Gall bladder problems are a common cause of abdominal pain. The gall bladder sits under the liver and acts as a storage and supply device for bile, a digestive fluid used to digest fat in the diet. Gallstones that either get stuck in the outflow ducts or clog up the gallbladder are the most common reason for pain. A few people don’t have actual gallstones, but instead a sluggish gallbladder which doesn’t effectively deliver bile when needed. Anybody can develop gallbladder problems, but the most common individuals affected fall into one or more of the “four F’s”…female, fat, fair and forty.
Abdominal pain is typically felt 30 minutes to one hour after a meal. Fatty or greasy foods are more likely to cause the symptoms. Pain is located under the ribs on the right side of the abdomen, and frequently will be felt in the back where the right shoulder blade is located. The pain is often colicky; that is, it seems to comes in waves, varying in intensity. The pain generally subsides the further one gets from the last meal. Diagnosis by a physician is usually made with an ultrasound and labwork. Sometimes additional testing such as gallbladder function studies are requested. Immediate emergency room evaluation is essential if the pain does not subside within a few hours, or there is fever, vomiting and/or juandice (the skin and/or eyes turning yellow). Treatment is usually surgical removal of the gallbladder and any impacted stones…..Richard R Samuel, MD Family Practice and Urgent Care Hayden, ID USA