While not all gallstones are problematic, knowing more about them will allow you to take the appropriate measures for treatment.
The gallbladder is a very important organ below the liver that’s meant to store the bile that’s made directly by the liver. After some time, the stored bile is released into the small intestine. You can experience several different problems with your gallbladder, the most common of which is the development of gallstones.
What Are Gallstones?
Gallstones are essentially digestive fluid that has turned into hardened deposits. When gallstones develop within the gallbladder, they can vary significantly in size. It’s possible for gallstones to be smaller than a piece of salt or larger than a golf ball. While some individuals will only suffer from one gallstone, it’s possible to be affected by numerous gallstones at the same time, which can dictate what kinds of symptoms you experience. If ever you suffer from symptoms related to your gallstones, it’s likely that the gallbladder will need to be removed entirely.
How Do Gallstones Develop?
While there are some ideas on what causes gallstones to develop, the actual causes are currently unclear. It’s believed that the stones could form because the bile within the gallbladder is comprised of too much cholesterol. While bile is usually able to dissolve all of the cholesterol within, the liver may excrete more cholesterol than it’s supposed to. When this occurs, the extra cholesterol could turn into hardened deposits.
Your liver could also produce too much bilirubin, which can occur if you’re suffering from such health conditions as a biliary tract infection or liver cirrhosis. The final possible cause of gallstones occurs when the gallbladder doesn’t empty like it’s supposed to. When this takes place, the remaining bile can become highly concentrated, which causes gallstones to form.
Symptoms Attributed to Gallstones
If the gallstones that develop within your gallbladder are small, it’s possible that you won’t experience any symptoms, which means that further treatment is unnecessary. However, it’s possible for one of the gallstones to become lodged within a duct, which leads to a blockage. Some of the symptoms that you might experience with a blockage include pain within the right shoulder, vomiting or nausea, back pain around the shoulder blades, sudden pain just below the breastbone, and sudden pain in the right area of the abdomen.
Treatments Available for Gallstones
If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms and believe that you might be suffering from gallstones, the treatment options available to you include medications and surgery. However, the medications are typically only used for patients who are unable to undergo surgery. The main reason for this is because the gallstones can take months or even years to dissolve with the appropriate medications, which makes it a somewhat ineffective treatment.
As for surgery, this procedure will remove your gallbladder completely. By removing the gallbladder, the bile produced from the liver will be sent directly into the small intestine. The only notable change that occurs with gallbladder removal is that you will be at a somewhat greater risk of suffering from temporary diarrhea.