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Gallbladder Pain?
October 2003

Q. I have a 9 mm gallstone but all of my pain is in my left upper quadrant, not in the right quadrant. It is the same type of pain as a gallbladder attack. It radiates through to my back and sometimes up my back to my shoulder and down my arm. Is this a gallbladder attack even though it is on the left side and not the right? What other possibilities could it be?

A. The gallbladder is a digestive organ located on the right side of the abdomen, just under the edge of the ribcage. Gallbladder problems, including gallstones, will typically cause pain on the right side, though gallstones may be present without pain for a long time.

Pain occurring on the left side needs investigating. Common problems that can cause left-sided pain include heart conditions, stomach ulcers, and colon problems. See your family doctor to begin this process. A physical exam and basic lab tests will likely be done and imaging studies and an EKG may be needed. Treatment will be determined by the diagnosis.

http://familydoctor.org/flowcharts/528.html

http://www.gastro.org/public/brochures/gallstones.html

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