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What does a Gallbladder Do?

The gallbladder is a small organ situated near the mid-abdominal area of the body. What does a gallbladder do?

Its primary function is to store the bile that comes from the liver. Bile is a substance that helps in the digestion of fat. Fat does not dissolve in water, so to emulsify fat something special is needed. The liver produces the bile and then stores it in the gallbladder until the body needs to digest fats. When this moment comes, the gallbladder starts to let the bile flow down into the intestine, inside the duodenum, where fat is digested with its help and then absorbed by the organism.

While bile sits in the gallbladder, the water from it pours out through the gallbladder’s walls, making the bile more concentrated and therefore more efficient. Bile also neutralizes some of the acids that are found in certain types of food.


What can go wrong with my gallbladder?

Just like every other organ in the body, the gallbladder can malfunction and cause illness. At some people, usually, women that are over forty years of age, but there have been quite a large number of cases of men suffering from gallbladder too, the bile inside it can crystallize into small stones, called gallstones. Gallstones are made of salt, calcium, and cholesterol; all put together in a small stone. These gallstones can cause some problems, starting with the inflammation of the gallbladder and ending with severe pain and blockage.

In three-quarters of the patient’s gallbladder does not cause any visible symptoms, but in one-quarter, something appears.

These are the most encountered symptoms of the gallbladder disease:

-Variable pain in the abdominal area. Variable because this pain is sometimes easy, sometimes very severe, and sometimes it lasts long, at times it doesn’t.

-vomiting accompanied by temperature

-yellow-ish skin and eyes, when a gallstone obstructs the canal through which bile flows from the liver into the gallbladder

-Biliary colic. These are pain attacks. They can be felt in the upper right part of the abdomen, sometimes even in the back. This is a very severe pain and lasts for almost an hour. It can be associated with vomiting, nausea. Although these attacks are frequent, they can also be triggered by eating fat foods.

-Inflammation of the gallbladder. This can generate into an infection if not treated in time. It can cause a lot of pain and fever. If this condition lasts more than one day, the smart thing to do is see a doctor.

Common conditions related to gallbladder;

1. A gallbladder attack, a condition due to swelling or inflammation in the gallbladder,
2. Stone formation (gallstones) which can block of obstructing the flow of bile,
3. Gallbladder cancer.

Fortunately, gallstones can leave the body by themselves, but in some cases, they get stuck on the way and obstruct the flow of bile. If this happens, surgery is required. The gallbladder surgery is called cholecystectomy, and it consists of a procedure that removes the gallbladder from the body and connects the liver directly to the stomach, so bile does not pass through it anymore.

This causes the fat substance digestion to be less effective.
In the most unfortunate cases, complications lead to gallbladder cancer. This can happen if someone suffering from the gallbladder disease has weight problems and also smokes and drinks a lot. Gallbladder cancer is a fatal illness, although advanced surgical techniques attempt to remove it most of the patients with gallbladder die.

Gallbladder disease is in most cases almost harmless, but if you feel any of the symptoms, you should visit a doctor and listen to his advice. Patients that have been operated of the gallbladder and had it removed can soon return to their normal lives, but they need to pay attention to the quantity of fat that they eat because without the gallbladder the body can’t handle the fat substance digestion to well.


In conclusion, conditions that affect gallbladder health are more likely to occur as you get older. Individuals who are having stomach or upper abdominal pain may want to be checked for gallbladder problems. For those who have severe issues, the only recourse may be an operation and full removal of the gallbladder. This is because gallbladder trouble often reoccurs once it starts. Since you don’t need your gallbladder to live, doctors sometimes prefer to remove it rather than waiting for more pain.

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