Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"What does the gall bladder do?"
My mother had to have her gall bladder removed and now I'm worried she'll get sick. Is it healthy to live without a gall bladder? What does it actually do?
The gallbladder is a small organ that is located in the right side of your abdomen just below your ribs and sits under the liver. It is mainly a storage organ that helps in the digestion of fat and helps to make bile more concentrated to increase its effect on fat cells. Bile that is produced by the liver travels into the gallbladder through channels known as bile ducts and is stored there. Food that contains fat enters the digestive system and stimulates hormones. these hormones cause contraction of the gallbladder and this contraction of the gallbladder, allows the gallbladder to release the bile into the small intestine to allow for absorption of fat to take place. The most common reason for a gallbladder to be removed is the formation of gallstones. Most people have gallstones as they age, but not everyone is symptomatic from these. Symptoms of gallstone disease may include pain after eating fatty food as the stones can block the release of bile from the gallbladder, or even furthermore, cause an infection of the gallbladder itself. If the gallbladder is removed, this is generally well tolerated in humans as the gallbladder only functions to store bile and does not necessarily have an impact on any critical organ functioning. In such a case when the gallbladder is removed, bile is secreted directly from the liver into the small intestine. If you are worried your mother is sick after gallbladder surgery and is having symptoms of pain, fevers or other unclear signs, you should make an appointment for her to see her surgeon as soon as possible to accurately diagnose her problem and treat it appropriately.
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