Ask a Doctor
I have a relatively healthy diet and I like to exercise. Recently I’ve started having intense episodes of abdominal pain. Sometimes I feel as if I can’t breathe, and I even vomited a couple times. This has been happening for the last couple weeks. Could I have a kidney stone? Might I have gallstones? What does a gallbladder attack feel like?
The gallbladder is an organ that stores digestive enzymes that are used by the body to break down fatty foods in the diet. A diet heavy in fatty foods can lead to gallstones, which are small stone-like bodies made of cholesterol and bile salts. When you eat a meal, the gallbladder contracts to push the digestive enzymes into the intestine.
A gallbladder attack is characterized by pain in the upper right portion of the abdomen. The pain comes on as a squeezing feeling that progresses to intense pain that may radiate to the middle of the abdomen, the back, or the chest. Pain may also be felt in the right shoulder blade. The pain typically is at its worst about an hour after onset, and usually takes a few hours to slowly subside. The pain may also be accompanied by sweating, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.