Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder.
What is going on in the body?
The gallbladder stores bile. Bile is a liquid produced in the liver that aids in digestion. When a person eats, bile flows through a series of ducts into the intestines. It helps to break up food so that it can be used by the body. When bile is supersaturated with cholesterol or bilirubin, it may form the crystals known as gallstones. These stones may block the flow of bile within the gallbladder, causing cholecystitis. Cholecystitis can also occur when the gallbladder is irritated by other diseases and conditions.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Cholecystitis may occur when the gallbladder is inflamed by one of the following:
an autoimmune disorder, in which the person's immune system attacks the gallbladder for no known reason
cancer or a tumor
circulation problems to the gallbladder, such as from a blood clot that blocks blood flow
infections or other diseases of the gallbladder
gallstones, which are the most common cause
serious or prolonged illness, such as recovery from a major operation or severe skin burns