Before we say something about gallbladder symptoms, let us first say what the gallbladder is.

Its function is to help digestion process and to store bile. It is located next to liver – to be more precise – beneath it.

This organ  is rather small in size. It is nearly eight centimeters long. It consists of three parts. The first one is called the fundus, the second one is the body and the third is called the neck.

What is important to say when it comes to gallbladder symptoms is that people can be quite unaware that their digestion problems actually come from their gallbladder. The reason for this is that gallbladder symptoms are closely related to other signs of digestion disorders. So keep in mind that all the symptoms you find here may be related not only to your gallbladder but to other organs as well. Sometimes only one of these symptoms is enough to show you that something is wrong with your gallbladder. So if you experience one of the symptoms listed below (or more of them), visit your doctor.

If you feel pain in the area beneath your right rib, this can be a sign of gallbladder disorder. The pain can also occur between the blades of your shoulders. Headache is also a common symptom. You may also experience nausea, gas, diarrhea or constipation. Your stool color may change into considerably lighter color. Another symptom that commonly occurs is very unpleasant burping, especially after meals. It can be followed by an uncomfortable feeling that your stomach is too full.

Gallbladder Symptoms in Men

Although women are more prone to gallbladder disorders, these problems are possible in men, too. Let us say more about gallbladder symptoms in men. Gallbladder symptoms include:

  • bloating
  • belching
  • abdominal discomfort
  • abdominal pain
  • gas

Problems like constipation, diarrhea and nausea are also possible. Your stools may change color and become lighter. Abdominal pain can start after meal, and it can last for hours. If you start feeling severe pain under you ribs, and it prolongs for more than fifteen minutes, you should contact your doctor and ask for help. This is the first sign of a gallbladder attack. Vomiting is also one of the common symptoms of gallbladder attack.

Sometimes, the only way to treat gallbladder disease is to remove the gallbladder. If your condition is caused by gallstones, and these are small in size, perhaps you will have other options. Gallstones can be broken into small particles and then eliminated from the body in natural way. However, if your condition is serious, gallbladder surgery may be the only option. There are several types of gallbladder surgery. Your doctor will decide about this. You should not worry too much, because complications are very rare.

Gallbladder Symptoms in Women

Gallbladder symptoms in women are quite similar to those in men; however, there are certain differences. First of all, women are more prone to gallbladder issues than men are. Possibility for women to experience gallbladder problems is two times greater than in men. This happens because of progesterone and estrogen (female hormones). It seems that gallbladder symptoms are more likely to occur in women than in men. Fever is very common in women with gallbladder issues. Yellow skin is also a common symptom in women. Vomiting is another gallbladder symptom that is often seen in women, according to some researches. This can be accompanied by chronic diarrhea.

Gallbladder Symptoms in Pregnancy

Gallbladder symptoms in pregnancy are common and the risk of gallstones development is higher in pregnant women. This happens because of increased bile production. Even female hormones seem to have some impact on gallbladder functioning during pregnancy. The problem with gallbladder symptoms during pregnancy is that the symptoms can be very hard to recognize, since pregnant women often have problems with nausea and vomiting, and most of them believe that these problems occur due to pregnancy.

Treating gallbladder problems in pregnant women includes electrolyte balancing, antibiotics and non-fat diet. Of course, nothing should be done without previous examination by a doctor.

Those were common symptoms of gallbladder disorder. Now let’s say something about gallbladder attack. The first sign that you are actually experiencing a gallbladder attack is a strong pain under the ribs or in the upper abdomen. Vomiting is another sign that your condition is rather serious. Other symptoms will probably occur right after your meals or at night. If this continues for more than 15 minutes, you should do something as soon as possible. Sometimes this can last for hours.

55 Comments on Gallbladder Symptoms

  1. Denise says:

    I have chronic heart burn now matter what i eat, i get gas really easy, i do have ulcers that run in the family.. The heart burn gets really bad to where i feel like i want to vomit at times…I get constipation all the time….can these be related to the gallbladder?

  2. sukjeet says:

    I had gallbladder surgery on 8/8/13 and l have a infection and my stomach is so swollen too l am so scarred

  3. LISS says:


  4. Bridget says:

    I have a 10 year old daughter Faith. She had a fever for 19 days in a row, still low grade sometimes. She is tired and has pain in her right side under her ribcage. She has been getting a puffy face on and off. Her pain and fevers are usually worse at night, and she doesn’t want to eat. At one point during that time her ALT was 223, her AST was 138 and her ALKP was 415. Her pediatrician did man tests including Hep A,B, and C, as well as Mono, toxoplasma and cytomegalovirus . Everything was negative.

