Gall bladder is a small pouch that sits under the liver which helps in the process of digestion. It store bile produced by liver which through the help of bile ducts passes to the small intestine and helps digesting fats.
Most common problem comes with gall bladder is gall stones. The digestive juice here i.e the bile gets hardened and deposits turns into stones.
The stones range in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. Some people develop just one gallstone, while others develop many gallstones at the same time.
What causes gallbladder stones?
Yes it is a thing to think why don’t every individual suffer from gall stones because everyone has gallbladder. The reason is of course eating and living habits.
• Liver produces bile juice and it gets stored in your gallbladder until you have fat in your body. More the fat more the need of bile juice . Thus more the creation of bile juice by liver.
• Normally, your bile contains enough chemicals to dissolve the cholesterol excreted by your liver. But if your liver excretes more cholesterol than your bile can dissolve, the excess cholesterol may form into crystals and eventually into stones.
• Another reason may be too much of bilirubin through red blood cells breakdown in liver in certain liver conditions including liver cirrhosis, biliary tract infections and certain blood disorders.
• Sometimes your bile duct do not get empty completely which concentrates fluid and contributes to stone formation.
What are the complications associated with it?
It is true that small stones if not disturbing does not cause much complications but large stone are complicated and only remedy is surgical removal. Few of the complications are:
• Inflammation: A gallstone that becomes lodged in the neck of the gallbladder can cause inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) which causes severe pain and fever.
• Blockage of common bile duct(CBD)
• Pancreatitis: The pancreatic duct is a tube that runs from the pancreas and connects to the common bile duct. A gallstone can cause a blockage in the pancreatic duct, which can lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
• Gallbladder cancer: People with a history of gallstones have an increased risk of gallbladder cancer.
• Cholecystoenteric fistula: Occasionally, a large stone may erode through the wall of the gallbladder into an adjacent viscus (typically the duodenum), producing a cholecystoenteric fistula.
• Gallbladder empyema: Overgrowth of colonizing bacteria in the gallbladder often occurs, and, in severe cases, accumulation of pus in the gallbladder.
Now the big question comes is how would you know if you have gallstones?- Symptoms
• Gallstones usually do not cause severe signs and symptoms when in gallbladder (cholelithiasis) which are harmless. Some of them could be indigestion and dyspepsia. Not able to digest your favorite pizza is one of the common symptom to detect. Symptoms arrises when stones stuck in the bile ducts (cholecystitis). Blockage signs and symptoms includes:
• Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen
• Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the center of your abdomen, just below your breastbone
• Back pain between your shoulder blades
• Pain in your right shoulder
• Nausea or vomiting
When to see a doctor?
Gall bladder stones usually subsides for years in your pouch. Recurrent pain and infection , yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice) definitely invites surgical opinion.
Dr Girdhar Gopal, General and Onco surgeon at Amcare hospital says that I don’t suggest a surgery until or unless your stone is affecting you . Antibiotics can be given to prevent further infection. But they don’t prevent stones to happen. Best way is to prevent them from occurring.
Surgical procedures for gallbladder stone removal-Treatment
• Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: a surgical procedure to remove gallbladder surgically. It is for people with inflammation, pain and infection. it involves few small incisions and sometime same day discharge. It is the most advanced surgery in which a laparoscope with a small camera gets inserted into your gallbladder(Gb) through a small incision which projects your Gb on the screen and removes your gallbladder from the other small incision. To know more about our special Lap Chole packages click-
• Open Cholecystectomy: It is a conventional technique in which incision is larger than in laparoscopic technique. This requires some more time to get back on your feet otherwise it is a very safe procedure.
• Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): it is basically a procedure to diagnose diseases of the gallbladder ,billiary system, pancreas and liver. In case stone get stuck in bile or cystic ducts and causes blockage of bile juice it breaks down the stone into the pouch(gallbladder) to clear the pathway.
How to prevent gallbladder stone naturally?
• Dietary changes: A diet with less fat and more fiber can help improving not your gallbladder but your overall health.
• Exercise: Regular physical activity can help reduce cholesterol levels and help prevent gallbladder stones.
• Regular health check: Regular abdominal ultrasound, Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) and abdominal X-ray at regular interval can help early detection and timely treatment at home as in dietary or at hospital. click to know health check packages at Amcare Hospital Zirakpur.
• Don’t skip meals: Try to stick to your usual mealtimes each day. Skipping meals or fasting can increase the risk of gallstones.
• Lose weight slowly and maintain healthy weight: Rapid weight loss can increase the risk of gallstones. Obesity and being overweight increase the risk of gallstones