Gallstones, also called Cholelithiasis, is a common problem, majorly occurring in women and people above the age of 40. Bile that is produced by liver is stored in gallbladder. Gallbladder contracts to release bile after meals to facilitate digestion.
Gallstones are formed from concentrated cholesterol, bilirubin or calcium carbonate in bile that make up hard stones. Symptoms may not occur or problem may not arise initially. They can block the exit from gallbladder and gallbladder may go into spasms and become inflamed. This condition is called cholecystitis.
- Intake of high dietary fats
- Hormone Replacement Therapy for women
- Family history
- Cirrhosis of liver
- Oral contraceptives
- High dose estrogen therapy
- Statins (Cholesterol lowering drugs)
- Lack of exercise
Most of the times gallstones are asymptomatic. If gallstone blocks a bile duct, intense pain in biliary colic or in between the bellybutton and breastbone, on the right hand side of abdomen, can occur. One may sweat or feel sick.
Murphy’s Sign Test where the doctor checks by tapping on the abdomen to find out whether it hurts due to gallbladder inflammation.
Blood test to check liver function
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan
Treatment of gallstones will depend on the symptoms. Non-surgical treatment includes a medicine called Ursodeoxycholic Acid to dissolve cholesterol-rich gallstones. A low cholesterol diet is recommended.
Lithotripsy is a treatment that use ultrasonic shock waves to break the calculus into smaller pieces, so that they can be passed out from the body. Complications may occur if smaller peices are left behind.
Surgical treatments are commonly recommended. Newer surgical treatments include Single-incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatolography (ERCP) aims to remove bile duct stones.
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Ursodeoxycholic Acid 300 Tablets