What is the most common treatment for cholecystitis?

Treatment for cholecystitis usually involves a hospital stay to control the inflammation in your gallbladder. The most common treatments for cholecystitis include:

Antibiotics to fight infection. These medications are used to clear an infection that is often the underlying cause of cholecystitis. The antibiotics can help to kill bacteria and prevent it from spreading.

Pain medications. To help manage the pain associated with cholecystitis, a person may be prescribed pain medication. This can help control pain until the inflammation in your gallbladder is relieved. With such medication, one would be more comfortable and rest better so as to recover quickly.

Fasting. You may not be allowed to eat or drink at first in order to take stress off your inflamed gallbladder.

Liquid diet.  A liquid diet may be recommended to help rest the digestive system and allow the inflammation to subside. This can involve consuming only liquids, such as broth, juice, and water, for a period of time.

Medications to dissolve gallstones. If cholecystitis is caused by gallstones, medications may be used to dissolve the stones and prevent them from causing further problems.

IV fluids. Before undergoing surgery, a person with cholecystitis may receive intravenous (IV) fluids; i.e. fluids passed through a vein in your arm to help prevent dehydration and to support the body’s functions.

Procedure to remove stones. If the bile duct is blocked, a procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) may be performed to remove the blockage. During this procedure that uses dye to highlight the bile ducts, instruments can be used to remove stones blocking the bile ducts or cystic duct. This can help to relieve the symptoms of cholecystitis and prevent complications.

Surgery. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the gallbladder. This is typically recommended if the infection is severe or if it does not respond to antibiotic treatment. The surgery is usually performed laparoscopically, which means that small incisions are made in the abdomen and a camera is used to guide the surgical instruments. If you’re at low surgical risk, surgery may be performed during your hospital stay.

Once your gallbladder is removed, bile flows directly from your liver into your small intestine, rather than being stored in your gallbladder. Even without your gallbladder you can still digest food.

Gallbladder drainage. In some cases, such as when surgery to remove the gallbladder is not an option, gallbladder drainage (cholecystostomy) may be done to remove infection. Drainage is done through the skin on the abdomen (percutaneous) or by passing a scope through the mouth (endoscopic).

Diet changes. After treatment, a person with cholecystitis may need to make dietary changes to support their body’s recovery and prevent further problems. This can involve avoiding certain foods, such as those that are high in fat, and eating a balanced diet.