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Gall Bladder Disease

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Gallstones

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Gallstones

What is a Gallstone?

A gallstone, (gôl"ston), is a lump of rock-like material that forms inside the gall bladder. Gallstones are formed as a result of precipitation of cholesterol and bile salts from the bile. Most bile is produced in the liver from cholesterol and concentrated in the gall bladder.

A person may have many gallstones. They usually range in size from a grain of sand to 1 or 2 inches.

***Gallstones and kidney stones are not related. They are formed in different areas of the body.

Symptoms of Gallstones

Often, there are no symptoms of gallstones. The gallstones lie quietly within the gall bladder and are usually found by chance. If a gallstone is obstructing the gall bladder, there will be severe pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. The pain will come and go in waves as strong muscular contractions. Strong muscular contractions occur because the body is trying to get rid of the obstruction. Other symptoms of gallstones are: mild pain under the right ribs. This pain usually occurs after eating fatty foods. It occurs after eating fatty foods because fat in the diet provokes a reflex contraction of the gall bladder.

If there is complete obstruction of the gall bladder, infection of the gall bladder occurs. Symptoms of a complete obstruction are: fever and jaundice.

Weight-loss dieting can present a risk factor for gallstones

Weight-loss dieting increases the risk of developing gallstones. People who lose a large amount of weight quickly are at greater risk than those who lose weight more slowly. Weight-loss dieting and gallstones.

How are Gallstones diagnosed?

Gallstones are usually diagnosed by an ultrasound. An ultrasound is a technique where a "picture" is taken by high frequency sound waves and gel.

Treatment for Gallstones

Most silent gallstones will not cause problems and go unnoticed. Sometimes gallstones may pass out of the body spontaneously. If the gallstones are causing pain, they can be removed by surgical procedures. If there is an infection, the infection can be treated by medication prescribed by your doctor.

If you think you may have a gallstone, contact your doctor immediately.

Gallstone facts

  • It is estimated that about 20 million Americans have gallstones.
  • The incidence of gallstone formation increases with age, especially among women.
  • Approximately 10% of people in the United States have gallstones
  • Approximately 30% of patients with gallstones will require surgery Signs and symptoms of gallbladder disease... Include nausea, upper abdominal pain and bloating Mimic indigestion or heartburn Most usually occur after eating
  • Diabetics with gallstones tend to have more complicated gallbladder disease and should be refereed to a surgeon sooner than non-diabetics

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