A List of Gallbladder Diseases and Disorders

DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.

Most gallbladder problems have similar symptoms, though there are some variations. Some people may not have any symptoms at all, while other people’s symptoms are more severe. Many gallbladder complaints can be resolved by using a gallbladder disease healing protocol composed of the appropriate medicines, such as those discussed in this book. Healing takes time and effort, but it IS possible to heal the gallbladder without surgery or pharmaceutical medications. 

 

This article will review the basic information about different gallbladder diseases. It can be used as a reference as you read this book. Note that some individuals may be suffering from more than one gallbladder issue (this isn’t all that uncommon, actually). Even if you refuse to go to a doctor to receive a diagnosis, an understanding of the different gallbladder problems that exist and a working knowledge of how the gallbladder works can help you on your path to recovery. 

Gallstones

This is one of the most common gallbladder problems that can develop. Gallstones may develop as a result of another gallbladder problem, they may cause other gallbladder problems, or they may develop on their own and not instigate any other gallbladder issues like those on this list. Keep in mind that some gallstones may be very small while others are very large, and that some people may develop one larger gallstones and other people develop multiple, smaller gallstones. Either way, gallstones can be treated and eventually passed if not completely dissolved

 

Gallstones form when substances such as cholesterol, bile salts, calcium, or bilirubin from the blood harden and build up over time. There are 2 main types of gallstones: pigment gallstones and cholesterol gallstones. Pigment gallstones are, in essence, calcifications of bile, while cholesterol gallstones develop as a result of thicker, cholesterol-rich bile that cannot flow as easily, and then hardens due to this lack of fluidity and subsequent stagnation (cholesterol gallstones usually start out in the form of bile “sludge”). These gallstones can develop when the gallbladder doesn’t empty often enough, doesn’t empty completely, or when a person is in poor health or has liver issues. Often, gallstone development is due to a variety of factors. 

 

Some of the risk factors of gallstone development include: 

 

  • Being female (the hormone fluctuations that women experience contribute to a somewhat higher likelihood of gallstone formation)
  • Pregnancy (again, due to hormone fluctuations) 
  • Obesity/being overweight
  • Having diabetes
  • Old age (ages 60+ are at a higher risk)
  • Contraceptive use or use of medications containing estrogens
  • Liver disease and/or cirrhosis
  • Having Crohn’s disease, SIBO, or another gastrointestinal disorder that negatively affects nutrient absorption
  • Eating a low-fat diet 
  • Being Asian, Native American, or Mexican by ethnicity
  • Having a history of gallbladder issues

 

Some of the common symptoms of gallstones include: 

 

  • Pain in the upper right abdomen, just under or behind the bottom of the ribcage
  • Pain in the upper right shoulder or in the neck
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Food intolerances
  • Gas, bloating, or general symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Jaundice (in severe cases)
  • High fever with chills (in severe cases)

Choledocholithiasis

Choledocholithiasis is more simply referred to as gallstones in the bile duct, or as bile duct stones (both definitions ar self explanatory). Approximately 15% of people who already have gallstones will also have bile duct stones. Although there are many cases when bile duct stones won’t cause any symptoms so long as they don’t impede bile flow, the real risk lies in the possibility of the stone potentially obstructing a bile duct in the future. If, however, symptoms do occur, some examples of these symptoms include: 

 

  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Shoulder blade pain (specifically in the right shoulder blade)

 

Pain or discomfort from bile duct stones may be mild or intense, and it may be constant or it may come and go. Some people have even confused a particular severe bout of pain with a heart attack (other people, in contrast, have symptoms so mild that they barely even notice them). One significant risk of bile duct stones is the chance of infection in the bile of the stone that’s stuck. If an infection develops, this can spread to the gallbladder itself, the liver, or the duodenum, thus causing a host of other problems. Biliary cirrhosis and pancreatitis are other complications that may develop should an infection occur.

Cholecystitis / Gallbladder Inflammation

Literally, cholecystis refers to inflammation of the gallbladder. There are 2 main forms of cholecystitis: chronic cholecystis and acute cholecystitis. 

Acute Cholecystitis

Acute cholecystitis is generally caused by another gallbladder problem, like gallstones, gallbladder cancer, or another issue, rather than occuring on its own independently of any other condition. An infection in the gallbladder may precede acute cholecystitis, too. This condition includes symptoms like: 

 

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Pain in the upper right shoulder blade
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Pain in the upper right or middle of the abdomen

 

A large meal or a meal with a lot of fat often precedes an acute cholecystitis “attack”. Gallstones, cancerous growths, or polyps that have blocked the bile ducts are frequently to blame, though there can be other causes too. 

