Monday, August 16, 2010

The facts about biliary colic

Colic – not just for infants


When most parents hear the word “colic,” they immediately think of the infant colic that some babies develop – the crying that is inconsolable, occurs for no apparent reason, and is still a pretty big mystery to the medical community.

However, this is not the only type of colic that exists, despite what the parent of a child with colic might try to tell you!

That’s right – adults can get colic too, and unfortunately a swaddle blanket may not be able to help you get through it!

So what is biliary colic?


Biliary colic is a condition in which the patient feels sharp pain in his or her upper abdomen, either in the center or on the right side. This pain is the most common symptom experienced by people with gallstones, the hardened masses that form in the gallbladder.

These masses form when there is an abundance of certain elements, usually cholesterol, and they move from the gallbladder into the liver and intestines. Along the way, they can bump into sensitive areas or become lodged in certain openings or connections, causing blockages.

In either case, they cause the patient extreme pain and will continue to cause pain until they are removed. The pain usually comes and goes if the gallstones are mobile but will continue to occur until the gallstones are removed.

So who gets it?


Characteristics that make some individuals more likely to experience biliary colic include:

  • Being overweight

  • Eating foods that are high in fat

  • Over twenty years of age


While biliary colic may not be a central concern to new parents, it is something to be aware of, particularly if you have any of the characteristics listed above. If you believe you may have biliary colic, contact your medical professional immediately.

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