9 Types of Gallbladder Diseases and Complications

The gallbladder is a small organ located beneath the liver. Its job is to assist with digestion by storing and releasing bile into the small intestine. Unlike other organs, the gallbladder isn’t essential for digestion, and people who have had their gallbladder removed can go on to live perfectly normal and healthy lives. In this article, we discuss nine gallbladder diseases and complications that could lead to a person requiring treatment and gallbladder surgery in Tampa. If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms discussed in this article, schedule a consultation with Whalen Clark, M.D., for diagnosis and treatment. 

1. Gallstones

We begin with one of the most common digestive problems, especially in women. Gallstones are hardened deposits that form from bile or bilirubin, a substance found in the blood. While small gallstones are generally harmless, larger ones can block bile ducts. These bigger stones can lead to intense abdominal pain, back pain between the shoulder blades, nausea, and vomiting. 

2. Gallbladder Cancer

When cancer forms in the gallbladder, it can easily go undetected and threaten to spread to nearby tissue and organs. Fortunately, gallbladder cancer is a rare disease, affecting under 4,000 people a year. Early detection remains the best defense against gallbladder cancer. If you are experiencing abdominal pain, bloating, itching, fever, weight loss, nausea, or yellowing skin, schedule a visit with a gallbladder surgeon in Tampa who can accurately diagnose your condition. 

3. Cholecystitis 

While gallstones are widely known, cholecystitis is actually the most common form of gallbladder disease. Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder often caused by gallstones. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain or tenderness, nausea, vomiting, fever, and right shoulder pain. If you have worsening symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor for your condition. Cholecystitis can lead to a gallbladder rupture and often requires gallbladder removal to treat. 

4. Gangrenous Cholecystitis 

If left untreated, cholecystitis can lead to tissue death in the gallbladder and may even result in the gallbladder bursting. This is common among diabetics and patients who prolong consulting a medical professional for treatment. If you are experiencing severe abdominal pain, don’t put your health at risk by refusing help. 

5. Gallbladder Empyema

The most severe form of cholecystitis, gallbladder empyema is the accumulation of pus in the gallbladder. Symptoms include right-side abdominal pain, fever, and chills. This is a severe condition that requires immediate medical attention to treat. 

6. Choledocholithiasis

Similar to cholecystitis, choledocholithiasis occurs when gallstones block the bile duct. As bile builds up, it causes the gallbladder to become inflamed or distended. Symptoms include severe upper abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, yellowing skin, and off-colored stool. 

7. Gallbladder Polyps 

Gallbladder polyps are small growths that form from the lining of the gallbladder. While polyps are usually benign, some may become cancerous, and it’s a good idea to have the entire gallbladder removed when a large polyp is detected. 

8. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis

Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a chronic disease that affects the liver and gallbladder. This condition slowly damages the bile ducts, leading to inflammation and scarring. As scar tissue builds up, the liver can lose its ability to function. Although patients can go years without experiencing symptoms, putting off treatment can lead to liver failure. 

9. Biliary Dyskinesia 

Surprisingly, some gallbladder complications do occur without the presence of gallstones. Such is the case with biliary dyskinesia, a condition in which patients experience biliary abdominal pain without the presence of gallstones. Discovering the underlying cause will require the expertise of a board-certified surgeon like Dr. Clark, the top gallbladder surgeon in Tampa

To learn more about gallbladder surgery in Tampa, or to schedule a consultation with Whalen Clark, M.D., please request an appointment today.

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