Though symptoms vary, you may have gallbladder disease if you have ongoing pain in the upper right side of your abdomen that radiates to your back. The highly skilled team of gastroenterologists at Richmond Gastroenterology Associates, with eight offices in Richmond, Colonial Heights, Chesterfield, Henrico, and Mechanicsville, Virginia, specialize in diagnosing and treating gallbladder disease, as well as pancreatic disease. For expert care, call the office nearest you or schedule an appointment online today.
The gallbladder is a storage sac located under your liver. Its primary job is to store and concentrate bile, a substance made in your liver that helps digest fat.
Your liver sends bile to the gallbladder through bile ducts. When you eat high-fat foods, your gallbladder delivers the bile to your small intestine through these bile ducts.
Your pancreas is a gland that produces enzymes that help digest food. It also makes insulin, a hormone that assists in delivering glucose from the blood into your cells for energy.
Richmond Gastroenterology Associates treats diseases that affect the gallbladder and pancreas.
Gallbladder disease refers to any condition that affects the structure or function of your gallbladder or bile ducts. Types of gallbladder diseases include:
Gallstones are hard lumps of bile that form in the gallbladder. Gallstones may cause problems when they block the flow of bile through the bile ducts or gallbladder.
Gallstones can travel through the bile ducts and then block the duct that delivers enzymes from the pancreas into the small intestine. This type of blockage causes pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas.
Cholecystitis is inflammation of the gallbladder. Infections, gallstone blockages, or gallbladder cancer may cause cholecystitis.
Cholangiopathy refers to any disease that affects the bile ducts. Primary biliary cholangitis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and scarring of the bile ducts.
Though rare, you can develop cancer of the gallbladder or bile ducts.
Pancreatitis is one type of pancreatic disease. You can have acute pancreatitis that goes away after bowel rest and proper medical or chronic pancreatitis that requires ongoing medical management.
Pancreatic cysts are abnormal pockets of fluid that develop in the pancreas. There’s no medical treatment for pancreatic cysts, and the Richmond Gastroenterology Associates team recommends monitoring this type of pancreatic disease.
The highly skilled team at Richmond Gastroenterology Associates customizes treatment for gallbladder disease based on disease type and severity of symptoms. However, for most conditions, the team may recommend surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy).
When your gallbladder is removed, your liver takes over its function.
For pancreatic disease, the team customizes care, which may include bowel rest, prescription pancreatic enzymes, pain medication, and nutritional supplements.
To find out more about gallbladder and pancreas disease, call Richmond Gastroenterology Associates or schedule an appointment online today.