Gall bladder disease can generate a wide range of non-specific clinical manifestations in patients. Gall bladder disease sufferers usually experience differentiated symptoms according to their age and sex. Although gall bladder affections and problems can occur in both sexes, the female gender generally experiences more intense and diversified symptoms. The clinical manifestations of gall bladder disease are also influenced by the underlying causes of the illness and its stage of progression.
The gall bladder is a small organ situated in the close proximity of the liver, in the right upper region of the abdomen. Its main purpose is to aid the liver in the process of fat digestion, by collecting and storing bile, then releasing this substance inside the small intestine and stomach when necessary. Produced by the liver, bile has a vital role in the assimilation of vitamins A, D, E and K. The composition of bile consists of water, bile acids, phospholipids, electrolytes and pigments. Gall bladder disease can be either caused by chemical imbalances in the composition of bile (which results in thickening of bile, leading to the formation of gallstones), physiological dysfunctions at the level of the biliary system or gall bladder infections.
In the early stages of the disease, people with gall bladder affections rarely experience pain. At first, the disease generates symptoms such as abdominal bloating, indigestion, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. As the disease progresses, patients experience radiating pain in the region of the right upper abdomen, pain that eventually moves to the lower back side. Although lower back pain is not always very revealing for gall bladder affections, it is still considered to be an important criteria in the process of diagnosis. Recent studies have revealed the fact that gall bladder disease sufferers commonly experience lower back pain in more advanced stages of the illness. This symptom of gall bladder disease is mostly common in patients with ages over 50, rarely occurring in younger adults or children. Gall bladder back pain can be either the result of pronounced inflammation of the gall bladder or biliary colic.
Biliary colic is a common cause of lower back pain. Biliary colic refers to formation of gallstones inside the gall bladder and hepato-biliary ducts. Gallstones, also known as biliary calculi, are small stones formed from excess cholesterol, calcium and bile pigments. When gallstones accumulate in large amounts they can obstruct bile ducts completely, facilitating the occurrence of gall bladder infections. Associated with gall bladder inflammation and infections, biliary colic generates intense, persistent pain in the region of the lower abdomen and lower back. Gall bladder back pain usually occurs in episodes, each attack lasting from 20-30 minutes to a few hours.
The formation and accumulation of gallstones at the level of the biliary system is a common disorder, affecting more than 15 percent of people with ages over 50. Gallstones can be easily observed with the means of ultrasound tests and computerized tomography and patients can be quickly diagnosed with biliary colic. If you experience intense abdominal and back pain, associated with abdominal bloating, nausea and vomiting, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible, in order to receive an appropriate medical treatment.