Biliary colic is a sudden and severe pain caused by the obstruction or irritation of the gallbladder or bile ducts. Often due to gallstones, this pain occurs in the upper abdomen or right side and can radiate to the back or shoulder. Episodes are usually brief but intense, triggered by fatty meals. The condition can be identified with the help of health symptoms such as fever, chills, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness, and other similar health problems. A professional medical checkup helps resolve the situation in case of such signs.
If these gallstones lead to immense and unbearable pain, then removal of the gallbladder through surgery is advised by doctors. The procedure is safe for the body as the gallbladder does not play a vital role in the digestive process. The surgery helps eliminate chronic pain and allows one to perform routine activities efficiently.
The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile, aiding fat digestion. Bile ducts are thin tubes transporting bile from the liver to the small intestine. The gallbladder releases stored bile into the common bile duct, helping emulsify fats during digestion. Issues like gallstones or blockages can disrupt this system, causing discomfort. Proper bile flow is crucial for efficient digestion.
Causes of Biliary Colic
- Blocked Bile Duct- A bile duct can be blocked due to its contraction leading to gallstones blocking the exit passage. The gallstones can be of various sizes depending upon the severity of the situation. A blocked bile duct due to gallstones is one of the major causes of the disease.
- Obesity– Obesity is one of the major causes of the disease. It happens due to the fats getting stored in the bile duct and cannot pass due to the contraction of the bile duct. The stored fat turns into gallstones blocking the passage of the duct. These gallstones lead to pain, lack of appetite, fever, and other similar health problems.
- Family History– The family history of any disease also plays a pivotal role in affecting an individual. The genes are carried forward from one generation to another, damaging infants and kids. A family history of biliary Colic can also cause higher chances of an individual getting affected by the disease.
- Older Age– People above 40 are at a higher risk of getting affected by gallbladder disease. Such patients are at a higher risk of experiencing gallstones in the bile duct leading to blockage in the passing of bile. The stones can cause pain in the abdomen leading to difficulties performing routine functions. Older people are advised to have a healthy lifestyle and food habits to avoid such health hazards.
Symptoms of Biliary Colic
Mentioned below are some of the biliary colic symptoms helpful in identifying the initial stages of gallbladder disease:
- Stomach Pain– One of the identifiable signs of gallbladder disease is a pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. It happens due to gallstones blocking the gallbladder. When bile overflows in the gallbladder, it leads to pressure in the organ, leading to immense pain in the stomach.
- If the pain is not treated at the right time, it may also cause pain in the shoulder. The intensity of the pain increases after having a heavy meal before bedtime. The pain may feel like multiple needles pricking in the abdomen.
- Intermittent Episodes– The pain occurs in episodes, with periods of relief in between, making it a recurring and fluctuating discomfort.
- Vomiting– Frequent vomiting is another symptom of gallbladder disease. It can also be accompanied by pain behind the breast bone and other similar places. Frequent vomiting makes the affected individual weak and may also lead to nausea. The condition can also lead to a lack of appetite and weakness.
- No Fever- Unlike infections, biliary colic typically doesn’t cause fever, distinguishing it from other conditions associated with elevated body temperature.
- Triggered by Food- Consuming fatty or greasy foods can set off the pain, creating a direct link between your diet and the onset of symptoms.
Treatment Options for Biliary Colic
Mentioned below are some of the biliary colic treatments options that help to lower the damaging signs of the disease:
Cholecystectomy- It is a surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder. It is performed when the gallstones are enormous and cause liver inflammation. It is a minimally invasive procedure and helps lower the aching pain. The process involves making a few incisions near the stomach to insert surgical tools and the camera to operate the surgical area.
Many patients are allowed to go home on the day of surgery, while a few may be kept under observation for a day, depending upon the response of the patient’s health. A doctor may also suggest open surgery to heal the issue. In such cases, the patient is admitted to the hospital for a few days.
- Medical Management- If gallstones are the cause, medication to dissolve stones might be prescribed.
- Healthy Diet– Accumulation of fats and carbohydrates in the bile duct leads to the formation of gallstones. A healthy diet is suggested to reduce damaging symptoms to avoid worsening the situation. A diet of greens, good fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods, protein, and other essential minerals helps avoid recurring gallstones.
- Pain Relief- Over-the-counter pain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help alleviate discomfort during episodes.
- Physical Activity– Physical activity for at least 20 to 30 minutes daily can help lower the risk of gallstones. It helps to avoid the accumulation of fats and carbohydrates in the body and is also helpful for strengthening the internal mechanism of an individual.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Gastroenterology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Biliary Colic is the abdominal pain experienced in the right upper part of the organ due to the formation of gallstones. The stones can be excruciating if they are not removed from the bile duct at the right time. The condition can be cured with the help of surgery and simple lifestyle changes.
Q. What is Biliary Colic?
A. It is a medical condition in which the affected individual feels immense pain in the upper portion of the abdomen due to gallstones.
Q. What are the symptoms of Biliary Colic?
A. The symptoms of the disease can be identified by health signs such as pain in the upper portion of the abdomen, weakness, frequent vomiting, nausea, and other similar health problems.
Q. What are the causes of Biliary Colic?
A. Biliary colic is primarily caused by gallstones, solid particles forming in the gallbladder. These stones can obstruct the normal flow of bile, leading to pain. Other causes include inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) or the presence of sludge in the bile ducts. Certain factors, such as a high-fat diet, obesity, rapid weight loss, and certain medical conditions, can increase the risk of developing gallstones and experiencing biliary colic.
Q. How is biliary colic treated?
A. Biliary colic is treated by managing pain through over-the-counter pain relievers and making dietary adjustments to avoid fatty foods. In cases where gallstones are the cause, medications to dissolve stones or surgical removal of the gallbladder might be considered.