Gallbladder

Gallbladder

Questions: How do I know if I’m having a gallbladder attack?

Answer: The gallbladder sits below the rib cage to the right of the abdomen on the underside of the liver. The gallbladder collects and concentrates digestive liquid called bile and releases the bile through bile tubes into the small intestine to aid in digestion.

A “gallbladder attack” can be caused by a stone making its way down the biliary duct or bile tube toward the small intestine. An attack can also be caused by a backup of bile in the gallbladder causing the gallbladder swell. An attack may also be caused by an infection of the gallbladder known as cholecystitis.

Symptoms of a “gallbladder attack” include upper abdominal pain that radiates between the middle of the shoulder blades or on the right shoulder blade. This pain can be constant or may come and go like colic. The pain can be dull, sharp or excruciating in severity and may cause nausea and vomiting. The pain may take your breath away and you may not be able to walk in an upright position. Gallbladder attacks typically occur at night and can last from 1 hour to several days. It can be very difficult or impossible to make these symptoms go away. See your primary doctor or the ER for care and administration of pain meds to get the pain under control.