Cholecystitis

Cholecystitis & Liver

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Cholecystitis is a condition where there is a blockage in the bile ducts present in the gallbladder that leads to inflammation in the organ. Since the bile is not released, it starts accumulation causing yellow discoloration of eyes and skin (jaundice). There is severe loss of appetite and significant weight loss. Urine and stools become dark colored. Pain in upper right abdomen is also a symptom of cholecystitis.
Cholecystitis is usually linked to gallstones. These stones block the bile ducts and cause inflammation. It may also occur due to deterioration of liver function (aging or high alcohol intake). Patients of liver cirrhosis often show symptoms of cholecystitis. High cholesterol deposition on liver and gallbladder is also a trigger.
An obstruction in the bile ducts or cholecystitis can be a painful condition. Patients report pain in the upper right abdominal region. This pain could radiate to shoulders and right arm too. There is marked tenderness on the upper-right abdomen area. There is an overall feeling of uneasiness, fatigue, fever, sweating, and chills.
Issues with the gallbladder and liver in general cause severe pain in the upper-right abdomen. There is a marked loss of appetite, queasiness, weight loss, etc when you have issues with the gallbladder. In case of cholecystitis, abdominal pain appears suddenly and radiates to the shoulder, back, and arm. If you touch your upper abdomen region, you will find it tender. Profuse sweating, fever, weakness, and chills are also observed if you have cholecystitis symptoms.

Overview of Cholecystitis

Diseases associated with liver dysfunctions or improper diet patterns are impacting a large percentage of the global population. Gallstones are considered as one of the major diseases of this category and are common in all age groups and ethnicities. At present, they are one of the leading causes of hospitalization and are affecting the socio-economic conditions of the nations immensely.

Not only that, these are giving rise to additional hepatic syndromes. A common and a very serious clinical condition belonging to the above category is cholecystitis, which is nothing but the inflammation of the gallbladder. More than 90% of these cases are caused due to obstruction of the bile duct by a gallstone. These conditions have largely contributed to the increasing global burden of hepatic diseases.

 

What is cholecystitis?

Cholecystitis & LiverCholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder due to obstruction of the bile duct. Formation of gallbladder stones is one of the primary causes of the disease. The gallbladder stones can end up obstructing the cystic duct, blocking the flow of bile through the duct. As a result, the gallbladder becomes swollen. This condition can be quite painful and such pain is known as biliary colic. This pain may be one of the earliest signs of cholecystitis or inflammation in the gallbladder. In the patients of acute cholecystitis, the onset can be sudden and severe. The patients of chronic cholecystitis usually develop more complicated conditions, although the symptoms are not so severe.

 

What are the factors causing cholecystitis?

There are number of risk factors associated with cholecystitis. Having one or more of the following risk factors does not indicate that the person will definitely develop cholecystitis. Instead it indicates that, in comparison with someone who does not have these risk factors, the person who has them is more likely to develop inflammation in the gallbladder. The general causes of cholecystitis are listed below-

  • Obstruction of the common bile duct due to stone formation
  • Having an immediate family member or a very close relative who has serious hepatic diseases
  • Being a female (increases risks of gallstones)
  • A familial history of gallstones
  • Hormonal swings during pregnancy and after menopause
  • Deterioration of liver function due to aging
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diseases like Crohn’s disease, sickle cell disease or liver cirrhosis
  • Scarred biliary duct or common duct
  • Chemotherapy or hormone replacement therapy
  • Insulin resistance or Diabetes mellitus
  • Long-term intake of over-the-counter drugs like corticosteroids or certain androgenic drugs
  • Overuse of oral contraceptive pills
  • Belonging to a particular ethnic group (Eg: Asian or Hispanic)
  • Presence of tumours in the hepatic ducts (causes obstruction)
  • Keeping a fast for a long time
  • Obesity or overweight condition
  • Tobacco or alcohol abuse

 

What are the common signs and symptoms of cholecystitis?

