Gallstones are small stones made upof cholesterol which deposits in the gallbladder. Gallbladder is a small, pearshaped organ located on the right side of abdomen and beneath the liver. Itsmain function is to store and concentrate bile which is a yellow-browndigestive enzyme produced by the liver.
The size ofgallstones is different. Gallstones size ranges from sand grain to golf ball.Some people can develop just one gallstone while some people develop many numbersof gallstones.
Types of gallstones:
- Cholesterol gallstones: This is the most common type of gallstone. It is yellow in color. These gallstones are composed of mainly un-dissolved cholesterol but other components are also included
- Pigment gallstones: These stones are smaller and darker. Pigment gallstones are made up of bilirubin which comes from bile.
Symptoms of Gallstones:
- Sudden and rapidly increasing pain in the upper right portion of abdomen and below the breastbone.
- Pain in your right shoulder
- Back pain between shoulder blades
- Nausea or vomiting
- Digestive problems such as bloating, indigestion, heartburn and gas.
�        Too muchcholesterol in bile: Normally bile contains sufficient chemicals to dissolvecholesterol discharged by liver. But if liver discharges more cholesterol thanthe capacity of bile to dissolve then the excess cholesterol converts into hardstones. This is known as gallstone.
�        Too much bilirubin in bile: Due to liver cirrhosis, biliary tract infections andcertain blood disorders liver produces large amount of bilirubin. This excessbilirubin forms gallstones.
�        Gallbladder doesn't empty correctly: If gallbladderdoesn't empty completely then bile becomes very hard. This hardened bilefinally helps in the formation of gallstones.
Risk factors ingallstones formation:
�        Age above 40
�        Overweight or obesity
�        Pregnant woman
�        High fat, high cholesterol and low fiber food
�        Family history of gallstones
�        Diabetes and liver diseases
Various tests and procedures are used to diagnosegallbladder.
�        Blood test
�        CT scan and MRI scan
�        HepatobiliaryIminodiacetic Acid (HIDA) scan and Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography(ERCP)
�        Surgery: Laparoscipic cholecystectomyis the most common surgical process. In this procedure, surgeon inserts smallinstrument and camera through many small cuts in the belly. This is the mostadvanced technique to remove gallstones. It has benefits such as speedyrecovery, less blood loss and less pain. Open cholecystectomy is theconventional surgery. In this surgery, surgeon makes bigger cuts in the bellyto remove gallstones. This type of surgery has drawbacks such as more recoverytime, more blood loss and painful treatment.
�        Medicines: GI surgeonprescribes medicines at the first stage. Medicines are taken orally to dissolvegallstones. This is a long term treatment.
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