Addressing Causes and Symptoms of Gallstones
Gallstones are the solid deposits of digestive fluid that is formed within your gallbladder. Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped, small organ located at the right side of your abdomen, right under your liver. Bile is a digestive fluid that is stored in the gallbladder and it is released into your small intestine.
The size of a gallstone can range from the size of a small grain of sand to the size of a golf ball. Some people have only one gallstone in their bladders while others have many at the same time.
People who have gallstones problems in their bladder usually undergo gallbladder removal surgery. Some people do not show any signs and symptoms of gallstones, such people don’t require any treatment.
What Causes Gallstones?
The causes of gallstones are yet to be clarified. However, doctors consider that gallstones may form when:
- There is too much of cholesterol stored in your bile: Usually, your bile contains chemicals that can dissolve the cholesterol left by your liver. But, if your liver releases more cholesterol than your bile is able to dissolve, that excess cholesterol may convert into crystals and finally into stones.
- There is an excess of bilirubin stored in your bile: When your body breaks down the red blood cells, it produces a chemical that is known as bilirubin. Certain blood disorders, liver cirrhosis, and biliary tract infections are those conditions that make your liver to produce more bilirubin. The excess amount of bilirubin stored can cause gallstone formation.
- Your gallbladder doesn’t get emptied completely: If your gallbladder doesn’t get emptied correctly, then your bile will become concentrated, eventually triggers the formation of gallstones.
Types of Gallstones
Normally, there are two types of gallstones that can form in your gallbladder:
- Cholesterol gallstones: This is the most common type and often appears in yellow color. These gallstones are mainly formed by the undissolved cholesterol but may consist of other components as well.
- Pigment gallstones: When there is an excess of bilirubin stored in your bile, the dark brown or black stones are formed. These gallstones are known as pigment gallstones.
Symptoms of Gallstones
Gallstones may not reflect any signs or symptoms. If a gallstone stays in the duct and blocks it, then it may reflect the following signs and symptoms:
- Sudden and sharp pain in the upper right area of your abdomen
- Sudden and sharp pain in the center portion of your abdomen, right below your breastbone
- Back pain in between shoulder blades
- Pain in the right shoulder
The pain erupted from gallstones may remain several minutes to a few hours.
When You Should Consult A Doctor?
If there are following serious signs and symptoms of gallstones that cause worry to you, then you should immediately consult a doctor:
- Intense abdominal pain that makes you uncomfortable in any position
- Yellowing of skin and white part of your eyes
- High fever along with chills
Complications With Gallstones
- Gallstones may cause inflammation of the gallbladder and can cause sharp pain
- Gallstones can block your ducts, which can obstruct the flow of bile
- Blockage of pancreatic duct can cause inflammation of the pancreas
- Gallbladder cancer
Prevention From Gallstones
You may prevent yourself from the risks of gallstones if you:
- Do not skip your meals: Meal skipping increases the risk of gallstones
- Gradually reduce weight: If you wish to reduce weight then aim it slowly, as rapid weight loss exposes you to risk of gallstones
- Eat fiber-rich foods: Eat foods that are rich in fibers, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight and obese increases the risk of gallstones. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can keep a distance from gallstones.