I’m Dr. Bruce Hill. I’m a general surgeon. If there’s anything we’re really pretty expert in, it’s gallbladder disease. There’s rarely a day we don’t end uptaking out a gallbladder or certainly sitting down with patients and listening carefully to their symptoms and diagnosing gallbladder problems.
Symptoms can be very vague. In fact, some people can have bad gallbladder disease and have minimal to no symptoms ,and you might think, well why? What’s wrong then? Well, the problem is that they’re developing inflammation in their gallbladder, and then the first symptom that they do have can be pancreatitis. That can be terrible back pain, terrible epigastric pain.
So pain in the upper abdomen, around the middle,that’s the most common presentation. You know, people have sometimes just nausea. The symptoms can be quite vague as it begins. So nausea, abdominal pain in the upper abdomen,usually the middle, also on the right side as it progresses more. Lack of appetite, a lot of discomfort, bloating, especially after eating. You know, we have some studies.
Everybody knows what an ultrasound is. You know, we look with sound waves and look for stones. The unfortunate problem with ultrasound is that, if you have stones, it’s very good at finding ’em. It doesn’t find ’em all, but it finds most of them,but those who have gallbladder disease that aren’t related to stones, which is close to 50% of gallbladder disease, the ultrasound won’t do anything for ya.
The best way for us to figure out if people have gallbladder disease is if they come in to an experienced surgeon and a careful history is taken,and that can take 20 to 30 minutes, just listening carefully to the patient’s symptoms and trying to figure out what’s causing their symptoms,when they come, what other studies have been done in the past. Nearly all patients within a few months after having their gallbladders out are eating what they want and doing well, and have no really dietary changes. We do have dietitians to help them if they wanna modify their diet so they can eat better and lose weight.