COVID-19: Get the latest updates, safety precautions, or learn how to schedule a video or in-person visit.

Q&A: Gallbladder trouble

Aging Well | August 10, 2017
My stomach and back often hurt after I eat fatty foods like pizza. Sometimes I even feel nauseated. What causes this?

The symptoms you describe are often related to a gallbladder attack. The gallbladder is located in the right upper abdomen beneath the ​liver and holds bile, a fluid secreted by the liver. When water is extracted from the bile, the material left behind can harden into gallstones.

While there are often no symptoms of gallstones, occasionally following a fatty meal the gallstones cause pain in the gallbladder and radiating to the back. This is known as a gallbladder attack.

If you are diagnosed with gallbladder disease, there are options for treatment. If you have mild symptoms or it’s your first gallstone attack, your provider may simply prescribe pain medication.

If you have more severe symptoms or you have had multiple attacks, surgery may be required. Today most gallbladder surgery is performed laparoscopically, using minimally invasive surgical techniques. This type of surgery may result in less pain and quicker recovery.

If you need surgery, ask your doctor if a minimally invasive technique is available for you.

This healthy living tip is courtesy of Duc Vo, MD.

Related Content