Distended Gallbladder

A distension of gallbladder may also be known as cholecystitis. A distended gallbladder is commonly caused by a blocked cystic duct, which is an outlet where the gallbladder fluids pass. The blockage is caused by gallstone. Sometimes, and in rare cases, swelling of gallbladder can occur without the presence of gallstone. This mainly occurs in people who are seriously sick from other conditions.

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Chronic gallbladder swelling, if left untreated, could cause the gallbladder walls to thicken and harden leading to a serious complication such as blockage. In cholecytitis, there is buildup of bile because of the blockage of cystic duct, which leads to swelling and pain. This may open the organ to infection. The pain of cholecystitis usually tends to be localized and often on the upper left side of abdomen, but other times, it may radiate to the right shoulder blade and back.

In addition, the abdominal area becomes tender to things like touch or increase in pressure as may be caused by deep breath. Cholecystitis may lead to more life threatening complications if not treated, for example, the gallbladder may rupture.

Causes of distended gallbladder

A distended or inflamed gallbladder may be caused by a number of things but the most common one is gallstones. If a gallstone is stuck in cystic duct, which passes fluids from the gallbladder, this may cause bile and the fluid to build up causing the gallbladder to become irritated and swollen. The stone blocks fluids and prevents them from passing out. This is the most often cause of sudden or acute distended gallbladder or cholecystitis.

Occasionally, tumors may also prevent bile from being passed out of gallbladder resulting to accumulation and buildup, something that causes inflammation. Trauma from accidents may also cause this condition.

Acute acalculous cholecystitis is a rare form of cholecystitis, which is caused by other factors and not gallstones. Critically ill people who are in hospital may develop acute acalculous cholecystitis, and this is not related to presence of gallstones. Other possible causes of swelling of gallbladder are complications of severe illnesses like diabetes, and HIV.

What are the symptoms of distended gallbladder?

People with distended gallbladder or cholecystitis mainly experience pain that is located in the upper right abdomen. This pain may at times spread and affect other areas such as the shoulder blade or the back of body. These are the common symptoms that are regarded as specific to gallbladder inflammation. However, there are also other symptoms that are not specific and will accompany the pain on the upper right abdomen.

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Such symptoms are nausea, vomiting, fever, tenderness in right abdomen, and pain that worsens in deep breath. Patients may also have pain that lasts for more than 6 hours especially after they have had a meal. In order people however, they may not experience pain or fever and the only symptom they notice is tenderness in the abdomen area. If you have abdominal pain that is severe, cannot sit still, and feels uncomfortable, you need to seek medical help.

Treatment of inflamed gallbladder

The treatment for gallbladder inflammation mainly depends on symptoms you are having and the general health. People with gallstones and who have no pain may not need seeking treatment. However, it is important if you detect that you have gallstones, you seek medical help for further evaluation.

For mild cases of cholecystitis, you may need to use fluids to try to pass or dissolve the stones. Antibiotics may be given through vein to help in preventing infections. Bowel rest can assist in reducing pain. Moreover, when you have acute cholecystitis, the treatment option available is removal of the gallbladder.

Cholecystectomy is the medical term given to the removal of gallbladder by surgery. It may be done through incisions and at other times, an extensive operation may be conducted. If the common bile duct, a tube that leads to the intestines is blocked by stones, an endoscopic procedure may be performed to remove the gallstones before the gallbladder is removed. Chronic cholecystitis may be treated with use of medicines that dissolve the gallstones over time.

Prevention of gallbladder inflammation

There are lifestyle changes which can help prevent one having distended gallbladder. If you are losing weight, you may want to lose it slowly. People who lose weight rapidly may increase the risking of having gallstones, which can contribute to cholecystitis. If you are losing weight, you should aim at 1 to 2 pounds in a week, which equates to 0.5 to 1 kg in a week. This is important because weight loss ought to be done gradually without hastening in order to get the best results.

People who are overweight have increases risks of developing gallstones. You should reduce the amount of calorie intake and exercise your body to burn fat. A healthy diet is also key when maintaining healthy weight. Have a diet that is low in carbs and high in fiber such as whole grains, vegetable, and fruits. 

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