Formed from bile components like bile cholesterol and Bilirubin in the Gallbladder, Gallbladder stones are a very common disease, especially in adults above the age of 40. Gall stones or Gall bladder stones present in the Gallbladder are known as Cholelithiasis and are formed in the bile duct, also known as Choledocholelithiasis.
Located on the right side of the abdomen, under the liver, the gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ that secrets bile into the small intestine. Gall stones can be of different types ranging from just one stone to several stones, and the size can vary from a grain of sand to a golf ball; bile is a fluid that aids in digestion.
When hardened bile fluid gets accumulated in the gallbladder, it is called Gall bladder stone. Symptoms of gallbladder stone can include inflammation of the Gall bladder, the pancreas, and the liver. Gall stones are usually formed because of high cholesterol levels and they are called cholesterol stones; the gallbladder stones formed from Bilirubin are called Pigment stones.
Gallbladder stones usually don’t exhibit many symptoms as such. Someone with Gall bladder stones might go many years without any symptoms or signs. Even if the number of stones is high, the patient has fewer chances of experiencing any symptoms; the same goes for the size of the stone. Some gallbladder stones are silent, and such kinds do not require treatment.
If a gallstone gets implanted in a bile duct, it might lead to a blockage, and as a result, the following symptoms can show up:
- Spontaneous and steadily excruciating pain in the upper-right side of the abdomen. A similar pain might sometimes occur in the central portion of the abdomen right below the breastbone as well.
- Rapid uneasiness or pain between the shoulder blades. It mostly seems like back pain.
- Pain in the right shoulder
The pains related to Gall bladder stones occur as episodes and hence are called attacks and might last for 30 minutes to several hours.
- The patient might also experience nausea and vomiting
- Some people are also reported to experience a rise in body temperature
The attacks are usually noted after the consumption of a fatty meal and mostly during the night time or after having alcoholic drinks.
Those Gall bladder stones that don’t exhibit any symptoms don’t require any treatment. But if any of the above-mentioned symptoms of Gall bladder stones show up, immediate medical aid should be sought because it can be a warning of complication.
Certain stones get to a very dangerous level that they end up blocking the duct and force the Bilirubin to leak into the bloodstream, leading to jaundice and itching. In such cases, the liver enzymes shoot up. If symptoms like yellowing of skin and/or eyes occur, no further delay should be made in seeking medical assistance. Sometimes, fever is also noted during such conditions. The abdominal pain also becomes so unbearable that a simple body movement like sitting or standing might even become impossible.
Gall stones are mostly reported in females above the age of 40. Being overweight, as well as going on a crash diet or starving oneself might increase the risk of Gall bladder stones. Certain drugs like birth control and cholesterol-lowering pills can also contribute to an increase in the risk of Gall bladder stones. Other major risk factors that can lead to Gall bladder stones include a family history of the disease, obesity, diabetes, and liver disease.
Constipation and intake of a diet low on calories and eating lesser meals per day can also be factors that can contribute to an increase in the risk of developing gallbladder stones. The major step to reduce the risk of Gall bladder stones is by ensuring the maintenance of a healthy weight by following a balanced diet and practicing regular exercise.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If the symptoms are exhibited, and the stones become a danger to the body’s functions, gallbladder removal surgery is usually recommended by doctors. The disease can be successfully tackled, following surgery. An ultrasound is the preferred diagnostic method for gallbladder stones. Blood tests are carried out to determine further complications like infections, jaundice, and pancreatitis.