Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid. Gallstones can vary in size and number and may or may not cause symptoms. People who experience symptoms usually require gallbladder removal surgery. Gallstones that don’t cause symptoms usually don’t need treatment. The gallbladder is a small pouch that sits just under the liver that stores bile produced by the liver. Before a meal, the gallbladder is full of bile and about the size of a small pear, whereas, after meals, the gallbladder is empty and flat, like a deflated balloon. In response to signals, the gallbladder squeezes stored bile into the small intestine through a series of tubes called ducts. Bile helps digest fats, but the gallbladder itself is not essential for this. Removing the gallbladder in an otherwise healthy individual typically causes no observable problems with health or digestion.
Types Of Gallstones:
These are usually yellow-green. They’re the most common, making up 80% of gallstones.
These are smaller and darker. They’re made of bilirubin.
Symptoms Of Gallstones
The most common symptom of a gallbladder stone or any other problem is a pain. This pain usually occurs in the mid- to upper-right section of your abdomen. Pain caused by gallbladder stones can be mild and intermittent, or it can be quite severe and frequent. In some cases, the pain may begin to radiate to other areas of the body, including the back and chest.
- Nausea or vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of all types of gallbladder stones. However, only chronic gallbladder disease may cause digestive problems, such as gas or acid reflux.
Unexplained fever or chills may signal an infection. If you have an infection, you need immediate treatment before it worsens and becomes dangerous. An infection caused by gallbladder stones can become life-threatening if it spreads to other parts of the body.
- Chronic diarrhea
Having more than four bowel movements per day for at least three months may be a sign of gallbladder stones.
Jaundice may be a sign of a block or gallbladder stones in the common bile duct. The common bile duct is the channel that leads from the gallbladder to the small intestine.
- Unusual stools or urine
Lighter-colored stools and dark urine are possible signs of gallbladder stones.
Causes Of Gallstones:
- Too much cholesterol in your bile. Your body needs bile for digestion. It usually dissolves cholesterol. But when it can’t do that, the extra cholesterol might form stones.
- Too much bilirubin in your bile. Conditions like cirrhosis, infections, and blood disorders can cause your liver to make too much bilirubin.
- Your gallbladder doesn’t empty all the way. This can make your bile very concentrated.
When To See A Doctor?
Anyone with gallbladder symptoms should seek medical attention. Mild, intermittent pain that goes away on its own does not need immediate attention. However, patients with this type of pain should make an appointment with their doctor to be examined further.
If the symptoms are more severe and include the following, a patient should be seen immediately:
- upper-right quadrant pain that does not go away within 5 hours
- fever, nausea, or vomiting
- changes in bowel movement and urination
This combination of symptoms can indicate a serious infection or inflammation that needs immediate treatment.
Surgery Options For Gallbladder Stones:
Gallbladder removal surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries. Laparoscopic gallbladder removal (keyhole surgery) is most common. In this procedure, a surgeon inserts a thin tube with a tiny video camera attached to a small incision in the abdomen. The camera transmits images from inside the body to a video monitor. While watching the enlarged images on the monitor, the surgeon carefully removes the gallbladder through one of the small incisions. Most gallbladder removals occur this way. These surgeries are often outpatient procedures, meaning that the patient can often go home the same day. A much smaller number of gallbladder patients need open surgery. During open surgery, a surgeon removes the gallbladder through a 4-6-inch-long incision in the abdomen.
- Can blood in my urine be harmless?
Blood in your urine can indicate different kinds of problems. We advise a consultation with our expert Kidney Stone to diagnose the problem. It could be Gallstones.
- Can Gallstones be naturally treated?
Kidney Stones/Gallstones detected at a very early stage can be naturally treated or passed through the urinary tract. However, in cases where there is pain and blood in urine, surgery will be required. Avoid a high-sodium diet to avoid stones.
- Should I go for Gallstones surgery?
Surgery is a must in severe cases where there is bloody or smelly urine. This could indicate an infection in the urinary tract and will require surgery.
- How much time will the recovery take?
It can take 4 to 6 weeks to fully heal after open surgery. 1 week for a Laparoscopic Surgery.
- Is it possible for the Stones to reappear?
Stones can reoccur if a proper diet is not followed and precautions are not taken. Drinking plenty of water is a must.
- When can I resume daily activities after the surgery?
Most patients begin to feel better at the end of the first week, especially if the patient is able to urinate without pain and blood in the urine, can resume daily activities.