The gallbladder is a 7.5 to 12 cm long, pear shaped organ, and there are a number of associated diseases and symptoms. The organ is located on the underside of the liver at the junction of right and left lobes of the liver. It consists of a fundus, a body and a neck with muscle fibers in its wall.
Functions of the gallbladder:
The gallbladder is a reservoir of bile. Bile is a combination of fluids, bile salts and cholesterol, that helps break down fat in your food. This allows fat soluble vitamins and nutrients to be absorbed easily into the bloodstream.
During fasting, bile remains in the gallbladder due to high resistance in the duodenal sphincter. After feeding, a hormone called cholecystokinin is released, which relaxes the sphincter allowing the entry of bile into the duodenum.
The second function of gallbladder is concentration of bile by active absorption of water, sodium chloride and bicarbonate. Its third function is the production of mucus.
Symptoms of gallbladder disease…
Patients with gallbladder disease may remain asymptomatic or complain of pain in the right upper part of the abdomen, which may radiate to the back. It is more often dull and constant, but can also be present as biliary colic in 10 to 25 percent of patients with gallstones.
Biliary colic is described as a severe right upper quadrant pain associated with nausea and vomiting. Pain may radiate to the chest. This pain is very severe and can last from minutes to hours. Frequently, the pain starts during the night and wakes the patient.
More symptoms on next page…