Gallstones - Symptoms

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Dr. Trupti Shirole
Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team  on Sep 25, 2014
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What are the Symptoms of Gallstones?

Most people with gallstones do not have any symptoms and these stones are detected during routine medical check-ups. Such stones are known as silent stones. Those with silent stones remain symptom free for years and may not even require treatment.

Symptoms that may occur include -

  • Gall bladder colic- A typical gallstone attack is characterized by a steady and severe pain in the upper abdomen. The duration of the attack may last from anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour and may be located in the region of the back between the shoulder blades and pain under the right shoulder, often accompanied with nausea and vomiting. The frequency of an attack could be as often as once a week, months or even after several years. A gallstone attack can be precipitated after an intake of fatty meal in the night.
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Belching
  • Indigestion
  • Low-grade fever accompanied with chills
  • Yellowish color of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • Clay colored stools
  • Gallstones could also produce a chronic inflammation of the gallbladder; in such instances the individual may experience occasional bouts of abdominal pain on the right side under the ribcage, which may be associated with nausea and vomiting.
  • In situations where a gallstone gets stuck in the neck of the gall bladder or in the cystic duct the person experiences sudden excruciating pain on the right side of the abdomen, also usually under the ribcage.
  • When gallstones obstruct the flow of bile, it results in jaundice or infection. It can also cause an inflammation of the pancreas.
  • If a gallstone passes into the intestine it could cause an obstruction in the small intestine.

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