What causes the gall bladder to be in a contracted state, what are its ill effects and its relation to gas problems and flatulence?

A gallbladder contraction occurs when the gallbladder releases bile juice into the intestine. This gall bladder contraction is usually normal and occurs when fatty foods are eaten. However, it is important to remember that a gallbladder contraction can also occur when there are gallstones present in the gallbladder. Such a gallbladder contraction might give rise to pain as well. Gallstones are small hard deposits that form in the gallbladder and can cause many problems. Gallstones are usually formed from cholesterol but pigment stones are common as well. Gallstones are just one of the diseases that could develop in the gallbladder and they cause severe pain and discomfort if lodged in the duct. Gallbladder sludge is believed to be made up of microscopic gallstones. This sludge is made up of calcium salts, and cholesterol crystals. Over a period of time the quantity of sludge increases and this may also obstruct the normal flow of bile into the gallbladder. Research has shown that many times sludge in the gallbladder does not give rise to any symptoms. Signs that there are problems in the gallbladder may only occur when there is excess sludge accumulated in the gallbladder. This may give rise to gallbladder symptoms which are listed below-

One of the symptoms of gall bladder problems is that you may experience severe pain in the right side of the chest. This pain generally occurs when the gallstones are in the bile duct. Gallbladder inflammation could be another reason for this pain. This pain may also spread to other areas of your body like the shoulders, hands and even your back at a later stage. Such pain comes in what is termed as gallbladder attacks and can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. At times, you may not be able to walk without bending over or even stand straight due to this severe pain. Severe abdominal pain is a symptom of a severe gallbladder attack and you should contact your doctor immediately in such a case. This major symptom of gallbladder disease usually intensifies at night and also after some physical effort.

  • Fever may also be present and this is usually when the gallbladder is inflamed or infected.
  • Nausea/vomiting: This occurs from a build up of bile in the body. Vomiting is simply the body's way of getting rid of this excess bile. Along with these two symptoms, you may also experience burping, belching or queasiness. Acid reflux is often experienced by gallbladder patients and they also have a bitter fluid coming up in their mouths after eating.
  • Diarrhea or constipation may be experienced by such patients as well. Other symptoms of gallbladder problems include bloating of the abdomen, headaches (especially over the right eye), dizziness, a feeling of fullness as well as bad breath.
  • Jaundice: Gallbladder problems could result in jaundice too. This is the result of the excess bile present in the body. Jaundice symptoms are a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.
What then are the possible ways to deal with this problem? Gallbladder treatment consists of the following:-
  • Flushing out the gallbladder: This is an effective and natural way of cleansing the gallbladder. This involves drinking liquids like olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Medication: Medication is also an option for gallbladder problems. Do check with your medical practitioner before starting any medication.
  • Diet: Diet plays an important role in gallbladder treatment. Stay away from fatty, greasy foods. A diet low in fat and rich in fiber is highly recommended. Red meats are to be avoided as well as they are also known to trigger the formation of gallstones.
  • Surgery: Surgery is an option which is available if the symptoms are very severe and the above points do not help.

answered by G R

The gallbladder contracts to release bile when fatty foods are eaten. This is normal physiology. However, it can spasm due to gallstones. Excess bile or incomplete metabolism can cause irritation, pain and green/yellow stools. Flatulence and gas typically is caused from an imbalance in microflora (not enough friendly bacteria), incomplete food breakdown (inadequate enzymes or stomach acid) or a reaction to food sensitivities. Find a trained health care practitioner who can help you identify the cause of what's happening. The gall bladder is a small pear shaped organ found just below the liver. It is responsible for storing the bile produced by the liver. The gall bladder aids the digestion process by releasing this bile into the small intestine which in turn helps in breaking down fats. During the time that the bile is stored in the liver, the bile takes on a concentrated form, making it more effective in the process of emulsifying fats. Bile is also known to neutralize the acids found in food which is not completely digested. The gall bladder performs this function by contracting itself in order to push out the bile needed to emulsify fatty foods. Hence, we see that the contraction of the gall bladder is essential for its proper functioning.

However, at times, the gall bladder may go into spasm and remain in a contracted state as a result of the presence of gall stones. The presence of gall stones can be detected with the help of an ultrasound examination. These stones are made up of bile components. There are three types of gall stones – the first type is primarily formed due to an increase in cholesterol levels. The second type called pigment stones, mainly contains bilirubin and calcium salts. The third type is a combination of cholesterol, bilirubin, calcium salts and other bile components. In most cases, these stones go unnoticed and are detected only when immense pain is experienced in the right upper side of the abdomen after several years of existence. Pain may also be experienced below the rib cage, traveling around to the upper back. Pain may also be experienced in between the shoulder blades, usually towards the right of the upper back. A blockage in the passage between the gall bladder and the small intestine can cause bile buildup in the gall bladder and this is not a good sign. Since food does not get digested properly as a result of an affected gall bladder, experiencing symptoms of indigestion are inevitable. More often than not, the pain is aggravated on the consumption of meals rich in fats and grease as the passage of bile is restricted. Abdominal bloating, flatulence and belching are also experienced as a result of this problem. These symptoms, accompanied by a change in bowel color are more often than not an indicator of gall bladder dysfunction.

The best method to deal with gall bladder problems is to opt for a diet that is very low in fat so that no strain is exerted on the gall bladder. High fiber foods like leafy vegetables, whole grain cereals and fruit are highly recommended as these foods have a cleansing ability. Lemon juice and grapefruit juice are believed to be advantageous in the treatment of gall bladder problems. A concoction made with equal amounts of carrot juice, beet juice and cucumber juice is believed to be effective in the treatment of gall bladder diseases. Daily consumption of a glass of the juice of dandelion is also known to be beneficial in the removal of gall stones. A tablespoon of sunflower oil or olive oil, taken on an empty stomach every morning, also helps in combating the problem of gall stones. Drinking plenty of water is definitely a requirement as it helps in neutralizing the effect of the acids formed in the body as a result of the process of digestion. Foods that are recommended during the treatment of gall bladder problems include cottage cheese and yogurt. In addition to avoiding fatty foods, staying away from alcohol, tobacco and caffeine is highly recommended. In order to reduce the strain connected with digestion, consuming small meals spread through the course of the day is recommended instead of two or three large meals. However, it is always better to consult a medical practitioner before using any home remedies so as to find out the actual cause of a contracted gall bladder and to take treatment based on its cause.

answered by Dr K B N

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