About 25 million Americans today have gallstones, a common form of gallbladder disease. If you have symptoms like upper right abdominal pain, fever, chills, and nausea, it could be gallbladder disease that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. At the private practice of board-certified and fellowship-trained gastroenterologist Kevin Ashby, MD, in Irvine and Foothill Ranch, California, you can find the compassionate, personalized care you deserve. Call the office nearest you or use the online booking tool.
Gallbladder disease is a group of conditions that affect your gallbladder, the small organ that stores and releases bile from your liver. Bile helps you digest fatty and high cholesterol foods.
If bile doesn’t flow normally out of the gallbladder due to blockages or other issues, it leads to gallbladder disease. There are many types of gallbladder disease.
Gallbladder disease includes:
Gallstones are solid masses that grow when the gallbladder doesn’t drain normally. They can also develop because of bile imbalance. Healthy bile includes cholesterol, bilirubin, salts, amino acids, and many other components.
Typically, gallstones appear when bile has excessive cholesterol, but too much bilirubin may cause stones too.
Cholecystitis means gallbladder inflammation. It typically happens because of a bile duct blockage caused by gallstones.
Less commonly, bile duct blockage can occur because of tumors, excessive alcohol intake, or other reasons. As bile accumulates within the gallbladder, you can potentially develop a bacterial infection and gallbladder tears.
Cholangitis is an infection affecting the duct that moves bile from your liver to your gallbladder.
Gallbladder cancer is rare. It grows slowly within the gallbladder and is hard to detect in the early stages.
Gallbladder disease is increasingly common in the United States and worldwide, so it’s more important than ever to be aware of possible symptoms and see Dr. Ashby if you’re having gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
In many cases, gallbladder disease doesn’t cause symptoms initially. But if you develop complications, you may experience sudden-onset symptoms. Possible indicators of gallbladder disease include:
If you have these symptoms, don't delay in scheduling your assessment. Dr. Ashby evaluates your symptoms and uses advanced tests such as upper endoscopy, X-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound to diagnose your condition.
Treatment depends on the kind of gallbladder disease and your symptoms. Options include pain relievers, antibiotics, medications that dissolve gallstones, and surgical gallbladder removal. Fortunately, the gallbladder isn’t a vital organ, so you can enjoy a long healthy life without it.
Kevin Ashby, MD, offers compassionate, personalized care for gallbladder disease of every type. Use online scheduling to arrange your appointment or call the office today.