The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ below your liver in the upper right side of your abdomen. The gallbladder collects and stores bile, a digestive fluid produced in your liver which helps to digest fats.
Many people form sludge or stones in the gallbladder. These stones can lead to blockages of the gallbladder causing pain, infection, and other severe complications such as jaundice or yellowing of the skin, and pancreatitis. Pain can present in many ways including pain in the right upper abdomen, back or right shoulder. It can also cause severe pain in the epigastric region behind or heartburn.
Gallbladder problems are best diagnosed with an ultrasound, blood tests, and a physical exam by your doctor.
The only effective treatment of gallstones is surgery. This involves removing the gallbladder with the gallstones and is called cholecystectomy. It is a common operation and people go on to live normal lives after their gallbladder has been removed.