Gallstones medical term: is a short term for gallbladder stones. The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ located underneath the liver. The gallbladder contains bile, which our body uses to dissolve the fat we eat.
Gallstones is a common condition in middle aged persons and older. By age 65, 20% of women and 10% of men have gallstones.
Who are at risk? One common codeword is the 4F’s, which means that females up to forty years old, who are frequently fat, and flatulence (a lot of gas) are the ones who develop gallstones, also males and younger people may have gallstones.
Gallstones come in a variety of sizes. They can be small, usually one to two centimeters in diameter. You can have one stone or several stones.
How do gallstones form in the body?
There are several types of gallbladder stones. The most common ones are cholesterol stones (80%), followed by calcium stones (15%), then uric acid stones (5%). Obviously, if your blood cholesterol is high, you are prone to have cholesterol stones. Calcium gallstones may be caused by rapid weight loss or some unclear reason.
Read more: 12 drinks that boost gallbladder health
What are the gallstones symptoms? What are the complications?
Some patients with gallbladder stones do not feel anything and these are just discovered incidentally by an ultrasound scan. These “silent” stones usually require no treatment.
However, if you have symptoms, you could experience abdominal pain, which some describe as colicky (off and on) and radiating to the back. The pain may increase by an intake of a fatty meal, which stimulates the gallbladder to release bile.
Once you develop abdominal pains, then it is best to remove these it by gallbladder stones surgery. Pain relievers may help relieve the pain but they don’t treat them so eventually an operation is needed. If left untreated, complications may occur such as blockage of the stone in the pancreatic duct or common bile duct, or gallbladder inflammation. Once this occurs, an emergency operation is needed.
What are the other diseases may be mistaken for gallstones?
The best test to diagnose gallstones is An ultrasound. However, since organs are located near the gallbladder, several conditions may be causing the abdominal pain. Hence, we should rule out other disorders such as:
Heart disease with chest pains.
Ulcer or heartburn.
Simple tests such as an chest x-ray and electrocardiogram can help clarify the diagnosis.
How are gallstones treated? What is a lap-chole or a laparoscopic gallbladder stones surgery?
If there are no big gallstones symptoms, most doctors would not advise surgery. Just be careful with your diet and watch. However, if there are episodes of pain in your abdominal, then gallstones are best removed surgically.
What is Cholecystectomy:
This term used to describe the surgical procedure of removing the gallbladder. Usually, the surgeon makes a small opening in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder. Hence we call this procedure as the Open-Cholecystectomy.
There is a newer surgical technique now that just makes a few punctures and removes the gallbladder using video-guided equipments. This is called laparoscopic gallbladder stones surgery. The advantage of this technique is that it leaves no scar in the abdomen and the patient recovers more quickly. Ask your doctor about these options.
Are there drugs that can dissolve gallstones?
Many people are afraid of gallbladder stones surgery and they try to look for medical means to get rid of the stones. Unfortunately, none of these medications or food items are reliable in removing the stones in your gallbladder.
Some drugs have been used to treat stones, such as ursodeoxycholic acids. These drugs are taken for up to 2 years, and there is no guarantee that they would treat stones.
What about alternative medicine? Are there natural foods that can dissolve gallstones?
The answer is “no.” There is no truth to the so-called “gallbladder flush.” Despite the internet popularity of so-called remedies such as Mint, lemon juice and olive oil, there is no evidence that it works. I have talked with many doctors who say that despite these remedies, their patients will come back with the same number of gallbladder stones. In some cases, the stones actually got bigger and increased in number in your gallbladder. Thus, do not rely on these remedies. See your doctor for the correct treatment.
How do you prevent gallstones?
There are no surefire ways to prevent gallstones, but the advices below are our best bets.
Eat a low fat diet and high fiber:
A gallstones diet rich in vegetables and fruits may help prevent more gallstones from forming. Choose fish instead of meat products.
Maintaining an ideal body weight:
Obesity increases the risk of developing gallbladder stones.
Lose excess weight but do it gradually:
Employing a crash diet and losing several pounds for your body quickly may actually cause gallbladder stones.
This is because when the body fat is mobilized too quickly, this can cause cholesterol stones in yours.
So, lose weight safely, by around 1 to 2 pounds only per week this is the best gallbladder diet.
Start exercising regularly:
Exercise and walking can help maintain a healthy and active digestive system.
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