    Her doctor finally told me to just let it go and stop indulging her every “Little Pain”. He told me I am going to make her a hypochondriac.

    My mother, my brother and I myself have all had to have our gallbladders removed. Could this be what is wrong with her? I asked the Pediatrician and he said he refuses to check her gallbladder because 10 year olds don’t get gallbladder disease.

    Please help,


  5. Kelly says:

    My 12yr old daughter was just diagnosed with gallbladder disease!! I see gallbladder in men, gallbladder in women, and gallbladder in pregnancy but NO gallbladder in children. Is this because it’s so rare for a child to have gallbladder disease? Also, since the onset of my daughters last attach (3 weeks ago and still ongoing) she has not had a bowel movement and doesn’t feel like she is constipated either. Sounds like she has some kind of blockage to me. Normal??

  6. sara says:

    The gas is one of the worst experiences ever. I couldn’t sleep for 2 nights and I had problems breathing. When most of the gas came out, I felt it in my shoulders.
    Luckily, I had great help from a friend of mine – taking care when to take my medicines and stuff like that.
    I will go back to work once I manage to sleep during the whole night. The good side of this is that I can’t even look at greasy foods anymore.

  7. lora says:

    I think that consuming less fatty foods can cause gallbladder problems. It stores bile and releases when we consume greasy foods. And when there are gallstones already in the gallbladder, the worst thing that can happen is for them to get stuck in the bile duct. This can cause pancreatitis and infections.

    I have gone through a laparoscopic surgery and everything was fine. I went home the same day. However, the things after the surgery made me feel bad. During the surgery gas is used to expand your stomach. They use nitrogen I guess. My muscles were very painful, like I did a million sit-ups. When the gas started to come out, my shoulder joints were in constant pain.

  8. Tasha says:

    I have been having pains in my shoulder blades for a few years and I just thought it was because of my bulging disk but it wasn’t. I went to the doc a few weeks ago and did an ultra sound and it came back fine so now I have to go to a hospital to do a test that mimics the pain in having to see if its my gallbladder but at least I don’t have gull stones. I still get bad pains and bloating I even belch a lot and have headaches. Can anyone give me an idea on what could be going on. My pains hurt and I would rather have a child but the pain only last a few min

  9. Alexandra says:

    Well, the thing is that everything bad in your body has to be taken away. There is no reason why you or anyone else wouldn’t live like before because of that. Yes, the gallbladder removal surgery has to be your last option, but if nothing else helps…. All we can do is to take all the necessary measures to prevent these problems from occurring. Just take care of what you eat and be physically active. And don’t forget to visit your doctor from time to time.

  10. Y.D. says:

    This is the first time for me to hear that losing weight and gallstones are connected. I simply don’t understand this. I think I’ll have to find out more about this. maybe your story will make people avoid crash diets and make them lose weight naturally and in a healthy way.

  11. Lena says:

    Last year I decided to lose some weight. The goal was 2lbs per week. I have managed to lose 70lbs until today. Last month I experienced a severe gallbladder attack. This was a real surprise because I avoid eating red meat and fatty foods. I am about to have a surgery to have my gallbladder removed. Rapid weight loss can cause gallbladder stones, so take care when you are on a diet. I have had some rapid weight losses in the past but I always gained my old weight back. I regret for that now.

  12. sussan says:

    After my doctor examined me she figured out that the pain isn’t caused by gallbladder stones. I don’t understand why your doctor doesn’t send you to have an ultra sound test. The pain can occur in other places bedises beneath the rib cage.

  13. katy says:

    Instead of one hour, my surgery prolonged to three. This was caused by heavy bleeding. The surgeon damaged a vein and after I was stapled I went to recovery.

  14. M.T. says:

    During my pregnancy I had gallbladder problems. I was supposed to have a surgery on August 10, but I had it 2 weeks before that. Fortunately, I went to the surgery earlier or I would have been dead because of sepsis. The surgery was my only option. I hope you will feel better soon because I know that pain.

  15. mel says:

    I have been told that I have gallbladder stones and I will see my surgeon in 2 weeks. No pain so far. The doctor told me to contact him if I have fever. Unfortunately, a couple days after that, I had several different symptoms like dark-brown urine, headache, etc. I had to have a gallbladder surgery but because of my surgeon’s mistake I had some problems soon. I really didn’t feel well.

  16. Andy says:

    I still feel the pain after I have my GB removed. I just can’t ignore it, but it isn’t an intense pain. Before the surgery the pain was awful, but there was also a similar pain like the one I feel now, which was like an introduction to the gallbladder attack.

