Wednesday, 14 March 2012

For Gallstone Sufferers: Is Gallbladder Surgery Really Necessary?

You may have been contemplating on whether you should undergo gallbladder surgery or not. You are probably sick of feeling a lot of pain in your upper abdominal area, chest pains, back pains, flatulence, nausea, weight gain, headaches, and diarrhea. Is taking out your gallbladder the only solution?

Gallbladder Surgery Pros

The gallbladder is not necessary for survival. It stores bile that is produced by your liver. After cholecystectomy (the removal of the gallbladder), the liver will still produce bile, which will flow through the hepatic duct, to the bile duct, and into the small intestines. The only difference is that when you eat a fatty meal, the gallbladder secretes extra bile to help with the digestion of fat. However, the body is usually able to adjust to this change without any major problems.

Gallbladder Surgery Cons

Occasionally, patients have the original symptoms again after cholecystectomy. The return of the symptoms can range anywhere from weeks to years, if they happen at all.

These symptoms occur because the excess cholesterol in your liver can cause crystallization in the bile duct or the liver itself. The symptoms that may reoccur are: mild discomfort in the digestive area to intense abdominal pain. Increased flatulence, an irrated bowel, upper abdominal pain (which is where the gallbladder was once located), and s gain or a loss in weight. If a gallstone forms and blocks the bile duct, it may result in jaundice, a condition where bile is forced into the blood stream and causes the whites of your eyes and your skin to turn yellow.

The function of the gallbladder is to store bile. When one undergoes gallbladder surgery, the liver allows the flow of bile into the small intestines more frequently, causing diarrhea in a very small population of about 1 percent. Some individuals will not be able to eat very fatty foods after undergoing cholecystectomy.

For some individuals, the symptoms may even increase in frequency. The return of gallstones can be removed by a gastroenterologist successfully using the ERCP procedure. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is a technique that uses fluoroscopy and endoscopy to help diagnose and treat problems in the biliary or pancreatic systems.

Gallbladder Surgery Alternatives

One non-surgical treatment is to use medicine, such as oral bile acid pills. These pills contain chenodiol or ursodial, which helps dissolve the gallstones by thinning out the bile. These pills work well on patients who have small gallstones that are made of cholesterol only.

Other treatments include: extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, contact dissolution therapy, and pecutaneous cholecystostomy.

If you have questions, see your local physician to determine if gallbladder surgery is right for you, or if a non-surgical treatment is more suitable.


3 Gallbladder Attack Symptoms in Women

Gallbladder attack symptoms in women are often overlooked. This is because gallbladder symptoms tend to be asymptomatic, otherwise known as “silent”. For those who do have symptoms, they tend to be similar to symptoms of other gastrointestinal diseases, normal stomach pain, and indigestion. This results in people either ignoring or misdiagnosing their symptoms.

Gallstones are the major cause of gallbladder attack symptoms.

Gallstones are small pebble-like structures that are made in your gallbladder. Gallstones can range from the size of tiny grains of sand to the size of golf balls! The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ located under your liver. The main functions of the gallbladder are to store bile and help digest dietary fats. After fatty meals, the gallbladder releases small amounts of bile into the small intestines.

When gallstones get stuck in the duct between your small intestines and your liver, you may experience a gallbladder attack.

The gallstone might slow down or even stop the flow of bile, causing your body to not be able to digest foods properly. The most common place you will feel pain is your upper abdominal area, which is where your gallbladder is located. The pain will either feel like a dull ache or a sharp pain. Often the pain from your abdominal area will spread to your chest. In some cases, pain will radiate to your back or in between your shoulder blades. You might find it difficult to walk or even sit up straight without feeling a lot of pain.

Some other symptoms that you may experience are weight gain, headaches, nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, dizziness, burping, belching, and constipation.

You may find relief by lying down on top of a pillow on the left side of your body to decrease the pain. This will decrease the pressure put on your gallbladder.

A serious condition that may accompany your symptoms is known as jaundice.

Jaundice occurs when gallstones block the flow of bile completely. This causes bile to be backed up into the liver, and then forced into the bloodstream. The bile will cause the whites of your eyes and your skin to yellow.

If you notice this symptom or the chills and a fever, see your doctor right away. Your doctor will be able to fully examine your symptoms. He may also look at your gallbladder via ultrasound to look at the sizes of the gallstones. In very serious cases, the gallbladder may have to be removed surgically.


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Abdominal Pain vs. Gallstones: Causes and Signs

The pain or discomfort coming from your abdominal area is commonly called abdominal pain. It is usually related to the organs in your abdomen consisting of the stomach, small and large intestines, liver, gallbladder, pancreas or spleen.

