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Gallbladder Stone Treatment

Gallbladder Stones – Everything you need to know

Gallbladder is a small pouch below the liver in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. The primary function of this organ is to store a greenish yellow fluid called bile which helps in digestion. Gallbladder stones typically develop when the cholesterol level in the body is too high. Gallstones are usually made up of cholesterol. Very few are made up of calcium and bile salts also.

There is no exact cause for development of a gallstone. However, there are some theories which are postulated around how or why they develop. Having higher level of cholesterol that cannot be dissolved by the available bile juice in the body increases the predisposition for formation of gallstones.

Bilirubin usually forms when red blood cells in the body are destroyed. Sometimes, the liver produces excessive bilirubin which does not get metabolised by the bile juices available in the body. The extra bilirubin then gets converted into gallstones. The bile juice in the gallbladder needs constant emptying to prevent pooling of the excess bile juice which may eventually turn into gallstones.

Symptoms

Gallstones can be both symptomatic and asymptomatic. Symptoms representative of a gallstone are

  • pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen
  • vomiting
  • dark coloured urine
  • clay stool
  • weak digestive system
  • diarrhoea

Lot of patients might have gall stones which are usually asymptomatic and hence are never diagnosed. These are called silent gallstones. They are usually diagnosed as a chance diagnosis during a routine examination or when an ultrasound is done to rule out important diagnosis related to other organs.

One of the commonest complication of a gallstone is cholecystitis. It develops when the gallstone obstructs the passage of bile juice from the gallbladder leading to infection in that particular region, causing inflammation, which requires immediate medical intervention. The pain is excruciating in nature, accompanied by chills, fever, nausea and vomiting. Other complications of gallstone can be jaundice, pancreatitis, gall bladder cancer or other serious and long-term health issues.

Who are at risk?

The factors that increase the risk of developing a gallstone are usually associated with the dietary habits that a person follows. However, gender, race, ethnicity etc are some uncontrollable risk factors which can lead to this condition. Obesity, Diabetes mellitus, having a diet rich in cholesterol, excessive weight loss over a short period of time also predisposes gallstones. Being a female on the higher side of the age spectrum also increases the risk significantly. People who have a positive family history of gallstones are more likely to experience gallstones. Pregnancy, liver cirrhosis or certain type of medications also increases the risk of developing gallstones to a great extent.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a gall stone starts with a physical examination with a complaint of pain in the right upper quadrant of abdomen. Yellowish discoloration in the eyes and skin and showing signs of jaundice are indicative of a gall stone. In addition, radiological tests like ultrasound, CT scan, MRCP or ERCP may be indicated to visualize stone stuck in the gallbladder.

Treatment

Medications are usually not recommended as a method of permanent cure. Surgical treatment usually consists of a laparoscopic surgery which may require a general anaesthesia with very minimal hospital stay.

Advice

For a good gallbladder health, avoid fat rich food, take food rich in fibre, take plenty of water and have small but frequent meals. If you are planning to lose weight, do it at a slow pace.

Visit Dr. Gaurav Bansal, best laparoscopic surgeon in Gurgaon at the CK Birla Hospital for Women for more advice and guidance on good gallbladder health. Book your appointment today!

 
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