Biliary Colic – Gallbladder

Adult holding stomach with text "Biliary Colic"

Biliary colic causes pain in the upper part of the abdomen, usually under the right side of the rib cage.  It happens when something blocks the normal flow of bile from the gallbladder. Bile is the liquid that helps digest fats. Bile is made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. When a meal is consumed, bile passes from the gallbladder through the ducts into the small intestine, where it mixes with partially digested food.

Gallstones are the most common reason for biliary colic. If a gallstone blocks one of the ducts, the muscle cells in the bile duct work hard to remove the stone, causing biliary colic. What are the systems of biliary colic?

• Sudden and intensifying pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen

• Sudden and intensifying pain in the center of abdomen, just below breastbone

• Back pain between shoulder blades

• Pain in right shoulder

• Jaundice

• Nausea or vomiting

Prevention can help reduce the risk of gallstones. Here are a few tips:

• Lower the amount of fat in the diet

• Eat more high-fiber foods

• Exercise regular

• Maintain a healthy weight

Most people have little to no awareness of the gallbladder until it begins to cause pain. If experiencing gallbladder symptoms, consult with a healthcare provider to receive treatment. Gallbladder attacks can be extremely painful and frightening.

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