What are Gallstones?
Hard deposits inside the gallbladder are referred to as gallstones. They can lurk inside the gallbladder and at times, it goes unnoticed for a long period. They comprise of salt, cholesterol and bilirubin (discarded RBC). They can be either very small in size or be as big as an apricot.
It is not possible to prevent gallstones from occurring, however, one may reduce the risks by:
- Adopting a balanced diet
- Taking meals in a timely manner
- Drinking adequate amount of water keeping the body hydrated
- Not losing over two pounds a week
Causes of Gallstones
- Individual Genes
- Associated problems with the gallbladder
- High content of cholesterol in bile (80% of the cases)
- Pigment stones due to medical conditions like anemia or cirrhosis
- Hardening or crystallization of the bile
Types of Gallstones
|Cholesterol Stones||Pigment Stones||Mixed Stones|
Risk Factors for Gallstones
- High cholesterol diet
- Sudden weight loss
- Deficiency of fiber rich diet
- Diabetes mellitus
- Family history of Gallstones
- Above the age of 60
- Having Cirrhosis
- Medications for reducing cholesterol
- High estrogen medications
Gallstones Symptoms & Stages
A person may not experience any symptom when having a gallstone. A research conducted by the American College of Gastroenterology revealed that approximately in 80% of the gallstone cases, people do not feel any pain at all. However, some of the gallstones symptoms are:
|Asymptomatic Stage||Formation of Gallstones|
|Symptomatic Stage||Pain when eating fast food, fatty meals or fried foods. Pain can last from 30 minutes to a few hours.|
|Complicated Stage||Gallbladder is blocked by the gallstone & bile movement is difficult. Needs emergency medical attention.|
Doctors conduct physical examination that involves eye and skin checkups to detect any visible changes to the color. A yellowish tint may reflect jaundice. Some tests performed to diagnose gallstones include:
- Ultrasound: Imaging method that takes images of abdomen and confirms the presence of gallstones.
- Abdominal CT Scan: Imaging test taking pictures of liver and the region around the abdomen.
- Blood tests: Tests done to ascertain the quantity of bilirubin in the blood. Helps in determining if the liver is functioning properly.
- Radionuclide Scan: An important scan taking over an hour involves injection of radioactive substance inside the veins. It travels through the blood and into the liver. It further enters the gallbladder and helps in detecting any kind of blockage or infection inside any of the two organs.
How to get rid of gallstones? – Treatment
Depending on the damage, a doctor may opt for any of the following treatments:
- Gallstones Removal through Surgery: A laparoscopic gallbladder is done by making 2-3 incisions inside the abdomen. General anesthesia is applied before making a small insertion using a lighted device to carefully remove the gallbladder. Just like the appendix, a person can live a healthy life even if the gallbladder is removed.
- Gallbladder stone removal without surgery: Drugs that dissolve the gallstones is given to people who cannot be operated. It may take a few years for complete elimination of the gallstone. There are chances of regeneration of the gallstone in future.
Gallstones Surgery Side Effects
After a surgery, the bile becomes less concentrated as it does not pass through the gallbladder. The bile is rerouted from the liver to the small intestine and may have a laxative effect causing diarrhea. A post gallbladder surgery diet should include:
- Low fat intake by avoiding high fat, fried and greasy food.
- Include high fiber food as it facilitates better bowel movement.
- Avoid intake of food or drink that can cause diarrhea. It includes high fat dairy products, high sugary food, and caffeine.
- Have several small meals instead of large ones every day. Facilitates easier digestion.
Dissolve Gallstones Naturally: 8 Most Effective Ways
Passing gallstones or eliminating it completely is possible by following some home remedies mentioned below:
|Apple Cider Vinegar||Option1: One tablespoon with a glass of apple juice.|
Option 2: One tablespoon with lemon juice & warm water.
|Lemon Juice||Option 1: Squeeze 4 lemons & drink it in empty stomach. Drink a glass of water after a couple of minutes.|
Option 2: Drinking 4 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed in warm water for a few weeks.
|Dandelion (Not recommended for diabetic patients)||Option 1|