Gallstones can cause significant pain and discomfort. While some people may experience no symptoms at all, for others it can become almost unbearable. Formed within the gallbladder, there are some things patients can do to relieve the pain of gallstones.
Here, we will look at some of the best ways to relieve the pain from gallbladder attacks and why seeking medical help is important.
Understanding the pain caused by gallbladder attacks
The purpose of the gallbladder is to store and break down bile. This substance is produced by the liver and required to digest fat from the diet. When you eat, the gallbladder will release bile to help digest it. However, in some cases the bile can build-up and start to form hard, pebble-style stones. In many cases, gallstones don’t produce any symptoms. However, around 20% of sufferers experience pain.
The trouble comes when the gallstones start to block bile from being released. As it backs up into the gallbladder, it can cause inflammation and swelling. This in turn causes pain, known as cholecystitis.
With this type of pain, you’ll notice it typically affects the upper right side of the abdomen. You may also experience pain around the shoulders and back and it will often worsen as you take a deep breath. The pain may come on suddenly, or it may remain a constant dull ache for hours at a time.
What are the best ways to relieve pain?
Living with the pain caused by gallstones can be difficult. However, the good news is there are lots of things you can try to ease the pain.
Avoiding certain foods can help such as greasy and spicy foods. By taking care of what you eat, your gallbladder will get a much-needed rest.
There are also a few home remedies some patients swear by. These include apple cider vinegar, milk thistle and castor oil. However, these don’t have much in the way of scientific evidence to back up that they work.
Antibiotics are essential for treating gallbladder infection which is known as cholecystitis.
Surgery is another option. As the gallbladder isn’t needed to stay alive, it may be removed in a procedure known as a cholecystectomy. The gallbladder (and/or gallstones) are removed by laparoscopic surgery which means only small incisions are made in the abdomen.
Why should you seek medical help?
Although gallstones which are not causing symptoms can be ignored, as soon as they cause symptoms, it is advisable to seek advice to prevent problems including infection, jaundice, pancreatitis and perforation of the gallbladder.
If you are suffering with gallbladder attacks, seeking treatment can help to eliminate the pain and discomfort. Book a consultation with the Alan Woodward Surgical Group today to discover which form of treatment would be right for you.