Gallstones are solid structures composed of hardened digestive fluid called bile that form in the gallbladder. This fluid is secreted in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. During meals, the gallbladder contracts, releasing bile into the small intestine (duodenum). It can be attributed to an excess of cholesterol, bile salts, or bilirubin (a bile pigment). Gallstones vary in size, ranging from tiny to larger ones. Below, the best gastroenterologist doctor in Mukundapur has shed light on the causes, symptoms and treatments of gallstones.
Following are some of the causes of gallstone formation.
- Excessive cholesterol in the bile: Normally, the chemicals in your bile are sufficient to dissolve the cholesterol the liver produces. However, excess cholesterol secreted by the liver is not absorbed and may crystallize and eventually solidify into gallstones.
- Presence of excess bilirubin: Bilirubin is a chemical formed when red blood cells break down in your body. Conditions such as biliary tract infections, liver cirrhosis, and specific blood disorders can lead to an overproduction of bilirubin by the liver. The surplus bilirubin can be a contributing factor in the formation of gallstones.
- Accumulation of bile in the gallbladder: When your gallbladder fails to empty adequately or regularly, the bile can become highly concentrated, leading to the development of gallstones.
Sometimes, the presence of gallstones shows no signs. However, if it grows bigger and causes a blockage, it results in the following symptoms:
- Abrupt pain in the upper right area of your abdomen that escalates frequently
- Sudden intensifying pain in the middle of your abdomen, just beneath your breastbone
- Back pain located in between your shoulder blades
- Pain in your right shoulder
- Feelings of nausea or episodes of vomiting
Doctors assess the necessity for gallstone treatment depending on the symptoms and the reports from diagnostic tests. Top doctors from the best gastroenterologist clinic in Mukundapur suggest the following treatments for gallstones:
- Surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy): This option is recommended when gallstones reoccur and medicines fail to work. Post the procedure, in the absence of the gallbladder, bile reaches the small intestine directly.
- ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography): ERCP uses a dye to enhance the visibility of the bile ducts in X-ray images. A narrow, flexible tube with a camera attached on its end, known as an endoscope, is passed down the throat and into the small intestine. The dye is introduced into the ducts via a catheter, a hollow tube which is passed through the endoscope. If gallstones are identified, numerous balloons attached to the catheter are introduced into the ducts to remove the stones.
- Laparoscopic cholecystectomy: In this method, tiny “keyhole incisions” in the abdomen are made. Through one keyhole, the surgeon inserts the laparoscope, while the gallbladder is removed through another. The use of smaller incisions reduces pain post-surgery and helps in quicker recovery compared to traditional “open” surgery.
If you experience symptoms or have concerns about gallstones, seeking timely medical advice from a renowned gastroenterologist doctor is critical to ensure proper evaluation and personalized care.