The gallbladder sits just under the liver. The main purpose of the gallbladder is to store and concentrate bile that is used in digestion. The gallbladder can become inflamed, infected and eventually gangrenous for some people. The signs and symptoms of a gangrenous gallbladder are not always easy to pinpoint but if the gallbladder becomes gangrenous it can be dangerous and sometimes fatal to a person.
Pain can be the most acute symptom of a gangrenous gallbladder. The pain usually exists in the upper right side of the abdomen and is acute and intense in nature. The pain usually gets worse when food is eaten and many people with gallbladder inflammation or malfunction have a hard time digesting fatty foods. The pains are sometimes mistaken as “gas pains”. In later stages the pain can move around and manifest itself anywhere in the abdomen or even into the shoulder or hands.
Vomiting is also a sign of a gangrenous gallbladder. Profuse and frequent vomiting occurs when the body cannot store the food and bile. The vomiting in those with gangrenous gallbladders can be profuse and produce a great deal of bile or it can be dry heaving and a constant feeling of nausea.
Diarrhea, along with vomiting, can be a sign of a gangrenous gallbladder. The diarrhea usually occurs shortly after eating foods, especially high in fat foods, and can persist for hours or even days. Because diarrhea and vomiting are common ailments and can be produced by a number of different illnesses many doctors do not count it as a definitive sign of gallbladder issues or disease.
About 1/3 of all patients with gallbladder disease will show signs of fever and chills, especially when the gallbladder becomes gangrenous. A gangrenous gallbladder is an infection that can easily spread throughout the body and as the body attempts to fight the infection fever and chills are common. Just like vomiting and diarrhea fever is a common symptom of many diseases so it should not be considered a concrete symptom of gallbladder disease.
In later stages of gallbladder disease, when the gallbladder has become gangrenous many patients show signs of jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes. The yellowing is produced when the gallbladder can no longer store extra bile and the pigmentation can come through in the skin and in the whites of the eyes.