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Should i go to the hospital for gallbladder pain

When To Go To Hospital For Gallbladder Attack

There are many possible causes of the stomach or abdominal pain, and it can be difficult to determine which one is responsible. The gallbladder may be facing one of the most common medical conditions.

Although abdominal pain is common, how do you know when your pain merits a trip to the medical emergency room?

Gallbladder attack symptoms and pain

Stones in the gallbladder can range from tiny grains to boulders the size of golf balls. A surprising number of gallstones are asymptomatic and don’t necessitate medical intervention.

But a gallbladder attack occurs when gallstones block the bile ducts. Bile cannot enter the small intestine because of this obstruction, which builds up.

Your gallbladder that breaks down fats may become inflamed as a result of the blockage. You may experience severe pain, vomiting, and fever if this happens to you.

Yellowing of the skin or jaundice can occur if treatment is not given. So, how can you tell if you have a gallbladder attack?

Some of the signs are as follows:

  • Right shoulder subacute pain (In most cases, this pain begins in the upper right abdomen and progresses to the shoulder)
  • stomach pain in the upper right side
  • Chest pain
  • Bloating

The symptoms can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. They often begin shortly after consuming a meal.

Gallstone causes & risk factors

The gallbladder is thought to be the source of gallstones because of a chemical imbalance in the bile. While many factors could contribute to this imbalance, no one knows for sure just yet.

Here are possible causes:

  • Concentrated bile. To work, your gallbladder must be able to release bile. Bile duct stones can occur due to insufficient bile expulsion.
  • The liver produces more bilirubin than it should under certain conditions, such as liver damage and certain blood disorders. As bilirubin builds up in the gallbladder, pigment gallstones form. Dark brown or black is a common coloration for these tough stones.
  • A high level of bilirubin in the blood. The breakdown of red blood cells results in the chemical bilirubin being produced. The liver is the final stop before it is excreted from the body.
  • Cholesterol is spilling in the bile. If your bile contains too much cholesterol, yellow cholesterol stones can occur. There are instances when your liver produces more cholesterol than bile can break down, causing these hard stones to develop.

Gallstones can affect anyone. If you’re at risk of developing gallstones, you may want to pay attention to the following risk factors and seek medical care:

  • A Mexican or Native American ancestry
  • Suffering from blood diseases.
  • Include oral contraceptives in your medication regimens.
  • Taking cholesterol-lowering medication.
  • Consuming a lot of fat and cholesterol
  • Currently suffering from Crohn’s illness.
  • Diabetic
  • Have lost a significant amount of weight in a short period.
  • Obese or overweight
  • A history of gallstones runs in your family
  • Older than 40 years of age
  • Woman

How long does a gallbladder attack last?

For the most part, these attacks last for a long time. There is nothing that can be done while an attack is taking place. Once the gallstone has passed, the pain should lessen.

Gallbladder attacks can be so excruciating that they necessitate a trip to the ER. Since severe pain requires an evaluation, that’s good news.

Heart attacks, ulcer perforations, and appendicitis are just a few serious conditions that share symptoms with gallbladder attacks.

There is no need for treatment if you have never experienced pain in your gallbladder (even if you have gallstones).

If a patient has had one or two gallstone attacks, they may want to avoid gallstones and should be checked out. Also, gallstones can cause gallbladder infections or pancreas inflammation if they don’t pass on their own.


Oxycodone is frequently prescribed for acute gallstone pain. Among the available medical options are the following:

  • oral bile salt therapy
  • ursodiol
  • dissolution, and
  • lithotripsy (shock waves)

A gallbladder operation (or removing obstructing gallstones) is the definitive treatment. As of now, laparoscopic surgery is the most commonly used surgery method.

This minimally invasive surgery involves removing the gallbladder through small incisions. Even so, some patients may necessitate more extensive surgical procedures.

Unless there is an underlying condition that mimics gallbladder pain, most people do well after removing their gallbladder.

