What are the symptoms of gallbladder disease?
Chest pain in the right side under your ribs can be caused by stones in the bile duct or what is referred to as “sludge” in the gallbladder, and/or inflammation or swelling of the gallbladder itself. Nausea or queasiness, vomiting and gas are frequent symptoms. There may or may not be belching or burping. The gallbladder, which sits just below the rib cage to the right of the stomach, may be very tender to the touch. It can be so painful when palpated that it takes your breath away.
You may not be able to walk during a gallbladder attack without bending over. Sometimes the pain radiates through to the back shoulder blade on the right side or in the middle between the shoulder blades. This is pain from the gallbladder referring to the back of the shoulder. This back shoulder blade chest pain is one of the most common yet unknown symptoms of a gallbladder disorder. This can come and go or be constant. It may be sharp, excruciating or dull. It may also occur more often at night, especially when your dinner has not digested when you lie down. A gallbladder attack will typically last for one to four hours and be very frightening if you don’t know what is happening and even if you do know what is happening it is very difficult to know how to respond and what to do.
Checklist of some symptoms of a gallbladder attack:
1. Do you have pain between shoulder blades or beneath the right shoulder blade?
2. Are you having bouts of nausea or vomiting?
3. Do fatty or fried greasy foods upset your digestion?
4. Have you been experiencing gas and or bloating frequently?
5. Do you experience chronic constipation?
6. Do you burp or belch frequently?
7. Do you have a family history of gallstones or gallbladder removal?
8. Have you had your gallbladder removed and still experience these symptoms? If so, have you gained weight since your gallbladder was removed or since the onset of your symptoms?
9. Do you have chronic indigestion and use antacids frequently?
10. Do you have pain mid center above the stomach?
11. Do you have low thyroid and or a feeling that might be described as ‘foggy brain?’
If you have ridden out a gallbladder attack and not gone into emergency in the middle of the night, (and I am in no way suggesting that you do so) the first order of business is to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms, but it is not often that we can get right in for an appointment and get that scan scheduled. If you can, that would be great, but if not you may wonder what you can eat to avoid having another attack while you wait for your appointment and diagnosis.