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6 Serious Signs of Gallbladder Disease You Shouldn't Ignore

The gallbladder, a small yet vital organ in our digestive system, often goes unnoticed until it starts causing trouble. Gallbladder disease can manifest in various ways, and recognising the signs is crucial for early intervention – here’s what you need to know.

Gallbladder disease refers to conditions that affect the gallbladder, a small organ located beneath the liver. The gallbladder plays a crucial role in the digestive process by storing and concentrating bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver. Bile is released into the small intestine to help emulsify and digest fats from the food we eat.

There are different types of gallbladder diseases, and they can include:

Gallstones: These are solid particles that form in the gallbladder. Gallstones can vary in size and can block the normal flow of bile, leading to pain and inflammation.

Cholecystitis: This is inflammation of the gallbladder, often caused by gallstones. It can be acute (sudden and severe) or chronic (long-term).

Choledocholithiasis: Gallstones can sometimes move into the ducts that carry bile from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine, causing blockages.

Dysfunctional Gallbladder: Some individuals may experience issues with gallbladder function, even without the presence of gallstones.

Gallbladder disease is relatively common, and risk factors include age, gender, obesity, rapid weight loss, pregnancy, and a family history of gallstones. Women are more likely than men to develop gallstones, and the risk increases with age.

Let’s take a look at some of the signs to look out for: 

Abdominal Pain 

The most common symptom of gallbladder disease is abdominal pain, often concentrated in the upper right or centre of the abdomen. This pain may be intermittent or persistent, and it can intensify after consuming fatty or greasy foods.

Nausea and Vomiting

Gallbladder issues can trigger feelings of nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting. If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, especially after meals, it could be a sign of gallbladder trouble.

Indigestion and Bloating

Difficulty digesting fatty foods, accompanied by bloating and excessive gas, may indicate an issue with your gallbladder. The organ plays a crucial role in breaking down fats, so any disruption can lead to indigestion.

Changes in Stool Colour

Gallbladder problems can affect the colour of your stool. If you notice that your stool has become lighter in colour than usual, it could be due to a decrease in the bile reaching your digestive system.


In more severe cases, gallbladder disease may lead to jaundice, characterised by yellowing of the skin and eyes. This occurs when bile, which contains a pigment called bilirubin, builds up in the bloodstream.

If you experience persistent abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or any of the mentioned symptoms, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. Gallbladder issues left untreated can lead to complications such as gallstones, inflammation, or infection.

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