The liver in the human body produces bile that emulsifies the fat consumed for improved fat digestion. Half of the bile goes to the small intestine and half of the bile gets stored in the gall bladder until it is needed. Gall stones are formed when the bile in the gall bladder is stored for a long time and gets settled. Most of the gall stones dissolve naturally and do not show any symptoms. If it shows any warning symptoms and one ignores the symptoms, then the disease may progress affecting the pancreas to inflammation or the gallbladder is seriously infected leading to removal of the gall bladder to save one’s life.
Signs and Symptoms of Gall Stones:
1. Pain when the gall bladder is pressed located under the last rib on the right side on the same plane as nipple, This is caused due to sludge or thick bile.
2. Ultrasound test shows stone on a gall bladder
3. Loose greasy stools that float at the top of the toilet bowl indicating improper absorption of fat.
What causes gall stones?
Doctors think gall stones may form due to the following health factors:
1. Your bile contains too much cholesterol: Normally the bile contains necessary chemicals to dissolve the cholesterol excreted from the liver. If the liver excretes more cholesterol it may get crystallised into gall bladder stones
2. Your bile contains more bilirubin: It is produced when the red blood cells are broken by your body. Under certain conditions the liver makes more bilirubin that contributes to gall stone formation
3. You gall bladder does not empty the bile completely: If the gall bladder does not empty completely, the bile may get concentrated contributing to the formation of gall stones.
Factors that may increase the risk of gall stones:
1. Female and being age of 60 or older
2. You are an American Indian
3. You are an Mexican American
4. Being obese and over weight
5. Being pregnant
6. Consuming high fat diet
7. Taking high cholesterol diet
8. Consuming low fiber foods
9. Family history of gall stones exists
10. Diabetes patient
11. Losing weight very quickly
12. In take of cholesterol lowering medications
13. Intake of hormone therapy drugs like estrogen
Complications involved in Gall Stones:
1. Inflammation of the gall bladder. The gall stones get lodged in the neck of the gall bladder causing inflammation of the gall bladder (Cholesystitis). This may cause fever and severe pain.
2. Blocking of Bile duct: Gall stones formed can block the ducts or tubes through which the bile flows from the gall bladder to your small intestine. This results in bile duct infection and jaundice.
3. Blockage in the pancreatic duct: The duct in the pancreas is a tube that connects the pancreas and the bile duct. Pancreatic juices flow through this pancreatic duct. The gall stone can block the pancreatic duct leading to the inflammation of the pancreas.(Pancreatitis). This cause constant intense abdominal pain and requires immediate hospitalization.
4. Gall Bladder cancer: Patients with history of gall bladder stones have an increased risk of gall bladder cancer. But it rarely occurs. You can decline the risk of gall bladder surgery by being physically active and having a moderate amount of exercise. Women who spend 40 to 60 hours in a week sitting are 42% more likely to go for gallbladder surgery.