Gallstones are a common digestive condition that can trigger sharp pain in the upper right side of your stomach, back, or just under your right arm. Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ located just under your liver.
Gallstones form when bile (fluid that aids fat digestion) stored in your gallbladder hardens into stone-like lumps. Gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball; you may have a single large stone to hundreds of tiny ones. If left untreated, gallstones can cause a life-threatening infection.
Although you may not have any symptoms — usually because your gallstones are small or not causing a blockage — when your gallstones grow or a blockage occurs, gallstone symptoms (also called a gallbladder attack) may happen very suddenly.
You are likely to experience the following gallbladder symptoms after a fatty meal or at night:
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Bloating and gas
- Fatigue and headaches
- Joint pain