What is Gallbladder Pain – Term Paper

What are the symptoms of gallbladder pain

Although an individual with a gallbladder problem may lack symptoms, sometimes the problem can cause intense abdominal pain. This essay studies a case on a woman named Martha.  She has gallstones and experiences pain after meals. The paper traces the location of the gallbladder and biliary duct system. It also examines the cause of Martha’s pain and the surgical operation of removing the failing gallbladder. There is also focus on the path of the gallstones in the digestive tract.

The gallbladder stores bile in the human body. It is a vital organ, which is part of the digestive system. It is four inches long and pear shaped. It is located under the liver at the upper right section of the abdomen. The liver produces bile, and it is composed of fat, fluids, and cholesterol. Bile flows from the liver to the gallbladder through the hepatic duct. The bile duct joins the small intestine at the sphincter of Oddi, which is few inches below the stomach (Siddiqui 1). The gallbladder then supplies bile to the small intestine through the bile duct (Holland 1). Bile helps in digestion of fats and elimination of hemoglobin from old red blood cells. 

What causes gallbladder pain

Martha’s post-meal pain results from gallstones-cholelithiasis. This pain affects the upper right quadrant of the abdomen extending to the inferior scapula (Davis 1). The gallstones lodge in the bile duct interrupting the normal flow of bile into the small intestines causing pain, medically known as biliary colic (Marks 1). Biliary colic occurs after meals because the gallbladder is stimulated to release the bile to the small intestine for the emulsification of fats. The gallbladder responds to blockage by contracting thus causing severe pain (Rodriguez 1). The Pain lasts between one to two hours after meals.

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Removing the gallbladder is one of the options of treatment for gallstones. The gallbladder will undergo ligation to remove gallstones. Therefore, the surgeon will legate the cystic artery, which circulates blood to the gallbladder through the cystic duct, to stop the flow of blood then remove the gallbladder safely. The arterioles and the capillaries cannot supply the blood to the tissues. The veins do not also receive waste material from the tissues because the flow does not happen. Laparoscopic surgery is a common gallbladder removal surgery. A surgeon uses a thin tube fitted with a tiny video camera into a small cut in the abdomen. The surgeon watching the images enlarged removes the gallbladder through an incision.

Gallstones are masses of cholesterol that vary in size from small grains to stones the size of a golf ball. Gallstones lodge from the gallbladder to the bile duct. At this point, they are secondary stones (Fletcher 1). Gallstones may cause blockage; thus, bile cannot reach the duodenum that is the first section of the small intestine where it digests fats. This results to jaundice- a condition whereby the skin turns yellow.


The case study of Martha analyzes in details gallstones and the anatomy of the gallbladder. Martha experiences biliary colic after meals, and there is an explanation on why the pain is at a particular point. For the surgeon to remove the gallbladder, the cystic artery undergoes ligation. The gallstones follow the pathway of the digestive tract as they dislodge from the gallbladder. They first move to the bile duct and hinder the accessibility of the duodenum, which may lead to the inflammation of the gall bladder. People should take steps to avoid developing gallstones because they are a threat to good health.

Works Cited

Davis, Charles. “Gallbladder Pain.”Medicine Net. 18 April 2016. Web. 1 Mar. 2017.

Fletcher, Jenna. “Know the Signs and Symptoms of Gallbladder Problems.” 27 February 2017. Web. 1 March 2017.

Holland, Kimberly. “Identifying Gallbladder Problems and Symptoms.”Healthline. 20 Jan. 2015. Web. 1 Mar. 2017.

Marks, Jay. “Gallbladder Pain Causes.”Emedicine health. 20 May 2016. Web. 1 Mar. 2017.

Rodriguez, Diana. “Symptoms of Gallbladder Problems” Everyday Health. 26 Mar. 2015. Web 1 Mar. 2017.

Siddiqui, Ali. “Gallbladder and Billiary Tract” Merck Manual. N.d. Web 1 March 2017.