Your gallbladder, liver and pancreas are each important organs that are vital in the efficient function of your body. Infections in these organs can lead to serious health consequences–including death.
It’s important to seek treatment for symptoms related to the liver, gallbladder or pancreas.
Your gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ located near your liver. Its main function is storing bile for the breakdown of fats in the foods you eat.
The most common issues with the gallbladder are gallstones and inflammation known as cholecystitis.
Gallstones are hardened, stone-like deposits of the digestive fluids that exist in the gallbladder. These stones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.
Most of the time, gallstones don’t cause symptoms. However, if a gallstone is large enough to block a duct leading to the small intestine (a condition known as biliary colic), it can cause intense pain, nausea and vomiting,and even high fever. Most serious gallstone issues require surgical intervention.
Cholecystitis–inflammation of the liver–occurs as a result of gallstones temporarily blocking bile ducts. Symptoms include intense pain in the upper-right abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and fever.
Women are more likely than men to develop gallstones, especially after age 40.
The liver, a football-sized organ found in the upper-right abdomen, is responsible for detoxifying chemicals that enter the body. It’s also responsible for metabolizing substances and filtering the body’s blood. Finally, the liver plays a huge role in digestion.
Whether due to genetic conditions or lifestyle choices, many individuals experience liver-related illnesses or disease in their lives.
Inflammation of the liver–known as hepatitis–is primarily caused by viruses that are spread through contaminated food and water, sexual contact, or blood-to-blood contact. Hepatitis can also be caused by alcohol use, autoimmune diseases and other underlying health conditions.
The most common types of hepatitis are A, B, and C. While hepatitis A and B are preventable through vaccination, C–which is spread through blood-to-blood contact–is not.
Chronic hepatitis can lead to serious liver issues, including liver cancer and death. While vaccination is the best route of defense, hepatitis B and C can be treated using antiviral medications after infection.
Your pancreas is a glandular organ located behind your stomach that is responsible for producing several important hormones, including insulin. The pancreas also secretes digestive enzymes your body needs to break down food and absorb nutrients.
Pancreatitis–or inflammation of the liver–occurs when functional enzymes become activated while still in the pancreas, causing inflammation and damage to the pancreatic tissues. Symptoms include intense pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and fever.
Pancreatitis can be caused by heavy alcohol use, gallstones, cancer, genetic predisposition, cigarette smoking, injury to the abdomen and other circumstances.