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The gallbladder is a tiny organ that lies right above the liver in the right upper quadrant (RUQ) of the abdomen. The function of this organ is to release bile, a chemical that helps in the digestion of lipids.

Gallbladder pain

A gallbladder attack, or sudden pain in the gallbladder, is one of the worst pains a person can experience. The following factors are known to cause a gallbladder attack:

  • Gallstones

  • Inflammation of the gallbladder

  • Pus accumulation (infection) in the gallbladder

Characteristics of gallbladder pain

Pain associated with a gallbladder attack typically starts as a right-sided chest pain just below the ribcage. It radiates to the back of the right shoulder. Patients experience accompanying symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, belching, and burping.

Duration of the attack

A gallbladder attack usually subsides between 1 to 4 hours after its onset.

Alleviating pain during a gallbladder attack

The best way to prevent yourself from gallbladder pain is to take proper measures and not let the attack happen by taking a good care of yourself. Follow your physician's instructions and diet plan.

"Prevention Is Better Than Cure"

Once the pain has begun, it is hard to alleviate it. However, there are some ways in which you can reduce gallbladder pain. It should be kept in mind that these methods may work for some patients and not others.

The best way to get rid of gallbladder pain using narcotics or some specific painkillers that have sedating effects along with their painkilling action. Do you feel uncomfortable taking sedative drugs? No problem at all. Here are some non-pharmacological interventions that may help you get some relief from gallbladder pain.

Heating pad: Placing a heating pad on the area where you feel pain (right upper abdomen) offers some relief.

Rubbing your back: Rubbing your back heats up the skin and gives warmth to the internal organs which may alleviate the pain. Rubbing is also helpful in the case of gallstones where a stone is stuck in the bile duct. Rubbing your back may move the stone down which will definitely relieve your pain.

Lying on the right side: Some patients state that lying on the right side relieves their pain to some extent.

You should get your gallbladder removed if you frequently experience gallbladder attacks. This is because there is a risk that your gallbladder will rupture, which may lead to severe complications including death.

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