What are the symptoms of gallstones?

The main symptom of gallstones is acute abdominal pain.  According to the NHS, gallstone pain can last between 1 and 5 hours and is commonly felt in the centre of the tummy just under the ribs on the right-hand side.  Typically, the pain is continuous and is not alleviated by going to the toilet, passing wind or being sick.  The pain may be accompanied by excessive sweating and feeling sick or vomiting.

Consuming fatty foods may trigger gallstone related pain.

Those with gallstones may experience an episode of pain which lifts and then returns weeks or months later.

If gallstones start to obstruct the flow of bile for longer periods or move into other organs such as the pancreas or small bowel, other symptoms may occur, including:

  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • more persistent pain
  • a rapid heartbeat
  • yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • itchy skin
  • diarrhoea
  • chills or shivering attacks
  • confusion
  • loss of appetite

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