Best sleeping position for gallbladder pain
The gallbladder is a small digestive organ that stores bile. Bile is what your body uses to digest fat, and it’s usually released from your gallbladder into your small intestine.
When the chemical balance of the bile is upset, the bile can crystallize into small deposits of protein called gallstones. Gallstones can block the bile ducts and cause what is sometimes called a gallbladder attack or biliary colic.
It is estimated that more than 20 million Americans have had or will develop gallstones. These attacks can cause severe pain symptoms in the upper abdomen. Sometimes this pain lasts for hours.
Resting or sleeping in certain positions can help relieve gallbladder pain. There are also home strategies you can try while you wait to see if the pain goes away. We’ll cover the best sleeping positions during a gallbladder attack, what to avoid when you’re in pain, and how to know when to seek emergency help.
When you experience gallbladder pain, you should sleep on your left side.
Sleeping or resting on your left side allows your gallbladder to contract and expand freely until the obstruction in your bile ducts is cleared. The theory is that it can help resolve the pain.
While this is conventional wisdom, keep in mind that most of the evidence is anecdotal. There is currently no research that compares the pain level of different incline positions when you have gallbladder pain.
If you are suffering from any type of gallbladder pain, you may want to avoid sleeping on your right side. This is because your liver and gallbladder are both located on the right side of your body. Sleeping on your right side can contract your gallbladder and make it harder for a gallbladder to pass through. The added pressure of sleeping on your right side can even make gallbladder pain worse.
You can also avoid sleeping on your back or stomach. These positions may not be comfortable until the pain from your blocked bile duct has passed.
There are other pain remedies you can try when you have pain from a blocked bile duct.
- Lying on your left side, try a warm compress to reduce pressure and soothe pain. A hot water bottle or heating pad may work well for this purpose.
- Drink soothing peppermint tea to relieve pain and calm gallbladder spasms.
- Consider taking a magnesium supplement or mixing magnesium powder with lukewarm water. Magnesium can help empty your gallbladder and relieve attacks of the gallbladder.
Gallbladder pain may be a sign that you need medical help. Call a doctor or go to the emergency room if you notice any of the following symptoms along with your gallbladder pain.
Gallbladder pain is relatively common and is usually caused by gallstones blocking the bile ducts. Resting or sleeping on your left side can help manage gallstone pain if you have a blocked bile duct.
You can also try other home remedies for pain relief. Serious symptoms should not be ignored and could indicate a health emergency. Talk to a doctor if you are concerned about gallstones and gallbladder pain.