Gallbladder Sludge Symptoms - What You Need To Know

Gallbladder Sludge Symptoms – What You Need To Know

By: - Health & Fitness - July 19, 2011
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Typically, gallbladder sludge symptoms usually manifest in later stages. Nonetheless, sharp abdominal pains may be felt in the upper left flank.  These seem to be the only symptoms initially experienced. This can indicate that gallbladder sludge is present and flow of the gallbladder slowing down. When gallbladder sludge is not flushed efficiently from the gallbladder, gallstones develop and a visit to the doctor is needed to clarify the issue and see what steps must be taken. These can include surgery if the issue is persistent or severe.

The gallbladder is a very important digestive organ. The bile stored in the gallbladder is used by the liver and contains electrolytes, phospholipids, bilirubin, bile acids, and cholesterol. It assists with the vitamin absorption and fat emulsion for proper digestion. The proper flow of bile is important for liver detoxification processes. When the gallbladder becomes occluded by sludge and gallbladder sludge symptoms begin to result, gallstones can form and block the flow of bile. This can lead to issues of liver toxicity, digestive problems, malabsorption of nutrients, and even severe pain from infection of the gallbladder.

Gallbladder sludge symptoms result when bile ducts become blocked and cholesterol crystallizes in the gallbladder to form the sludge. When bile fluid balance becomes compromised, bile salts and cholesterol result in a progressively thickening sludge. Factors that trigger sludge formation in gallbladder are fasting, certain medications, high cholesterol, rapid weight loss, pregnancy, and alcohol or drug abuse. As mentioned earlier in this article, the symptoms produced are minimal.  More prominent symptoms can result and these should not be missed.  Should you find that you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, you will need to seek medical attention.

  • Intense pain in the upper right flank of the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Fever and chills

When symptoms of gallbladder sludge become severe, symptoms can progress to inflammation of the pancreas and the gallbladder. This is when intense abdominal pain results. The problem with abdominal pain is that the exact cause is difficult to identify, particularly if the sludge in the gallbladder has not formed stones that can be easily identified by ultrasound or other diagnostic methods.

Fortunately, gallbladder sludge typically dissolves without intervention and no symptoms need to be treated, except with dietary changes.  Symptoms of gallbladder sludge need to be treated when pain becomes noticeable and especially when pain becomes unbearable, this can indicate more severe problems developing.  Medical treatment needs to be sought out immediately in the presence of severe pain. This is in important because severe infections can develop and compromise other organs. Early intervention is not only practical but also wise. If you are uncertain about pains being experienced in the upper right area of the abdomen, consult a doctor as soon as possible to avoid further complications with gallbladder sludge.

Symptoms of gallbladder sludge are just the start of gallstones forming.  Your doctor may be able to give you dietary recommendations to help reverse the condition. In any case, it is always better to be safe than sorry, and if you feel that you are experiencing symptoms, speak with your primary care physician.