Can a Diseased Gallbladder Cause Acid Reflux?
Celebrating with friends over a great meal is wonderful, but not when you feel the return of that old familiar burning in your upper middle quadrant. Perhaps this has become a rather persistent punishment for culinary indulgences these days. Yet, so far, you haven't been to the doctor. Could it be acid reflux or is it your gallbladder? Although there is no relationship between the two diseases, they can have similar symptoms, making it difficult to tell one from the other.
Acid reflux disease causes heartburn. Sometimes, however, it may only cause discomfort in the upper abdomen. Gallbladder pain tends to present in the right upper quadrant, below the ribs. The pain can also radiate to the back. If the gallbladder is infected, a fever or jaundice may develop. Roughly 50% of gallbladder patients present with pain in the upper abdomen, mimicking acid reflux issues. Although an ultrasound can identify gallstones, the stones may not necessarily be the cause of the symptoms.
It is not uncommon for patients to have their gallbladder removed only to have the pain continue. That can be very disheartening. After further testing, it may be determined that the patient was actually suffering from acid reflux all along. Ruling out whether or not acid reflex is the culprit prior to gallbladder surgery is critical. Obviously, unnecessary surgery is a shame. Taking the time to receive a gastrointestinal endoscopy as well as trying acid-reducing medications are good first steps.
For some people, both gallbladder issues and acid reflux can improve with dietary changes. Cutting bad fats from your diet and avoiding coffee may help. Smaller and more frequent meals as well as not lying down right after eating are also easy changes to incorporate into daily living and could reduce discomfort.
Although the symptoms of acid reflux and gallbladder issues are similar, in fact, there is no connection between acid reflux and gallstones. As always, receiving a proper diagnosis is highly important. Unnecessary surgery should be avoided. Getting the proper treatment is the only way to eliminate the pain and discomfort. Discuss all options with your doctor.
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