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What are Gallstones

The bile inside the gallbladder is in a concentrated form. Sometimes the concentrated bile solidifies to form gallstones. The solidification primarily happens when the bile is not drained periodically. Read a detailed article on how gallstones are formed here.

Types of Gallstones

Cholesterol Stones – The excess cholesterol in the bile solidifies to form cholesterol stones. They are dark yellowish to brown in color.
Pigment Stones - Excess bilirubin in the bile gets converted to pigment stones.
Mixed Stones – The presence of both cholesterol stones and pigment stones in an individual’s gallbladder is termed as mixed stones.

General Symptoms of Gallstones in Gallbladder

A sudden sharp and radiating pain in the right side of the abdomen.
The pain may last for an hour or more and then subsides. This bout of pain comes and goes frequently.
Vomiting
A general feeling of nausea

Risk Factors for Getting Gallstones in Gallbladder

There are many risk factors that contribute to the formation of gallstones in the gallbladder. They are

The biggest risk group is women because of the estrogen hormone
FFFF Factor– if you are a Female, Forty Years, Fatty, and Flatulent you may run a higher chance. Female hormones cause gallstones and that is why women have more incidence of gallstones
Sometimes blame it on your gene
Being obese definitely poses a greater risk
Eating more fatty and oily food that is rich in cholesterol
Rapid weight loss

Complications of Gallstones in Gallbladder

Gallstones causing Blockage of the Gallbladder neck by Gallstones
Choledocholithiasis or Common Bile Duct Stone
Gallstones can cause Pancreatitis if they block the pancreatic duct
Biliary Fistula or perforation of the common bile duct can be caused by gallstones sometimes.
Duodenitis can be caused if the stones block the duodenum.
Sometimes gallstones cause bowel obstruction if they reach the distal part of the small intestine called bowel.

Complications caused by gallstones are detailed here.

Diagnosis of Gallstones in Gallbladder

A normal abdominal ultrasound or CT scan report is sufficient to diagnose the presence of gallstones in the gallbladder.
If the GI Surgeon suspects that the gallstones have moved out of the gallbladder and are stuck in the common bile duct, then ERCP can be performed. ERCP stands for Endoscopic Retrograde CholangioPancreatography. ERCP is an intervention diagnostic procedure where the gallstone diagnosed in the CBD can be removed.

Surgical Treatment for Gallstones in Gallbladder

If the presence of gallstones in the gallbladder is confirmed, the only relief from it is to perform cholecystectomy. This surgery is commonly called as gallbladder removal surgery.
Cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal surgery is done using laparoscopic procedures.
If any other complications outlined are caused by the gallbladder, the GI surgeon surgically treats the complications and then proceeds to removes the gallbladder.

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