The gall bladder is a small organ which helps your body digest fats. It stores bile produced by the liver, until it is time to be released into the small intestine so that it can break down the fat in food.
Cholecystitis is a condition that occurs as a result of this process not functioning properly. If the gall bladder becomes inflamed – usually due to gallstones, the gall bladder is unable to function and can cause pain. Gallstones occur when bile stays in the gall bladder for too long and hardens, like small stones.
The Two Types of Cholecystitis
- Acute Calculous Cholecystitis
This type of cholecystitis causes the gall bladder to repeatedly shrink and swell, which decreases its functionality and can lead to infection and decreased blood flow. This also increases the risk of more gallstones forming.
- Acute Acalculous Cholecystitis
This type of cholecystitis occurs when the gall bladder shrinks and swells, but no gallstones form. This type of cholecystitis is rare, and makes up less than 15% of cholecystitis cases.
You may have cholecystitis if you are experiencing:
- Sharp pain in the upper right area of the abdomen
- Nausea or vomiting
If you are experiencing symptoms, you should see a doctor. A doctor may run blood tests or imaging tests, such as a CT scan to determine if you have cholecystitis.
Treatment for Cholecystitis
One treatment option is to remove the gallstones from the gall bladder to decrease the swelling. However, the treatment is not always 100% effective, and sometimes cholecystitis reoccurs.
Another option is to have a cholecystectomy – removing the gall bladder. This is a common procedure, and recovery time is around 7-10 days.
There are also some things you can do to prevent cholecystitis.
- Eat a healthy diet, high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Lose weight, but do so gradually. Losing weight suddenly or quickly can increase your chance of gallstones.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Gall bladder health issues can be painful and confusing. If you are experiencing pain or other concerning symptoms, see your doctor so that you can receive the care you need to get back to a healthy, pain-free life.