Chronic Cholecystitis

Chronic cholecystitis develops after a few instances of acute cholecystitis. In this situation, the gallbladder may shrink and/or no longer be able to store or release bile anymore The symptoms of chronic cholecystitis resemble acute cholecystitis, but over a prolonged period of time, and may also include: 

 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Biliary Dyskinesia

Biliary dyskinesia refers to decreased functioning of the gallbladder. Poor bile production, sluggishness, refusal to release bile at the appropriate times or in the appropriate quantities, and other actions (or lack thereof) can all be a part of a biliary dyskinesia diagnosis. Specifically, if the bile is only able to release 35-40% or less of the bile that it contains, a diagnosis may be made. Chronic cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation) can sometimes be a cause of this gallbladder problem, though gallstones usually aren’t present with biliary dyskinesia (note that, of course, there are exceptions to this rule). 

 

Symptoms of biliary dyskinesia include: 

 

  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Shoulder pain/neck pain

 

Like with many other gallbladder complaints, eating a fatty meal frequently brings on biliary dyskinesia symptoms. 

Cholangitis

Cholangitis indicates inflammation of the bile duct system through which bile from the gallbladder passes on to be released into the small intestine. As with most other cases of inflammation, cholangitis usually has a root cause. Some common causes include a bacterial infection, a blockage in a bile duct caused by a gallstone or growth, or even a preexisting autoimmune condition. Cholangitis may occur over the short term or it may be chronic. In cases where it is chronic, it is referred to as sclerosing cholangitis, a condition that I’ll discuss specifically below. 

 

Other possible causes of cholangitis include: 

 

  • Blood clots
  • Swollen pancreas
  • Parasitic infection
  • Bacteria “backflow” from the small intestine
  • Bacterimia

 

Symptoms of cholangitis include: 

 

  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Fever with or without chills
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Dark urin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pain in the right shoulder blade
  • Changes in alertness

Sclerosing Cholangitis

Sclerosing cholangitis occurs after the initial development of regular cholangitis. Chronic inflammation of the bile ducts can eventually cause damage and scarring to this system, leading to decreased gallbladder and bile duct function. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, itching is another symptom that some people report, though a lot of people with sclerosing cholangitis are asymptomatic. 

 

The risk of liver cancer is increased in people with sclerosis cholangitis. In addition, a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is present in about 60-80% of cases. 

Acalculous Gallbladder Disease

Acalculous gallbladder disease is nearly the same as acute cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation), but it occurs WITHOUT the presence of gallstones, whereas acute cholecystitis occurs WITH the presence of gallstones. In fact, this disease is sometimes even referred to as acalculous cholecystitis. Like cholecystitis, acalculous gallbladder disease can be either acute or chronic. This type of gallbladder disease is diagnosed in approximately 10% of cholecystitis cases, and is generally considered to be a more serious gallbladder issue (it also tends to occur only in cases where the person is already very sick). 

 

Some of the symptoms of acalculous gallbladder disease include: 

 

  • Gas, bloating, and belching
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Food intolerances
  • Fever with/without chills
  • Severe pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Jaundice
  • Elevation of white blood cells
  • Distended gallbladder (the gallbladder can be feld when the area is palpitated)
  • Elevated white blood cell count

 

Chronic acalculous gallbladder disease generally involves milder symptoms that gradually become more severe over time. Acute acalculous gallbladder disease may be more severe from the start, and may come and go multiple times (people with this condition frequently have septicemia, are very sick already, and may already be in a hospital recovering from a different condition). 

 

Common causes of acalculous gallbladder disease include a lack of oxygen flow to the gallbladder (ischemia), bacterial infection in the gallbladder, gallbladder stasis due to inadequate bile flow and a subsequent build up of pressure, or severe gallbladder inflammation due to other factors. Acalculous gallbladder disease can have severe complications, such as gangrene of the gallbladder, perforations of the gallbladder wall, and sepsis (severe bloodstream infection). 

Gallbladder Cancer

Gallbladder cancer can be treated using essential cancer treatment medicines like vitamin B17, Lugol’s iodine, and pancreatic enzymes, but these medicines can also be combined with other gallbladder-specific medicines to increase their efficacy. This is a relatively rare cancer, and a lot of people who develop gallbladder cancer also develop gallstones later on. People with gallbladder cancer may have no symptoms at all, or they may exhibit some of these symptoms listed here: 

 

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Pain in the upper right shoulder blade
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Pain in the upper right or middle of the abdomen

 

One of the dangers of gallbladder cancer lies in the risk of the cancer progressing to the liver, pancreas, intestines, lymph nodes, and other nearby organs. 

Gallbladder Polyps

Gallbladder polyps are generally benign and asymptomatic, but if they grow in a way that somehow blocks the bile ducts, then they can cause problems by preventing the flow of bile from the gallbladder to the small intestine. Thus, gallbladder polyps that grow in this way could potentially cause the development of gallstones, cholecystitis, cholangitis, or other problems. 

Porcelain Gallbladder

Porcelain gallbladder is also referred to as calcified gallbladder or calcifying cholecystitis. It’s a fairly rare diagnosis and an apparently “untreatable” one according to modern, conventional medicine. As with nearly any other soft tissue calcification in the body, the core cause of porcelain gallbladder lies in a vitamin K2 deficiency/vitamin D toxicity and can be corrected with supplementation with vitamin K2 in combination with other therapies to heal the gallbladder. Porcelain gallbladder, when it occurs, often precedes the development of gallstones if they weren’t there before.

