Gallstones : Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Every year, a number of patients seek best gastroenterologist in India with pain in the abdomen and get diagnosed with gallstones. Occurence of gallstones is a common phenomena which usually goes undetected as the patient has no symptoms. Let us understand some details about this common ailment.
What are Gallstones?
Gallstones are solidified or hardened gastric digestive juices that get accumulated in the gallbladder. Gallbladder is a pear shaped organ located just below the liver under the breast bone. The main purpose of the gallbladder is to store and concentrate the bile.
What are the types of gallstones?
There are two types of gallstones:
- Cholesterol gallstones: These are generally yellow in colour and are the most common. These are formed due to undissolved cholesterol.
- Pigment gallstones: These are black or dark brown in colour. These are an indication that your bile contains too much bilirubin, which is a pigment imparting compound.
The size of the stones may vary from the size of a fine grain of sand to a golf ball. The number may also vary from one to many.
What are the symptoms of gallstones?
The symptoms of gallstones can vary from person to person. Among the most common are:
- Intensifying sharp pain in the lower abdomen that may not subside leading to discomfort in all postures. The pain due to the stones may also be accompanied by feverish chills.
- Skin make turn pale. Similar paleness may be registered with whites of the eyes.
- Back or shoulder pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- In case the stones block any duct and cause major disruption in the functioning of the digestive system, the patient will require urgent medical attention.
What are the complications of gallstones?
A few complications that are related to the occurrence of gallstones are:
- Blockage of the bile duct which might lead to jaundice or bile duct infection
- Blockage of the pancreatic duct can lead to pancreatitis in which there is inflammation of the pancreas and acute pain in the lower abdomen region. This generally require urgent medical attention and hospitalization
A gall stone may cause inflammation of the gallbladder itself which generally is accompanied by fever and pain
Complication with respect to gallstones require gallbladder surgery with removal of stones with the help of a general surgeon, which should be carried out by the best gastroenterologist in India to ensure smooth procedure. The reasons for having complications related to gallstones are not accurately established yet but the doctors point to the following reasons as the potential ones:
Gall bladder doesn’t empty correctly:
- If the bile doesn’t flush out properly excess bile might crystallize to form gallstones
- Bile containing too much bilirubin
- Bilirubin is released due to the breakdown of red blood cells. Disorders which cause excess bilirubin to form can lead to gallstones
Bile containing too much cholesterol:
The cholesterol excreted by the liver is dissolved by the bile. But if the cholesterol is in excess of what the bile can dissolve, the extra cholesterol can solidify into crystals and cause gallstones
What are the risk factors of gallstones?
There are few risk factors that might impact the vulnerability of a person to gallstones complications:
- Age greater than 40
- Obesity or overweight
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High fat diet
- High cholesterol diet
- Low fibre diet
- Crash dieting
- Liver diseases
How can the risk to gallstones be minimized?
- Taking care of one’s diet. Proper roughage (high-fiber) must be included in the diet.
- Low intake of saturated fat and trans-fatty acids like ghee, butter etc
- Low intake of cholesterol
- Proper exercise and maintaining a healthy weight as per the recommended Body Mass Index
- If you suspect that you or your near ones have gallstones, book an appointment with one of the top gastroenterologist of india and put your doubts to rest.