If you’re experiencing sudden pain located underneath the ribs, nausea, vomiting, bloating, loose stools, and gas, it could be tempting to visit your general doctor to figure out what’s going on. However, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a board certified gastroenterologist who practices at one of the eight Carolina Digestive Health Associates offices throughout the Charlotte metro area. Our team specializes in all manner of gastrointestinal diseases and conditions, including those that affect the gallbladder, which often present with the above-mentioned symptoms.
Although a non-essential organ, the gallbladder does perform an important purpose that helps your body function well. The gallbladder is a small, pear shaped organ located under the liver. It stores the bile that is produced by the liver, which helps your body break down and digest fats.
Believe it or not, one of the most common diseases of the gallbladder can result from something as small as a grain of sand. Gallstones, which are small substances that develop in the bile as a result of the gallbladder not emptying completely or frequently enough, can cause a backup or reduce the gallbladder’s ability to store and release bile. The presence of these gallstones causes the most common gallbladder conditions including cholecystitis, an inflammation and irritation of the gallbladder wall. Cholecystitis should be seen by a gastroenterologist as it can continue to affect your quality of life. The pain can be quite severe and even less painful symptoms may be causing long-term damage to the gallbladder.
Gallstones are often a result of being overweight or obese, eating a high fat or high cholesterol diet, having diabetes, having a family history of the condition, or taking medications that contain estrogen. They are most common in women 60 years of age or older. Many gallbladder conditions are related to infections, injuries, diabetes, surgery, or diseases related to blood circulation.
Regardless of your risk, your Carolina Digestive gastroenterologist is trained to diagnose gallbladder conditions through a variety of ways, mostly non-invasive and in the comfort of our office. Under most circumstances your doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam then discuss with you any further tests that may be needed. Depending on your results, other options, including surgery, will be evaluated based on your individual case. Contact Carolina Digestive Health Associates today for more information and for an appointment to diagnose your gallbladder conditions.