Understanding Gallstones- Symptoms, Diseases And Treatment
Updated: Apr 22
Gall stones usually occur in two forms:
Pigment stones: These are small in size and dark composed of bile pigments and calcium salts.
Cholesterol stones: This is the most common type and accounts for 80% of gall stones.
What factors may increase the risk of having gallstones?
Gallstones can cause inflammation and pain and are one of the most common gall bladder disorders in most of the people. Only in the US, on an average 20% of the women are aﬀected, while it is 10% in men aﬀected by the age of 60. Gall stones can be as small as a grain or as large as a golf ball. The risk factors that may lead to the formation of gallstones are as follows:
Women may have more risk of having gall stones
eating high-fat content foods
Rapid weight loss or on crash diet or starvation diet
Use of birth control pills
Use of cholesterol-lowering pills
What are the conditions associated with gallstones?
Gallstones within the gall bladder usually do not cause any harm. But if they are many and large in size they may cause pain or inflammation. Based on the severity and complexity, gallstones are categorized in the following ways:
Silent Gallstones: They are usually harmless and can be detected by ultrasonography. Surgery is done only when there are too many stones or if the stone is larger than 2cm.
Symptomatic: In this case, the patient experiences pain in the upper right abdominal region. The pain may be mild to severe and could aggravate after a meal or would rather feel better on an empty stomach.
Complicated: This condition is associated with swelling, infection of the gall bladder leading to fever, severe abdominal pain and vomiting. The condition of jaundice occurs when the stone has passed into the bile duct. If not treated at the right time, it may lead to life-threatening conditions such as pus formation, gangrene or perforation of the gall bladder that leads to leakage of fluid into the abdominal cavity.
What are the signs and symptoms of gall stones? You may experience the following symptoms when you have gallstones: a. Fever and chills b. Dark Urine and grey colored stool c. Nausea and vomiting d. Bloating e. Yellowing of skin and white part of the eyes f. Pain in the upper right part of the abdomen g. Diarrhea
What tests are conducted to diagnose gallstones?
Lab tests: A simple blood test can show signs of infection or inflammation of the gall bladder, bile ducts, pancreas or liver.
Imaging Tests: Ultrasonography can detect the location, number and size of gall stones as well as the conditions of the gall bladder.
Treatment for gall stones:
Surgical removal of the stones or removal of the gallbladder is the treatment of choice.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a procedure followed for the removal of the gall bladder. The main advantage of laparoscopic cholecystectomy is that it is minimally invasive associated with less pain and a shorter stay in the hospital.
Is Gallstones curable?
Gallstone disease is curable and can be treated. When leU untreated can be life-threatening. Surgical removal of the gall bladder helps prevent future episodes of abdominal pain and dangerous complications like inflammation of the pancreas or infection in the gallbladder and liver.
You must always see a doctor when you have persistent pain that does not resolve with Home and is associated with other conditions. Making an appointment to see a Gastroenterologist, the specialist in treating various GI disorders is the best way to treat your stomach related disorders and improve your health. Dr. Nancy Lau, the leading Gastroenterologist in NYC with years of experience in treating common to the most complicated conditions and helping many people improve their health with the best treatment procedures. Book your appointment today.