What are the symptoms of gallbladder disease?

Most people who have gallbladder problems notice pain in the upper portion of their stomach on the right side. Some people even have pain that wraps around to the back or the right shoulder area. Feeling bloated after eating and having nausea and diarrhea are also common.
The main symptom of chronic (long-term) gallbladder disease is pain in the upper right part of your belly. Pain from gallstones is called biliary colic.

The pain may:
  • Feel dull, achy and steady
  • Be moderately severe
  • Move to the back
  • Last one to four hours,
  • Start after a meal, especially one high in fat
You might throw up (vomit) or feel sick in your stomach (nauseous) when the pain strikes. Most people are well in between attacks. Some people with gallstones don't have any pain. 

Other symptoms of gallbladder disease are:
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia)
  • Gas (flatulence)
It's important to remember these above symptoms are vague and can be signs of other health conditions.

If your gallstones are causing pain and other symptoms, you will need to have your gallbladder removed, unless you have other health conditions that make surgery impossible.  If you don't have any symptoms, you don't need gallbladder surgery. 
A classic symptom of gallbladder disease is stomach discomfort. In this video, Gopal Grandhinge, MD, of Brandon Regional Hospital lists some other symptoms, both classic and atypical, of gallbladder disease.

Symptoms may include:

  • intense, sudden pain in the upper right side of the abdomen
  • indigestion or pain after meals that lasts a few hours
  • intolerance of fatty foods
  • pain upon taking deep breaths that moves to right shoulder blade
  • nausea and vomiting
  • low fever
  • chills
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • abdominal bloating
  • loose, light-colored stool
  • rigid abdominal muscles on the right side

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.