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What You Need to Know About Your Gallbladder

If you’re experiencing stomach pain or abdominal pain, it can be confusing as to the cause since many different things could be the culprit. One of the more common conditions could be related to the gallbladder. But since most people experience some kind of abdominal pain every once in a while, how do you know when your pain warrants a trip to the ER?

“I tell my patients that if they are experiencing constant or unusual pain, to come and get checked out,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Thomas Allen. “You shouldn’t try to suffer through it because something could be seriously wrong and might need prompt medical attention.”

What does the gallbladder do?

The gallbladder is a small organ next to the liver that accepts bile created by the liver and holds it until the stomach has food and needs the bile to begin digestion. The gallbladder then releases the bile into the upper part of the small intestine to start breaking down fats found in food.

What is a gallbladder attack?

Pain in the abdomen can sometimes be traced to a gallbladder attack. This means that the gallbladder may be dealing with some gallstones that are causing pain, or it could even mean gallbladder cancer.

Diagnosis starts with an exam, a blood test and possibly an ultrasound. “At Advance ER, we have the labs and the imaging equipment needed to determine if you are having a problem related to the gallbladder,” said Dr. Allen. “We get our results back fast and can potentially determine in a short amount of time what’s really going on with your abdominal pain.”

What are the symptoms of gallbladder conditions?

  • Pain in the upper right abdomen that can increase as times goes by
  • Pain in the center of the abdomen, just below the sternum
  • Pain in your right shoulder or just between your shoulder blades
  • Bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Jaundice coloring – yellow in the eyes and skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Itchiness

What should I do if I have a gallbladder attack?

While the majority of people who have gallstones don’t even realize it, some people experience severe pain with their gallstones. Gallstones can become lodged in the duct and cause infection that can become life-threatening if not treated. “It’s a good idea to come to Advance ER if you are in a lot of pain and it’s not going away,” said Dr. Allen.

What’s the treatment for gallbladder conditions?

If you experience an infected gallbladder, you will likely receive treatment that includes IVs, pain relievers and antibiotics. After that, some people may require a cholecystectomy, or removal of the gallbladder if the condition is serious or chronic. The liver will still produce bile, it will just bypass the gallbladder and be deposited directly into the small intestine. Your board-certified physician at Advance ER will have a personalized recommendation for your treatment.

Using our groundbreaking technology, you may have access to our SPECIALIST NOW™ program that will connect you to the internal medicine specialist who can also help with your diagnosis and treatment plan.

Advance ER is here for you 24/7

“When you’re in a lot of pain, you don’t want to wait around for hours to see the doctor,” said Dr. Allen. “That’s why we’ve pioneered No Wait service that gets you right into a bed and seen within minutes. We’re all about providing the best and most timely medical care possible so you can get the help you need right away.”

Advance ER is available in two locations for your convenience: Park Cities and Galleria Area.

Meet Dr. Allen:

Thomas Allen, M.D., FACEP, is board-certified in emergency medicine. He received his medical degree from Oregon Health Science University, Portland, OR. He completed his internship at the Legacy Health Systems’ Emanuel and Good Samaritan Hospitals, Portland, OR, and his residency at the University of Texas at Houston Herman Hospitals, Houston, TX.

Dr. Allen has been practicing for over two decades. He and his family are active in their Dallas community and love being a part of the neighborhood.