The gallbladder is a small organ near the liver. The gallbladder is essentially a small sac that fills with bile and aids digestion. Common problems associated with the gallbladder include gallbladder disease and gallstones. Gallbladder attacks are painful and often confused with heartburn, as they may be worse after eating.
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Cholecystitis or gallbladder disease occurs when the gallbladder becomes inflamed because of blockage, gallstones or infection. The disease is characterised by sudden and severe stomach pain and may include nausea, bloating and fever.
Gallstones are formed by calcium and cholesterol build-up in the gallbladder. Gallstones are more common in women than men, and overweight people tend to be affected by gallstones more than others. Like gallbladder disease, gallstones cause pain in the stomach, usually in the upper right quadrant.
Symptoms of a gallbladder attack are not isolated to the stomach area. Many individuals experience pain in the upper shoulders and back as well.
Foods may exacerbate the symptoms of a gallbladder attack. Greasy or fatty foods have been found to make the symptoms worse.
Indigestion and Nausea
Indigestion, bloating and nausea are signs of a gallbladder attack. As with abdominal pain, indigestion is often made worse when foods high in fat are eaten.
When signs of a secondary infection occur, medical care should be sought immediately. Abdominal pain accompanied by fever or yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice) may indicate a serious problem or advanced gallbladder disease.
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