  17. En says:

    Hello, I wait for my doctor to tell me if the pain I have been complaining is connected with the gallbladder and if he is going to do an X-ray. I want to know if anyone has felt pain under the right shoulder blade before the surgery.

  18. anna says:

    After going through the pains for over 6 month I finally had to have a gallbladder surgery.

    Everything was fine and about a month later I didn’t have any bowel problems like other people.

    However, I occasionally feel a dull pain in the place where the gallbladder pains occurred before. The bad thing is that the pain is almost always present. I would like to ask if someone else is having similar problems.

  19. jeny says:

    One of the baddest symptoms I have personally experienced was GERD . And additionally vomiting and nausea were present too. The doctors told me that my gallbladder is in good shape and that there are no stones. Unfortunately, this was wrong. I had to get my gallbladder removed and I was told later by the surgeon that I had gallbladder stones, sludge and severe damage on the bile duct. When I asked how long was my gallbladder in this condition he said – for years. I still can’t believe that this has happened to me.

  20. Melysa says:

    I thing that grains are causing the inflammation in your case. Are you allergic or something? This is something you have to figure out as soon as possible, and stop taking the thing that’s causing you problems.

  21. Lena says:

    The liver produces bile which is then kept in the gallbladder and released as required. The bile is green-yellow fluid having a bitter taste. The fats from food make the gallbladder release large amounts of bile. After the meal, the bile goes to the duodenum.
    When a person has liver transplantation, the gallbladder is also removed in order not to cause any problems to the new liver. So, the bile channel goes straight from the liver to the duodenum. So there is nothing strange with the digestion process now, the bile is still released and has the same function. Therefore, the gallbladder is not necessary and people can live without it with no problems.

  22. S. says:

    I haven’t heard that gallbladder removal can cause problems to the liver. I have had my gallbladder removed over 20 years ago. I had to do this after I hears some stories about gallbladder attacks and the enormous pain following them.

  23. jeny says:

    If you have liver problems, the doctor will examine your spleen and gallbladder. For example, my wife has a swollen spleen and the doctor even mentioned she has gallbladder stones.
    Since I expect her hot have her gallbladder removed, I would like to ask, what really happens when the gallbladder gets removed from the body. I was told that the liver starts performing all the functions of the gallbladder. But I am worried what will happen if she already has liver problems?
    From what I know the function of the gallbladder is to help digestion by breaking down fats. After the gallbladder is removed the liver takes its functions. And if the liver is not good then the kidneys will take the function. Is this true?

  24. kety says:

    I had a gallbladder surgery about 22 years ago and I still have pains similar to gallbladder attack. The pain usually occurs under mu ribs on the right side. After my doctor had seen my x-ray shots he said he could see staples in the area where the pain occurs, but in a minute he changed his mind and told me that he can’t see any reason for my pains. When I mentioned the staples and if they could cause the pain, he said that they won’t cause any pain. Now I want to hear a second opinion.

  25. dona says:

    I have had my gallbladder removed and still feel the pain. I would like to ask if this is normal for people who have had a gallbladder surgery? Sometimes the pain is quite severe. The pain sometimes appears on the right side of my stomach, sometimes on my right shoulder blade. I had this surgery over 15 years ago. Are there any chances that the doctors have forgotten something inside me during the surgery?

  26. Tammy says:

    For the last year, I get super-cramps in upper part of my stomach so bad I have a hard time standing up straight. But it would go away and I would ignore it. Now, for the last several days, I have experienced ‘right side chest pains’, back right shoulder blade pains and the other night, I experienced a severe sharp pain in the lower right area of my ribs. The pain in my chest is most prominent seconds prior to burping and for a minute after burping….and I’m doing a lot of burping. Possible gallbladder problem? Someone, please help me. I think I want to go to the ER but I have a doctor’s appt. on Monday. (I do have insurance) Should I wait until Monday?

  27. Kety says:

    I did a 2 day apple juice flush ending with olive oil and lemon juice-the next morning, a lot of bile was eliminated and I felt so much better. After a cpl days, I was eating fruit and veggies in small frequent meals, but have continued to lose weight from daily diarrhea. I feel terrible lately-the flush only worked for a short time and I am going to the Dr for blood tests and ct scan to see once and for all, if it’s indeed gallbladder or something more serious.

