The main symptom of a gallbladder attack is severe pain at intervals – this pain is called colic. Attacks often occur two or three hours after a particularly fatty meal. The pain can last for many hours and can be felt in different parts of the body, yet most typically in the upper left part of the abdomen. The pain might also be referred to the right or the left side towards the spine or between the shoulder blades, and is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and fever. If the attack goes on for a longer period of time, it may lead to an infection and acute gallbladder inflammation. Gallstones that pass from the gall bladder into the bile ducts may cause severe and potentially deadly infections of the bile ducts, the pancreas or the liver. Beside the symptoms mentioned above, the blockage can also cause fever and jaundice.
The diagnosis resulting from the examination is ultimately confirmed by blood tests and ultrasound. The latter is very reliable in detecting gallstones.