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The Truth About Gallstones

Gallstones are kinds of hard masses that are made up of digestive fluids and develop in our gallbladder. This is a very common disorder which often affects a lot of people. There are two main types: gallstones made of cholesterol and those that are formed from bilirubin. Gallstones made of cholesterol are the most common kind. They often occur in pregnant women, overweight people, the elderly, and those who lose weight fast. Gallstone made of bilirubin normally form in individuals with liver diseases and in people who have blood illnesses such as sickle cell anemia and leukemia. There are now several treatments for gallstones and these include medications and the removal of the gallbladder.

The cause of gallstones is still not clear up to now, but it is known that excessive bilirubin in the bile or cholesterol in our body contribute in the formation of these stones. Another factor is the incomplete emptying of the gallbladder. There are also some risk factors that may increase the likelihood of gallstone formation and these include age (above 60 years old), family history, diabetes, obesity, having a sedentary lifestyle, use of medications that lower cholesterol, and lives diseases. The consumption of a high-fat, low-fiber, or a high-cholesterol diet may also raise a person’s chances to develop gallstones. Aside from that, women are more prone to the development of gallstones than men.

Gallstones may occur without symptoms. This situation, also referred to as silent gallstones, doesn’t really need treatment. However, if a gallstone blocks a certain duct, then this can cause a lot of symptoms which include rapid and sudden pain at the right quadrant of the abdomen, pain between the shoulders, vomiting, and nausea. If gallstones obstruct the duct of the gallbladder, this may lead to cholecystitis or the inflammation and swelling of the gallbladder. Cholecystitis may bring about fever, protracted pain, vomiting, and nausea. Gallstones may also cause an obstruction to the common bile duct, and this may later on lead to jaundice and the infection of the duct. Similarly, if a gallstone blocks the pancreas, this can cause inflammation of that organ or pancreatitis.

How is Gallstone Treated?

Symptomatic gallstones are normally treated with the removal of the gallbladder surgically. These days, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a procedure used in the removal of the gallbladder. Gallstones which are attached to the bile duct may be taken out by a procedure that is non-surgical, and this is known as ERCP or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography. There are also medications that act to dissolve the stones but they are not commonly used. For individuals who cannot have surgery, Electrohydraulic shockwave lithotripsy is a form of noninvasive technique used in the treatment of gallstones.

There are also herbal remedies that have been used in the treatment of gallstones. A popular natural cure for gallstone is lecithin. One should take one capsule of lecithin once a day with meals. Aside from that, a fiber-rich diet id also needed and the intake of foods high in saturated fats and bad cholesterol should be avoided.

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