Abdominal pain can be caused by inflammation, blockage in the intestines, loss of blood supply, or extra sensitivity to the nerves of the organs.

Gallstones are formed inside of the gallbladder. They are solid, calculi, material made by growth from cholesterol and pigmentation in the spleen. This growth can pass from the gallbladder to the cystic duct, common bile duct, or the pancreatic duct. If the stone blocks these ducts it can cause serious life-threatening conditions like inflammation of the pancreas. If your pancreas is inflamed, it can cause you to have a lot of digestive problems.

If you have gallstones it can cause many other problems as well such as severe inflammation in the intestines which causes withholding of the bile in the gallbladder. Because of the inflammation, an infection from the bacteria being in the intestines can arise.

The signs and symptoms of abdominal pain as opposed to gallstones can be difficult to differentiate, but a few things to keep in mind about gallstones are:

A Characteristic sign of a gallstone is an intense pain in the upper-right side of the abdomen that increases in intensity for 30 minutes to several hours.Gallstones are usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting.Pain can be felt below the right shoulder or shoulder blades.Gallstone attacks can happen after a very fatty meal and usually at night.Intolerance to fatty foods, gas, indigestion and bloating are all symptoms that, when taken together with the pain, can mean you have gallstones.

When your physician is making a diagnosis, of the cause of abdominal pain, a few things they take into consideration are: the origin of the pain or how it began, the location of the pain, the pattern of the pain, the duration of the pain or how long it lasts, and if anything makes it worse or relieves the pain.

Upon physical examination, the doctor will determine what tests to administer based on the findings. Together with your history and physical, laboratory tests, x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, barium x-rays, and an MRI can be used to find your diagnosis.

Increased temperature, diarrhea, or bleeding from your rectum can be other symptoms of a Gallstone. Tenderness and inflammation in the left lower abdomen, usually, means you may have inflamed pouches in the colon, or an abscess may have formed. Tenderness in the lower right abdomen can mean appendicitis or Crohn’s disease.

Often times, surgery is needed to resolve the Gallstone. Occasionally, all that is needed to cure abdominal pain is medication to get rid of the infection and inflammation.


Appendicitis Symptoms VS. Gall Bladder Symptoms

It may be difficult to tell the difference between appendicitis symptoms and gall bladder symptoms when the two often cause abdominal pain. The two usually mimic gastrointestinal problems, and this often causes people to ignore the two symptoms because they frequently mimic other diseases.

Women are three times more likely to develop gallstones symptoms, but in men, appendicitis is more common.


Appendicitis symptoms occur when the appendix becomes inflamed.

The appendix is a finger-like structure that is connected to the large intestines, found on the lower-right side of the abdomen.

The function of the appendix is unknown. When the appendix becomes blocked from feces, parasites, enlarged lymph tissues, or even from trauma, it can cause inflammation.

Specific symptoms include pain beginning near the belly button and slowly moving out towards the lower right side of the abdomen.

The pain will gradually worsen and individuals may lose their appetites as well. They may feel the urge to urinate often and their stools may contain mucus in it.

Gallbladder symptoms are commonly associated with a gallbladder attack. A gallbladder attack occurs when gallstones get stuck in your bile duct. The gallbladder attack can last from a half an hour to several hours. This can slow or stop the flow of the bile. The pain you will feel will either be a dull ache or a sharp jabbing pain.

Other symptoms include: nausea and vomiting, excessive weight loss, increased flatulence, chest pain, back pain, pain between the shoulder blades, more difficulty walking or sitting up straight, and headaches.

Symptoms of gall bladder problems include: upper abdominal pain. This pain is often located on the right side of the body.

Appendicitis symptoms also include abdominal pain, however, this pain is more commonly located on the lower right side of the abdomen.

You may find relief by lying down on a pillow on the left side of the body. This will help lessen the pressure on the gallbladder. You may also find that the symptoms occur more often after large fatty meals.

Sometimes, the gallstones can completely block the flow of the bile. This will cause the bile to be backed up into your liver and forced into your bloodstream. When bile enters your bloodstream, it will turn your skin and the whites of your eyes yellow. This condition is known as jaundice.

If you believe that your appendicitis symptoms are the cause of your gastrointestinal pain, it is important to see your physician right away.

If the infected appendix isn’t removed, there is a high chance that it will burst and spread bacteria throughout your abdominal area, leading to more health problems.

If you  believe you are experiencing gall bladder symptoms, and notice they are accompanied by a fever, the chills, or jaundice, please see your doctor right away as well. These are signs that your condition is more severe. Your doctor will be able to carefully examine your condition and recommend a suitable treatment for you.


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