The gallbladder plays many different roles in various digestive processes, but a lot of people rarely pay attention to it until they start experiencing pain. There are plenty of health issues that may arise from this pear-shaped structure, which the main purpose is to store, concentrate, and regulate bile, and the development of gallstones is just some of them.
The Concerning Number of Affected Americans
Gallstones are very common, especially among adults. In the United States alone, medical experts estimate that between 10 to 15 percent of the adult population suffer from gallstones. These problems in the gallbladder can result in much more serious complications, so it’s important you head to your doctor as soon as you experience the symptoms associated with them.
Serious, Even Debilitating Pain
Some people with gallstones don’t experience symptoms. However, those who do typically have to deal with severe pain. Gallstones and cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) share similar signs, including pain affecting various parts of the body. These include the upper right abdominal area and the upper back, usually between the shoulder blades or just below the right shoulder blade.
In many cases, the pain that arises from these areas come on suddenly and worsens over time. In some people, the pain can last for 30 minutes, but in others, it can persist for several hours.
Other Common Telling Signs of Gallstones
Aside from pain, gallstones can also lead to fever development, usually accompanied by chills. It’s also common for patients to suffer from bloating, indigestion, vomiting, nausea, and even jaundice.
Prompt Treatment Minimizes Risk for Complications
As soon as you notice these indications, you should pay your doctor a visit. Gallstones, when left untreated, can result in even more painful, severe complications, including pancreatitis, cholangitis, and cholecystitis.
Also keep in mind that gallstones may indicate gallbladder cancer, so it’s important you receive prompt, correct diagnosis for proper treatment.