Gallstones: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Gallstones, also referred to as Chloelithiasis, are small, hardened stones deposited in the gall bladder or bile duct, and are formed from bile, bilirubin, and cholesterol. They are very common in people and usually have no symptoms. Women and older people are more likely to have gallstones. The size of a gallstone can vary from a size of a grain to that of a golf ball.
Several factors can raise the chances of them happening, including diabetes, birth control pills, and obesity. People having gallstones can experience pain in their upper belly (more likely on the right side, just below the ribs), nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, and other digestive problems. The majority of people get their gallstones removed, but in some cases, people prefer getting them dissolved with the help of medicines prescribed by a doctor.
Composition of Gallstones
The gallbladder is a greenish small organ found under the liver, on the right side of your body. It looks like a swollen pea pod. The gallbladder is responsible for storing and dispensing the bile — which is a liquid that helps in the digestion of fats. Bile is a combination of bilirubin, lecithin, cholesterol, and bile salts.
Gallstones occur in the gallbladder and are made up of hardened materials in your body. They are of two types, namely:
- Cholesterol: Cholesterol is found in the entire body and is composed of fatty substances in the blood. These are usually the most common types of gallstones.
- Pigment Stones: Made of bilirubin, pigment stones are formed when red blood cells break down in the liver. Excess of bilirubin can leak into the bloodstream and cause jaundice, turning your skin and eyes yellow.
Gallstones made up of cholesterol appear to be greenish. It is more common to have gallstones made up of cholesterol than any other stone type.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Pain in your back or right shoulder
- Pain in your upper abdomen, often on the right, just below your ribs
- Upset stomach
- Other digestive problems such as gas, indigestion, and heartburn
Seek immediate medical attention if you have signs of a serious infection or inflammation:
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Pain in the abdomen lasting several hours
- Dark urine and light-colored stool
- Fever and chills
The exact reason that causes gallstones isn’t known, but the following reasons are likely to cause it:
- Intake of too much cholesterol: Your body needs bile for digestion that also dissolves cholesterol. When it is unable to do that, it results in the formation of stones from the extra cholesterol.
- Too much bilirubin: Conditions such as cirrhosis, blood disorders, and infections result in the formation of too much bilirubin.
- Your gallbladder does not empty all the way, making your bile extremely concentrated.
Your doctor will ask you to go through a physical examination and might order tests such as:
- CT Scan: Specialized x-rays that allow your doctor to see inside your body.
- Blood Tests: They indicate signs of infection or blockage, to cancel out other conditions
- Ultrasound: This procedure involves taking images of the inside of your body.
- Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP): This test involves the use of a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to take pictures of the inside of your body.
- Cholescintigraphy (HIDA scan): This test ensures whether your gallbladder squeezes correctly. It is done by injecting a harmless radioactive material that reaches the gallbladder, the movement of which is then observed by a technician.
- Endoscopic Ultrasound: This test uses endoscopy and ultrasound to locate gallstones.
You are more at risk of developing gallstones if you:
- Are overweight
- Are a woman
- Have diabetes
- Have certain blood disorders
- Have Crohn’s disease
- Are over the age of 40
- Are on a diet that consists of fat and cholesterol
- Take drugs that lower cholesterol
- Have a family history of gallstones
- Take various medicines including oral contraceptives
- Have lost a large amount of weight over a short time
- Are of Native American or Mexican descent
Silent stones are not treated and should always be left alone. The majority of people have silent gallstones. If you experience symptoms, you will likely require treatment. The most common method of treating gallstones is to remove the gallbladder surgically through a procedure called a cholecystectomy. In almost 90% of cases, this surgical procedure can be carried out laparoscopically.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a minimally invasive (MI) treatment procedure that uses multiple small incisions rather than just one. A laparoscope is a tiny tube with a camera that is inserted through one incision. Your doctor can see your gallbladder on a TV screen as the laparoscope moves further. Your gallbladder is then removed through another smaller incision. This technique results in less pain and a faster recovery compared to the traditional procedure.
An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), on the other hand, is a minimally invasive procedure for removing gallstones found in the bile ducts. This procedure has to be carried out even when a patient experiences no symptoms. An endoscope is a tube-like tool that your doctor will insert into your digestive system during the treatment. The endoscope will take the following path:
- In the mouth.
- Into the throat.
- Through the stomach.
- Into the duodenum, which is the beginning of the small intestine, wherein the common bile duct empties its bile.
Once inside, the endoscope removes any blockages in the bile duct.
Grocare’s Natural Ayurvedic Treatment for Treating Gallstones
The Gallstone kit by Grocare India works to reduce the oxidative stress on the liver and gall bladder, thereby regulating the systematic production of bile. They work in synchronization to reduce acid reflux and bloating, which helps dissolve the gallstones naturally.
Made with the richness of natural herbs, GC®, Xembran®, Seosis®, and Acidim® are natural ayurvedic medicines that work together to reduce pain and discomfort of the gallbladder, bloating, acid reflux, and maintain the pH levels in the body, all the while strengthening the digestive system to help provide comfort from gallstone naturally.
GC® is an ayurvedic medicine that was designed in such a way that it strengthens immunity and restores normal liver functions. The ingredients help stimulate the secretion of growth factors to restore the liver cells. The tablet is rich in anti-oxidants and also has anti-cholestatic and liver-protective properties, which work in harmony to promote a healthy gallbladder and liver.
Xembran® is a potent natural bio-herb that is known to control H. Pylori bacteria in the stomach, which is one of the significant causes of gallstone, according to scientific studies. This product contains a complex combination of several powerful herbs that helps kill other pathogenic bacteria and restores natural gut microflora, thereby strengthening the overall digestive and gastrointestinal systems.
GC® and Acidim® together strengthen the gall bladder and liver by reducing the oxidative stress, thereby enabling the gallstones to dissolve naturally. Moreover, these medicines help in reducing the size of the gallstone in patients naturally over time.
One tablet of GC® should be taken twice a day (post breakfast and dinner), two tablets of Seosis® should be taken a day twice (post breakfast and dinner), one tablet of Xembran® should be taken twice daily (post-dinner), and two tablets of Acidim® should be taken a day twice (post breakfast and dinner), respectively. All the tablets should be taken together with meals. The tablets should be taken for 6-8 months or as prescribed by the doctor, until complete recovery. If taken within the prescribed dosage, GC®, Xembran®, Seosis®, and Acidim® do not cause any known side-effects.
Individuals can see the benefits within a month of the kit's usage, in the form of smooth bowel movements, reduced pain and discomfort, and a reduction in regurgitation, acid reflux, and bloating. Results may vary depending on the severity of the condition, age, diet, and lifestyle. However, patients can observe significant changes in the size of their gallstone from the 4th month onwards. Patients are provided with a diet chart along with the Gallstone kit.