The gallbladder is a small organ located in the upper right abdomen, which is just below the liver. It is attached to the common bile duct and cystic duct, which carries bile from the liver through the gallbladder into the small intestine. Your gallbladder will store the bile temporarily. When you consume food, your gallbladder will contract and cause the bile to move through the ducts into the intestine.
Cholecystitis is a condition in which the gallbladder becomes inflamed because the bile cannot pass through the ducts into the small intestine. When the flow is blocked, you experience symptoms of cholecystitis. There are two types of this condition including acute cholecystitis and chronic cholecystitis.
Acute cholecystitis involves a sudden inflammation of the gallbladder whereas the chronic form is caused when low-intensity inflammation lingers or a series of acute attacks over time. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms and treatments.
1. Symptom: Gallstones
Gallstones are hard deposits of fluid that build up inside your gallbladder. If one of these stones interrupts the outflow from the gallbladder by blocking the cystic duct, then bile will become trapped in your gallbladder. In turn, the trapped bile has chemicals in it that can lead to a bacterial infection. Cholecystitis often develops in people who have gallstones, which leads to the organ becoming swollen and painful.
It is important to note gallstones can still cause abdominal pain even if an infection is not present. You might be more likely to develop gallstones if you are a woman over the age of 60. Pregnant women may experience gallstones along with women who take birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy. If you consume a high-fat diet, lost weight quickly, or are obese, you may have a greater chance of getting gallstones.