Cholecystitis presents mainly with jaundice-like symptoms which are given below-

  • Yellowish discoloration of skin
  • Sclera, conjunctiva and mucosa turns pale yellow (in advanced stages)
  • Dark yellow or brownish discolouration of urine
  • Dark stool
  • Irritation of skin
  • Severe loss of appetite
  • Abnormal weight loss in advanced stages
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Occasional pain in the upper right portion of stomach
  • Feeling of obstruction in the upper right abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Occasional headaches
  • Fever (occasional)

 

What are the different types of cholecystitis?

Cholecystitis procedureCholecystitis has two main categories- acute and chronic. These are discussed below-

  • Acute cholecystitis: Here the symptoms are sudden and the onset is marked by severe pain and other associated symptoms. Acute cholecystitis has two subtypes-
  • Acute calculous cholecystitis: 90% of these cases result from bile duct obstruction caused by gallstones. This leads to an accumulation of bile which gradually grows thick and forms an abnormally large and reddish gallbladder. In the later stages, the conditions may worsen due to infections caused by Streptococcus, Clostridium or E. coli. The infection may gradually spread to the outer layers of the gallbladder. In the end-stages, the neighbouring structures like diaphragm may also get infected. This manifests as a referred pain in the right shoulder.
  • Acalculous cholecystitis: It accounts for about 5-10% of all cases of cholecystitis. Bile duct stones are usually absent in these cases. This type is more common in males, particularly the ones who are hospitalised and bed-ridden. This condition mainly arises in the post-surgery phase of some other disease and is usually not accompanied by trauma. Some other conditions like chemotherapy, vasculitis, major trauma and burns may also contribute to acalculous cholecystitis. The symptoms are similar to the calculous type, although they might vary in degree. The yellowish discolouration of the skin is more prominent in this condition. The gallbladders of these patients become static and enlarged.
  • Chronic cholecystitis: Recurrent episodes of acute cholecystitis may result from negligence and lack of treatment. In due course of time it leads to cholecystitis of permanent nature which is known as chronic cholecystitis. This type leads to some serious systemic complications like perforation, fistula or gangrene formation.

Another form of cholecystitis called xanthogranulomatous cholecystitis has symptoms similar to that of gallbladder cancer, although malignancy is not detected.

 

How is cholecystitis detected and treated?

The following diagnostic tests help detect cholecystitis-

  • Physical examination: Studies the inflamed and swollen gallbladder
  • Medical history
  • Blood test (Full blood count and platelet count)
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): Studies the bile and pancreatic ducts
  • Liver function tests
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Liver biopsy

The treatment for cholecystitis focuses on the control of the inflammation followed by rectification of the root cause. Cholecystitis usually involves a hospital stay with an aim to control the inflammation of the gallbladder.

 

Treatment & Prevention

During the hospital stay, you might be asked to fast in order to reduce the stress on the inflamed gallbladder. Infusion of liquids can be done intravenously in order to prevent dehydration. In case of infections of the gallbladder of the gallbladder, antibiotics can be administered. Pain-relieving medications ministered in order to reduce pain and inflammation. Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is performed to remove any stone, which might be blocking the bile or the cystic duct.

The laparoscopic surgeon might perform a minimum invasive procedure to remove the gallbladder. This procedure is known as the cholecystectomy. Cholecystectomy is usually performed in case of recurrent infections of the gallbladder. Cholecystitis can be prevented by intake of a healthy diet and by keeping a check on cholesterol levels. Maintenance of healthy body weight is crucial for prevention of gallbladder stones.

 

Facts

  • More than 90% of cases of cholecystitis occur due to the presence of gallstones, which lead to the blockage of the cystic duct.
  • Gallstones are mainly formed from the hardening of cholesterol.
  • If left untreated, cholecystitis may lead to life-threatening complications such as necrosis or rupture of the gallbladder.

Facts

  • More than 80% of individuals having gallstones are asymptomatic.
  • The best investigative procedure for gallstones is ultrasound.
  • Though the gallbladder stores bile juice (which is required for digestion), it is not an essential organ.

