What are the characteristics of biliary colic?

Updated: Apr 01, 2019
  • Author: Douglas M Heuman, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Characteristics of biliary colic include the following:

  • Sporadic and unpredictable episodes

  • Pain that is localized to the epigastrium or right upper quadrant, sometimes radiating to the right scapular tip

  • Pain that begins postprandially, is often described as intense and dull, typically lasts 1-5 hours, increases steadily over 10-20 minutes, and then gradually wanes

  • Pain that is constant; not relieved by emesis, antacids, defecation, flatus, or positional changes; and sometimes accompanied by diaphoresis, nausea, and vomiting

  • Nonspecific symptoms (eg, indigestion, dyspepsia, belching, or bloating)

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