The storage place for digestive bile juice is known as the gallbladder. It is a small sac-shaped organ beneath the liver. The bile is stored here after it is secreted by the liver and before it is released into the intestine.
A hardened deposit in the fluid of the gallbladder is known as gallstones. The size of them could be of stone or can go up to the size of a golf ball. Mostly, the stones are made up of cholesterol while a small percentage of them are made up of calcium salts and bilirubin.
Even though the exact causes of gallstone is not known, some theories suggest the following causes:
- Presence of excessive cholesterol in the bile.
- Presence of too much bilirubin in the bile.
- Concentrated bile because of a full bladder.
It is difficult to predict who could be detected with gallbladder, but the following are at a higher risk than the others:
- A pregnant woman and those on birth control pills.
- Men & Women below the age of 40.
- People on a calorie-rich diet.
- People with a high carbohydrate diet.
- People suffering from obesity.
- People with a family history of gallstones.
- People with health issues like diabetes and other complications of the liver.
So, if you or your loved ones are in the above category, you should regularly go for a health check-up in a well-equipped hospital to ensure everything’s alright. Moreover, if there are any symptoms, you should be more careful and visit a specialist.
While sometimes gallstones might show no symptoms at all, sometimes it is easier to detect them with the following symptoms:
- Sudden and intense pain in the upper right part of your abdomen. (Location of the gallbladder.)
- Pain between your shoulder blades.
- Intense pain below your breastbone.
- Pain in the right shoulder.
- Nausea and/or Vomiting along with any of the above symptoms.
- Digestive problems like bloating, heartburn, and acidity.
- Sudden weight loss.
- Darkening of the urine and change of color of the stools.
The pain caused by stones is intense and can last from a few minutes to a few hours. Normal painkiller might not help and therefore it is recommended to take the patient to your nearest hospital at the earliest.
In the case of Kidney stones, the doctor can suggest medicines to wash out the stones (If they are small). If the stones aren’t washed out than surgery is recommended.
If your doctor has studied your symptoms and raised a doubt of having gallstones, here are the immediate steps you need to take:
- Follow a strict diet as recommended by your Doctor.
- Get an Ultrasound done to verify the number and size of the stones formed.
- Immediate removal of the gallbladder, if suggested by the Doctor. (Cholecystectomy)
- Starting medications for dissolving stones if surgery is not possible for various reasons. (This method is not 100% successful but only way out for some people)
Gallstone Surgery is not a big surgery but still, precision is needed to avoid any kind of infection.