What is Cholecystitis?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 26, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • Inflammation in the gallbladder is known as cholecystitis.
  • Fluid called bile accumulates in gallbladder causing it to swell.
  • Gallstone gets stuck in the cystic duct it causes acute cholecystitis.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and fever are some symptoms of cholecystitis.

What is cholecystitis?

The condition in which the inflammation is caused in the gallbladder is called. Gallbladder is an organ located near the liver and is responsible for digesting the food.
A fluid called bile travels through the gallbladder to the small intestine and if the path of the fluid is blocked it accumulates inside the gallbladder leading to pain, swelling, pain, and infection.

Understanding Cholecystitis

Causes of Cholecystitis

When a gallstone gets stuck in the cystic duct it causes acute cholecystitis. Cystic duct is the tube which carries the bile from the gallbladder. The blockage causes the gallbladder to swollen causing infection and even trauma. Besides this, an external injury from an accident can also be the cause of cholecystitis.
The condition of acute cholecystitis is rarely seen and often patients who are critically ill and admitted in the intensive care units of hospital suffer from the condition. Diseases such as HIV and diabetes also cause the swelling.

What are the Symptoms?

The most common of all symptoms of the condition is pain in the upper right abdomen which can shift to the back or right shoulder blade. There are other symptoms like:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Tenderness in the right abdomen
  • Fever
  • Pain which worsens when the patient takes deep breaths
  • Pain lasts for more than 6 hours especially after meals.
  • Aged people may not experience pain or fever. The only symptom they will feel is a tender area in the abdomen.

Understanding Cholecystitis


Chronic cholecystitis

Chronic cholecystitis is a lower intensity inflammation of the gallbladder that lasts a long time. It may be caused by repeat attacks of acute cholecystitis. Chronic cholecystitis may cause intermittent mild abdominal pain, or no symptoms at all. Damage to the walls of the gallbladder leads to a thickened, scarred gallbladder. Ultimately, the gallbladder can shrink and lose its ability to store and release bile.
Gallstones alone can cause episodes of crampy abdominal pain without any infection. This is called biliary colic.

  • Women are more likely than men to get gallstones. The risk of gallstones also is higher in:
  • Anyone older than age 60
  • Women who are pregnant or have had several pregnancies
  • Women who take estrogen replacement therapy or birth control pills
  • Obese people
  • People who have lost weight rapidly
  • People who eat a high-fat diet


Cholecystitis is a curable condition and the treatment depends on the symptom of the patient.

Image courtesy: Getty Images


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