Facts

  • Approximately 12% of the population has gallstones but usually remain asymptomatic.
  • Gallstones can be formed by being overweight or by rapid loss of weight.

 

Related Conditions

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Cholecystitis is a condition where there is a blockage in the bile ducts present in the gallbladder that leads to inflammation in the organ. Since the bile is not released, it starts accumulation causing yellow discoloration of eyes and skin (jaundice). There is severe loss of appetite and significant weight loss. Urine and stools become dark colored. Pain in upper right abdomen is also a symptom of cholecystitis.
Cholecystitis is usually linked to gallstones. These stones block the bile ducts and cause inflammation. It may also occur due to deterioration of liver function (aging or high alcohol intake). Patients of liver cirrhosis often show symptoms of cholecystitis. High cholesterol deposition on liver and gallbladder is also a trigger.
An obstruction in the bile ducts or cholecystitis can be a painful condition. Patients report pain in the upper right abdominal region. This pain could radiate to shoulders and right arm too. There is marked tenderness on the upper-right abdomen area. There is an overall feeling of uneasiness, fatigue, fever, sweating, and chills.
Issues with the gallbladder and liver in general cause severe pain in the upper-right abdomen. There is a marked loss of appetite, queasiness, weight loss, etc when you have issues with the gallbladder. In case of cholecystitis, abdominal pain appears suddenly and radiates to the shoulder, back, and arm. If you touch your upper abdomen region, you will find it tender. Profuse sweating, fever, weakness, and chills are also observed if you have cholecystitis symptoms.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Consumes a diet, which has fewer amounts of fats and high amount of fiber. A diet with lots of fatty foods can lead to aggravation of the symptoms of cholecystitis.
  • Visit a registered general physician if you observe symptoms like severe pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. The pain usually radiates to the back or the right shoulder blade.
  • Go for ultrasonography. Ultrasonography is the investigation of choice in case of gallstones.
Don'ts
  • Go for a crash diet. Rapid loss of weight may cause the formation of gallstones.
  • Miss out any information about the vitamins and the supplements that you are taking regularly.
  • Neglect your cholesterol levels. Monitor your cholesterol levels regularly in order to reduce the possibility of formation of gallstones.

 

 

 

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Cystatin C Test Cystatin C is a specific single-chain protein that is found in body fluids and is a biomarker for…
woman with abdominal pain holding ovulation calendar
Ovulation – facts to know about ovulation Learn how and when ovulation occurs, demystify common misconceptions, identify symptoms, methods of detection and right period for…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
dandelion weight loss
Caralluma Fimbriata: How to eat this cactus to lose weight Caralluma fimbriata is a miracle cactus that can be safely consumed by most for losing weight and boosting…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
ANTIPHOSPHOLIPIDANTIBODY(APL)_IgG
Antiphospholipid (APL) antibody-IgG The Antiphospholipid Antibody testing is a blood test used to determine an autoimmune disorder called Antiphospholipid syndrome linked…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
PROGESTERONE_test
Progesterone test The progesterone test is a blood test used to determine the level of hormone progesterone in the blood…
sodium blood test
Blood Sodium Test A blood sodium test measures the amount of sodium (an important electrolyte) in your body. It is also…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
Agave nectar: The bitter truth about this sweetener revealed Agave nectar is considered to be sweeter than the normal table sugar and even contains higher amounts of…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Plexus Slim: Is this pink slimming drink the ultimate one-stop fat burner? How effective is Plexus Slim in helping people lose weight? What are its ingredients? Can it be safely…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
What to eat, what not to eat in the South Beach Diet? The South Beach Diet is one among the most popular weight loss programs that have been the talk…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
myelogram
Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
antihepatitis core antigent
Anti-Hepatitis B Core Antigen (AHBc) Total Anti-hepatitis B core antigen (AHBC ) is a blood examination and the only serological marker of infectious blood…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
50 common health conditions
What are the top 50 deadly and widespread diseases? A complete list of the top 50 most common and deadly diseases that plague humanity. Which disease is…