Gallbladder attack symptoms can strike suddenly, leaving you doubled over in pain. The pain begins on your right side in your abdomen, and can radiate upward to your shoulders. This pain is caused by a blockage in the bile duct and requires prompt medical attention.
What Causes Gallbladder Attacks?
The gallbladder is a small organ that stores the bile produced by the liver. Bile is necessary for digestion. When the body begins digestion, the gallbladder sends the bile out to the small intestine through the bile duct.
Unfortunately, cholesterol and salts can build up, forming small stones known as gallstones. If a gallstone is blocking the bile duct, then the bile will build up in the gallbladder. This will cause severe pain and abdominal swelling. If the bile doesn't drain from the gallbladder, the bile duct, pancreas or liver can become infected.
Is It a Gallbladder Attack?
A gallbladder attack begins with intense pain in the lower back or abdomen, right beneath the ribcage. Occasionally, the pain is felt in the back beneath the lower right shoulder. The pain from a gallbladder attack builds slowly and is at its highest intensity after 30 minutes. A gallbladder attack can last for 15 hours.
Gallbladder attacks happen most frequently at night after, after a fatty meal or after overeating. A gallbladder attack can be accompanied by excess gas, belching and severe indigestion. Often the pain is accompanied by nausea and vomiting. During a gallbladder attack, you may also suffer from indigestion, bloating, diarrhea or constipation. It is not unusual to experience a mild headache as one of the symptoms.
Magnesium followed by a bitter liquid, such as coffee, can alleviate the symptoms of a gallbladder attack. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible to determine the cause and get treatment options.
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The symptoms of gallstones can be subtle or sudden and excruciating. Learn what to look for and what you should do if you suffer a gallbladder attack.