Gallstones are hard stones made with digestive fluid in a gallbladder. The fluid passes through smoothly in a healthy Gallbladder and does not harden. Gallbladders are small, pear-shaped organs on the right side of your abdomen. They are just below the liver and hold an important function. The Gallbladder is like a storage site where bile sits before entering your stomach.
It is not uncommon to see individuals develop many Gallstones at once. Although it is common, not everyone with a Gallbladder will develop these tiny hard deposits. There is a lack of symptoms that don’t require treatment in most people. One Gallstone is not fatal.
Truthfully, experts are still studying and trying to understand the Gallbladder and the Gallstones that develop there. Some scientists believe that this condition is genetic. However, some studies prejudice that Gallstones could be related to dehydration.
Another cause is high cholesterol. When you have high cholesterol, it is due to a lousy diet with foods that are hard to digest. For instance, foods with high oil and fat contents are hard to digest and can cause an issue with the bile in your Gallbladder.
It is also possible that an excess of Bilirubin can develop Gallstones. Bilirubin naturally breaks down red blood cells, but abnormal levels can occur because of underlying conditions like blood disorders. Gallbladder trauma is also commonly seen because of Gallstones.
Symptoms You May Have
Not everyone experiences symptoms. Gallstones are commonly developed! However, a more significant issue arises as the deposits grow in size. Symptoms only occur if there is a blockage. Sometimes people go years with these stones without symptoms.
If they grow too big or continue developing, you can experience symptoms like:
- Intense pain in your Gallbladder.
- Sharp Pain all over your Abdomen
- High and Low Back Pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- A Lack of Bile
The symptoms are rarely life-threatening, but your condition can worsen without the proper treatment.
How to Get Diagnosed
If you notice any of the above-related symptoms and are concerned, you should seek a medical professional. This is especially important if you have jaundice or a high fever. If the pain is also severe, don’t wait it out as the Gallbladder can develop an infection if the blockage is severe.
An Abdominal Ultrasound uses sound signals with a transducer. The device moves across your abdomen to get a clear image of what is going on inside of your body, more specifically, your Gallbladder. Doctors often apply a cool gel to protect your stomach and get a better reading. The reading produces images and videos that can find masses and stones. It is the most common test when diagnosing Gallstones.
Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)
Doctors will recommend a EUS if the Ultrasound is inconclusive. Usually, the results are found during the first exam. If something is blocking your abdomen or Gallbladder, your doctor will insert a thin tube (endoscope) with a camera attached down your throat.
Although no one test can find if you have Gallstones, there are blood tests you can use as a process of elimination. Blood tests can discover underlying causes, complications or rule out other conditions that share the same symptoms.
Treating Your Gallstones
There is only one effective treatment that doctors will perform for their patients suffering from the effects of Gallstones: surgery. Humans can live without a Gallbladder. This organ is not necessary. Your Gallbladder is not essential to life; it is just an organ to store stomach bile. Bile can be directly stored in the liver and stomach, which means it is unnecessary to have a fully functioning Gallbladder.
Some adverse side effects can occur after receiving this surgery. However, the most common one is rarely reported. Some people experience diarrhea during the first few days after their surgery. The reason for the symptom is still unknown.
Prevention and Management
When managing the symptoms, it is best to drink lots of water. Since one of the most common Gallstones that are blocking the path of bile is vomiting, it can lead to dehydration. Ensure you are dehydrated at all times and receive an adequate and consistent source of hydration.
To prevent this condition, you can also make some significant lifestyle changes. For instance, since people with high cholesterol are at risk for Gallstones, eating a diet with low cholesterol can help prevent this health condition. A few easy foods that are low in cholesterol and high in nutrients include:
- Fresh Fruits
- Fresh Vegetables
Although adding fresher foods into your diet can decrease your chances of getting this condition, it is also possible to cut down on oil. An air fryer uses the circulation of air, for instance, to cook and crisp fries without oil.
It is also possible that exercise can lead to a lower chance of Gallstones. When you exercise, you pump hormones throughout your body that keep it active. Exercise also helps you lose weight. Since overweight and obese individuals are at a higher risk for this condition, exercise and weight loss can prevent Gallstones and Gallbladder conditions.
Living with and Preventing Gallstones
In conclusion, Gallstones develop as hard deposits in a person’s Gallbladder. The Gallbladder is a small organ that ranges in size depending on the person and holds bile for your stomach and liver. However, you can live without it.
When Gallstones develop quickly, it is not uncommon for people not to have symptoms. Usually, Gallstones don’t cause a problem until severe symptoms. Instead of treating them with surgery, however, some experts recommend preventative care. This includes eating a healthy diet and participating in regular exercise. A family history of Gallstones, be sure to note any significant changes and symptoms before your condition worsens!
- Can gallstones be fatal? If gallstones are left untreated they could result in life-threatening conditions which may include cholecystitis and sepsis.
- Can my gallstones go away without surgery? Yes. In most gallstone cases gallstones do go away without medical or surgical intervention, but if you are left with a serious case it is better to get it treated ASAP.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!