Gall-bladder Disorder


Acute cholecystitis is inflammation (swelling) of the gallbladder. It is usually caused by a gallstone that becomes trapped in one of the ducts or openings of the gallbladder.

The most common symptoms of acute cholecystitis are:

  1. a severe, sharp and constant pain in the upper right abdomen (tummy), which may be worse when breathing deeply or if the abdomen is touched
  2. a high temperature, or fever, of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or above

Acute cholecystitis is not usually a medical emergency. However, without treatment, it can lead to a number of serious and potentially fatal complications, such as:

  1. the death of the tissue of the gallbladder, called gangrenous cholecystitis, which can cause a serious infection
  2. the gallbladder splitting open, known as a perforated gallbladder


Therefore, if acute cholecystitis is suspected, immediate referral to hospital is recommended.  


What causes acute cholecystitis?

Gallstones are small stones that form in the gallbladder usually made of cholesterol.

If a gallstone becomes trapped in the main opening of the gallbladder, called the cystic duct, it can cause the gallbladder to become severely inflamed. Exactly why the blocked duct causes such severe inflammation is unclear.


Treating acute cholecystitis

Acute cholecystitis can first be treated with antibiotics to help relieve your symptoms. Surgery to remove the gallbladder is then often needed. This procedure is known as a cholecystectomy.

Emergency surgery is usually required to treat complications that arise from acute cholecystitis.


Who is affected?

Acute cholecystitis is an uncommon complication of gallstones. In England, it is estimated that 10-15% of the adult population have gallstones. In most cases, they do not cause symptoms.

About 1-4% of people with gallstones experience infrequent episodes of pain, known as biliary colic. Around one in five of these people develop acute cholecystitis if their gallbladder is not surgically removed.


In Ayurveda it is known as PRATISHYAYA mainly due to vitiation of DOSHAS (Vata, Pitta & Kapha).

The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ that averages three to six inches in length. It lies underneath the liver in the upper right side of the abdomen. It is connected to the liver and small intestine by small tubes called bile ducts. Bile, a greenish-brown fluid, is utilized by the body to digest fatty foods and assists in the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. The gallbladder serves as a reservoir for bile. Between meals, bile accumulates and is concentrated within this organ. During meals, the gallbladder contracts and empties bile into the intestine to assist in digestion.

There are two major types of gallstones: 

  1. Cholesterol gallstones are composed mainly of cholesterol which is made in the liver. These account for nearly 80% of all cases of gallstones in the United States.

  2. Pigment gallstones are composed of calcium salts, bilirubin and other material. They account for the remaining 20% of gallstones in this country.


Causes for Gall stone :

Approximately 80% of all gallstones are completely asymptomatic and "silent." The chance that a "silent" gallstone will become symptomatic is 2% for each year.

  1. People who are overweight

  2. Older persons

  3. Pregnant women

  4. Women who use hormone contraceptives and post-menopausal hormones

  5. Persons with a family history of gallstones

  6. Persons of American Indian ancestry

  7. Persons with diseases of the small intestine

  8. Persons who have recently lost weight.


Symptoms of gallstone disease:

Symptoms of gallbladder disease occur when gallstones irritate the gallbladder. The most common symptoms associated with gallstone disease include: 

  1. Severe and intermittent pain in the right upper abdomen. This pain can also spread to the chest, shoulders or back. Sometimes this pain may be mistaken for a heart attack.

  2. Chronic indigestion and nausea.


How are gallstones identified?

Nearly all gallstones can be easily identified by an ultrasound examination. This is a simple and painless procedure in which sound waves are utilized to create pictures of the gall-bladder, bile ducts and its contents. This test is highly sensitive for identifying either gallstones or sludge within the gallbladder.


What can be done at home?

Recurrent painful attacks, if mild, can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers. Placing something warm on your stomach may be helpful, taking care not to scald the skin. The frequency of attacks may be reduced by a low-fat diet.