In majority of patients, gallstones are asymptomatic or "silent" for many years. However in many patients they cause one of the most distressing pains- that of Biliary Colic
- If gallstones become impacted in the cystic duct, the gallbladder tries to push and squeeze hard to remove the lodged stones, and this precipitates its infamous terrifying pain. Pain often occurs in the upper right side of the abdomen accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
- Pain ranges from few minutes to several hours and often refers to shoulder blades or below the right shoulder. This is one of the diagnostic symptoms of gallstones.
- Pain usually comes on at night and especially after eating a fatty meal.
- Other milder symptoms of gallstones include bloating of abdomen, heartburn and nausea after a meal.
- Sometimes, the pain can become so intense that the patient cannot stand or find relief in any position.
- In few cases, gallstones may cause obstruction of the flow of bile leading to yellowishness of skin (jaundice) and high grade fever.