• When to seek medical care for gallbladder issues

    The gallbladder is a small organ found in the upper right section of the abdomen. It’s responsible for storing bile, which plays a role in the digestion of fats. There are many problems that can affect the gallbladder, including gallstones. In some cases, patients are diagnosed with a gallbladder problem after seeing their family physician. Others seek emergency care at Southern Hills Hospital for severe symptoms. Our state-of-the-art hospital in Las Vegas is proud to feature sophisticated robotic surgery services, including minimally invasive gallbladder removal.

    Seek emergency care for severe pain

    Gallstones won’t always cause pain. Typically, symptoms occur when a gallstone blocks a bile duct. This can cause sudden pain that rapidly becomes worse.

    Severe pain is always a good reason to seek emergency care, regardless of its potential cause. If the cause of the pain is gallstones, patients will feel it in the upper right area of the abdomen.

    The pain might also extend to the center of the abdomen, right shoulder and between the shoulder blades. It may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Some patients may experience nausea and vomiting.

    Gallstones aren’t the only reason to seek emergency care, however. Acute cholecystitis, which is the sudden swelling of this organ, can cause the following symptoms:

    • Sharp or cramp-like upper belly pain
    • Fever
    • Clay-colored stools
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes

    Seek emergency care for possible gallstone complications

    Acute cholecystitis often occurs as a complication of gallstones. Gallstones can also cause blockages of the common bile duct and pancreatic duct. Symptoms of a blocked bile duct can include the following:

    • Dark urine
    • Fever
    • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes
    • Pale-colored stools
    • Itching
    • Upper right abdominal pain
    • Nausea and vomiting

    See your doctor if minor symptoms don’t go away

    Gallbladder problems aren’t always medical emergencies. When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a general surgeon at Southern Hills Hospital explain that minor symptoms can sometimes indicate gallbladder problems if they persist or recur. These include:

    • Unexplained aches and pains
    • Nausea
    • Indigestion

    If you need emergency care in the Las Vegas area, please call 911 without delay. Southern Hills Hospital’s emergency care physicians and nurses are available around the clock to provide prompt and courteous medical care. For general questions about our patient-centered hospital services, you can contact a registered nurse at (702) 916-5023.