Gallstones removal is not always necessary, so it is important to learn when one should and should not seek medical treatment for his or her gallstones. Most people will develop gallstones at some point in their lives, but most of them will not require gallstones removal. Gallstones develop when cholesterol mixes with bile in the gallbladder. They may also form when the gallbladder is not working efficiently. Gallstones are usually incredibly small and therefore do not cause problems. They only become problematic when they are big enough to block a bile duct.
The most common symptom of having gallstones is pain in the abdominal area. There may also be pain along the upper right side of the back. The degree of the pain may fluctuate, and sometimes it gets more severe when the person is eating. Fever, chills and yellowing in the skin and eyes are other indicators that gallstones may be blocking the bile ducts. A person who is suffering from gallstones may fear that he is experiencing a heart attack. To be sure, he should consult a doctor right away.
The first test that the doctor will perform is an ultrasound. Ultrasounds are painless and non-invasive. Sometimes ultrasounds do not detect gallstones; a gallbladder scan may be performed if there is still reason to believe that gallstones may be present. A gallbladder scan requires that dye be injected into the patient so that the doctor can see and photograph the digestive system in more detail as the dye travels through those organs. People who have gallstones but do not experience any negative side effects as a result of having them may end up finding out about them when they are undergoing treatment for other health problems. It is very common for pregnant women to find out that they have gallstones during a fetal ultrasound.
If the gallstones are having no ill effect upon the patient’s health, gallstones removal probably will not be necessary. If the patient is only experiencing some mild pain, he or she will be prescribed a pain killer and will be told to consult his or her doctor if there is another bout of pain. Each incidence of pain is considered an “attack,” and if there is only one attack, the gallstones are deemed benign. If there is a second gallstones attack, the patient will be advised to have his or her gallbladder surgically removed. The gallbladder needs to be removed in circumstances like these because having a second attack means that the patient is likely to experience other attacks in the future.
Gallbladder removal is a safe laproscopic procedure. The surgical incisions are very small, and the patient usually makes a full recovery after one or two weeks. People can live healthily without having a gallbladder, so the patient will notice no change in his health or quality of life after having the gallstones removal surgery.
Women have nearly twice the risk of developing gallstones than men do, and that risk increases further over the age of 55. People who are overweight have a higher chance of having gallstones, as do people who have lost a great deal of weight over a very short period of time. Having had gastric bypass surgery is a major risk factor for the development of painful gallstones. This is because of the way that the surgery interferes with the natural process of food digestion. People who have low levels of good cholesterol and high levels of bad cholesterol may develop gallstones. Hereditary factors influence the likelihood that one will have gallstones. Pregnant women may develop them in the course of their pregnancies. Women on hormonal birth control may also develop gallstones. Certain illnesses like Crohn’s disease and sickle cell disease are predispositions for gallstone problems. For some reason, people of Hispanic and Native American descent have a higher occurrence of gallstones. Certain medications may cause the body to form gallstones. People who do not engage in much physical activity are at risk for gallstones as well.
To prevent gallstones from forming and requiring gallstones removal, one should make an effort to stay in a healthy weight range. He or she should also eat healthy meals at regular intervals. The goal is to keep the digestive system functioning properly so that the bile in the gallbladder is not triggered to form gallstones by any sudden changes. Whole grains, fiber and calcium are foods that contribute to the health of the gallbladder. Regular exercise is also a recommended way to reduce one’s risk of developing gallstones. Taking estrogen, either after menopause or as part of a birth control regimen, affects the development of gallstones, so this risk should be taken under consideration when making these medical decisions.
Gallstones Removal – The Conclusion
Unfortunately, these measures may not be enough to prevent gallstones from forming and causing pain. Even the tiniest of gallstones can cause big health problems. Gallstones removal may be necessary even if the gallstones are too small to be seen in a traditional ultrasound or scan. The pain of a gallstones attack can last for only a few minutes, or it can last for up to an entire day. Sign that gallstones removal should be considered is if the pain is severe enough to disrupt sleep and whether or not the pain increases during mealtimes. Gallstones can disrupt normal resting breathing, and they can turn the urine a dark brown color. It may be the case that the patient does not need gallstones removal but rather has heartburn, the flu or a serious liver problem. Some people mistake severe food poisoning for gallstones problems because they are not accustomed to that degree of painful digestive disruption. Gallstones removal is not necessary in any of these cases. Many people who suspect that they may need gallstones removal are actually just suffering from the flu, so people who fear that they need surgery should note whether or not other people around them appear to be sick with the flu as well before seeing a doctor.