Gallbladder Sludge

What is Gallbladder Sludge?

Gallbladder Sludge (or biliary sludge) is located in between the liver and the intestine. The work of the gallbladder is that it stores the secreted bile from the liver and release it to the intestine. By doing this, it helps in digestion for a human body.
When the gallbladder is not completely empty (i.e.) if the particles of bile remain too long then it became biliary or gallbladder sludge. The reason is, the particles like calcium salts etc. get thicken when it remains too long in the gallbladder.

Symptoms of Gallbladder Sludge

The pain in abdomen is the primary symptom of this sludge. The pain will occur on the right side (upper portion) under the ribs. Some of the other symptoms are vomiting, chest and right shoulder pain, nausea, etc. Some people may not feel any pain or symptoms as it is somewhat hard to predict this sludge in them.

What Causes Gallbladder Sludge?

This sludge may occur mostly in times of pregnancy when following a strict diet. The main cause for this sludge is the stay of bile in the gallbladder for a long amount of time. The gallbladder mucus, when mixed with the particles of bile (i.e.) cholesterol and calcium salts, results in the formation of sludge. It is an irony belief that women may get highly affected than men from this sludge. People who are suffering from diabetes, over-weight may get affected by this. Also, people who undergone transplantation of organs may also get affected by this sludge.

Types of Gallbladder Sludge

The different types of Gallbladder Sludge are:
Cholesterol GallSludge – where the major component is cholesterol (50-100%).
Black Pigment type of GallSludges – it is a composition of calcium bilirubinate polymer.
● Brown Pigment type of GallSludges – it is a composition of unconjugated bilirubin, cholesterol, calcium soap made of fatty acids, and mucin.
Biliary Sludge – It is generally a composition of mucin, calcium bilirubinate, and cholesterol microcrystals.

Gallbladder Sludge Diagnosis

Consult your doctor when experiencing abdominal pain. Your doctor will check your medical history and also start examining your body by performing certain physical tests. The doctor will start to examine by pressing on different places near the abdomen. If the source of pain is from the abdomen, they will ask to check with abdomen ultrasound examination. This examination will ensure the gallbladder sludge with higher accuracy.
After the prediction of sludge from ultrasound examination, a blood test is needed which determines or checks your sodium as well as cholesterol levels. Also, this test examines your liver to check whether it functions properly or not.
Also, when taking CT scan, the gallbladder sludge can be identified easily.

Gallbladder Sludge Differential Diagnosis

Each procedure has its own limitations. If the patient suffers any adhesions over his/her body, any types of peculiar liver disease, inflammation of the gallbladder, any symptoms of unexpected cancer or any troublesome bleeding an open procedure should be considered. There are various conditions which may be persistent with the patients. Some of the notable diagnosis includes
● Postcholecystectomy Syndrome
● Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction
● Cholangiopathy related to HIV infection.
● Syndrome affecting intrahepatic bile ducts.

Gallbladder Sludge Complications

In some cases, the sludge will get cured without a need for treating it. In some other cases, this sludge, as a result, leads to gallstones. This will be more painful and also it requires surgery to cure it. Sometimes, the gallstones stand as an obstacle in the bile tube (or duct). This requires an immediate treatment in return.

Gallbladder Sludge Treatment

If you are not experiencing any symptoms, then probably you don’t need a treatment. If you are suffering from severe pain, gallstones, inflammation then your doctor will advise you to remove your gallbladder to get the cure.
If you are experiencing sludge again and again (i.e.) if it often creeps, you need to change your food habits and lifestyle thus by preventing the sludge occurrence. Try to take low cholesterol and fat-related foods, low sodium related foods to prevent the occurrence of the sludge.


● Typical medications are the usage of so-called Choleretics despite most of them can be cured naturally through foods which helps to increase bile production.
● Use of Cholagogue which helps to discharge the bile from your system.
● Certain chemicals which help in the treatment includes chenodiol and ursodiol.

Gallbladder Sludge Prognosis

If left unnoticed, it may lead to severe complications like acute pancreatitis, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) and sometimes may lead to cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder).

Gallbladder Sludge Ultrasound and Pictures

Ultrasound of Sludge in Gallbladder

Gallbladder Sludge Ultrasound

Picture of Gallbladder Sludge

Gallbladder Sludge Picture

Frequently Asked Questions

1. After the removal of the gallbladder, the people might still experience symptoms such as gas, chronic pain, nausea, bloating, etc. What is the reason?

Removing your gallbladder does not keep a full stop to all your problems caused in the body. The solution is your body must produce bile in the liver. Intake of bile salts will help your body in digesting the fat contents.

2. What to do to avoid removing gallbladder surgery?

Intake beets with your food more often (maximum at 2 to 3 meals in the beginning).

3. Is sludge is a hereditary disease?

It is said that the current thought makes us believe it is a hereditary disease.

4. What to eat when experiencing pain?

¼ cup of the beet extract will provide a good result. Also, green soup yields a good result. Beet extract must be taken up to four times maximum per day.

When should you see a doctor?

If you have abdomen pain on your right side under the ribs and the pain if gets increased after your meal, you can consult a doctor. Also, if you feel pain in the chest, and right side shoulder it is necessary to consult a doctor. Nausea and vomiting if exists, you can consult a doctor.

Other Related/Linked Diseases

The biliary sludge, in turn, may cause either inflamed gallbladder or cholecystitis. If you are suffering from extreme chronic pain, removal of the gallbladder will be suggested by your doctor. The other cause due to gallbladder sludge is acute pancreatitis (which is the inflammation occurred in the pancreas).
With an inflamed gallbladder, erosion may occur which leads to an occurrence of a hole (perforation) in the gallbladder. Due to this perforation, the contents present in the gallbladder gets leaked and enters into the abdomen. This is somewhat a severe case and this commonly occurs in adults.
Due to inflammation, the enzymes in the pancreas instead of intestine are highly active which results in inflammation. This is also a severe case which may even result in death because of the block in the pancreatic tube (or duct).

Medical References:


Last updated on February 22nd, 2018 at 12:52 pm

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