10 Symptoms Of Gallbladder Dysfunction and Problems

gallbladder complications

Although some of these symptoms are common in other cases, when they appear together, it is essential to rule out potential gallbladder complications. When the stomach and intestine digest the food we eat, bile is released through the common bile duct and subsequently fulfills its function in the small intestine.

It is convenient to know the symptoms and signs that alert a problem in its function and, of course, take the necessary measures to correct it. Stay with us to discover them.

Gallbladder anatomy and what does the gallbladder do?

what does the gallbladder do

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped structure which is located in the liver and on the right side of the abdominal area. Its main function is to keep and concentrate bile, a yellow-brown gastrointestinal enzyme produced by the liver. The gallbladder becomes part of the biliary tract.

The gallbladder, when it’s not used for digestion, works as a tank for bile. Its absorbent lining focuses the stored bile. When food goes into the little intestine, a hormone — cholecystokinin releases. This hormone signals the gallbladder to an agreement and secretes bile into the small intestinal tract through the typical bile duct.

The bile helps the digestion procedure by separating fats. It also drains pipes waste products from the liver into the duodenum, a part of the little intestine.

An excess amount of bilirubin, cholesterol, or bile salts can cause gallstones to form. Gallstones are generally little, hard deposits inside the gallbladder that are formed when kept bile crystallizes. An individual with gallstones will seldom feel any symptoms until the gallstones reach a certain size, or if the gallstone obstructs the bile ducts. Surgical elimination of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) is the most common method to treat gallstones.

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10 Symptoms Of Gallbladder Dysfunction and Problems

Abdominal pain

abdominal pain gallbladder

One of the most obvious symptoms of stones in the gallbladder is a sensation of pain that begins in the upper right part of the stomach, just below the ribs. This tends to move towards the center and back of the belly and, sometimes, up to the upper back.

It is usually a condition that lasts 15 minutes, although sometimes it extends for hours or appears during sleep.


Due to the role played by the gallbladder in the digestive process, alterations in its functioning usually cause continuous episodes of indigestion and gas.

  • When the bile juices do not reach the intestine correctly (Either by an obstruction or inflammation of the ducts,) the digestions are heavier and the abdomen tends to swell.
  • It is common to present burps, flatulence and other symptoms typical of a difficult and slow digestion.
  • Discomforts tend to occur after meals, especially when they are too heavy.

Abnormal urination

Although alterations in the urine usually relate to renal health problems, it is essential to take into account that bladder disorders can also be cause them. The bile pigments that accumulate with the stones make the urine turn noticeably yellower or brown.


Digestive disorders that lead to a malfunction of the gallbladder are a common cause of diarrhea attacks. This symptom usually occurs along with abdominal swelling and a pain that gradually spreads throughout the belly.


jaundice gallbladder

The accumulation of bile in the gallbladder can cause liver and digestive difficulties that, within the days, will cause the skin and the sclera of the eyes to acquire a yellow tone.

This is because the substance stays in the blood and easily reaches the cells and tissues of the body.

Pain in the chest

Blockages that affect the bile ducts increase the presence of acid in the stomach and cause reflux or heartburn. Since the juices move towards the chest, a sensation similar to that of a heart attack can occur.

The analysis of all these symptoms is crucial to receive a diagnosis and timely treatment. If you identify several of these, consult the doctor immediately.


The chills and episodes of fever that appear with some digestive system disorders may be warning of the development of stones in the gallbladder or some infection in their pathways.

Changes in stool

Gallstones form through a mixture of bile, cholesterol, and bilirubin. When hardened they hinder digestion and increase pain.

Because they can grow significantly, the ducts become blocked and can cause changes in the stool, such as a pale or clay-colored color.


Loss of appetite

The sudden loss of appetite is a symptom that deserves a thorough analysis by health specialists, since, in general, alerts the development of a chronic disease.

When you lose the desire to eat for several days, gallstones or inflammation begin to form. As the disease progresses, patients feel swollen, with a sense of heaviness and lack of appetite.

Nausea and vomiting

nausea gallbladder

Sudden nausea and vomiting may be warning of a difficulty in the gallbladder to use its juices in the process of digestion of fats.

The presence of stones in the bile ducts can generate a waste accumulation that, with the hours, manifests itself with vomiting and a feeling of pressure in the stomach. Sometimes it is usually accompanied by dizziness and fever.

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