Recent Blog Articles

Cholecystitis

April 22, 2019

What Is It?

Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder. The gallbladder is the small sac-like organ located in the upper right side of the abdomen, just below the liver. It is attached to the main duct that carries bile from the liver into the intestine. The gallbladder temporarily stores bile, which is a liquid that contains a fat-digesting substance produced in the liver. During a meal, the gallbladder contracts, and bile moves from the gallbladder through small, tube-like passages (called the cystic duct and the common bile duct) into the small intestine. Here, bile mixes with food to help break down fats.

Cholecystitis usually develops when a person has gallstones, which are rock-like deposits that form inside the gallbladder. If a gallstone blocks the cystic duct (the outflow from the gallbladder), bile becomes trapped in the gallbladder. Chemicals in the trapped bile or a bacterial infection can then lead to inflammation of the gallbladder.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.