WHAT ARE GALLBLADDER DISORDERS?
Your gallbladder sits below your liver and is responsible for storing bile, a fluid the liver produces to digest fat. The gallbladder releases bile, which travels through bile ducts to reach your small intestine.
Damage to the gallbladder or obstructions in the flow of bile can result in a gallbladder disorder. There are several types of common gallbladder disorders, such as:
Polyps are growths within the gallbladder that are typically noncancerous and don’t cause any symptoms. However, larger-sized polyps may increase risk factors for gallbladder cancer.
Gallstones develop from a build-up of substances in bile, like calcium and cholesterol, that can grow large enough to block the gallbladder or obstruct the flow of bile in the bile ducts.
Cholecystitis is a common type of gallbladder disorder that causes acute or chronic inflammation in the gallbladder.
Acute cholecystitis is typically due to gallstones that can cause attacks of abdominal pain. Chronic cholecystitis involves multiple attacks of acute cholecystitis, which can lead to the shrinking of your gallbladder and loss of its ability to store bile.
Choledocholithiasis describes a gallstone blockage in the neck of the gallbladder or within the bile ducts that don’t allow bile to flow out. This buildup of bile can lead to inflammation that causes the gallbladder to become distended.
HOW ARE GALLBLADDER DISORDERS DIAGNOSED?
Our medical team offers on-site diagnostic testing for gallbladder disorders, including:
- Blood work
- Hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan
Your provider also reviews your personal and family medical history and performs a physical exam to determine the cause of your symptoms and confirm an existing gallbladder disorder.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR GALLBLADDER DISORDERS?
In many types of gallbladder disorders, our team works closely with you to make necessary lifestyle and dietary changes that reduce the symptoms of a gallbladder disorder. These changes focus on helping you maintain a healthy weight to reduce risks for new gallstones.
You may also need oral medications to address pain and inflammation in the gallbladder. If you have an active infection, you may also need a course of antibiotics.
Even without a gallbladder, you can live a long, healthy life. The medical team uses minimally invasive surgical procedures to reduce trauma to your body and ensure a faster recovery.