While gallbladder disease is common among adults, many patients do not experience gallbladder pain in the early stages of the disease. Gallstones alone do not inflict pain, it’s the blockage of the bile duct that creates inflammation and gallbladder attacks.
Gallbladder disease symptoms usually indicate each stage of the condition:
Stage 1: Gallstones Form
In this early stage, gallstones grow in the gallbladder, but the patient does not usually feel gallbladder pain or symptoms. The stones are hardened pieces of bile and can range from the size of a grain of sand to the size of a golf ball. Most patients never experience stage 2 of gallbladder disease.
Stage 2: Gallbladder Disease
In this intermediary stage, patients feel Gallbladder pain infrequently. Gallbladder symptoms in this stage include abdominal pain, belching, burping, indigestion, diarrhea and nausea. These symptoms are most common after eating a fatty meal. The discomfort is caused when a gallstone blocks the bile duct and can last for several hours, but the pain subsides.
Stage 3: Gallbladder attack
When a gallstone blocks the duct, it causes inflammation of the gallbladder. When the blockage is not fixed immediately, symptoms of a gallbladder attack signal stage three. This stage can cause serious complications and requires immediate medical help. Stage three gallbladder symptoms include nausea, intense pain in the abdomen or back, fever, chills or loss of appetite. Left untreated, it can lead to dangerous related conditions including gallbladder cancer.
Regardless of the stage of your gallbladder symptoms, Florida Hospital specialists recommend you seek medical attention for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.