Skip to main content

Biliary Dyskinesia

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What is biliary dyskinesia?

Biliary dyskinesia is a condition that causes pain in your gallbladder (in your upper right abdomen). The gallbladder stores bile made by the liver. Bile is used to help break down fat in the food you eat. The gallbladder has a valve called a sphincter that prevents bile from flowing out of the gallbladder until it is needed. The bile moves through a duct and into the small intestine. If the sphincter is scarred or has spasms, bile cannot flow out of the gallbladder. The bile then flows back into the gallbladder and causes pain.


What increases my risk for biliary dyskinesia?

  • Inflammation of the muscles that control bile flow from the gallbladder
  • Problems with the way the muscles work together
  • A chronic disease such as diabetes or celiac disease
  • Obesity
  • Hormone imbalance

What are the signs and symptoms of biliary dyskinesia?

  • Pain in your upper right abdomen that lasts at least 30 minutes at a time, and comes and goes
  • Severe pain that keeps you from doing your daily activities or wakes you from sleep
  • Pain after you eat that continues even after you have a bowel movement or change position
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea, vomiting, or bloating
  • Weight loss without trying, or loss of appetite

How is biliary dyskinesia diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. Tell him when the pain happens and how long it lasts each time. Tell him if you have more pain after you eat certain foods. You may also need any of the following:

  • A liver and gallbladder scan may also be called a HIDA scan. You are given a small amount of radioactive dye in your IV and pictures are taken by a scanner. Your healthcare provider looks at the pictures to see if your liver and gallbladder are working normally.
  • Blood tests may be used to check your liver enzymes. This shows how well your liver is working.
  • Ultrasound or CT pictures may be used to check for gallstones or other problems in your gallbladder area. Biliary dyskinesia pain happens without gallstones.
  • An ERCP is a procedure used to check the ducts that carry bile out of the gallbladder. Your healthcare provider will guide an endoscope through your mouth and into an opening between your stomach and small intestine. X-ray pictures are then taken of the ducts. Contrast liquid is used to help the ducts show up better in the x-ray pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.

How is biliary dyskinesia treated?

Your symptoms may go away without treatment. You may need any of the following if your symptoms are severe or continue:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children younger than 6 months without direction from a healthcare provider.
  • Surgery may be used to remove your gallbladder. Gallbladder surgery is usually not done on young children.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to manage biliary dyskinesia?

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Extra body weight can increase your risk for gallbladder problems, and can make your pain worse. Try not to gain or lose a large amount of weight quickly. This can also increase or worsen your risk for gallbladder problems. Ask your healthcare provider to help you create a healthy weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, and cooked beans. Ask if you need to be on a special diet. Your healthcare provider may recommend a low-fat diet. Choose healthy fats, such as olive oil, canola oil, avocado, and nuts. Omega 3 fats are also healthy. Omega 3 fats are in fish, such as salmon, trout, and tuna. They are also in plant foods such as flaxseed, walnuts, and soybeans. You may also need to avoid any foods that trigger your symptoms.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have a fever and chills.
  • Your eyes or skin turn yellow.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your urine is dark.
  • Your pain does not get better with pain medicine.
  • You have clay-colored bowel movements.
  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Learn more about Biliary Dyskinesia

Treatment options

Care guides

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.