Chronic Cholecystitis

Chronic cholecystitis is one of the most frequently observed gallbladder disorders, which in many cases leads to gallbladder removal operation. However, the initial symptoms, are not that distinct and can often be confused with common digestive problems.

Causes of Chronic Gallbladder Inflammation

In some cases, chronic cholecystitis may not be related to gallstones, but be a consequence of certain surgical procedures. However, in most cases, chronic cholecystitis is a result of cholelithiasis – a condition characterized by the formation and presence of gallstones in the gallbladder.

Gallstones or gallbladder sludge that reside in the gallbladder, along with associated ailments such as biliary colic episodes, can cause mechanical irritation of the gallbladder mucosa, and as a result, thickening and fibrosis of the gallbladder walls. If such a condition lasts for some time, it can become a potential source of bacterial infection and suddenly transform into acute inflammation (acute cholecystitis), that requires immediate surgical treatment.

Chronic Cholecystitis Symptoms

While acute cholecystitis manifests itself with severe and long-lasting pain, the signs of chronic cholecystitis may not be that distinct. The following symptoms of this chronic condition may appear especially after having a heavy meal.

  • Spasmodic pain in the right hypochondrium region (severe or mild)
  • Pain radiating to the right shoulder, intensifying after various dietary mistake
  • Frequent belching
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Yellowing of the sclera

The above symptoms may initially be transient and gain more permanent character over time. They also tend to intensify by the influence of factors such as physical activity, fever or stress.

Chronic Cholecystitis Diagnosis

The clinical picture of the chronic form of gallbladder inflammation is mainly characterized by the pain of varying severity, located in the right abdominal region, radiating to the right shoulder blade and spine. However, other symptoms can seem unrelated and difficult to classify. The diagnosis of chronic cholecystitis is, therefore based on three types of information:

  • Patient’s Interview
  • Physical Examination
  • Microscopic and Bacteriological Analysis of the Bile

Chronic cholecystitis – Treatment

If chronic cholecystitis is accompanied by acute and recurring symptoms, it is an indication for performing planned cholecystectomy- a surgical gallbladder removal. It is recommended to schedule the surgery while the condition is relatively good and not wait out until severe complications occur.

Symptomatic treatment includes antibiotics prescribed in accordance with the results of bile bacteriological analysis. Other recommendations include strict obedience to proper diet, that will prevent stagnation of the bile.


Chronic cholecystitis is a condition that tends to progress. A mild severity of symptoms, that might characterize this disorder should not be a reason to neglect it. The good news is that there are ways to prevent, manage or even eliminate gallbladder problems before they cause more troubles. The three things that every gallstone disease sufferer should have in mind are: keeping the right diet, staying active and taking gallbladder-friendly supplements. You can find more info on these topics here:

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