The gallbladder is a small organ placed below the liver which stores bile, a green-yellow liquid that helps with digestion. Gallbladder stones or gallstones get created in the gallbladder when there is too much cholesterol present in the bile. These stones can cause pain and other complications.
Your gallbladder is a small organ near the liver which stores a liquid called bile, that helps with digestion. Hardened deposits in the gallbladder are called gallstones.
While the exact cause of this cannot be determined, doctors believe that the following may be contributing factors:
The factors that increase the risk of gallbladder stones are:
Signs & Symptoms:
A majority of people who have gallstones don’t have any symptoms, and the stones are discovered during an X-ray or another procedure.
If you do have symptoms, you may experience pain in the upper right abdomen. Gallstones pain may increase if you eat fatty or fried foods. You may have nausea or vomiting or diarrhoea or indigestion. The urine could change to a dark colour and stools could appear clay coloured. These symptoms are called biliary colic.
If gallstones are suspected, your doctor may ask for certain tests to confirm the diagnosis. An abdominal ultrasound or CT scan may be required. There are also certain other tests to check if the gallstones are causing a blockage. These include the HIDA scan, MRI or an ERCP scan. A blood test may also be prescribed, in order to check for any complications such as jaundice or pancreatitis.
At Medcare’s General Surgery Centre, a specialist will recommend the right gallstones treatment for you. Some people who have gallstones don’t need treatment. The surgeon will determine whether you do, based on your symptoms and the findings from diagnostic tests.
You can discuss how to remove gallbladder stones without an operation – such as by medications that dissolve the stones. Or your doctor may recommend gallbladder stones surgery. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure that can be used to remove the gallbladder.
Gallbladder removal does not affect your life or your digestion. Gallstones in the bile duct do need to be removed even if there are no symptoms, and this is usually done by an endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP) procedure.
A: You can digest food properly without a gallbladder. Bile flows directly from the liver to the small intestine. After a gallbladder removal surgery, some patients have softer stools for a few days.
A: You can reduce your risk of gallstones by maintaining a healthy weight, eating the right foods and exercising. If you are trying to lose weight, lose it gradually and not rapidly, as that may cause gallstones.
The right gallbladder stones diet is one that is balanced and includes grains, vegetables, nuts and fibre. For gallstones, foods to avoid include sugar and carbohydrates. Coffee has been found to reduce the risk of gallbladder stones, so enjoy your cup.
A: A gallbladder removal surgery is called a cholecystectomy and it can be performed in two ways. If your surgeon has performed it by laparoscopy, then recovery is quite fast. You will be sent home from hospital once you can eat and drink without feeling pain, and able to walk comfortably.
If gallbladder is removed by an open surgery, you will require hospitalisation for a few days, and some days to rest at home before you can resume all your normal activities.