Gallbladder Stones: Is Surgery Necessary?
December 3rd, 2019 by Brown Traci
The gallbladder is an essential organ that is responsible for concentrating and storing a brownish digestive enzyme called bile. The gallbladder is a small organ situated on the right side of the abdomen. It is an essential part of the biliary tract. There is an absorbent lining that stores bile. Certain risk factors can make you vulnerable to contracting this disease.
If you are a female, over 40 years of age, obese, have a sedentary lifestyle, eat high-fat food, high-cholesterol food, low-fibre intake, have a medical history of gallstones, suffering from diabetes, losing weight at a fast pace, suffering from leukaemia or anaemia, or have any other liver disease, you need to be extra cautious in this regard.
What are the gallbladder stones?
When bile fluid hardens, it converts into small particles called gallstones. These gallstones can range from minute particles to as large as tennis balls. Some patients are diagnosed with one stone, while some with multiple stones. If these stones don’t cause any discomfort, no treatment is required but, in the case of severe symptoms, the doctor can recommend gallbladder removal surgery.
Usually, the symptoms are very subtle but they can aggravate as the severity progresses. Consult your doctor the moment you experience any of the following symptoms. Some common symptoms of gallbladder stones are:
- Shivering and fever
- Jaundice (Yellowing of eyes and skin)
- Unexpected and sudden pain in the abdomen, extending to the upper back
- Severe vomiting and nausea
- Dark urine or clay-colored stools
How are Gallstones Formed?
Gallstones are of two types; cholesterol gallstones and pigment gallstones. Cholesterol gallstones are yellow. They are formed from the un-dissolved cholesterol. Whereas, the pigment gallstones are black or brown and are formed due to excess bilirubin excretion! Though even medical science is not able to identify the exact reasons behind the formation of gallstones, these are some habits that are believed to make one prone to this disease.
- High Cholesterol – Generally, the bile is capable enough to dissolve all the cholesterol evacuated by the liver. But when the liver is producing a more elevated amount of cholesterol which the bile is unable to wash off, it may take the form of small crystals. These crystals eventually turn into gallstones.
- Elevated Bilirubin – There are certain medical conditions like liver cirrhosis, blood disorders, and biliary tract infections, which lead to high bilirubin production. Excess bilirubin secretion can also contribute to the process of gallstone formations.
- Weak Muscles – At times, the gallbladder muscles are so weak that they fail to empty the bladder. Bile can become concentrated, further, giving rise to gallstone formations. This presence of outstanding bile may give rise to gallstone formations.
Gallbladder Stones Treatment options (Surgical and Non-Surgical)
Most patients who don’t show any severe symptoms don’t even need to undergo any treatment procedures. Your doctor will be the right person to decide if you need a gallbladder stones treatment or not. Specific tests and other systems like ultrasound, endoscopy, and blood tests are conducted to ascertain the exact situation. Here are some gallbladder stones treatment options for gallstones:
- Cholecystectomy or Gallbladder removal surgery – If your gallstones are recurring, your doctor may suggest you go ahead with a gallbladder removal surgery. The removal of your entire gallbladder will eradicate any chances of bile secretion and, it will directly flow to the small intestine from the liver. Fortunately, your quality of life will not be affected by the removal of your gallbladder. In some cases, this procedure can cause diarrhoea but can be controlled with medications.
- Medications – In the majority of cases, doctors choose to dissolve gallstones with the help of medicines. But this process is quite time-consuming and can even exceed a couple of years. Sometimes, gallstones reoccur on stopping the drug as well. Drugs are generally reserved for patients who are unfit to undergo gallbladder removal surgery.
Gallstones are a severe medical condition that should not be ignored at any cost. An active and healthy lifestyle can help you in reducing the risks of developing this disease. Make sure you don’t skip meals or fast too frequently. If you wish to reduce weight, reduce it gradually rather than crash dieting. Include lots of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits in your routine diet. Obesity is the root cause for the majority of severe diseases. If you wish to prevent the problem of gallstones in the future, make sure you maintain a healthy weight. Consult your doctor for regular gallbladder check-ups.