What is Gallstones?, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & More

What is Gallstones?, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & More

What is Gallstones?

Gallstones are small, solid particles that can form in the gallbladder,  a small organ in the body. The gallbladder stores a liquid called bile, which helps digest fatty foods. These stones develop when substances in the bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver, harden and become solid.

Gallstones can vary in size from tiny grains to larger stones. If someone experiences persistent pain or other symptoms in the abdomen, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

 When gallstones cause trouble, doctors might suggest changes in diet, medicines, or even surgery to remove the gallbladder.

What is Gallstones?, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & More

Symptoms of Gallstones

Gallstones can sometimes cause discomfort and show different symptoms. People with gallstones might experience sudden and strong pain in the upper belly, often after eating fatty foods.

This pain, known as a “gallbladder attack,” can last for a few minutes or hours. It might spread to the back or right shoulder blade. Other symptoms can include

  • Feeling sick
  • Throwing up and bloating.
  • Sometimes, the skin and eyes might turn yellow, which is called jaundice.
  • Pain in the belly that comes and goes, especially after meals, could be a sign of gallstones.

However, not everyone with gallstones has symptoms. Some might have these stones without even realizing it. If someone has ongoing belly pain, especially if it’s intense or comes with other symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor. They can diagnose the issue and recommend the best way to manage it.

Causes of Gallstones

There are certain factors that can increase the likelihood of their formation.

  • Being overweight or rapidly losing weight can contribute to gallstone development. Diets high in cholesterol and fat might also play a role.
  • Other health conditions like diabetes or liver diseases can increase the risk too.
  • Gallstones are more common in women, especially during pregnancy or when taking birth control pills.

Treatment of Gallstones

The treatment of gallstones depends on the symptoms they cause. If gallstones aren’t causing problems, doctors might suggest watching and waiting without any specific treatment.

However, if the stones lead to pain or other issues, there are different approaches. Surgery to remove the gallbladder, called cholecystectomy, is a common treatment. It’s usually done using small incisions and is often very effective.

Making dietary changes can also help. Eating a diet low in fat and high in fiber can reduce the risk of gallstones forming. If someone has gallstone symptoms, they should consult a doctor.

The right treatment depends on factors like the size of the stones, the person’s health, and their preferences.

Dr. Kailash Mishra
Director & Gastroenterologist Consultant
Prime Gastro Liver Clinic

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