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Symptoms of Gallbladder Problems

Updated on May 9, 2011

What is a Gall Bladder Attack?

My fiancée suffers from these from time to time, so she asked me to write an article about it, so we could learn more together. Quite simply, a gall bladder attack is a sporadic pain under the right side of the ribcage. This pain will often spread to the right shoulder and the back and can be excruciating in nature.

My fiancée's doctor told her not to worry, so long as the attacks were short, but we have decided to learn more about this condition, as there are some serious health risks involved with ignoring the symptoms. As such, I'm here to share with you what we have learned, with the hope the information will help you as it has helped us.

Before continuing on, I want to throw a word out to the wise. If you are reading this because you believe you are having a gall bladder attack, but you haven't confirmed it with a doctor yet, then please, skip down to the symptoms list and if you are experiencing those symptoms, have someone drive you to receive medical assistance. A gall bladder attack is nothing to mess with, as it can be a life threatening issue.

Now, I didn't add that to scare anyone, but I most certainly don't want anyone ignoring the need to seek medical attention, because they were too busy reading my article. Again, if you are experiencing the symptoms and haven't spoke to your doctor yet, then the time to do so is now.

Symptoms of a Gall Bladder Attack

The main symptom is pain below the ribs on the right side that often radiates to the back, the right shoulder, or between the shoulder blades. If you are experiencing this kind of pain your doctor will want to know how long you have been experiencing it and how often. This pain can also be accompanied by nausea or vomiting, making an already unpleasant situation even more so.

Some minor symptoms you might experience are: gas, belching, indigestion, and abdominal bloating.

These are a nuisance, at best, but there are more severe symptoms that could occur: jaundice (a yellowing of the eyes and skin), persistent pain, fever, chills and sweating. If you are experiencing these symptoms along with your attack, then you need to make your doctor aware, as they could denote a more serious condition.

How to Prevent These Attacks

A change in diet is the most recommended plan of action:

  1. don't eat fried or fatty foods 
  2. avoid red meat
  3. stay away from binge and purge diets
  4. don't drink carbonated drinks
  5. eat smaller meals throughout the day
Other things you can do to help:
  1. eat more fiber
  2. take fish oil capsules (also knows as Omega 3 oils)
  3. take vitamin E (unless you are currently taking an anticoagulant)
In most cases, a change in diet alone will stop the attacks from occurring and negate the need for surgery. While many will balk at the idea of changing their eating habits to prevent the attacks, they feel they will need to change those habits anyway if their gall bladder is surgically removed. So, it's best to change what you eat and keep what's inside of you - inside of you.

Can a Gall Bladder Burst Like an Appendix?

Absolutely! And it's not good when this happens. This is why a diet modification is often recommended, to keep things from going this far. If the pain continues, even with the new diet in-place, then it's time to consider surgery as an option.

A diagram of the gall bladder region
A diagram of the gall bladder region

Gall Bladder Surgery

It's not as bad as you think. Due to advances in medical science, the gall bladder is now typically removed by a procedure called laparoscopic cholcystectomy, which is a surgery by which small cuts in the abdomen so they gall bladder can be extracted. In 90% of all cases, this relieves all of the symptoms, allowing the patient to return to a productive life.

Typical recovery time from this surgery is 3 to ten days, but you can experience extreme fatigue for up to a month. Still, having gone through so much pain, you can see this as the road leading to better days, as the worst is probably behind you; however, if the symptoms return, be sure to let your doctor know right away.

A Non-traditional Cure

Rose Mary of Hubpages brought this interesting cure to my attention. Some might want to try it as a possible alternative to surgery:

"I had no significant typical GB symptoms, but my chiropractor thought I had GB issues. I drank a disgusting mixture of 6 oz Coke classic, 6 oz olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon. Within 12 hrs or so, I passed a gazillion green gall stones in an array of sizes. I had no pain during any of this process. Possibly because gallstones are actually soft. I've done this cleanse one additional time since because I passed so many stones the first time.

My brother and his boss have had several episodes of kidney stones. They now take a product called Phospholiquid by Standard Process, also from this chiropractor, when they have symptoms of yet another stone. For his boss who has been to the hospital as an inpatient several times, well let’s just say she’s sold."

Thanks Rose Mary!

Links to More Information

Below you will find some links that were very helpful during my research, and I hope they will provide further information that will be helpful. Remember, you only get one shot at life, so you need to make the most of it by taking care of yourself.

Here are the links I promised:

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As Always, Your Comments Are Welcome

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    • profile image

      Jenna 

      3 months ago

      Thank you so much for sharing! My fiancé also suffers from this and it’s comforting to know I’m not alone!

