LISBON: The frequent recurrence of a
dull pain in the upper right section of your abdomen is the most common sign
that you might have gallstones. The pain often occurs after eating and can last
a few hours before it calms down. A gallbladder is a tiny organ that is present
below the liver and in the upper part of the abdomen. It is like a pouch that
stores green-yellow liquid called bile that enhances digestion. The bile helps
in turning cholesterol and fats into cholesteryl (a compound formed due to
hydroxyl replacement in cholesterol and carboxylate replacement in fatty acids)
to support digestion.
are hard deposits of digestive fluid that can occur in the gallbladder. 80% of
the gallstones are formed when there is excess cholesterol in the bile whereas
the other 20% of gallstones are made of calcium salts and bilirubin.
causes agllstones to form?
reasons why gallstones are formed are unknown, however, following are the
likely reasons that can cause gallstones:
Surplus cholesterol in the bile – Excess cholesterol that does not dissolve by
bile, results in the formation of yellow cholesterol gallstones
bilirubin in the bile – Surplus bilirubin production from liver damage or
certain blood disorders can produce dark brown/black gallstones
Concentrated bile – When the liver fails to empty the bile content, the bile
becomes overly concentrated which causes the development of gallstones
signs and symptoms to watch out:
general, gallstones may not have any signs or symptoms. If a gallstone causes a
blockage in duct it may result in following symptoms:
- Unexpected pain lasting
several minutes to a few hours, in the upper right and/or centre portion
of the abdomen
- Back pain between the
- Pain in your right shoulder
- Nausea or vomiting
the most common gallstones is cholesterol gallstones that are made up of
cholesterol. Cholesterol is one of the chemical substances that liver cells
produce into the bile. The liver eliminates surplus cholesterol by secreting it
into the bile.
is a fat and bile is a watery solution. If the liver fails to dissolve the
cholesterol, it leads to formation of gallstones in the gallbladder. The
relationship between gallstones and cholesterol is very evident as the level of
cholesterol determines the wellbeing of one’s health.
has principal functions in the body, but can also result in blocked arteries
and heart diseases if left untreated. There are two types of cholesterol –
high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which protects against heart diseases by
carrying cholesterol to the liver and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) leads to
heart related diseases. To bring the cholesterol under your control it is
important to make some lifestyle changes.
medical help if you experience pain or discomfort:
can be very painful and dangerous in some cases. In most cases, gallstones do
not always require treatment until and unless they cause pain and discomfort.
Some people pass gallstones without even noticing. If you are in too much pain,
then make a visit to your doctor. Gallstones can be removed through surgery and
in some rare conditions, this can be removed with the help of medications.
ongoing pandemic has restricted us to work from homes due to which people have
been following a very unhealthy lifestyle with less or no physical activity at
all. Ensure you follow a healthy diet and cut down on foods high in fats.
Maintaining a healthy weight and doing regular exercise will help improve
cholesterol levels which can avoid the risk of gallstones. Eventually, a
healthy diet for a gallbladder will result in good health in the long run.
Manas Ranjan Tripathi is a General and Laproscopic Surgeon at Apollo Spectra