An inflamed gallbladder (cholecystitis) may have symptoms similar to or be caused by gallbladder disease. An inflammation, when allowed to rest, often doesn’t cause further problems after it is treated. Some people with gallbladder problems will have chronic inflammation.
A healthcare professional will need to do an exam and run any necessary tests to determine the cause of inflammation of this pear-shaped organ if there are gallstones, cancer, cysts, or polyps, the gallbladder often needs to be removed.
Gallbladder Diseases that Cause Inflammation
Gallstones cause a majority of cholecystitis cases, so when there is inflammation, the gallbladder is often removed. Occasionally a cholecystectomy is done, and no gallstones are found in this little organ that aids in digesting fat. Sometimes, though rare, there could be a cyst, swollen lymph nodes, or tumor that blocks the bile ducts and causes the gallbladder to become inflamed.
Digestive and Other Symptoms of Cholecystitis
Initial symptoms may not be recognized as being caused by an inflammation of the gallbladder because they are the same as common digestive problems (7 Common Digestive Problems). One of the symptoms that will lead suffers to urgent care is severe pain under the upper right rib cage. This pain may spread to the back and into the right shoulder. Other symptoms include the following:
- Clay-colored stools
- Yellowing of skin and eyes
After a gallbladder exam, a healthcare professional will instruct as to what to do. If there does not appear to be gallstones or other diseases, resting the gallbladder may be recommended.
Time for Resting and Recovering
Changing what food is eaten will allow the gallbladder to rest and recover. Since the gallbladder regulates bile necessary to digest fats, a diet low in fat will allow the organ to rest. A general guideline would be to have less than 30% of calories be from fats. It is recommended to reduce the following to rest an inflamed gallbladder:
- Fried food
- Fatty meats
- Refined grains (white bread, white flour, etc.)
- Long periods between eating
- High-fat dairy products
- Rapid weight loss
Eliminating all fats can increase the risk of gallstones. Omega 3 (Top 10 Foods High in Omega-3) and other fats are necessary to overall health, so they need to remain in the diet. Increasing fruits, vegetables, and grains give the gallbladder a break because they don’t require bile to be digested. Treatment options for an inflamed gallbladder will vary, depending on the cause.
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What Are The Treatment Options
The most common cause of an inflamed gallbladder is blockage of the bile ducts. Blockages are commonly treated by the gallbladder being removed (cholecystectomy). When this outpatient surgery cannot be done due to other health issues, these other treatments options may be chosen for treatment:
- Diet change
- Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL)
- Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE)
- Percutaneous cholecystostomy
Due to the severe and even life-threatening complications of an inflamed gallbladder it is essential to seek professional medical help in treating it.