Gallbladders and the Holidays

Gallbladders and the Holidays

It's the holiday season! The last few months of 2017 are spent from Thanksgiving to New Years traveling and eating, lots and lots of eating. Exposure to different holiday diets and added holiday stress can compound and consequently effect our bodies negatively. In fact, there's often a spike in emergency room visits on Thanksgiving of people needing their gallbladders removed.

"During a gallbladder attack, a patient will have severe pain on the right side of their abdomen where the liver is. The pain will be sudden if they've just eaten fatty foods." Says Dr. Erik Grossmann.

What are the symptoms of gallbladder disease?
Chest pain in the right side under your ribs can be caused by stones in the bile duct or what is referred to as "sludge" in the gallbladder, and/or inflammation or swelling of the gallbladder itself. Nausea or queasiness, vomiting and gas are frequent symptoms. There may or may not be belching or burping. The gallbladder, which sits just below the rib cage to the right of the stomach, may be very tender to the touch. It can be so painful when palpated that it takes your breath away.

You may not be able to walk during a gallbladder attack without bending over. Sometimes the pain radiates through to the back shoulder blade on the right side or in the middle between the shoulder blades. This is pain from the gallbladder referring to the back of the shoulder. This back shoulder blade chest pain is one of the most common yet unknown symptoms of a gallbladder disorder. This can come and go or be constant. It may be sharp, excruciating or dull. It may also occur more often at night, especially when your dinner has not digested when you lie down. A gallbladder attack will typically last for one to four hours and be very frightening if you don't know what is happening and even if you do know what is happening it is very difficult to know how to respond and what to do.

Checklist of some symptoms of a gallbladder attack:

  • Do you have pain between shoulder blades or beneath the right shoulder blade?
  • Are you having bouts of nausea or vomiting?
  • Do fatty or fried greasy foods upset your digestion?
  • Have you been experiencing gas and or bloating frequently?
  • Do you have chronic indigestion and use antacids frequently?
  • Do you have pain mid center above the stomach?

If you think you might be suffering from gall bladder disease the first order of business is to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms.

If your primary care physician thinks you might benefit from having your gall bladder removed, he will refer to you see a general surgeon who specializes in this type of surgery. We will work to provide you with a prompt appointment and schedule your surgery as soon as possible.

In the meantime, you may wonder what you can eat to avoid having another attack. Low fat foods are your best friend right now! Try your best to avoid fatty foods. Some good suggestions of foods to eat include baked fish and baked chicken.

Tis the season to be jolly and not end up in the ER, happy holidays to all!


To find out more about Gallbladder Removal services offered at CSA Surgical Center in Columbia, Missouri please call Columbia Surgical Associates at 573-443-8773 and schedule an appointment.