1. What are the commonly experienced problems due to gallbladder stones?
When the gallbladder stones are present inside the gallbladder, they do not cause any problems. However, if they increase in size, they may block the bile duct or the gallbladder and trap the bile and enzymes inside the gallbladder or the bile duct. You may experience problems such as pain, infection, inflammation and organ damage due to the gall bladder stones.
2. What are the causes of gallstones?
The causes of gallbladder stones are as follows: presence of excess cholesterol in bile; presence of excess bilirubin (chemical produced in the liver) as a result of liver damage or liver disease;·and loss of muscle tone of the gallbladder that causes incomplete removal of bile from the gallbladder. Concentration of bile leads to the formation of stones.
3. How is this condition diagnosed?
In addition to physical examination, a PPD tuberculin test is the first step in the diagnosis. This tuberculin is injected just below the skin of your forearm. This area of injection is observed for 48-72 hours for swelling and red bump, which indicates the presence of tuberculosis. Blood tests, sputum tests and imaging tests like x-rays are recommended for further confirmation of the diagnosis.
4. Am I at a high risk of getting gallbladder stones?
Gallbladder stones are more common in women and old people. You may be at a higher risk of getting gallbladder stones in the following cases: obesity with higher levels of cholesterol in the blood; treatment with hormones for menopause or pregnancy; diabetes with higher levels of triglycerides; and fasting and sudden weight loss, due to which excess cholesterol is produced in the body.
5. Can gallstones lead to cancer?
Gallstones are hard stone-like formations of bile salts or cholesterol in the gallbladder. Gallstones are a common risk factor for cancer of gallbladder, liver, colon and rectum. The gallstones are responsible for accumulation of bile salts and there are some research studies which show that the bile salts may result in cancer. However, further research is needed in the field.