The gallbladder stores bile, which is released when fat-containing food enters the digestive system via the small intestine. Used to emulsify fat, bile is actually produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder until it is needed. Diseases involving the gallbladder may include gallstones and cancer of the gallbladder. Gallstones may cause sudden, severe, rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, sudden intense pain at the center of the abdomen just below the breast bone, back pain between the shoulder blades, or pain in the right shoulder.
Gallstones are created as a result of excess cholesterol in the bile, too much bilirubin in the bile or a dysfunction causing the gallbladder not to empty correctly.
Complications of gallstones may include inflammation of the gallbladder, blockage of the common bile duct, blockage of the pancreatic duct, and gallbladder cancer.
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