Gallbladder is located adjacent to the liver. It secretes and stores bile, a greenish liquid which plays an important role in the process of digestion. Bile helps with the assimilation of fats, and vitamins. Therefore, unlike the tiny size of gallbladder, it plays a huge role in the proper functioning of the human body. Any malfunction therein is –no wonder—a huge problem for the body.
What are Gallstones?
Infections and all other sort of diseases can cause the gallbladder to malfunction. However, at the top of the list are, the gallstones. These stones are formed as bile gets congealed and clumped, due to which crystals are formed. Gallstones are composed of cholesterol, calcium salts and bilirubin.
The exact causes of gallstones are not known. It is assumed that high cholesterol or high levels of bilirubin are the culprits responsible for this condition. Furthermore, the problem with gallstones is that it they cannot be diagnosed unless the pain becomes prominent, as it is possible to be asymptomatic otherwise. One then needs to get an ultrasound in Lahore to be sure of the disease.
Symptoms of Gallstones
Some people are asymptomatic, but even then, the pain that generally emanates is on account of the movement of the bile and the contraction of gallbladder, and not the stones per se. However, in rest of the patients, gallstones may progress to a very agonizing stage.
Gallstones cause pain in the upper right abdomen; just where the liver is. It may get worse when more fatty food is consumed, as it stimulates the secretion of bile, the movement then leads to the pain in the region. Other symptoms that accompany this condition include nausea and vomiting. The pain also may radiate as far back as the right shoulder too. Furthermore, fever, diarrhea and darker colored urine also occur in this condition.
Also, gallstones also can cause other complications and diseases as well. Pancreatitis, the inflammation of pancreas, can also be induced by gallstones. The symptoms of this condition include abdominal pain, vomiting, jaundice, fever etc.
Similarly, gallstones can cause inflammation in the duct or gallbladder, resulting in similar painful state. The symptoms of these diseases are also similar to other gallstones induced problems.
Who is at risk?
There are different factors that contribute towards gallstones. Women are more at risk of developing gallstones due to their hormones. The hormone estrogen increases the amount of cholesterol in bile. As the quantity of estrogen is higher in pregnant women, hence, pregnancy is another risk factor. Sometimes, hormonal contraceptive pills also cause increased propensity towards gallstones.
Likewise, obese people are also at higher risk of suffering from gallstones. This is also caused due to the increased amount of estrogen produced in obese people. Certain diseases and conditions also increase the risk for gallstones like diabetes, spinal injuries, cirrhosis etc. Gallstones also have origins in genetics, so some people have hereditary predisposition towards developing gallstones.
Fad diets and anything that causes drastic decrease in weight also incurs the risk of gallstones. Dietary habits otherwise are also very important as well; eating fatty foods and a diet rich in bad cholesterol increases the probability of developing gallstones.
What can we do?
If someone has been experiencing these symptoms, and have some of the risk factors enlisted above, it is best for them to visit a doctor. An ultrasound in Karachi might also be helpful in ascertaining the condition. Depending on the severity of the disease, the doctor might prescribe medication or might even have to remove the gallbladder altogether.
If left untreated, gallstones can be painful. Moreover, they also cause serious complications which affect the peripheral organs too. Rather than allowing the condition to aggravate, get medical help immediately.