Symptoms and signs of gallbladder disease

Symptoms and signs of gallbladder disease

The gallbladder is a rather small organ, which is a pear-shaped reservoir with a capacity of 60-80 ml. The location of the gallbladder is on the lower surface of the right lobe of the liver, with which this organ is associated with the bile ducts. The main function of the gallbladder is the accumulation of bile produced by the liver cells and its secretion into the intestine for the processing of incoming food. The absorption process of transporting salts, proteins, amino acids is performed through the gallbladder membrane, the organ itself produces mucus and produces the hormone anti-cholecystokinin.

Various diseases and dysfunctions, pathological processes developing in the gallbladder, can negatively affect not only the digestion process, but also the health of the whole organism. Certain diseases and pathologies of the gallbladder without timely treatment are fatal.

What is a gallbladder?

In the structure of this organ, the bottom, body, and neck are separated, passing into the cystic duct with a diameter of 1 to 3 mm and a length of 1 to 3 cm. For most people, the cystic duct flows into the common bile with a slight bias that promotes the flow of bile. But every fifth person has some deviations: from a change in the angle and location of the confluence to spiraling torsions around the common hepatic duct, which often contributes to the development of dyskinesia and functional stagnation of bile in the bladder. The length of the common bile duct can also vary and affect the efficiency of the organ.

Major diseases and pathologies of the gallbladder

Among the diseases of the biliary system, most are associated with impaired organ function due to improper composition of the diet or non-compliance with the nutritional time.


Cholelthiasis or gallstone disease is accompanied by the formation of calculus stones in the cavity of the gallbladder or biliary tract. Among the main causes of gallstones, a glut of bile cholesterol, organ dyskinesia, leading to stagnation, biliary hypertension due to impaired bile output and infectious processes.

Statistically, this disease of the biliary system is most susceptible to women over 40 years old, with blond hair and skin, having a history of pregnancy and having overweight. In men, cholelithiasis often develops at an older age or when they are prone to alcohol and an excessive amount of high-cholesterol foods in the diet.

Prolonged asymptomatic cholelithiasis, ignoring the first signs of the disease can lead to the development of the disease before the acute attack stage and the need for urgent hospitalization for conservative or surgical treatment.

Bile duct dyskinesia

Dyskinesia or dysfunction of the contraction of the gallbladder and / or biliary tract develops on the background of an unhealthy diet with long intervals between meals, as well as with increased loads on the nervous system and psyche, stress.

The disease manifests itself in recurrent pain in the right hypochondrium and dyspepsia: alternation of the absence of bowel movement with liquid stool, which is due to insufficient flow of bile into the intestine.


In 90% of patients with cholecystitis, the disease develops against cholelithiasis, in which calculus irritate the gallbladder membranes, increase pressure inside the organ, penetrate pathogenic organisms, causing inflammatory and necrotic processes.

10% of people with acute cholecystitis are diagnosed with a chronic stoneless form of cholecystitis, in which the inflammatory process of the inner lining of the gallbladder takes place without the formation of stones. The main causes of this disease include:

  • bacterial infection (reproduction of Escherichia coli, enterococci, streptococci, staphylococci, Proteus, as well as anaerobic types of pathogenic microorganisms);
  • intestinal parasites;
  • allergic reactions of the body, both food allergies and aerogenic;
  • diseases of the gastrointestinal tract inflammatory, especially pancreatitis , hepatitis;
  • difficulty with outflow of bile, hypertension.


In acute and chronic form, it is characterized by inflammation of the biliary tract. As a rule, cholangitis occurs as a complication of the underlying disease, when an infection or mechanical trauma during stone movement, surgical intervention causes narrowing, scarring, replacement of the main tissue of the fibrous duct.
There are obstructive, recurrent, secondary sclerosing, bacterial forms of the disease. With a purulent or bacterial variety, the attack develops within a few days and in the absence of timely treatment, the mortality rate reaches 40%.

Malignant tumors in the gallbladder

Cancer of this organ in 80-100% of cases occurs as a complication of chronic inflammatory processes affecting the gallbladder membrane and its ducts. The disease is characterized by early and rapid metastasis of surrounding tissues and organs.

Symptomatology of the main diseases of the gallbladder

The clinical picture and symptoms of diseases differ not only depending on the disease, but also on its stage and form. Acute attacks of most gallbladder diseases are characterized by pain in the right side and / or right hypochondrium with irradiation (spreading) to the back to the right up to the shoulder and the clavicle. Dyspeptic symptoms are expressed in nausea, periodic or repeated vomiting. The abdominal muscles on the right are strained under the right ribs or as a whole on the right side of the peritoneum.
Differences in disease symptoms:

Symptom Type Cholelithiasis (GI) in acute form Chronic cholecystitis Discsenesia Cholangitis Cancer
Pain or discomfort Acute pain in the right hypochondrium after abnormal diet Discomfort, heaviness, “aching” pain if you do not follow the rules of nutrition With increasing pressure of bile: acute pain for 10-15 minutes. With reduced pressure: aching pain, heaviness in the right abdomen Acute painful sensations of a paroxysmal nature, which can cause loss of consciousness dull aching pain at a pronounced stage of development
Itching of the skin Present Present Missing Present Missing
Hyperthermia, febrile Hyperthermia to 40 ° C, chills, increased sweating Not observed in 60% of cases Subfebrile body temperature Hyperthermia to 40 ° C, chills, increased sweating Low-grade body temperature

Diagnostic methods and interpretation of laboratory parameters in diseases of the biliary tract and bladder

The main methods of primary diagnosis of diseases affecting the gallbladder and biliary ducts are history taking, palpation of the peritoneum, laboratory blood tests and ultrasound of the organ. If necessary, use the laparoscopic method of diagnosis, as a rule, with the pathological form of cholecystitis and cancer tumors.
What changes in the blood formula correspond to diseases of the gall?

Abnormal Indicator Possible symptom
Increased unbound bilirubin Mechanical jaundice is likely as a symptom of gallstone disease, cholangitis, cholecystitis, obstruction, trauma, neoplasm in the bladder and biliary tract
Conjugated Conjugated Bilirubin Sign of hemolytic anemia, genetically determined developmental anomalies
Increased AST, ALT The presence of inflammatory and / or necrotic processes in liver cells, which is characteristic of hepatitis, cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, cancer tumors
Increased alkaline phosphatase Signs of congestion in the liver tissue and gallbladder cavity, characteristic of gallstone disease and chronic cholecystitis

Diet as a basis for treatment and prevention

The basic principles of treatment of diseases of the hepatobiliary system are based on adherence to the principles of nutrition. Without strict adherence to the rules of the formulation of the diet drug therapy will not contribute to full recovery. What can I eat in the presence of diseases and pathologies of the bladder and bile ducts?

  • eliminates fatty, spicy foods, fried foods, alcoholic and carbonated drinks;
  • meals should be timely and fractional, at least 4-6 times a day, with the mandatory inclusion of warm food in the menu;
  • oatmeal, rice, semolina cereals, vegetable soups, lean meats, poultry, fish cooked in water, steamed, baked, dairy and fermented milk products with low fat content are recommended;
  • Avoid strong tea, coffee, cocoa, preferring compotes, nectars, herbal teas;
  • It is recommended to include in the diet of vegetable oils of the first cold-pressed: olive, flax, etc.

Drug therapy is selected based on the general clinical and individual characteristics of the course of the disease. Enzyme-containing variants, anesthetics, antispasmodic drugs, medicines for stone resorption or with antibacterial action can be prescribed. The choice of the drug is made by the attending physician.

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