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In order to understand what cholecystitis is, we must first understand how the gallbladder functions. The gallbladder is a digestive organ located near the liver. Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder which is caused when the flow of bile (a fluid that passes from the gallbladder into the small intestine) is blocked, causing swelling and pain in the gall bladder. Other causes of cholecystitis include bile duct problems and tumors.

If left untreated, cholecystitis can lead to serious, sometimes life-threatening complications, such as a gallbladder rupture. Treatment for cholecystitis often involves gallbladder removal


There are a number of symptoms that are indicative of Cholecystitis. These may include:

  • Pain the upper right abdomen
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Pain while breathing
  • Tenderness in the right abdomen
  • Long-lasting pain after meals

Risk Factors

A major cause for cholecystitis is the presence of gallbladder stones.

Risk factors for gallstones:

  • History especially from the mother's side of the family
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Crohn's disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Old age
  • Rapid loss of weight

Gall bladder tumours and bile duct strictures due to scarring are other causes of cholecystitis.


If you have any or all of the above symptoms and your doctor suspects you may have cholecystitis, he will first recommend a physical exam. Apart from this, he may also run the following tests:

  • Blood Tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Gallbladder scan
  • Nuclear Scanning Test

Based on these tests, treatment for cholecystitis will be given.


Treatment for cholecystitis is given based on your symptoms and your overall health. In many cases, a person may have stones but they're harmless and require no treatment at all. For slightly more serious cases, some antibiotics may be advised by the doctor.

In acute cases of cholecystitis, the gallbladder may have to be removed through surgery. This procedure is known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy in which small incisions are made in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder.

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