 

Some of the symptoms of porcelain gallbladder include: 

 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Anorexia

Adenomyomatosis

This is a rare gallbladder disease characterized by mucosal overgrowth in the gallbladder, thickening of the gallbladder’s muscular wall, and the formation of Rokitansky-Aschoff sinuses (these are pockets in the gallbladder wall that form when there is increased pressure on or repeated damage to the walls of the gallbladder). Pigment gallstones and cancerous growths have been known to develop in Rokitansky-Aschoff sinuses in cases of adenomyomatosis. Though cancerous growths may occur, changes to the gallbladder in adenomyomatosis are generally considered benign/noncancerous. 

Gangrene of the Gallbladder

Gangrene is a condition that results in the death of tissues either due to an infection or limited blood flow. In this case, gangrene of the gallbladder usually happens when blood flow to the gallbladder is severely impeded. Though it can be caused by other health issues too, the most common cause of gangrene of the gallbladder is acute cholecystitis. Some of the unique risk factors for the development of this gallbladder problem are: 

 

  • Being male
  • Being age 45+

 

Symptoms of gangrene of the gallbladder include: 

 

  • Fever
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pain in the gallbladder area (in the upper right area of the abdomen)

Abscess of the Gallbladder

Gallbladder abscesses are another complication associated with acute cholecystitis caused by a gallstone blocking the bile duct. Abscesses occur when areas of the gallbladder (or even the entire gallbladder in severe cases) become inflamed and fill with pus, a combination of dead tissues, white blood cells, and bacteria. This complication is more likely to happen in people who have diabetes or heart disease. Symptoms of an abscess of the gallbladder include: 

 

  • Fever
  • Shaking chills
  • Pain in the upper right of the abdomen
  • Pain in the shoulders
  • Nausea/vomiting

 

Strawberry Gallbladder / Cholesterolosis of the Gallbladder

Strawberry gallbladder is a gallbladder condition that refers to changes that may occur in the gallbladder wall as a result of excess cholesterol. The mucosal surface of the gallbladder has an appearance similar to a strawberry skin, thus giving this condition its unique name. This condition is not necessarily connected to any other gallbladder condition, though it may still occur simultaneously with other gallbladder-related issues. 

 

Cholesterolosis of the gallbladder generally carries no symptoms, but some people experience symptoms similar to those of gallstones. It wouldn’t be strange for a person to develop gallstones following the development of cholesterolosis since high cholesterol levels precipitate the development of both of these conditions. Polyps also may occur simultaneously with strawberry gallbladder. 

 

Related Posts:

The Gallbladder and the Liver: How Different Systems of Medicine View These Organs and Their Disorders

How to Get Rid of Gallstones without Surgery: Dr. Hulda Clark’s Gallbladder Cleanse

How to Improve Libido by Restoring Gallbladder Health

Herbs to Get Rid of Gallstones Naturally / How to Get Rid of Kidney Stones Naturally

Vitamin C: How Ascorbic Acid Can Help Prevent Gallstones

Vitamin K2+D3: An At-Home, Orthomolecular Treatment for Gallstones and Porcelain Gallbladder

Castor Oil Packs: An Oil-Based Herbal Remedy for Infertility, Reproductive Organ Issues, Gallbladder Problems, and Thyroid Disease

How to Use Organic Coffee and Coffee Enemas for Gallbladder and Liver Health

 

Resources: 

 

[1] Mohamed, Abdul Wadood (2018) Gallbladder Disease. Retrieved June 22, 2022 from: https://www.healthline.com/health/gallbladder-disease#types 

 

[2] Mayo Clinic (2021). Gallstones. Retrieved June 22, 2022 from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gallstones/symptoms-causes/syc-20354214 

 

[3] John Hopkins Medicine (n.d). Cholangitis. Retrieved June 22, 2022 from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/cholangitis#:~:text=Cholangitis%20is%20an%20inflammation%20of,long%2Dterm%20(chronic)

 

[4] Health Jade Team (n.d.). Porcelain gallbladder. Retrieved June 17, 2022 from: https://healthjade.net/porcelain-gallbladder/ 

 

[5] Wikipedia (2022). Adenomyomatosis. Retrieved June 22, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adenomyomatosis 

 

[6] Wells, Diana (2018). Cholesterolosis. Retrieved June 22, 2022 from: https://www.healthline.com/health/cholesterolosis#treatment 

 

[7] Holland, Kimberly (2017). Choledocholithiasis. Retrieved June 22, 2022 from: https://www.healthline.com/health/choledocholithiasis 

 

[8] Christiansen, Sherry (2022). Acalculous Gallbladder Disease. Retrieved June 22, 2022 from: https://www.verywellhealth.com/acalculous-gallbladder-disease-4843353