  28. Ana says:

    I had my gallbladder removed this past weekend. I’m in recovery and doing alright. I didn’t have insurance and I decided to go to the hospital after numerous gallbladder attacks! It’s one of the most painfull things I have ever experienced. Some say its worse than child birth. I can’t vouch for that because iv never given birth to a child. Anyways, I recommend everyone having these symptoms to go and visit the ER when you have one. This is something that has to be done! Those attacks are no joke and can cause other health risk. I promise you they can’t say no to you! Explain to them exactly what symptoms you are having and have them do an ultra sound or MRI. It’s expensive w/o insurance but I didn’t have insurance an since it was a health risk I was given a discount and I applied for an emergency medical coupon available in WA state. This is sever e and should be delt with. Hope everyone can get cured!!! Best of luck!

  29. Michael l Miller says:

    I had gall bladder trouble for like 15 years and mistake it for ulcer,, It got so bad it would swell under my rib cage enough I could feel with fingers.. greece foods were sure to upset it.
    It was removed 3 yr ago.. Now my wife is experincing symtoms and I advise her to stay away from fried foods..

  30. Stephanie says:

    Mine starting with me waking up in the middle of the night with chest pains. It felt like I had a tight band around my chest. I would take a tums and it would go away after about 15 mins then one night it would not go away it lasted for five hours before I went to the hospital. They scheduled an ultrasound and said my gallbladder was very irritated and now I’m waiting to meet with a surgeon next week and have develop nausea and vomiting.

  31. Ashley says:

    Reading these comments makes me feel so sure i’m experiencing gallbladder issues. What started out as a backache, progressed to a fullness under ribs/ sore spot on right side. I have occasional stinging sensations in the abdomen/back on the right/middle side, plus whenever i eat my stomach gets upset. I always feel like i’m wearing a life preserver under my ribs, get bouts of queasiness, and headaches. I’m afraid to go to the hospital though, b/c i don’t have insurance and they’d possibly do a scan, but it’d cost me money i can’t afford! I have to work, and am afraid it’s going to start interfering with it.

    • connie says:

      Ashley I have same problem as you but all my tests came back negative… I think I have sphincter of oddi… regardless the only thing that has helped me is a powder supplement called
      L-glutamine…. 5000mg. for a tsp. I dissolve 1/4 tsp 3 times a day and it works in seconds if not a minute or two… please try it.

    • Ana says:

      Don’t be afraid to go to the hospital. They can’t denie you treatment because you don’t have money! It’s something that in the long run will affect you and maybe cost you your job if not delt with! I had the same problem! I don’t go to the hospital for a year and lost my job because I couldn’t work with the attacks going on. Please go see your physician or go to the ER when you have your next attack! It should be dealt with…it’s a health risk.

  32. kim24 says:

    heartburn 24 hours a day, everyday. Pain in lower right rib and across upper stomach. Pain in chest that goes through to my back, shoulder pain, and i feel like something is pushing my lower right ribs outward 24 hours a day, Ive had several tests for galbladder and they come back normal, now my dr is going to repeat all of these tests. Does anyone else have these syptoms and if so have you found out what it is?

    • LeeAnn says:

      I am also having the exact same problems, when my Doctor had me tested for Gallstones the Ultrasound was normal but the same day I had a Hidascan test and when my Doctor called he said that he had referred me to a Surgeon so I am now awaiting his call to go in for the consultation for my surgery, I have NEVER hurt like this and my pain pills barely help my pain the only things I can eat without that awful pain under right ribs are boiled plain potatoes and fresh steamed green beans uuggghhhh I hope we all get better because this is soooo exhausting, I can’t sleep at nite eiether, so hopefully after the surgery I will be better, I have heard good things and also bad things, my pain is worse in the last week since I was first diagnosed on June 27, 2012 anyway I hope God blesses all of you and Good Luck to all of you.

    • connie says:

      try L glutamine powder 5000 mg. per tsp. dissolve 1/4 tsp in water 3 times a day – helps me FAST and is the ONLY thing that helps me – I am in same boat as you – but this may fix me. : )

  33. Mira says:

    Such symptoms such as: the bloating, belching, abdominal discomfort, abdominal pain and diarrhea often has my son. Thanks for the information!

  34. Mary Lynn says:

    Sunday went to emergency room I thought I was having a heart attack, the pain was so bad, went through the chest to between shoulder blades. To make a long story short I go for a scan of my gallbladder monday, no heart attack thank goodness. But the pain scared me. So any one with pain like that get it checked out!!!!!!!

  35. alon says:

    Thank you for this site,really great information.

  36. roger says:

    i have dull ache that comes slowly inbreastbone area usually at 2am lasts30 seconds then leaves then may come back ,usually sitting up helps it to go away could this be gallbladder?