What can be done to prevent gallbladder problems?

A proven method for preventing gallstones and other gallbladder problems has not yet been discovered, but studies suggest some possibilities.

  • Maintain a healthy weight by eating three well-balanced meals per day
  • Engage in regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes a day).
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Consume more fiber and nuts (at a serving size of one ounce or more)
  • Cut back on fatty foods

When to see a doctor

Gallbladder symptoms should be taken seriously if they don’t go away in six hours. The gallbladder may be “clogged,” increasing the risk of infection if the pain persists.

If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention:

  • malaise
  • vomiting
  • a lot of gas and discomfort
  • nausea
  • fever

A gallbladder disease could cause right upper abdominal pain and an upset stomach. A doctor can aid a patient in determining the best next treatment steps.

Are gallstones fatal?

Gallstones aren’t life-threatening. However, they can lead to a host of potentially fatal complications. Luckily, this is a one-in-a-million occurrence.

Gallbladder and bile ducts can become infected if a large stone blocks the ducts after leaving the gallbladder. It can cause severe pain and infection.

You may need immediate attention in this case. If you’d like to learn more, talk to the staff at Kingwood ER for medical advice.

Emergency Gallbladder Surgery: Do You Need It, Or Can You Afford to Wait?

  • By

    Sharon Theimer

Study: younger, older people likelier to visit ER repeatedly with gallstone pain before surgery

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Gallstone pain is one of the most common reasons patients visit emergency rooms. Figuring out who needs emergency gallbladder removal and who can go home and schedule surgery at their convenience is sometimes a tricky question, and it isn’t always answered correctly. A new Mayo Clinic study found that 1 in 5 patients who went to the emergency room with gallbladder pain and were sent home to schedule surgery returned to the ER within 30 days needing emergency gallbladder removal. The surgical complication rate rises with the time lag before surgery, the researchers say.

“It makes a big difference if you get the right treatment at the right time,” says co-lead author Juliane Bingener-Casey, M.D., a gastroenterologic surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The study is published in the Journal of Surgical Research.

Often it’s obvious who needs emergency gallbladder removal, a procedure known as cholecystectomy, who can delay it and who doesn’t need surgery at all. But sometimes patients fall into a gray area. Mayo researchers are working to develop a reliable tool to help determine the best course of action in those cases, and the newly published study is a first step, Dr. Bingener-Casey says.

How to handle gallstone patients is a cost and quality issue in health care. In the United States, 1 in 10 women and 1 in 15 men have gallstones, and more than 1 million people a year are hospitalized for gallstone disease. The fatty food common in U. S. diets is a contributing factor, Dr. Bingener-Casey says.

ER visits and emergency surgery are typically more expensive than scheduled surgeries. In addition to cost issues, patients often prefer the convenience of scheduling surgery, so they can arrange child care and leave from work, for example. But delaying a needed gallbladder removal more than six days increases the surgical complication rate and may make patients likelier to need open-abdomen surgery rather than a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, the researchers noted.

“Gallbladder disease is very frequent and it’s one of the most expensive diseases for the nation as a whole. If we can get that right the first time, I think we can make things better for a lot of people,” Dr. Bingener-Casey says.

Researchers studied the billing records of 3,138 patients at Mayo in Rochester between 2000 and 2013 who went to the emergency department for abdominal pain within 30 days before gallbladder surgery. Of those, 1,625 were admitted for emergency gallbladder surgery, and 1,513 were allowed to go home and schedule surgery at a later date. Of the patients who went home, 20 percent came back to the emergency room within a month needing a cholecystectomy urgently, and of those, 55 percent were back in the ER within a week for emergency surgery.

Among those discharged from the ER, younger patients who were otherwise healthy and older patients who did have other health problems were likelier than people in their 40s and 50s to return to the emergency room within a month and need gallbladder removal urgently, the study found. That suggests that younger patients, older patients and those with other serious medical conditions may benefit from a second look before they are discharged from the emergency room, the researchers say.

