The symptoms of gallbladder problems in women might have been around for quite some time, but they can be hardly recognized due to their resemblance to typical digestive problems. Suspicion may rise when the symptoms keep on happening over and over again and have become more intense. A problematic gallbladder causes excessive burping, belching, gas, nausea and vomiting. Gallbladder attack likewise causes intense abdominal pain which can be quite terrifying.
Being aware of the symptoms of gallbladder problems in women can help in preventing the condition from getting worse. It is also essential in administering timely treatment to alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms. There is an appropriate treatment method for each gallbladder problem, from drug therapy to surgical removal of the gallbladder. Alternative therapies which have been found effective against gallbladder problems also exist. It would be best to consult a qualified healthcare provider and discuss the problem before trying out any treatment option.
Incidence of gallbladder problems in women
Gallbladder problems occur more frequently in women because they are more vulnerable to hormonal changes most of their lives, from puberty to menopause. Abdominal pain, which is one of the hallmark symptoms of gallbladder problems in women, has often been attributed to menstrual problem.
A woman has higher chances of developing the symptoms of gallbladder problems if she is any of the following:
- Over 60 years old
- Overweight or obese
- Had lost weight rapidly
- Has thyroid problems
- Has high cholesterol level
- Taking birth control pills
- Has relatives or family member with gallbladder problem/disease
- Practices unhealthy diet and lifestyle
Causes of gallbladder problems in women
The gallbladder may become problematic when bile secretion is badly affected, which could be caused by infection, stones or other gallbladder diseases. This pear-shaped sac hidden beneath the liver stores and releases bile – an enzyme excreted by the liver which helps in digesting fats.
Symptoms of gallbladder problems in women may develop due to:
Stones in the gallbladder form when there is a chemical imbalance in the gallbladder. More often than not, these stones develop as a result of high levels of cholesterol that get mixed up with the bile. Gallstones could also consist of high amounts of bilirubin and calcium. This condition is medically referred to as cholelithiasis.
- Inflamed gallbladder
The gallbladder may become swollen when there is an infection resulting from an obstruction, like a gallstone. This may also arise as a result of the scarring of the bile duct or obstruction in the cystic duct. An inflamed gallbladder is known as cholecystitis.
- Acalculous cholecystopathy
This is a form of gallbladder disease in which there is abnormal emptying of the gallbladder due to the lack of contraction.
- Benign growths
Benign growths could develop on the lining of the gallbladder and sometimes lead to gallbladder cancer.
Symptoms of gallbladder problems in women
Each woman may exhibit the symptoms of a gallbladder problem differently, depending on the underlying cause and duration of the illness. Some may only display mild signs, while others suffer from severe symptoms. Still, they share some common symptoms. One of the hallmark indicators of a gallbladder problem is intense abdominal pain on the upper right side of the abdomen which becomes more pronounced following a heavy meal. The pain also aggravates and radiates to the shoulders and back when taking a deep breath. This type of pain could also be accompanied by:
- Excessive burping
- Low-grade fever
- Changes in stool color
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
Early detection of gallbladder problems in women is not always easy because they are sometimes asymptomatic, especially during the initial stages. In addition, some symptoms are atypical for gallbladder problems which make diagnosis more difficult. If a gallbladder problem is left untreated, it could aggravate into serious medical complications, such as low blood pressure, jaundice and sometimes gallbladder cancer. It is very important then for every woman, especially those who have the risk factors, to be aware of the symptoms of gallbladder problems in women.
Treating gallbladder problems in women
Treatment hopes to provide relief from the symptoms of gallbladder problems. Those who are afflicted are usually given pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications for pain management and antacids for nausea and heartburn. In severe cases, gallbladder surgery or cholecystectomy is the best way to go. Since the procedure poses some risks, the patient should discuss the option thoroughly with her doctor.
Treatment for gallbladder problem is also designed to restore the health of gallbladder. This typically includes sticking to a low-fat diet, having vitamin supplements, avoiding the offending foods and following a suitable exercise regimen.
Symptoms of gallbladder problems in women should not be ignored especially during pregnancy because a problematic gallbladder during pregnancy does not only cause severe symptoms but can compromise the welfare of both the mother and child.