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Information on Gallstones

Gallbladder attacks or gallstones are very common; a lot of people have them and don’t even know it but for those of us that do know when we get that pain in our belly the following information might help to sort out what is happening in your body.

To understand how gallstones are formed you first have to understand a little about how your body works. Gallstones form in the gallbladder which is located just under the liver. A gallbladder stores bile. This bile helps you break down the fatty foods that enter your body. The gallbladder is connected to the small intestine and this is where the bile moves, after leaving your gallbladder. The tube that the bile moves through to get to the intestine is called the cystic duct or common bile duct.

The cause of gallstones happens through cholesterol and other things that are in the bile. They can also form if the gallbladder doesn’t empty completely as it should. This usually happens if you’re trying to lose weight or to people that are overweight. A gallstone can be as big as a golf ball or as small as a grain of salt. Most of these gallstones don’t cause trouble but if the duct gets blocked with one of these stones then it is time to seek out professional help.

Amazingly many people that have gallstones don’t know they have them but if they start to cause trouble you will usually have a pain in the upper right part of your stomach or in the middle of the stomach. Sometimes this pain can radiate to your upper right back and shoulder blades. This pain can come and go or it can get very severe. It is also possible if the tube is blocked to have pain, chills and fever, sometimes in extreme cases it will cause the whites of your eyes or your skin to turn yellow. If this happens it is certainly time for professional intervention.

When you meet with your doctor you will be asked when the pain started. Where the pain is and if it comes and goes or if it’s steady? Try to answer as accurately as possible. After this you may be sent for X-rays, or Ultra Sounds. Professionals like Ultra Sounds as they are more accurate. There is also a scan that can be ordered .This test is done by injecting dye into a vein in the arm and X-rays are taken as the dye moves throughout your liver, bile duct, gallbladder and intestines.

It depends on the person and how much discomfort gallstones are causing to give treatment. If the pain is mild, then you will probably be given some type of medication for pain and your doctor will wait and see how you progress. Some people don’t have second attacks. If you are one of these people that had one or two severe attacks then there is a good possibility you will have your gallbladder removed.

There are different ways to have your gallbladder removed and the most common one is Laparoscopic Surgery. This is when a small cut is made into your belly to remove the gallbladder. This is also the fastest way to recover after the surgery as you can go back to work in approximately a week after surgery. Some people take longer to heal and it depends entirely on the individual. In some cases the surgeon will have to make a larger cut than usual and this will take longer to heal. You can function normally without your gallbladder. The food you digest and the bile will go directly from your liver into your intestines. There may be some changes in the digestion of food but they are so minute you may not even notice them.