Researchers analyzed test results typically considered indicators of gallbladder disease including white blood cell count, temperature and heart rate and saw no difference between those who left the ER and didn’t make a repeat visit and those who left the emergency room only to come back within a month. Such metrics may be incorporated into a decision tool if they hold up during future research.

The study was funded in part by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases award number K23DK93553.

The co-lead author is Elizabeth Habermann, Ph.D., scientific director of surgical outcomes research at Mayo Clinic’s Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

Journalists: Soundbites with Dr. Bingener-Casey are available in the downloads below. 


About Mayo Clinic
Recognizing 150 years of serving humanity in 2014, Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit, or

Sharon Theimer, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, Email: [email protected]










Related articles

symptoms and when to see a doctor

Gallstone disease (GSD) is the formation of stones (calculi) in the gallbladder and bile ducts. Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that most commonly form in your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of your abdomen, just below your liver. The gallbladder contains a digestive fluid called bile, which is secreted into the small intestine to aid in the digestion of food.

Gallbladder stones range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. Some people develop only one gallstone, while others develop many small stones at the same time.

The presence of stones carries the risk of developing dangerous conditions and severe complications.


Gallstones often cause no signs or symptoms. If a gallstone gets stuck in the duct and causes a blockage, the following symptoms develop:

  • Sudden and rapidly increasing pain in the center of the abdomen, just below the sternum, on the right
  • Pain in the back between the shoulder blades
  • Right shoulder pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain associated with gallstone disease can last from several minutes to several hours

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.

Read about the diagnosis and treatment of cholelithiasis at the link.

Seek care right away if you develop signs and symptoms of a serious complication associated with gallstones, for example:

  • Abdominal pain so severe that you cannot sit still or find a comfortable position
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • High fever with chills

Number for calling an ambulance in Moscow - 103

Causes of cholelithiasis

It is unclear what causes gallstones. Doctors believe that gallstones can occur in the following cases:

Your bile contains too much cholesterol . Normally, your bile contains enough chemicals to dissolve the cholesterol secreted by your liver. But if your liver secretes more cholesterol than bile can dissolve, the excess cholesterol can turn into crystals and eventually stones.

Your bile contains too much bilirubin . Bilirubin is a chemical produced when red blood cells are broken down in the body. Under certain conditions, the liver produces too much bilirubin, including cirrhosis of the liver, biliary tract infections, and certain blood disorders. Excess bilirubin contributes to the formation of gallstones.

Your gallbladder is not emptying properly. If the gallbladder does not empty completely or often enough, the bile can become very concentrated, which promotes the formation of gallstones.

Types of gallstones

Types of gallstones that can form in the gallbladder include:

Cholesterol stones in the gallbladder. The most common type of gallstones, called cholesterol gallstones, are often yellow in color. These gallstones are made up primarily of undissolved cholesterol, but may contain other components.

Pigment stones in the gallbladder. These dark brown or black stones form when your bile contains too much bilirubin.

Risk factors

Factors that may increase the risk of gallstones include:

  • Female gender
  • Age 40 and over
  • Overweight or obese
  • Sedentary
  • Pregnancy
  • High fat diet
  • High cholesterol diet
  • Low fiber diet
  • Family history of gallstones
  • Diabetes
  • Presence of certain blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia or leukemia
  • Very fast weight loss
  • Taking medications containing estrogen, such as oral contraceptives or hormone therapy drugs.
  • Liver disease


Complications of gallstones may include:

Inflammation of the gallbladder . A gallstone lodged in the neck of the gallbladder can cause inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis). Cholecystitis can cause severe pain, peritonitis.

Blockage of the common bile duct . Gallstones can block the channels (ducts) that carry bile from the gallbladder or liver to the small intestine. This can lead to severe pain, jaundice, and bile duct infection.

