Acute cholecystitis


Acute cholecystitis is an infection of the gallbladder, a small organ that sits just under your liver and helps the body digest fats. The infection is caused by inflammation in the gallbladder, which can lead to pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Cholecystitis is typically caused by a blockage in the bile ducts, which transport bile from the liver to the gallbladder and then to the small intestine. Symptoms of acute cholecystitis can range from mild to severe, and treatment often involves antibiotics and/or surgery to remove the gallbladder.


Acute cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder. Common symptoms associated with acute cholecystitis include abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting, chills, jaundice, increased heart rate, and tenderness in the right upper abdominal area. Other signs may include clay-colored stools and dark urine.


The most common cause of Acute Cholecystitis is the blockage of the cystic duct by a gallstone. Other causes include infection of the gallbladder, inflammation due to bile, or a tumor in the gallbladder or bile duct. In some cases, Acute Cholecystitis can develop without an obvious cause. Other known, but less common, causes include parasites, structural abnormality, narrowing of the cystic duct, or vasculitis.

Risk factors

Risk factors for Acute cholecystitis include:

  • Age: Patients over the age of 60 are at the highest risk of developing Acute cholecystitis.
  • Gender: Females are at higher risk of developing Acute cholecystitis.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes have a higher chance of developing Acute cholecystitis due to the increased risk of gallstone formation.
  • Obesity: People who are overweight are more likely to develop gallstones and therefore experience Acute cholecystitis.
  • Diet: People who consume a high-fat diet are more likely to develop gallstones and experience Acute cholecystitis.
  • Certain medications: Patients who take certain medications, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, may have an increased risk of developing gallstones and therefore Acute cholecystitis.
  • Family history: A family history of gallstones and Acute cholecystitis is associated with an increased risk for developing the condition.
  • Smoking and alcohol: Smoking and drinking alcohol can increase the risk of developing Acute cholecystitis.


Acute cholecystitis is typically diagnosed through a combination of physical exams, imaging tests, and lab tests. During the physical exam, the doctor may take the patient’s medical history and complete an abdominal exam, feeling for any abdominal tenderness or other signs of the condition. Imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI may be used to produce images of the gallbladder and look for any signs of cholecystitis. Lab tests, such as a complete blood count and liver function tests, may be used to evaluate liver and gallbladder function. The doctor may also order a special kind of X-ray known as an HIDA scan to look for any movement of the gallbladder or blockages in the bile ducts.


Acute cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder. It is usually caused by the presence of gallstones, which obstruct the cystic duct. Acute cholecystitis is classified into four subtypes:

  1. Gangrenous Cholecystitis: This is the most serious form of acute cholecystitis and is associated with a large amount of necrotic tissue in the gallbladder. It is usually caused by a complete blockage of the cystic duct by a large gallstone and can lead to significant complications such as perforation, infection, and scarring.
  2. Emphysematous Cholecystitis: This is a rare form of cholecystitis characterized by the presence of gas in the gallbladder wall. It can be caused by a bacterial infection and can lead to perforation or rupture of the gallbladder.
  3. Acalculous Cholecystitis: This is a rare form of cholecystitis in which there are no gallstones present. It is usually caused by some other underlying disorder such as systemic illness, severe trauma, or surgery. It can also be caused by infection or the use of certain medications.
  4. Hyperacute Cholecystitis: This is the most severe form of acute cholecystitis and is usually caused by a large blockage in the cystic duct. It is usually accompanied by a fever and significant abdominal pain. It can quickly lead to complications such as infection, sepsis, and perforation.


The treatment of acute cholecystitis depends on the severity of the condition and the individual’s overall health.

Treatment options include:

  • Antibiotics: To reduce the infection, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed.
  • Pain medications: Medications may be prescribed to help relieve the pain associated with cholecystitis.
  • Surgery: If the gallbladder is significantly inflamed, it may need to be removed surgically.
  • Diet: Avoiding fatty and fried foods may help reduce the risk of future gallbladder problems.
  • Heat or cold applied to the affected area: Applying heat or cold to the affected area may help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Fluids: Drinking plenty of fluids can help flush out toxins.
  • Rest: Resting may help the body recover more quickly.


The best way to reduce the risk of developing Acute cholecystitis is to make lifestyle changes. These changes may include:

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding fatty and processed foods.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Not smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Avoiding taking unnecessary medications.
  • Getting regular medical check-ups.
  • Taking measures to reduce stress levels.


There does not appear to be any significant differences in the presentation of Acute cholecystitis based on gender. However, there is some evidence to suggest that women may be at greater risk for the disease due to their higher rate of obesity and the presence of underlying issues such as metabolic syndrome or diabetes. Women may also present with a higher rate of fever and jaundice than men, and may experience more severe symptoms than men, such as abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, women may be more prone to gallstone formation due to higher rates of estrogen and progesterone.

When it comes to management of Acute cholecystitis, studies have shown that women may experience more complications, such as recurrent episodes of the disease, after treatments with antibiotics. Therefore, women may require a longer duration of antibiotic treatment than men. Women may also be more likely to undergo cholecystectomy, or the surgical removal of the gallbladder, due to the presence of underlying issues.

Overall, it appears that although gender does not influence the presentation of Acute cholecystitis, it may influence management of the disease and its associated complications. It is important that physicians recognize and address any gender-specific differences in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.


Nutrition plays a very important role in the management of acute cholecystitis. Proper nutrition helps to improve the function of the gallbladder and reduce symptoms. Eating a balanced diet that is low in fat, high in fiber, and full of fresh fruits and vegetables helps to promote digestive health and overall wellness. Additionally, avoiding greasy, sugary, and processed foods can help to reduce inflammation and symptoms associated with acute cholecystitis. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids to help flush out toxins and prevent dehydration. Supplementation with essential fatty acids like omega-3 can also help to reduce inflammation. Furthermore, including probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, miso, and kimchi can help to promote digestive health. Finally, avoiding alcohol and caffeine can help to reduce stress on the gallbladder and prevent symptoms from worsening.

Physical Activity

Physical activity can have both positive and negative effects on Acute cholecystitis. On one hand, regular physical activity can help control symptoms and reduce the risk of complications associated with Acute cholecystitis, such as inflammation and bile duct obstruction. On the other hand, if physical activity is not done in moderation or if the intensity is too high, it can actually increase the risk of developing Acute cholecystitis due to increased stress on the body. Additionally, physical activity can increase the risk of gallbladder stones or gallbladder inflammation, which may lead to the development of Acute cholecystitis. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals with Acute cholecystitis should perform physical activity in moderation and with caution.

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