Doctor's Notes on Symptoms and Signs: Gallbladder Attack
A gallbladder attack is a symptom/sign of a condition termed biliary colic. Biliary colic is when a gallstone gets stuck in the bile duct and the blockage causes pressure and pain. The gallbladder attack is usually a combination of the following: nausea, with or without vomiting, pain (sharp, cramping or dull) in the right upper or middle abdomen in the evening, before bedtime or after a heavy meal. The pain subsides when the blocking stone eventually passes into the intestine; Gallbladder attacks have a duration range of about 15 minutes to several hours.
The cause of gallbladder attacks is due to a gallstone that gets lodged in the bile duct, causing pressure to occur back into the gallbladder and/or the liver as bile keeps backing up. The back pressure causes distension or stretching that, in turn, produces pain.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.