and cause pancreatitis. This is an inflammation of the pancreas that can radiate to the back with high-level abdominal pain.

These conditions may require a variety of treatments. You may find that some of the symptoms go away by themselves after taking a prescription medication. Sometimes doctors recommend gallbladder surgery, especially in cases of gallbladder attacks or severe, recurring gallstones.

Gallbladder Pain vs. Liver Pain

It can be difficult to determine the cause of pain in your abdomen. There are many causes of liver pain. You may feel pain in the upper right abdomen, midsection, shoulders, back, or both depending on the cause.

Your liver does not have pain receptors. If you feel pain in the liver, it is likely that there has been damage to or inflammation of the surrounding tissues. To determine the source of severe pain, you should consult your healthcare provider.

Best Treatment Options for Gallbladder Pain

Your symptoms and conditions will determine the treatment you need for your gallbladder. A specialist in gallbladder surgery can treat most conditions quickly. Gallbladder surgery is the definitive treatment in most cases. Laparoscopic surgery is currently the preferred method for gallbladder removal. This involves instruments that only make small incisions to the abdomen. Some patients may need more extensive surgery.

Dr. Tabib will provide information and advice to help you avoid future problems. The condition can often end up treated with surgery. The gallbladder should only see removal in the most extreme cases.

Schedule Your Gallbladder Health Assessment Now

Get in touch with your local gallbladder specialist in Los Angeles to diagnose and treat your gallbladder pain. You may be feeling the result of gallstones, or you might be dealing with radiant pain coming from the liver or surrounding areas. It’s important to get the help you need right away – so contact our office ASAP!