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Apr 12 10

Gall Bladder Stone is Serious Threat - Are you Prepared?

The gallbladder is one of the important organs of the human body. While few people are aware of it, you should know that the gallbladder is a tiny sac-like organ on the right side of the abdomen and below the liver.

Know the Organ

The gallbladder forms the biliary system, which contains the liver and the pancreas. One of the important functions of the biliary system is the transportation of bile as well as digestive enzymes. The bile, which is a digestive fluid manufactured by the liver and aids in the digestion of fats, is stored in the gallbladder.

How are Gallstones Formed?

Gallstones are hardened deposits of the digestive fluid that is formed in the gallbladder.

Gallstones can be formed due to any of the following reasons:

  • Blockage of its ducts can cause the bile or any of the digestive enzymes to be ensnared in the duct.
  • Formation of solid particles by the bile in the gallbladder.
  • The presence of high amounts of cholesterol or bilirubin in the bile.
  • Poor quality of muscles may prevent the gallbladder from emptying totally.
  • The existence of residual bile may cause the formation of gallstones.

What lifestyle choices or situations could lead to Gallstone formation?

The following situations can increase the risk of gallstones .

  • Obesity
  • Consumption of certain medications
  • Consumption of cholesterol-lowering medications
  • Use of birth-control pills
  • Being sedentary
  • Being pregnant
  • Eating a high-fat, and a high-cholesterol diet
  • Eating a low-fibre diet
  • Having a family history of gallstones
  • Having diabetes
  • Having liver disease

What is the Size of Gallstones?

Gallstones have an extremely large range where size is concerned. They can vary in size from the that of a tiny grain of sand to that of a golf ball. While some people develop just one gallstone, others develop many gallstones at the same time. Some people may have a number of small stones, others may have a single large stone, and yet others may have a combination of sizes.

What are the Symptoms of Gallstones?

Most people with gallstones display no symptoms, but symptoms occur as complications develop. The predominant symptom is a pain in the right upper part of the abdomen. Since the pain occurs in bouts, each bout is referred to as an 'attack'.

Additional Reading: All You Need to Know About Your Gallbladder

The spacing between attacks cannot be defined - they may occur every few days or weeks, or may be separated even by years. Usually, the pain starts within a short time after a greasy meal. The pain can be severe, dull, and persistent, and can last a long time.

The pain can also radiate to the right shoulder or back, may also occur frequently at night and can keep the person awake. Other symptoms of the ailment include nausea, vomiting, fever, indigestion, and intolerance to greasy foods. Jaundice can also be a persistent problem.

The Diagnosis

No blood test can detect gallstones. Ultrasound of the gallbladder is taken and the findings are correlated. Another method is by an oral cholecystogram (OCG). Both ultrasound and OCG can detect gallstones in the gallbladder in almost all the cases. Other tests for diagnosis are CT scan, Cholescintigraphy (HIDA scan) and Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).

The Treatment

While gallbladder stone removal surgery affords relief, the stone removal is as laborious a procedure as cholecystectomy, and it is fraught with unwanted complications like bile leakage and bleeding. Gallbladder stone treatment involves either by Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy or regular Cholecystectomy is the only option to get permanently rid of gallstones.

Prevention

However, you can prevent gallstones by having your meals regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping up with regular physical activity.

Now that you are aware of gallstones and how they are formed, take the necessary precautions to avoid them. But, in the unfortunate event of gallstones being present, have a surgery for the gallbladder stone removal.

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