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Biliary colic: symptoms of severe pain in the upper right abdomen

  1. Biliary colic (gallstone attack, gallbladder attack) symptoms consist of constant or intermittent pain in the upper abdomen, usually below the right side of the rib cage. Bile colic is the result of a blocked bile duct or an inflamed gallbladder (cholecystitis). This condition is characterized by a rapid onset of intense pain on the right side below the rib cage, which may radiate to the upper back. A bile attack can last from a few minutes to a few hours and can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. A biliary colic is usually triggered by having just eaten (a fatty meal). Biliary colic can be prevented by adjusting your diet.

What is a biliary colic?

  1. A biliary colic is a constant or recurring pain in the upper abdomen, usually below the right side of the rib cage. It happens when something normal bile flow from the gallbladder

Causes of biliary colic

  1. Gallstones are the most common cause of biliary colic. When a fairly large gallstone blocks the flow of bile, the normal flow of bile in the intestine is disrupted. The muscle cells in the bile ducts try to pull the gallstone further by contracting forcefully, causing a sudden and very severe painful attack called acute biliary colic. A narrowing of the bile ducts or a tumor (gallbladder cancer)

Risk factors

  1. A biliary colic or gallbladder attack is usually related to gallstones. A number of risk factors for the formation of gallstones are part of the normal course of life, such as heredity, your age (with aging you are more likely to develop gallstones) and pregnancy. Other factors are dynamic and changeable, such as obesity and a high-fat diet. You can change these risk factors through a healthy lifestyle

Symptoms of a biliary colic

  1. Symptoms A person affected by biliary colic usually complains of cramping pain in the upper abdomen or a feeling of pressure in the upper abdomen. This pain can be felt in the center of the upper abdomen, just below the sternum. The pain may also be more localized in the upper right part of the abdomen near the gallbladder and liver (see picture). In some people, the pain radiates to the right shoulder blade. Many people also suffer from nausea, vomiting and the urge to move. Yes can sometimes also suffer from jaundice, discolored stools and very dark urine

Gallstone attack complications

  1. Long-term blockages of the bile ducts can lead to serious complications, such as damage and infection of the gallbladder, bile ducts or liver. A serious complication is swelling or inflammation of the gallbladder. This is called gallbladder inflammation or cholecystitis. A gallstone can also block the pancreatic duct. It runs from the pancreas to the intestine. This can cause inflammation of the pancreas, inflammation of the pancreas

When to see a doctor?

  1. It is wise to consult a doctor if you have severe abdominal pain, with or without nausea and vomiting. If you have symptoms of biliary colic and you suddenly develop a fever and chills, this may indicate gallbladder inflammation

Examination and diagnosis

  1. History and physical examination

Gallstones prevention

  1. Healthy lifestyle Gallstones can be prevented with a healthy diet and by aiming for a healthy weight. Not all fats are bad. It is therefore not the intention to eat fat-free. However, maintaining a healthy weight is key to preventing gallbladder colic, as being overweight and obese increases the risk of gallstones and biliary colic. It is important to choose lower amounts of fat with each meal and eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, and a moderate amount of nuts, seeds, avocados, coconuts and olives (no more than 2 tablespoons per meal, but for some less is even better). Also ensure adequate fiber intake

  2. Healthy lifestyle Gallstones can be prevented with a healthy diet and by aiming for a healthy weight. Not all fats are bad. It is therefore not the intention to eat fat-free. However, maintaining a healthy weight is key to preventing gallbladder colic, as being overweight and obese increases the risk of gallstones and biliary colic. It is important to choose smaller amounts of fat with each meal and one



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