Everything You Should Know About Gallstones or Gallbladder Stones

Posted On Oct 26, 2022


Consultant - General & Laparoscopic Surgery

Manipal Hospital - Salt Lake

gastroenterology hospital in Kolkata

Gallstones are solid concretions that are similar to pebbles and do not develop appropriately inside the gallbladder. The gallbladder is located under the liver in the upper right abdomen. Every year, over one million Americans are diagnosed with gallstones (cholelithiasis), adding to the estimated 38 million who already have the condition. Fortunately, the majority of people with gallstones have no symptoms and do not require treatment. Gallstones can cause pain or other complications in some cases and must be treated, usually by removing the entire gallbladder with its stones.

What are Gallstones/Gallbladder Stones?

Gallstones/Gallbladder Stones are hard, pebble-like pieces of material that are formed in the gallbladder and are usually made of cholesterol or bilirubin. Gallstones/Gallbladder Stones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. The gallbladder can produce a single large gallstone, hundreds of tiny stones, or a combination of small and large stones.

Gallstones can cause pain in the upper right abdomen when they block the bile ducts of the biliary tract. It is known as Gallbladder attack or biliary colic. It can cause serious complications if any symptoms persist and if not treated. Visit our gastroenterology hospital in Salt Lake, Kolkata for the best treatment.

Do Gallstones/Gallbladder Stones have other names?

Medical experts most often call gallbladder stones as cholelithiasis.

What is the time period for the development of Gallbladder Stones?

Gallstones/Gallbladder Stones can form and grow over a period of several years. Gallbladder stones are very common and should not be ignored for an extended period of time. People who are in extreme pain are likely to have multiple gallstones, making them vulnerable to a sudden gallstone attack resulting into gallstone removal via laparoscopic or open surgery. 

Common symptoms of Gallbladder Stones

Initially, gallstones may cause only mild pain or no signs or symptoms. However, if a gallstone becomes lodged in the passage and causes a blockage, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Severe pain in the upper right region of abdomen.

  • Pain in the centre of the abdomen worsening rapidly.

  • Back pain that has spread to the shoulder blades.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Fever

  • Loss of appetite

  • Skin yellowing

  • Digestion-related issues like indigestion, heartburn, and gas.

  • Dark urine and light-coloured poop.

Consult with our gastroenterologist in Salt Lake, Kolkata if you are experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms.

Who is at risk of developing Gallbladder Stones?

Gallstones/gallbladder stones are more likely to form in some specific groups of people. Gender, obesity, and drugs have all been found to increase a person's risk of developing gallstones/gallbladder stones. The following are some groups of people who are at major risk of developing gallbladder stones:

  • Individuals belonging to the age group of above 60 years.

  • Women are at higher risk of developing gallstones/ gallbladder stones when compared with men.

  • Obese individuals 

  • Individuals taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.

  • Individuals suffering from dyslipidemia.

  • Individuals who secrete a high level of insulin.

  • People who consume more fat in their diet.

  • Individuals who are taking hormonal medication.

Complications due to Gallstones or Gallbladder stones

Some of the complications of gallstones include:

  • Inflammation of the Gallbladder.

  • Severe damage to Gallbladder, bile duct, or liver or infection.

  • Gallstone pancreatitis, which is a pancreatic inflammation caused by a gallstone blockage.

How are Gallstones or Gallbladder Stones diagnosed?

A simple blood test that detects enzymes in the liver detects gallstones. An ultrasound scan can reveal gallstones, allowing the doctor to confirm the presence of small stones in the gallbladder. They can also be seen on CT scans. The positioning of the gallstones is critical for the doctor because it determines the treatment plan, whether to treat gallbladder removal without surgery or with surgery.

What are the treatments available for Gallstones or Gallbladder stones?

For people with Gallstones/Gallbladder stones, there are three general options; the best option depends on the individual’s condition.

Surgical therapy: It is the removal of the gallbladder and stones. Cholecystectomy is the surgical process that removes the gallbladder. Laparoscopic surgery is performed using small instruments and a video camera, which are inserted into the abdomen by making small puncture holes.

Are there any chances of a cure for Gallstones or Gallbladder stones without undergoing Surgery?

Small gallstones can be removed without surgery. This can be accomplished by drinking plenty of water, consuming apple cider vinegar and castor oil, and practising yoga on a regular basis. All of these are known to for the dissolution or flushing out of tiny gallstones in the gallbladder, thereby resolving the problem. However, if the gallstones are large and numerous, the doctor will recommend gallbladder surgery.

How to prevent Gallstones/Gallbladder Stones?

An individual should maintain a healthy body weight by eating a balanced diet and exercising for at least 30 minutes five days a week. If the person plans to lose weight quickly, such as through weight loss surgery, the doctor or nurse should keep an eye on the person. Bile acid supplements may be prescribed to prevent gallstones from forming as the person loses weight.

Dr. Gautam Bhaumik

Consultant - General Surgery, DNB, FRCS

Manipal Hospitals, Salt Lake, Kolkata

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