What are the different types of gallbladder disease?

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The most common gallbladder disease is due to stones. Stones in the gallbladder can block it from emptying the bile it stores, causing inflammation and pain. You can have intermittent attacks of symptoms caused by gallbladder stones (symptomatic cholelithiasis). Sometimes the stones can completely block the gallbladder from emptying and this causes severe inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis). Other problems related to the gallbladder are caused by a gallbladder stone dislodging and blocking the pancreas duct (pancreatitis) or the main bile duct (cholangitis), or when the gallbladder does not empty bile like it should into the intestines (biliary dyskinesia).
There are many types of gallbladder disease. Stones or sludge can get trapped in the gallbladder and cause inflammation of the gallbladder itself. They can also get stuck in the tubes or ducts that carry bile (a liquid the liver makes) from the gallbladder into the intestines. This can cause a blockage that may injure the pancreas or cause an infection. It is also possible to get cancer of the gallbladder.
There are generally two types of gallbladder disease, calculous gallbladder disease and acalculous gallbladder disease. In normal digestion, your liver releases a digestive fluid called bile into your gallbladder, where the bile is concentrated and stored. Then when you eat a meal, your gallbladder squeezes just the right amount of bile into your intestine to help in the digestion of that food.

In acalculous gallbladder disease, the squeezing function of your gallbladder may not work correctly, causing too little bile to be released into your intestine, leading to cramping, bloating and diarrhea.

In calculous disease, gallstones form in your gallbladder, possibly causing blockages, inflammation and other problems. Symptoms may include sudden sharp pain under your right ribcage, often right after eating a meal.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your doctor may do an ultrasound or other tests to determine if you have either type of gallbladder disease or some other problem.

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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.