Most people who have gallstones do not have symptoms.
If you have symptoms, you most likely will have mild pain in the pit of your stomach or in the upper right part of your belly. Pain may spread to your right upper back or shoulder blade area. Sometimes the pain is more severe. It may be steady, or it may come and go. Or it may get worse when you eat.
You may decide to go to the doctor because of pain in your belly. In this case, your doctor will ask you questions about when the pain started, where it is, and if it comes and goes or is always there. Your doctor may order imaging tests. These take pictures of the inside of your body. An ultrasound
of the belly is the best test to find gallstones. This test does not hurt.
Your ultrasound may not show gallstones. But if your doctor still thinks you have a problem with your gallbladder
, he or she may order a gallbladder scan. In this test, a doctor injects dye into a vein in your arm. Then a machine takes X-rays as the dye moves through your liver
, bile duct, gallbladder, and intestine.
If you do not have symptoms, you probably do not need treatment.
If your first gallstone attack causes mild pain, your doctor may tell you to take pain medicine and wait to see if the pain goes away. You may never have another attack. Waiting to see what happens usually will not cause problems.
If you have a bad attack, or if you have a second attack, you may want to have your gallbladder removed. A second attack means you are more likely to have future attacks.
Many people have their gallbladders removed, and the surgery usually goes well. Doctors most often use laparoscopic surgery
. For this, your surgeon will make small cuts in your belly and remove your gallbladder. You will probably be able to go back to work or your normal routine in a week or two, but it may take longer for some people. Sometimes the surgeon will have to make a larger cut to remove the gallbladder. It will take longer for you to recover from this type of surgery.
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