Gallbladder and Gallstones
My wife had problems with her gallbladder and gallstones causing her to have many painful attacks. These attacks would happen at least once a week without warning and would almost totally disable my wife because of the pain. After going to the doctor for a series of visits and insuring that gallstones was the only thing responsible for the attacks of pain. The doctor after trying to see if he could treat the problem and cause the stones to pass he opted to go ahead and take out the gallbladder.
The gallbladder is an organ that looks like a sack and is located behind the liver. The gallbladder stores bile fluid that is manufactured by the liver. The gallbladder also helps to digest fats as it passes through the gallbladder.
Gallstones are formations of small crystals of cholesterol of bile salts. The stones may be as big as a pecan or as small as a grain of sand. An acute gallstone attack is called cholecystitis and this happens when a stone becomes wedged in a bile duct. This stone wedges itself in the duct that carries bile from the gallbladder to the intestines.
Eating a large high fat meal is often responsible for triggering a gallstone attack. You have to be x-rayed and have an ultrasound to locate where the stone or stones are at in the gallbladder. Sometimes medication will dissolve the stones but may take a long period of time to dissolve them fully.
If you have an acute attack get bed rest, avoid eating, and take aspirin for the pain and discomfort. If you have these attacks on a regular basis or if and attack last more than three hours you need to see your doctor. If you have these recurrent attacks of the gallbladder your doctor may want to remove the gallbladder.
Most of the time when an acute attack happens the stone will pass through the duct into the intestines and the pain will go away. If a stone gets stuck in the common duct that serves the gallbladder and liver it can block all bile flow. If this happens jaundice will set in and cause liver damage if the stone doesn’t move by itself or isn’t removed by surgery.
Gallstones are not normally dangerous but if a gallstone gets stuck in a bile duct it can cause infection and inflammation of the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas.
Symptoms of gallstones sudden pain, pain in upper abdomen on the right side, pain may spread to back and under the right shoulder blade, fever, chills, and vomiting may occur.
Things you can do to avoid gallstones are lose weight, avoid large high fat meals, stay away from foods that give you indigestion, and reduce your cholesterol.
Following a vegan, vegetarian diet or the Mediterranean diet can be of great help. Obesity and a high fat diet are the main causes of gallstones. Also, going on fad diets is not a good idea either. Losing weight slowly should help, by eating a healthy low fat diet. Diets full of animal fats can increase the likelihood of gallstones and gallbladder problems. Too much sugar is another problem, so try to stay away from sugary drinks and products, which also includes white starchy products like refined pastas and donuts. Try to use whole wheat pasta and bread instead.
Exercise can really help, even if it is just walking or using a stationary bike. Any exercise is better than no exercise.
If you should feel more and more pain in the upper right side of your abdomen, see a doctor soon. The longer it continues, the worse it could become, which could require removal of your gallbladder. Always seek out medical help when you are concerned about your gallbladder.
Other Risks for Gallbladder Problems
Women especially can be at risk for gallbladder problems if they take birth control pills and or hormone replacement therapy medications. Cholesterol lowering drugs also can cause stress on the gallbladder.