What is a Gallstone?
A gallstone, (gôl"ston), is a lump of rock-like material that forms inside the gall bladder. Gallstones are formed as a result of precipitation of cholesterol and bile salts from the bile. Most bile is produced in the liver from cholesterol and concentrated in the gall bladder.
A person may have many gallstones. They usually range in size from a grain of sand to 1 or 2 inches.
***Gallstones and kidney stones are not related. They are formed in different areas of the body.
Symptoms of Gallstones
Often, there are no symptoms of gallstones. The gallstones lie quietly within the gall bladder and are usually found by chance. If a gallstone is obstructing the gall bladder, there will be severe pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. The pain will come and go in waves as strong muscular contractions. Strong muscular contractions occur because the body is trying to get rid of the obstruction. Other symptoms of gallstones are: mild pain under the right ribs. This pain usually occurs after eating fatty foods. It occurs after eating fatty foods because fat in the diet provokes a reflex contraction of the gall bladder.
Weight-loss dieting can present a risk factor for gallstones
Weight-loss dieting increases the risk of developing gallstones. People who lose a large amount of weight quickly are at greater risk than those who lose weight more slowly. Weight-loss dieting and gallstones.
How are Gallstones diagnosed?
Gallstones are usually diagnosed by an ultrasound. An ultrasound is a technique where a "picture" is taken by high frequency sound waves and gel.
Treatment for Gallstones
Most silent gallstones will not cause problems and go unnoticed. Sometimes gallstones may pass out of the body spontaneously. If the gallstones are causing pain, they can be removed by surgical procedures. If there is an infection, the infection can be treated by medication prescribed by your doctor.
If you think you may have a gallstone, contact your doctor immediately.
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