Gall Stones Symptoms

Gall stones symptoms are said to be as painful as childbirth. If you have been having pain in your abdomen and even your mid upper back, you may have gallstones. Read on to find our the symptoms and more.

Gallstones are said to be as painful as childbirth. If you have been having pain in your abdomen and even your mid-upper back, you may have gallstones. Although gallstones have the potential of being dangerous, with treatment they are preventable and treatable. So, here we ask the question, "What are gallstones?"

To know what gallstones are, we first have to know what our gallbladder is and what its function is in the body. The gallbladder is one of the expendature organs in the digestive system, as well as the liver and pancreas. All three of these organs assist in the process of digestion by contributing specific secretions called enzymes. These enzymes are absolutely essential for normal digestion. The gallbladder itself is a pear shaped sac that sits under the liver. The function of the gallbladder is to store and concentrate bile and release it into the duodenum during the process of digestion.

Cholecystitis is defined as the inflammation of the gallbladder. Cholecystitis is more common in women than men and obese people and/or people, such as handicapped or elderly, who cannot get around as well or are immobile are more likely to be affected by this disorder, and it is also more common in pregnant women and in diabetics. Cholecystitis, or gallbladder inflammation or infection can be caused by an obstruction which would be gallstones. Because the bile cannot leave the gallbladder, the bile builds up, and becomes concentrated, irritating the gallbladder. About 10% of people in the United States have gallstones, and about 6000 people per year, die from it. Stones are composed primarily of cholesterol, bilirubin and calcium. They may be large in size, measuring inches across, or very small, almost microscopic. Of course the larger they are, the more painful they will be.

The cause of gallstones is not completely understood. It is generally believed that gallstones form when the bile excreted by the liver is abnormally high in cholesterol. Individuals with high cholesterol may therefore, be predisposed to developing gallstones.

When the stone is pushed from the gallbladder into the bile duct, it causes extreme pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. This pain is called biliary colic. Biliary colic comes and goes in waves of pain like spasms. The pain may spread to the right shoulder and to the back between the shoulder blades. If the stone stays stuck, the gallbladder gets inflamed and becomes infected. Other symptoms include:

decreased appetite

severe pain, especially after eating fatty meal

nausea and vomiting

low grade fever

taking deep breaths may make pain worse

abdominal distention

flatulence (gas)

elevated cholesterol level

Note that people may have mild attacks, and ignore them until he becomes jaundice, which by then, there should be substantial pain. In an acute attack, there will be nausea and possibly vomiting and severe pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. When there is severe pain there are usually also symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, profuse sweating and severe upper right quadrant pain.

Gallstones are routinely discovered when doing routine chest xrays. Some mild attacks may be treated with oral medications. And unless there are symptoms, sometimes nothing is done. These medicines dissolve the stones over years. Surgery is done to remove gallstones when there is recurrent pain and stones. Some doctors feel surgery should be done on acute (infected) gallstones to prevent rupture, like an appendix. Others believe its best to wait until the acute attack subsides. In gallbladder surgery or a cholecystectomy, an incision is made just under rib cage in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. Another method uses a laparoscope, which is less invasive procedure. The incisions of much smaller and recovery time is quicker. Prevention entails eating low fat diet and watch you choleserol level.

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