Do you feel intermittent pain in the upper right part of your abdomen?? Does it last for more than one to five hours? Can you feel the pain in your back and shoulder? If yes, then it could indicate gallstones (Cholelithiasis) in your gallbladder. Well, one of the most common digestive problems around the world is gallbladder stones. As per one study, it is found that in most developed countries, an estimated 10%-15% of people have gallbladder stones. The gallbladder is located under the liver on the right side of the abdomen and resembles the shape of a small pear.
Gallbladder stones or Choleliathiasis are stone-like objects that form in the gallbladder as bile ducts. Bile is a fluid that is produced by the liver and is made up of several substances. These substances are bilirubin and cholesterol which are stored or released by the gallbladder and help in digesting fats.
Gallstones can cause pain depending on the number and size. It may vary from the size of a tiny grain of sand or maybe as large as a golf ball. Although no combination of number and size can predict whether symptoms will occur or not and the severity of the symptoms. Usually, the treatment option for gallbladder stones is surgery, but it is recommended depending on the severity of the symptoms the patient is experiencing.
In this blog, we are going to discuss everything related to Cholelithiasis.
Gallstones also known as Cholelithiasis are hard deposits of cholesterol and other substances which look like pebbles. These occur in various sizes. The size varies as small as a tiny grain of sand and is not so harmful if in the initial stages. Sometimes, it can occur in large sizes like golf balls.
These stones can be composed of one or a mixture of substances. The normal pieces are a mix of calcium bilirubin, cholesterol, and calcium carbonate. They regularly fall under one of three characterizations. Blended stones are composed of a cholesterol substance of 20-80% of the mass of the stone.
Pigment stones are under 20% cholesterol. They are composed of calcium salts and bilirubin. They have dark shade and are normally small. Cholesterol stones have a body weight of at least 80% cholesterol. They commonly have a dark focal spot and are brownish, dull green or yellow.
There are two types of gallstones (Cholelithiasis) which include:
Some of the Choleliathiasis causes are listed below:
If you have any of the following symptoms, you must consult a medical professional immediately.
The risk factors for gallstones are:
Your doctor will order the following tests for gallstones diagnosis:
This device uses a special scope with an ultrasound probe on the end. The scope is passed down into the small intestines where internal bile ducts, gallbladder and pancreas ultrasound images can be taken. It helps locate bile duct stones that may be missed by ordinary ultrasound. The test also assists in diagnosing cancers within the pancreas and bile ducts.
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a special type of endoscope, which allows access to the bile ducts and pancreas. It is performed by removing stones from the bile ducts or pancreas.
Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a test which involves using a machine called MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). A non-invasive test, it employs special computer software for producing images of the bile and pancreatic ducts similar to the images gathered by ERCP and doesn’t need an endoscopy. Anomalies found on MRCP can be further evaluated or treated by ERCP or surgery.
In most cases, there is no need for gallstones treatment unless they are causing pain. Sometimes, you can pass gallstones through urine even without noticing. The doctor will consider surgery if you are in severe pain otherwise, a medication treatment option is considered.
If a doctor suspects that you are at higher risk for surgical complications, then there are various non-surgical methods for gallstone treatment.
Here are surgical options that might be considered:
If surgery cannot be considered due to any specific reason, then here are other non-surgical treatment options the doctor will consider:
Gallstones or Cholelithiasis are common these days and usually, they are never a cause of concern. You will probably never know that the stones are there if they stay put in the gallbladder. They become dangerous, once they start to move. It is important to know that these tiny, pebble-like pieces can harm and can enter into the tight spaces of the delicate biliary system.
A gallbladder attack can be severe and dangerous at the same time, primarily if you didn’t know that you have gallstones. In such cases, the recommended treatment option is surgery. It is crucial to understand the symptoms of gallstones and obtain information. Speak to your doctor about your options and know what’s suitable for you.
Usually, gallstones or Cholelithiasis is not dangerous, but if they enter the bile duct and the treatment is ignored, then it can cause blockage in the pancreatic duct leading to pancreatitis. It can cause severe, continuous abdominal pain, and needs hospitalization. People having a history of gallstones are at higher risk of gallbladder cancer.
Yes, doctors generally recommend Ursodiol for dissolving gallstones to people who don’t want to go through a surgical procedure. This medication helps in preventing gallstone formation.
It is very simple to reduce the risk of developing gallstones. All you need to do is make some below changes in your life: