Gallstones: Types, Causes, Risk, Symptoms, Treatment, and Diet
Let’s start with Gallbladder! The gallbladder is an important organ in our body. It assists the digestive process by collecting bile and discharging it in the small intestine when food enters. Gallstones (stones in Gallbladder) are tiny pieces of stones formed inside the gallbladder.
What Are the Types of Gallstones
There are the following two types of Stones in Gallbladder:
1. Cholesterol Stones
The color of cholesterol stones is generally green and yellow. Almost 80% of stones in the gallbladder are cholesterol stones.
2. Pigment Stones
As compared to cholesterol stones, the size of pigment stones is smaller and the color of these stones is darker. These stones are not so commonly found in Gallbladder.
What Are the Causes of Stones in Gallbladder?
There can be many reasons for gallstones which differ from person to person. Mentioned below are three common causes of stones in the gallbladder:
- Bile contains an excess of cholesterol. Usually, bile holds enough chemicals to dissolve cholesterol excreted by the liver. But, if, for any reason, the liver excretes extra cholesterol than what your bile can dissolve, then that extra cholesterol first becomes crystal and then becomes hard, thus called as stones.
- If the gallbladder doesn’t empty properly, then there are chances of the formation of gallstones.
- Diseases like cirrhosis, biliary tract infections, and certain blood disorders case Gallstones in which bile contains a surplus of Bilirubin. It can lead to the formation of Pigment Stones.
What Are the Risk Factors for Gallstones?
Apart from the above-mentioned three causes of gallstones, there are some other risk factors for gallstones.
There are more chances for stones in the gallbladder of the people whose ancestors have had the same disease.
Obesity leads to a rise in cholesterol levels in the body and also sometimes interferes with gallbladder function for emptying it.
3. Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills can cause a high level of oestrogens (estrogens). Pregnant women, who take birth control pills, have high chances of increased cholesterol in their bodies. This ultimately leads to the formation of stones in the gallbladder.
Gallstones are a common problem among old age people.
What Are the Symptoms of Gallstones?
Stones in Gallbladder are known as silent stones as they often don’t cause any symptoms. A person gets to know about gallstones generally when he gets himself examined for any other diseases. Still, there are some symptoms like:
- Severe pain occasionally in the upper back and upper abdomen
- Gastrointestinal problems like indigestion, heartburn and bloating
What Are the Treatments for Gallstones?
The traditional treatment for gallstones is generally comprised of taking out gallbladder via surgery, known as Open Cholecystectomy. But the newer procedure, known as Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, is more often used these days.
In this treatment option, a surgeon looks inside of the body through a camera passed inside the body via several tiny cuts in the abdomen. It is majorly used in gallbladder removals. After this surgery, patients have to stay at the hospital for a few days.
It is a more intensive procedure in which a doctor takes out the whole gallbladder via a single big cut in the abdomen. But it is now a less preferred treatment. A patient whose gallbladder is removed has no issue in their body after the surgery. It’s because humans can live without a gallbladder. The only thing you should take care of is to avoid certain food items after your gallbladder removal.
Food to Take and Not to Take After You Have a Gallstone Surgery
Once your gallstone surgery is over, you have to mainly intake liquids like broth and gelatin for a few days. You can slowly transit to solid food items when you start feeling better. Your gallbladder used to break-down fats from your body, but now when it is removed, you have to take care not to consume fatty foods, else you may experience bloating, diarrhea, and gas.
Listed below are some food items that you need to avoid if you have had gallstones:
- Fried foods like potato chips, french fries, etc.
- Dairy products containing high fat like cream, whole milk, cheese, etc.
- Junk foods like Pizza, burger, etc.
- Food with extra butter and cheese.
- Chocolates and sauces.
- High fibre foods like Cereals, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Legumes, etc.
You may have severe pain due to Gallstones, and this may affect your mind and body badly. If you feel low and unhappy, it may be a sign of depression. Check out our post on Depression Awareness: Signs, Causes, Types & Treatments to get help to overcome such situations.
Do let us know in the comment box below what other symptoms of gallstones you know and what specific food items your doctor advised you to avoid after your gallbladder treatment.