Gallstones or Gall Bladder Stones is a common condition of the gallbladder, which is a is a small saclike organ in the upper right part of the abdomen just below the liver. Gallstones are solid particles that form from bile cholesterol and bilirubin in the gallbladder. Gallstones can be any size, from tiny as a grain of sand to large as a golf ball.
The gallbladder which is part of the biliary system (including liver and pancreas) stores bile juice to aid digestion of fatty foods. Some changes in the bile juice can lead to gallbladder stones. Gallstones can be one large stone or many small stones or a combination of both.
People who are likely to develop gallstones, or the common causes of gallstone formation are:
Gallstones within the gallbladder often cause no problems, but if they move and cause blockage of bile, then it can trigger pain in the right upper abdomen. It normally happens with a fatty meal, when the bile responds to it. Prolonged blockage of bile can lead to serious health issues such as inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) and pancreas (pancreatitis). Inflammation of the gallbladder or pancreas can cause severe pain. Some obvious symptoms are:
There is no medical cure for gallstones, though removal of complicated gallstones can be done surgically. Surgical treatment of gallbladder is the best treatment if a person experiences symptoms. The usual treatment is surgical removal of the gallbladder also called cholecystectomy.
The removal of gallbladder does not obstruct the flow of bile from the liver to the small intestine.
Most gallbladders are removed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This involves making a small slit in the abdomen, in which a small tube-like instrument with a camera and surgical instruments attached to it, is inserted to remove the gallbladder with stones in it.
In some situations where the patient is not suitable for the laparoscope, the gallbladder is removed through a 3 to 6-inch incision in the right upper abdomen. The open procedure is usually performed if the biliary tract is infected.
If you are experiencing recurring episodes of severe abdominal pain within an hour after a meal or suffering from fever, vomiting, jaundice, chills or sweats, you must seek immediate medical attention or an emergency appointment.