  37. Kent Eriksen says:

    I have pain between my shoulder blades and a little to the right under my right blade. No pain under the right front rib, I do have the feeling of food setting on stoamach, I eat ant-assiods. The pain goes through my chest and give me short of breath. This normally comes on in the afternoon after eating my first meal of the day, and can go through dinner time and last all evening. I feel fine the next morning.

  38. Andrew says:

    I just wanted to say I have actually been experiencing some pain for about a year now. It started out only when i pushed myself physically, i would feel a little pinch under my right rib. Enough to bring to my attention that it wasn’t normal.
    I didn’t have health insurance so of course I have put it off to the point to where I am hurting when I pivot my upper body from the hips and sometimes when i reach out or pull down or in towards me. Its more like a “pop” of pain. Not really a throb, ache, piercing, nor sore. Its just like..a swelling being moved around. I am almost certain it is my gallbladder, my twin sister also had a gallbladder problem and had hers removed no more than a month ago..Meaning we both inherited the problem probably from our father. I just don’t want to end up dying because I can’t afford health care..

    • Regina says:

      Hi Andrew, I went to the doctor recently about some pain I have been experiencing, as well. I am having a scan of my gallbladder Friday to determine if I have gallstones or not. He did press on the bottom rib on my right side. It’s the little short rib and it was very uncomfortable. He said I had injured that little rib and it can stay irritated for a looooong time. He had done the same thing and it took his 8 years, yes I said EIGHT years to heal. With you saying you pushed yourself physically, I wanted to reply with this information.

      Sounds like most soft tissue injuries to the ribs. Because a lot of musculature attachments are there. It’s basically like a rib strain. They tend to wake you up at night sometimes when you rollover, especially if aggravated.

      Good luck!

    • Kety says:

      My sister has symptoms of gallbladder problems & have been looking for diets/recipes but they don’t all match. Example: some say to avoid avocado but others to go ahead & eat it. How do I know which is correct?

  39. njohns says:


    • Andrew says:

      Sounds very similar to how mine was a few months ago. Not really a pain, but something that isn’t what I would call normal.

    • irish says:

      Ii have a rib separation and the symptoms you describe are exactly like mine. If I bend and twist to the left, the pain is excruciating under my right ribs.

      I have to raise my right arm and pull to set the ribs back in place.

  40. Helen says:

    Could the gall bladder cause respiratory problems?

    • Ana says:

      Yes Helen it does! Short of breath…iv bout ice that I can’t take long breaths while I’m having an attack. It’s painful. 🙁

  41. Shelley Averette says:

    I have been having this feeling of cramps across my stomach for a month or so now. Before this feeling I would get ocassional stomach aches for approx. 6 mos. I have no interest in eating anymore. I feel like its a continuous dumping effect. I eat and as soon as the food is digested I get pains ad have to have a movement. If not I get more cramps, once removed I have these hunger pains. Headaches, dizziness, and nausea are symptoms as well. Just last Friday I took an ultrasound, unaware of the name, of my liver and gallbladder, and Im worried of the outcome. Could all this be related to gallbladder issues?

    • Brenda says:

      This sounds just like my symptoms and I had a gallbladder ultrasound and they did not find anything so then I had a gallbladder scan and they said I have a dysfuntional gallbladder. I am waiting on the referral to the general surgeon for evaluation and removal of my gallbladder.

      Hope this helps.

  42. M. Wilkerson says:

    The best answer I can give you is get to your doctor right away with a print out of this letter. Have him or her read this letter, and ask for a Hyda Scan, the scan will show if it is your gallbladder. Gallbladder surgery usually can be done lapro-scopically, which means smaller incision and faster recovery time. Everyone I talk to says they felt 100% better after having the non functioning gallbladder removed.
    P.S. remember your doctor works for you, ask as many questions as you need to. Don’t allow them to intimidate you. Write the questions down before your go…so you don’t forget anything. And call his nurse back later if you have new questions. You pay their bill, you should get the service you want. Good Luck.

  43. Julez says:

    I went to my Dr. because I had been coughing alot. I have had this cough for 4 weeks and have gone to the E.R. for a second opinion, But all I get is, your lungs look clear according to the X-Ray for your chest and it sounds like you have bronchitis. I was also told that you could see a big stone in my gall bladder. The E.R. says have it taken out before you start having problems. I feel SO full after having a salad and I just don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t lie down because I feel pressure on my chest and my stomach is SOOOOO bloated, I look like I’m having twins at 9 months(No Lie), I took a Nexum purple pill for heartburn and it relieved it a bit from the fullness in my throat, but are these symptoms related to my Gallbladder????

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