Obstruction of the pancreatic duct . The pancreatic duct is a tube from the pancreas and joins the common bile duct just before entering the duodenum. The pancreatic juices that aid digestion pass through the pancreatic duct.

A gallstone can cause blockage of the pancreatic duct, which can lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Pancreatitis causes severe, persistent abdominal pain and usually requires hospitalization. Severe forms of pancreatitis often end in the death of the patient.

Gall bladder cancer . People with gallstones have an increased risk of developing gallbladder cancer.

Prevention of gallstones

You can reduce the risk of gallstones:

Do not skip meals . Try to stick to your regular meal times every day. Skipping meals or fasting can increase your risk of gallstones.

Lose weight slowly . If you need to lose weight, take your time. Rapid weight loss can increase the risk of gallstones.

Eat more high fiber foods . Include more fiber-rich foods in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Maintain a healthy weight . Obesity and overweight increase the risk of gallstones. Work towards a healthy weight by cutting calories and increasing physical activity. Once you reach a healthy weight, work on maintaining it by continuing to eat a healthy diet and keep exercising.

Cholelithiasis - (Clinic Di Center)

Gallbladder stones: diagnosis and treatment

Gallstone disease (GSD) is a disease in which stones form in the gallbladder or bile ducts.

Gallstone disease occurs quite often. In Europe and America, 1/3 of women and ¼ of men have it. As a rule, adult people suffer from cholelithiasis, especially overweight older women.


Two main factors are to blame for the formation of stones: stagnation of bile in the gallbladder and an increase in the concentration of salts in bile due to metabolic disorders.

Provoke the occurrence of gallstone disease can:

  • overeating, fasting, irregular meals;

  • sedentary lifestyle, especially sedentary work;

  • pregnancy;

  • receiving pancreatic disease.

What's happening?

The formation of stones in the gallbladder occurs as a result of the deposition of dense particles of bile. Most of the stones consist of cholesterol, bilirubin (bile pigment) and calcium salts. They interfere with the normal functioning of the gallbladder, which serves as a reservoir of bile.

Sometimes, with a bumpy ride, overeating, or the action of other provoking factors, a stone can come out at the mouth of the bile duct (biliary colic) and clog it. As a result, the outflow of bile from the bladder is disturbed, its walls are overstretched and the person feels severe pain. This can lead to inflammation of the gallbladder - acute cholecystitis. Inflammation can also spread to nearby organs - the pancreas, duodenum, stomach.

How is it manifested?

As long as the stones are not in the duct, but lie quietly in the gallbladder, a person may not even be aware of his illness. The first warning signs by which gallstone disease can be suspected are heaviness in the right hypochondrium, bitterness in the mouth, nausea and belching.

Sometimes the stone passes from the gallbladder into the bile ducts. In this case, an attack of the so-called biliary colic occurs: a sharp pain occurs in the right hypochondrium or in the upper abdomen. It can "give" to the right collarbone, right arm or back. At the same time, bitterness appears in the mouth, nausea and vomiting, which does not bring relief.

If the stone (with a relatively small size) was able to bypass the ducts and fall into the duodenum, the attack stops on its own, and the stone comes out with feces. Otherwise, there is a blockage of the biliary tract and there is a danger of developing acute cholecystitis and mechanical (subhepatic) jaundice.


Diagnosis and treatment of uncomplicated cholelithiasis (GSD) is carried out by a gastroenterologist. The diagnosis can be established on the basis of patient complaints and a number of additional studies.

First of all, the patient will have an ultrasound of the abdominal organs. In more complex cases, an x-ray examination with preliminary administration of a contrast agent (through the mouth or intravenously) may be required - cholecystocholangiography. The contrast medium can also be injected directly into the bile ducts by puncturing with a special thin needle (percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography) or through an endoscope (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP). During ERCP, it is possible to remove small stones from the bile ducts.


Gallstone disease can be treated therapeutically (without surgery) and surgically. As a rule, treatment begins with therapeutic methods.

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