You have gallstones, hard, pebble-like deposits that formed inside your gallbladder. You may have had an infection in your gallbladder. You may have received drugs to reduce the swelling and fight the infection. You may have had surgery to remove your gallbladder or to remove a gallstone that is blocking a bile duct.
What to Expect at Home
You may continue to have pain and other symptoms if your gallstones return.
You may be on a liquid diet for some time to give your gallbladder a rest. When you are eating regular food again, avoid overeating. If you are overweight try to lose weight.
Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain. Ask your doctor about stronger pain medicines. If your doctor prescribed drugs to help fight an infection, take them as your doctor told you to.
You may be able to take drugs that dissolve gallstones, but they may take 6 months to 2 years to work.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor or nurse if you have:
Steady, severe pain in your upper belly
Pain in your back, between your shoulder blades that does not go away is getting worse
Nausea and vomiting
Fever or chills
Yellow color to your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
Grey or chalky white bowel movements
Afdhal NH. Diseases of the Gallbladder and Bile Ducts. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: chap. 158.
Glasgow RE, Mulvihill SJ. Treatment of gallstone disease. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 66.
George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.