What Is Your Gallbladder?

You might not think about the importance of your gallbladder until you have a problem with this organ. The gallbladder is a part of the intestinal or digestive tract, and it helps to produce, store or transport bile. The gallbladder and liver work together to create acidic bile that is required for breaking down the fats from the foods that you eat.

Gallstones Can Develop Inside the Gallbladder

This pear-shaped organ holds only a few ounces of bile, and it is located beneath the liver on the right side of the body. When you develop gallstones in the gallbladder or its bile ducts, you will have intense pain that radiates throughout the abdominal region and into your back. Gallstones are composed from bilirubin or cholesterol, and these items often require surgical removal. In some cases, larger gallstones remain inside the gallbladder, but the smaller gallstones may enter the ducts of this organ.

A Gallstone Can Cause Complications In Other Organs

You may have tiny gallstones without realizing it because the items will travel through the ducts to leave the organ naturally. However, larger or multiple gallstones cause intense pain along with a fever and nausea. Occasionally, a gallstone will squeeze through the ducts on its own, leading to a reduction of discomfort. When the gallstones remain wedged in the gallbladder or ducts, it can cause complications such as inflammation in the pancreas.

There Are Different Methods For Removing Gallstones

A physician can perform an ultrasound to see the gallstones in the ducts or gallbladder. If you have jaundice, then the physician can remove the gallbladder through a small incision. In some cases, physicians prefer to prescribe medications that contain acids that will break a gallstone down into a smaller size. It is also possible to undergo a lithotripsy procedure that will pulverize the gallstones so that the small pieces can travel through the bile ducts.

Can You Have a Normal Life Without a Gallbladder?

It is possible to live without a gallbladder for the rest of your life, but it does take time for your digestive tract to adjust to the change. You may have severe indigestion, and your physician will recommend a low-fat diet. After a few months, you may notice a decrease in pain after eating fatty foods such as nuts, meat or cheese because the liver compensates for the removal of the gallbladder.