Gallbladder Disorders

Specialists in Gastroenterology

Board Certified Gastroenterologists located in St. Louis, MO

More than 20 million Americans have gallbladder disease such as gallstones. If you suffer from symptoms like upper or mid-abdominal pain, heartburn, indigestion, or abdominal tenderness, the board-certified gastroenterologists at Specialists in Gastroenterology in St. Louis, Missouri, can help. They perform procedures like ERCP and endoscopic ultrasound to diagnose gallbladder disorders and can develop an effective treatment plan for you. Book a consultation by phone or through online scheduling today.

Gallbladder Disorders Q & A

What are gallbladder disorders?

Gallbladder disorders are conditions affecting your gallbladder, the small pear-shaped organ underneath your liver. 

Your gallbladder holds bile, a digestive fluid your liver makes, and dispenses it into your small intestine to aid in food breakdown. 

If anything slows or intercepts bile flow — such as a hardened bile deposit, or gallstone — you can develop a gallbladder disorder.

What are some common gallbladder disorders?

Some common gallbladder disorders include:

  • Cholelithiasis: gallstones
  • Cholecystitis: gallbladder inflammation, often with gallstone blockages
  • Sclerosing cholangitis: bile duct scarring 
  • Chronic gallbladder disease: gallstones and inflammation, possible scarring

Gallbladder cancer can also develop, but it’s rare. 

What are the symptoms of gallbladder disorders?

The exact symptoms vary with the disorder. Gallstones don’t cause symptoms for most people. But if you have symptomatic gallstones, the most common symptom is pain in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen. 

You might also experience:

  • Biliary colic (uncomfortable gallbladder spasms) 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Chills
  • Pale stool
  • Dark urine
  • Excessive gas 
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Jaundice

If you experience these or other GI symptoms and suspect a gallbladder disorder, Specialists in Gastroenterology can diagnose and treat the problem. 

How are gallbladder disorders diagnosed?

To diagnose a gallbladder disorder, Specialists in Gastroenterology performs endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). This advanced X-ray can identify gallstones that move into your bile duct, bile duct scarring, and other issues. 

Your doctor can also remove gallstones or open a blocked bile duct during ERCP. 

Another diagnostic option is endoscopic ultrasound, which your doctor performs during an endoscopy procedure. It's a more in-depth test that can find bile duct stones or other issues that might not appear on a standard ultrasound. 

Specialists in Gastroenterology may also use other advanced tests to make a gallbladder dysfunction diagnosis. 

How do you treat gallstones and other gallbladder disorders?

Specialists in Gastroenterology offers gallstone management, common bile duct stone management, and treatment of all other gallbladder disorders. Some treatment options include:


In many cases, Specialists in Gastroenterology can treat problems like gallstones and bile duct scarring during an ERCP. This treatment may help you delay or avoid surgery. After your diagnosis, your doctor may recommend a watch-and-wait approach if you don’t need further treatment at that time. 


In some cases, taking an oral medication called Actigall® for 6-12 months can dissolve your gallstones. 


If you have serious symptoms from gallbladder disease, you could need an operation to remove your gallbladder. You can live a very healthy life after gallbladder removal.

Gallbladder disorders don’t have to ruin your health and wellness. Call Specialists in Gastroenterology or use online booking to get help from compassionate experts today.