Characteristic gall bladder problem symptoms are jaundice and/or upper abdominal pain and discomfort. The gall bladder (gallbladder) is a small pouch that is closely associated with the liver, and is involved in digestion and waste elimination.
The gall bladder stores and releases bile through the bile duct, which aids in the digestion of fats, cholesterol, and fat-soluble compounds. The gall bladder also functions to help in the excretion of wastes (including hemoglobin from the breakdown of old red blood cells) from the body.
The bile duct which drains bile from the gall bladder can become blocked for many reasons, sometimes a result of cancer of the bile duct (bile duct tumors) and often due to gall stones. Rarely does the gall bladder develop cancer.
Disorders/inflammation of the pancreas can also cause blockages of the draining of the gall bladder through the bile duct. Chronic and acute inflammation of the gall bladder (cholecystitis) can also occur, often due to gall stones.
Gall bladder problem symptoms:
Bile Duct Tumors
- weight loss
- loss of appetite
- abdominal pain
- whole body skin irritation
- skin itchiness
- pain in right shoulder
- upper right abdominal pain (often severe)
- tensing of right abdominal muscles
- sometimes jaundice
Diagnosis is typically through physical examination and observation of symptoms. Ultrasound and CT scan imaging, and tissue biopsy can be used to detect bile duct tumors. Imaging techniques as well as blood testing are typically used to diagnose cholecystitis.
Treatment is typically aimed at reopening a blocked bile duct, or attempting to remove a cancerous tumor. For bile duct tumors radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be used but prognosis is typically poor.
Chronic and acute cholecystitis due to gall stones is regularly treated surgically by removing the gall bladder. Antibiotics may be used in cases deemed appropriate.