Gallstones: Definition, Types, Symptoms, Causes
Gallstones are hardened or solid deposits of digestive fluid that form in the gallbladder, which is a small pear-shaped organ that is located beneath the liver, to the right of the abdomen. This organ is responsible for storing and releasing bile, a digestive fluid, into the small intestine, thereby aiding digestion. Bile also carries bilirubin and cholesterol, which are waste products that the body produces while breaking down RBCs. These waste products can lead to the formation of gallstones.
Gallstones can be as large as a golf ball as well as the size of a grain of sand. The number of gallstones may vary from person to person; some people may develop just one gallstone, whereas others may develop multiple gallstones at the same time. A person may not know that they have a gallstone until it blocks a bile duct, which then causes pain and requires immediate treatment.
Types of Gallstones
Cholesterol stones are the most common and can be yellow-green in color.
Pigment stones are made of bilirubin and are usually smaller and darker.
Symptoms of Gallstones
In certain cases, gallstones may cause no symptoms or signs. However, when gallstones cause blockages by getting lodged in ducts, the resulting symptoms may include the following.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sudden and quickly intensifying pain in the upper right abdomen
- Back pain between shoulder blades
- Sudden and intense feeling pain in central abdomen, below the breast bone
- Pain in the right shoulder
- Upset stomach
- Digestive problems such as heartburn, gas, and indigestion
Causes of Gallstones
- Excessive cholesterol content in bile
Bile generally contains enough chemicals to dissolve the cholesterol that is excreted by the liver. In certain cases, the liver excretes excess cholesterol that is not dissolved by the bile and can form into crystals, which eventually turn into stones.
- Excessive bilirubin content
Bilirubin is produced when the body breaks down RBCs. In certain conditions such as liver cirrhosis, certain blood disorders, or biliary tract infections, the liver produces excess bilirubin. This excess amount of bilirubin contributes to the formation of gallstones.
- Improper emptying of the gallbladder
When the gallbladder does not empty often enough or completely, bile can become very concentrated, which contributes to gallstone formation.
- Being female
- Being over the age of 40
- Being sedentary
- Being diabetic
- Being overweight
- Being Native American
- Being of Mexican origin
- Being pregnant
- Consuming a low-fibre diet
- Consuming a high-fat diet
- Consuming a high-cholesterol diet
- Suffering from liver disease
- Suffering from blood disorders such as leukaemia or sickle cell anaemia
- Quick weight loss
- Having a family history of gallstones
- Consuming medicines comprising estrogen
Complications of Gallstones
- Gallbladder inflammation
When girls don't get lodged into the neck of the gallbladder, it can cause inflammation, which is known as cholecystitis. Cholecystitis can lead to fever and severe pain.
- Common bile duct blockage
Gallstones can block the bile ducts originating from the gallbladder or liver to the small intestine. This can result in bile duct infection, jaundice, and severe mean.
- Pancreatic duct blockage
The pancreatic duct originates in the pancreas and connects to the common bile duct, just before the duodenum. This tract allows the flow of pancreatic juices that aid in digestion. Pancreatic duct blockage can lead to Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), thereby causing constant and intense abdominal pain, which requires hospitalization.
- Gallbladder cancer
People who have a history of gallstones are at an increased risk of gallbladder cancer.
Grocare’s® Ayurveda Treatment of Gallstones
Grocare's® Gallstone Kit helps in regulating systemic bile production and reducing stress on the liver and gallbladder. This kit also helps in strengthening the digestive system by reducing bloating and acid reflux, thereby dissolving gallstones naturally.
The kit rejuvenates liver and gallbladder synchronisation and helps regenerate the liver. It reduces the formation of excess bile salts, bilirubin, and cholesterol. It maintains and restores H pylori, natural gut microflora and other pathogenic bacteria, which is a common reason for gallstone formation. The combination of substances reduces oxidative stress on the liver and gallbladder, thereby strengthening the organs and dissolving gallstones naturally.