The gallbladder The gallbladder

The gallbladder

WITH YOUR BODY 5 December, 2018 Ana María López de Mesa

Similar to a small pear-shaped sac, this organ is located below the liver. It is what holds bile, the liquid responsible for digesting fats so they can be absorbed by the body.

Medical advisor Matty Barragán, general physician, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare

5 to 7 cm is how long the gallbladder is. While this hollow organ is useful to the body, humans can easily adapt without it.

Prevention and care

If a patient has gallstones that are causing persistent pain, a scheduled or emergency surgery may be necessary. Emergency surgery is necessary when, in addition to the pain they cause, gallstones obstruct the flow of bile through the bile ducts, causing jaundice (yellowing of the skin). Preventative checkups are essential to detecting them early.

Rule out other symptoms

Some of the most common warning signs that this organ is not well include nausea, intolerance to certain foods, bloating, reflux, and pain on your right side under your ribs. Certain conditions, however, can cause the same symptoms such as gastritis, colon problems and kidney stones. An ultrasound of the liver and bile ducts will determine if there are stones or biliary sludge (deposits at the bottom of the gallbladder).

40 years is the most common age in which gallstones appear in women, especially those who have children and are overweight.

Keep in mind

  • The gallbladder can be removed laparoscopically by making an incision in the abdominal wall. This is a low-risk technique
  • It is helpful to eat light and avoid any exerting yourself the week following surgery. After the first week, you can return to your daily diet and activities.
  • Other conditions associated with the gallbladder are polyps (extra internal tissue), cholecystitis (inflammations) and, to a lesser extent, gallbladder cancer.

 See also: How do our colons work?