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What are the symptoms of a gallbladder infection?

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Quick Answer

The most prevalent symptom of a gallbladder infection is pain in the stomach area, according to MedlinePlus. The pain may be sharp and cramping usually lasting at least 30 minutes. Other symptoms include nausea, fever, yellow skin, vomiting and discolored stools.

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Full Answer

Gallbladder infection, also called acute cholecystitis, causes an irritation and a sudden swelling of the gallbladder, explains MedlinePlus. This type of infection may occur if bile stored in the body gets trapped in the gallbladder. Gallstones often cause this to happen. The stone blocks the duct through which bile travels, causing a build-up of pressure, eventually leading to infection.

Some of the conditions associated with gallbladder infections are tumors, obesity and serious illnesses, such as diabetes or HIV. Gallbladder infections can become a chronic condition when blockages occur repeatedly. With a chronic condition, the gallbladder gets hard and thick, and it becomes more difficult for bile to be stored and released effectively.

If a gallbladder infection is suspected, a doctor can order specific blood tests to detect it. Infections may sometimes clear up on their own, but there are also nonsurgical treatments to help with symptoms and healing. These treatments include pain medications, dietary restrictions and antibiotics.

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