Cholecystitis During Pregnancy - Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

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Are you pregnant and feel a pain in your abdomen area? Are you worried it could be something other than your regular pregnancy cramps? Well, if you can relate to the above situations it is time to give cholecystitis in pregnancy a thought!

Cramps and discomfort are a part of pregnancy. But have you heard of Cholecystitis? Well, if you are clueless about this medical condition fret not! Read on to know the symptoms, causes and treatment for cholecystitis.

What Is Cholecystitis In Pregnancy?

Cholecystitis is a medical condition due to the sudden irritation and inflammation of your gallbladder. The gallbladder is on the right side of your abdomen. It is a small pear-shaped organ connected to your liver. The gall bladder stores the bile and releases it into your small intestine. It helps to digest the fat you consume.

[ Read: Gallbladder Problems During Pregnancy ]

What Causes Cholecystitis During Pregnancy?

In most cases, cholecystitis pregnancy may be due to the trapping of gallstones at the opening of the gallbladder. When you are pregnant, your body experiences a decrease in gallbladder motility. It also experiences an increase in the cholesterol saturation of bile. [1] In some instances, trauma or injury to the abdomen can also cause cholecystitis. An infection in the bile can also cause an inflammation of the gall bladder. [2]

The following conditions can also increase the risk of cholecystitis:

  • Obesity or sudden weight gain (that can be the case in pregnancy)
  • Sudden loss in weight (that can also be the case in certain pregnancies)
  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Family history of gallstones, especially on the maternal side.

[ Read: Pains And Cramps During Pregnancy ]

What Are The Symptoms Of Cholecystitis During Pregnancy?

In many cases, the symptoms of cholecystitis during pregnancy are overlooked as they may be similar to regular pregnancy aches. However, the pain can soon turn worse and cause much discomfort. Some of the common symptoms of cholecystitis are the following: [3]

  • Pain in the upper right part of your abdomen. The pain can also move towards your back or your right shoulder blade.
  • You may experience a persistent feeling of nausea or vomiting. As these two symptoms are common in pregnancy, you may not find it alarming and ignore it initially.
  • Fever.
  • A tenderness or soreness in your right abdomen.
  • An increase in the intensity of pain each time you breathe.
  • The pain usually lasts for more than six hours and occurs especially after meals.
  • If you notice a few of the above symptoms, make sure you speak to your doctor.

[ Read: Nausea During Pregnancy ]

Diagnosing Cholecystitis:

Diagnosis of Cholecystitis involves the following steps: [4]

  • Your doctor will first listen to all the symptoms you describe. Make sure you do not leave out anything, even if you feel it is just a pregnancy related symptom.
  • Next, your doctor will perform a physical examination. Your doctor will feel the area around your right upper abdomen for signs of tenderness.
  • Your doctor may recommend a blood test and ultrasound.
  • The ultrasound exam will reveal any gallstone or thickening of the gallbladder wall. It can also help trace any extra fluid or additional signs of cholecystitis.
  • The ultrasound check will also help your doctor check the shape and size of your gall bladder.

Treatment For Cholecystitis During Pregnancy:

The treatment for cholecystitis usually involves the steps mentioned below. Your doctor will suggest the best way to treat it while you are pregnant: [5]

1. Your doctor may suggest hospitalization, nasogastric suction and intravenous treatment depending on the stage of your pregnancy and the severity of the condition.

2. If the pain is severe, your doctor may prescribe some medication that will be safe during pregnancy.

3. If there is a severe infection, your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics.

4. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is also a treatment option in the second trimester for patients suffering from acute cholecystitis.

It can be quite difficult to treat cholecystitis during pregnancy. Adopt a disciplined lifestyle and healthy eating habits to prevent the condition from getting worse. Do not ignore the symptoms as part of your pregnancy. Speak to your doctor the moment you feel any pain or discomfort to help diagnose the condition at the earliest.

Did you suffer from cholecystitis while you were pregnant? How did you differentiate the symptoms? Do share your experiences here with other moms.

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