Acute cholecystitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the gallbladder, usually caused by the presence of gallstones blocking the cystic duct. The gallbladder is a small organ located beneath the liver, and its main function is to store bile produced by the liver. When gallstones obstruct the cystic duct, it can lead to the build-up of bile and increased pressure within the gallbladder, resulting in inflammation and irritation.
The common symptoms of acute cholecystitis include:
- Severe pain in the upper right abdomen: The pain is usually constant and may radiate to the back or right shoulder. It can be accompanied by tenderness in the area.
- Nausea and vomiting: Many people with acute cholecystitis experience episodes of nausea and vomiting.
- Fever and chills: Inflammation of the gallbladder can cause an immune response, leading to fever and chills.
- Jaundice: In some cases, when the inflammation extends to the common bile duct, it can cause yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).
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If you suspect you have acute cholecystitis, it is important to seek medical attention promptly. A healthcare professional will typically perform a physical examination, ask about your symptoms, and may order additional tests such as blood tests, ultrasound, or other imaging studies to confirm the diagnosis.
The treatment for acute cholecystitis often involves hospitalization and may include the following:
- NPO and intravenous fluids: To rest the gallbladder and prevent complications, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything and receive fluids through an intravenous line.
- Pain management: Medications such as analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve pain and inflammation.
- Antibiotics: If there are signs of infection, antibiotics may be prescribed to fight the infection.
- Cholecystectomy: The most definitive treatment for acute cholecystitis is the surgical removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). In some cases, if surgery cannot be performed immediately, a temporary drainage tube may be inserted to relieve the inflammation.
It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations and discuss any concerns or questions you may have about your specific situation.