The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ about 8cm to 12cm long, which sits just under the liver in the upper-right part of your abdomen. The gallbladder is a reservoir of bile, which 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. Bile drains into the small intestine (duodenum) during digestion.
Symptoms of gallbladder diseases look very similar, which makes it difficult to say the exact gallbladder condition causing trouble for a patient. Common symptoms of gallbladder diseases are:
Pain caused by gallbladder disease is typically located below the right rib cage, and in some cases, it radiates to the back or right shoulder. Since the etiology and explanation of the back and shoulder pain are different from the pain in the area of a gallbladder, it will be categorized under the “referred pain“ section below.
The pain under the right rib cage is caused by an inflammation of the gallbladder and other close anatomical structures; connective tissue, sometimes fat and the abdominal wall. The intensity varies from just a mild discomfort to crippling pain that intensifies even on the slightest touch. Such pains last for hours or even days. With chronic inflammation, it can intensify after eating.