    • profile image

      kellykiker 

      6 years ago

      Veey helpful thanks

    • profile image

      dsmith1 

      6 years ago

      Great job! Voted you up and liked on Facebook. A lot of information that can help everyone seeking a natural solution. I know how the pain feels and it's not fun. But surgery doesn't have to be the answer. Learn from this page and also check out the info here:

      http://www.gallstoneadvice.com

    • profile image

      tomyrobertson34 

      6 years ago

      Gallstones are "pebbles" within the gall bladder. The gall bladder is actually a sack found below your liver that stores bile released by the liver. During the course of a meal (especially these incorporating fat or aminoacids), a gallbladder may develop shrinkage, offering bile by means of bile ducts into the digestive system to aid digestion of food. Irregular structure of bile causes creation of gall stones. Gallstone disease is really a frequent cause of intestinal problems, inflammation, along with an infection in the gall bladder and the pancreas. http://www.thegallbladdersymptoms.org/

    • profile image

      vik 

      6 years ago

      can some 1 help me to guide which product will stop the pain forever. i really need a good advise. PLEASE

    • profile image

      saeed ahmed 

      6 years ago

      we greatfully thank you .This note has been very helpful to us.Thank you once again

    • DTR0005 profile image

      Doug Robinson 

      7 years ago from Midwest

      I just wrote about my own personal experience - and it was a nightmare. Thank you for the informative piece and you may wish to check out mine -

    • Hongliang Zhang profile image

      Hongliang Zhang 

      8 years ago from China

      Very exciting!

    • yoshi97 profile imageAUTHOR

      yoshi97 

      8 years ago from a land called 'what if?'

      LOL! Shark bait! Glad it all worked out for the best. :)

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I had a diseased gall bladder but no stones. Had it out in about 15 minutes, with just 3 small incisions. I asked the surgeon if I could have my gall bladder - I was going to use it for shark bait. He was a party pooper, however! lol

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 

      8 years ago from US

      very informative, my friend is afflicted with this one so I will let her read this one too. GB or gall bladder is a small body organ but when it wreak havoc, it costs much,

    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 

      8 years ago from USA

      Yoshi... good article and good info. Way back when (1960) my first journal paper was about a technique for showing "radiolucent" (X-ray transparent) gall stones on an X-ray film when there was also a lot of belly gas in the image area. What you wrote in your article was accurate and should be helpful to many people. Nice work.

    • yoshi97 profile imageAUTHOR

      yoshi97 

      8 years ago from a land called 'what if?'

      Thanks! It's nice to know I can write something that could help others. :)

    • profile image

      Janetta 

      8 years ago

      Great job! There was a lot of good info in there :) My cousin had some trouble with gallstones several years ago and had to have her gallbladder removed. I never knew quite where it was or how to tell if you were having pain because of it. Thanks for the info!

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you for this very informative hub Yoshi.

      I think I had gall bladder attack once or twice before. When I started drinking apple juice (I read about this in one website, I forgot which), I never had the attacks again.

      All the best!

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 

      8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Yoshi, I'm am so glad you took this in the helpful spirit in which it was intended. By all means include the GB cleanse in your hub! You can google it and find it pretty easily. I certainly did before I tried it.

      fastfreta love your sense of humor!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Okay being the recovering hypochondriac that I am, I think that I might have this. I'm going to try rccrayne's method this week. Thank you both for the info. Might not have it, but I don't think the remedy will hurt me, being that it's natural. Thank you for a really good and informative hub.

    • yoshi97 profile imageAUTHOR

      yoshi97 

      8 years ago from a land called 'what if?'

      Excellent info! Mind if I add it to this hub?

    • rmcrayne profile image

      rmcrayne 

      8 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      Yoshi, great info and extremely well written.

      First let me say, I realize by the time you finish reading my post, you'll probably think I'm a nut case. I don't make these comments lightly. I worked my entire adult life in US/Western Medicine. I began "my journey" to better health with Alternative Medicine about 3 years ago.

      So I say to you and your fiancée, PLEASE go the web and read on "gall bladder cleanse". I had no significant typical GB symptoms, but my chiropractor thought I had GB issues. I drank a disgusting mixture of 6 oz Coke classic, 6 oz olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon. Within 12 hrs or so, I passed a gazillion green gall stones in an array of sizes. I had no pain during any of this process. Possibly because gallstones are actually soft. I've done this cleanse one additional time since because I passed so many stones the first time.

      My brother and his boss have had several episodes of kidney stones. They now take a product called Phospholiquid by Standard Process, also from this chiropractor, when they have symptoms of yet another stone. For his boss who has been to the hospital as an inpatient several times, well let’s just say she’s sold.

      These kind of experiences convince me, well, that Western Medicine is not for me, and that Alternative Medicine has simple effective methods by comparison.

      Read a couple of my hubs and hopefully you will see I’m actually quite lucid and logical.

      Best of luck, Rose Mary

    • yoshi97 profile imageAUTHOR

      yoshi97 

      8 years ago from a land called 'what if?'

      Owie! That had to hurt KCC. I do hope things got better from there...

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      KRC 

      8 years ago from Central Texas

      Good info.

      For me, my first symptom was a feeling of having a pocket of air in the center of my upper abdomen between my ribs. It didn't feel like gas or a belch, but close. More like a bubble. A trip to the doctor confirmed a gall bladder full of stones. I too thought that the surgery would be a few small holes and away we go. Unfortunately, the doctor miscalculated the location and found that he couldn't actually reach the gall bladder from the incisions he made (I'm long waisted). So, I had all the small incisions AND the big ole long one to go get it the old-fashioned way. Thanks, doc. :)

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