Just underneath the liver rests a small pouch that stores bile produced by the liver, helping with digestion. This pouch, known as the gallbladder, is often overlooked by many in comparison to all the other organs located in our body because of this key fact: it is not essential for digestion.
Although the gallbladder squeezes stored bile into the small intestine through a series of tubes called ducts, the bile itself is what really digests the fat. Surgically removing the gallbladder would cause no harm to one’s health or digestion. However, this does not indicate that problems with the gallbladder should be taken lightly. It’s important to recognize when one’s gallbladder is no longer functioning properly or causing issues.
Because it is always better to be safe than sorry, here are five symptoms of common gallbladder problems:
- Pain in the Abdomen – Most of the time, gallbladder pain is inconsistent, with it coming and going at random times. Corresponding to its turbulent nature, gallbladder pain ranges from mild and infrequent to severe and regular pain. The pain often occurs in the chest and back.
- Nausea and/or Vomiting – All gallbladder problems can cause nausea and vomiting. Thus, if it becomes a regular occurrence, it is time to check your gallbladder with a doctor. Long-term gallbladder diseases can even lead to consistent digestive issues that cause frequent nausea.
- Fever – Similar to the fashion that they are common with other illnesses, fevers and chills may also abrupt to signal problems with the gallbladder or infection.
- Changes in Bowel Movements – Changes in bowel movements are often common with gallbladder problems. For example, chalky and light-colored stools signal a problem with the bile ducts and frequent diarrhea indicate a chronic gallbladder disease.
- Color Changes in Your Urine and Skin – Patients suffering from gallbladder issues may notice a darker than normal urine color which can be due to a bile duct block. One’s skin color can also start yellowing which is known as jaundice. This can occur if there is a problem with the liver or if there is a blockage due to gallstones in the bile ducts.
Schedule your appointment with Mansfield General Surgeon Dr. Gary Alexander today.
Dr. Gary Alexander is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Alexander is the co-founder of Surgical Associates of Mansfield in Mansfield, Texas. He specializes in minimally invasive surgery including Da Vinci robot-assisted surgery. He is named Top10MD – 1-in- 3 doctors succeed with this recognition in the United States. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Alexander link to his profile or call his office today at 682.518.8619.