Your Stomach Pain May Be Your Gallbladder

Your Stomach Pain May Be Your Gallbladder

Just beneath your liver (on the right side of your midsection below your ribs) is a small pear shaped sac called the gallbladder. Its job is to store and assist in distributing bile that the liver produces. 

Bile, which aids in digesting fat, is released from the gallbladder when food is consumed. It is released into the upper small intestine and rarely develops into a problem, until a slowing or blockage occurs. When this happens, several symptoms can arise with many of these symptoms steering unseasoned medical professionals or your own instincts into misguided remedy attempts. 

Stomach pain is a common symptom of a gallbladder problem. Find out if your symptoms may be your gallbladder after all and ways you might be able to finally stop the pain. 

You’re Not Alone

According to Health, 

“Anywhere from 20 to 25 million people in the U.S. have a problem with their gallbladder,…The most common gallbladder problem is gallstones, crystallized clumps of bile and dissolved cholesterol that form in the gallbladder or bile duct, the tube that carries the bile to the small intestine. Gallstones can cause inflammation and pain, and lots of people have them—up to 20% of women and 10% of men in the U.S. by the age of 60—and they can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.”

Women have a higher prevalence of gallbladder problems due to their change in sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. These hormones can boost bile cholesterol as well as slow the emptying of bile from the gallbladder. Also, pregnancy and oral contraception could cause gallstones to develop as well. 

Many people have gallstones but do not develop symptoms, these are called “silent stones”. However, if the gallbladder is compromised and symptomatic stones or other symptoms develop, you may need to take action.

Signs and Risks

These are some symptoms and reasons gallbladder problems may be indicated:

  • Stomach Pain – As mentioned, stomach pain is common symptom of a gallbladder problem.
  • Abdominal – More specific “stomach pain” may include the upper right or middle abdominal region. The abdominal region might be described as slightly below your stomach just above your pubic area. 
  • After Eating – Pain in the abdomen after eating a meal; often similar pain every time. 
  • Nausea – This is especially prevalent if the gall bladder needs an emergency removal. However, slight nausea that often happens after eating a meal or even a snack could indicate gallbladder trouble. 
  • Jaundice – A slight or more yellowing of the skin could indicate jaundice which is a sign of a struggling liver and gallbladder. This is hard to spot on those who have dark skin or are perpetually tan however sometimes it presents in the whites of the eyes or sclera. 
  • Diet and Exercise – Poor lifestyle choices like eating processed foods, drinking alcohol and not getting enough activity not only lead to gallbladder compromise but many other health risks as well.
  • Body Weight – Being overweight holds more risk for gallbladder problems however, losing weight can also pose a risk. According to Allison Yang, MD, a gastroenterology and hepatology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, “Patients who experience gastric bypass surgery or stapling surgery, when they lose a lot of weight very quickly, that’s often associated with forming gallstones,”
  • Back Pain – Could experience continual (chronic) sudden stabbing pain under the right shoulder blade or overall back.

There are many other signs, however these would probably be the biggest “red flags” as the others could be applied to just about any other condition. 

Treat Your Gall Bladder Nice

A lot of gallbladder problems can be attributed to diet. The best prevention to avoid problems with your gallbladder, including painful gallstones, is stopping excessive Bad Diet Behavior (BDB). This is when you don’t just grab a few spoonfuls of ice cream once in a while but down the entire quart in one sitting, before bed! If you think you need to or gallbladder problems run in your family, try some of these gallbladder (GB) diet guidelines recommended by Healthline.

GB Friendly Foods

  • Bell Peppers
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Dark, Leafy Greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Milk
  • Sardines
  • Fish And Shellfish
  • Low-Fat Dairy
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh

Main GB Aggravations

  • Vegetable Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Refined White Foods (Breads, Pastas, Etc.)
  • Foods High In Fat
  • Processed Foods

In addition, the Mayo Clinic reports that skipping meals may lead to gallstones; if you are on a regimented weightless diet lose the weight slowly, rapid weightless could trigger the gallstone to malfunction; 

If you experience any of the symptoms above, especially for an extended period of time (days to weeks, depending on the symptoms) see your doctor. Also, keep an eye out for a misdiagnosis or ask your practitioner if your symptoms might be your gallbladder. Overall, keep a good eye on your health so an unhappy gallbladder doesn’t surprisingly start poking you in the gut.