Gall Bladder Pain- What Does It Feel Like?

    The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ sac situated underneath the liver. Since the organ is situated in the abdomen’s upper right side, the pain is often felt in the upper-middle or right sections. The gall bladder’s function is to store bile, a fluid produced by the adjoining liver. Besides storage, the gall bladder releases bile when our food enters the small intestine. Bile is required by our body to digest the fats from our food and help in its absorption. Most often, the gall bladder’s pain occurs after a person consumes a fatty meal because that is when the gall bladder is active and contracts, which triggers pain.  

    Usually, the gall bladder pain is thought to be due to stones in the organ. However, gall bladder pain is a broad term. It refers to pain arising from any kind of condition from the gall bladder.

    The symptoms can be varied from mild to severe. The mild symptoms may be relieved   using home remedies, while severe pain requires urgent intervention and possibly surgery. Pain can arise after eating certain kinds of foods that are high in fat. Gall bladder pain is described by patients as:

    • intermittent. It comes and goes, or
    • constant 
    • abdominally located, usually in the upper-middle section
    • sometimes radiating at  the back

    Sometimes the term biliary colic is used to describe a gall bladder pain attack. It happens when one of the ducts of the gall bladder is entirely or partially blocked. When the gall bladder contracts against such a blocked duct, it triggers pain. A typical gallbladder attack typically differs from other kinds of stomach pain. It may be accompanied by signs and symptoms like:

    • fever
    • chills
    • nausea and vomiting 
    • bloating and gas
    • dark or tea-colored urine 
    • a yellowish tinge of skin and eyes
    • light or clay-colored stools

    Causes Of Gall Bladder Pain

    When the gall bladder or its associated ducts are blocked for any reason, it causes irritation and infection of the surrounding tissues. The blood supply to such an area is blocked, which results in tissue death. The blockage of the ducts is most often due to stones or sludge of bile. Depending upon the underlying cause, the gall bladder pain may differ slightly in every case. It helps the physician to make an initial diagnosis. Some of the common causes of pain include:

    Biliary colic

    Colic means a pain that comes and goes. It is usually due to the ducts’ temporary blockage connecting the gall bladder with the liver and the small intestine. When the blockage is relieved, the pain goes away and vice versa. When colic pain suddenly arises, it is sharp and intense. The pain site is just below the chest bone or on the right side of the abdomen. Sometimes the pain may increase and shift to involve the right shoulder or back. The pain lasts for about an hour or so and may subside within a day


    The pain of cholecystitis occurs due to inflammation or infection of the gall bladder. The inflammation may arise due to a number of reasons but duct blockage by stones is usually the common cause. This pain is constant and intense. The pain site is in the right upper abdomen that may radiate to the right shoulder and back. There is a pain in the abdomen that feels like a touching or pressing. This gall bladder pain lasts longer than the colic pain and is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, bloating and sweating

    Acalculous cholecystitis

    Acalculous means there are no stones in the gall bladder or its associated ducts. The pain usually arises as a secondary cause of trauma, injury, or burns


    Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The organ is closely linked with the small intestine. Sometimes, the stones in the gall bladder may block the pancreatic duct. In this case, the abdomen is painful to touch


    The infection of the whole biliary system is called cholangitis. The pain of cholangitis is usually a medical emergency. The patient presents with abdominal pain, fever, low blood pressure and jaundice

    How Is Gall Bladder Pain Treated?

    Treatment of pain lies with the removal of the underlying disease. Pain is managed by:

    • pain medications as ibuprofen and other over-the-counter drugs
    • strong pain medications as hydrocodone and morphine, which are available through a doctor’s prescription

    Some surgical procedures to treat the root cause of gall bladder pain include:

    • lithotripsy, a non-invasive procedure that uses shock waves to breakdown gallstones and other masses
    • laparoscopic surgery to remove gallstones
    • surgery to remove the entire gallbladder

    Home Remedies For Relief Of Gall Bladder Pain

    Besides the emergency causes of gall bladder pain, not all cases need medication. Sometimes, home remedies can also help alleviate the condition. These include: 

    • application of heat compress using heat pads or hot water bottle
    • peppermint tea to help relieve nausea and pain 
    • sipping diluted apple cider vinegar for pain management
    • turmeric milk or curcumin supplements that can cut back the chances of gall bladder pain

    - Advertisement -spot_img
    - Advertisement -spot_img

    Recommended Articles