The main connection between the gallbladder and bloating is that many gallbladder disorders cause bloating and abdominal discomfort as a primary symptom. These can include gallstones, gallbladder disease, and very rarely, cancer. Bloating comes as a result of poor or slow digestion, and the gallbladder is an organ which helps aid in digestion. Therefore, if the gallbladder malfunctions, the digestive tract often fails to work properly.
Most commonly, gallstones are the cause for pain in the gallbladder and bloating. The gallbladder is a small organ which stores bile produced by the liver. This bile is secreted into the digestive tract and helps the small intestines break down food effectively. Stones and other issues can prevent bile from being secreted properly, slowing down digestion and often leading to bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, and gas. Many times the stones must be removed via surgery.
Sometimes, problems with the gallbladder, and bloating, along with other digestive issues, can continue after gallstones are removed. There are special diets for this problem to make digestion easier, but in many cases the gallbladder must be removed entirely. This is a fairly routine surgery, but requires a stay in the hospital for recovery. After removal, the patient is usually required to eat a restrictive diet until the body adjusts. This usually entails restricting most fats and eating easy to digest foods.
Cancer of the gallbladder and bloating may also be related, although this is rarer than gallstones. Bloat can come as a result of slowed digestion as with stones, or due to tumor growth pushing on surrounding tissues. Surgery is often required to remove the tumor, and is generally followed by chemotherapy or radiation if cancer cells are still present.
Patients with gallbladder disorders and discomfort may try special diets before opting for removal. Natural remedies may also be beneficial for some, depending on the quantity and size of stones. In some cases, gallstones may go away on their own if they are small and are not causing extreme pain. Other times, complications other than gastrointestinal upset can occur, and may include an increase in liver enzymes or liver stones.
Any bloating or abdominal pain that does not go away with proper diet, exercise, and fluid intake; or any pain that is severe should be evaluated by a health care professional. Gallstone related pain often occurs in the upper portion of the abdomen on the right side, although bloating can occur in any area of the digestive tract. Gallstones are not usually serious, but they may cause complications if left untreated.