Cholecystitis is the clinical name for gallbladder inflammation which causes severe abdominal pain. This occurs when the gallbladder is unable to drain the bile it produces, causing bile to build up cause irritation. Rarely, severe illness or tumors in the bladder can cause the symptoms, but 90% of the time it is caused by gallstones in the gallbladder.

Gallstones are more frequent in women than men, but that risk increases for everyone as they get older. The most common symptom is abdominal pain, usually located in the upper right side or middle of the abdomen. The pain can vary from sharp to dull and may even come and go. This pain is most common within a few minutes of eating and can cause clay-colored stool, fever or nausea and vomiting.

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms be sure to see a doctor immediately. There are tests that can be performed to determine if your gallbladder is functioning normally. In some cases cholecystitis can clear up on its own or with a round of antibiotics, but sometimes surgery is needed to remove the gallbladder if the inflammation continues.

Symptoms of cholecystitis include:

  • Severe abdominal pains that may feel sharp or dull
  • Abdominal cramping and bloating
  • Pain that spreads to your back or below your right shoulder blade
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loose, light-colored stools
  • Jaundice (when the skin and whites of your eyes turn yellow)
  • Itching