You have gallstones. These are hard, pebble-like deposits that formed inside your gallbladder. This article tells you how to take care of yourself when you leave the hospital.
When You're in the Hospital
You may have had an infection in your gallbladder. You may have received drugs to reduce the swelling and fight the infection. You may have surgery to remove your gallbladder or to remove a gallstone that is blocking a bile duct.
What to Expect at Home
You may continue to have pain and other symptoms if your gallstones return or were not removed.
You may be on a liquid diet for some time to give your gallbladder a rest. When you are eating regular food again, avoid overeating. If you are overweight try to lose weight.
Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain. Ask your health care provider about stronger pain medicines.
Take any medicines you have been given to fight infection the way you were told to. You may be able to take medicines that dissolve gallstones, but they may take 6 months to 2 years to work.
When to Call the Doctor
Contact your provider if you have:
- Steady, severe pain in your upper belly
- Pain in your back, between your shoulder blades that does not go away and is getting worse
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever or chills
- Yellow color to your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
- Grey or chalky white bowel movements
Chronic cholecystitis - discharge; Dysfunctional gallbladder - discharge; Choledocholithiasis - discharge; Cholelithiasis - discharge; Acute cholecystitis
Cameron J. Gallbladder and biliary tree. In: Cameron J, ed. Current Surgical Therapy. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 8.
Fogel EL, Sherman S. Diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 146.
Glasgow RE. Mulvihill SJ. Treatment of gallstone disease In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 66.
Review Date 10/1/2022
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery Practice Specializing in Breast Cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.