Gallstone: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention
Overview of Gallstones
When the excess cholesterol present in the bile turns into crystals, these are called gallstone. The gallstones prevent the gallbladder from emptying properly. Gallstones can be of different sizes. The condition in which gallstones are present in the gallbladder is referred to as cholelithiasis and the presence of gallstones in the common bile duct is referred to as choledocholithiasis. Gallstones can cause the inflammation of the gallbladder, which is known as Cholecystitis. Gallstones often induce unforeseen, acute pain.
Quick Facts on Gallstones
Pregnant women are more prone to developing gallstones
- In some severe and rare cases, gallstones may cause gallbladder cancer
- Silent gallstones do not cause any pain
- Obesity is a risk factor for gallstones
Causes of Gallstones
Weak digestive system
- Diseases like diabetes, sickle cell anemia or cirrhosis
- High cholesterol diet
- Excess estrogen
Signs and Symptoms of Gallstones
Dark color urine or clay color stools
- High fever with chills
- Severe abdominal pain
- Signs of jaundice
- Nausea or vomiting
Physical examination, lab tests, and imaging tests are done to diagnose the gallstones. The doctor also asks about your diet to identify the reasons.
- Blood tests to check the level of bilirubin to determine the liver functioning.
- Ultrasound of the abdomen and CT scan to analyze if the gallstones are present.
- Endoplasmic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) with the help of a small camera down to the gastrointestinal tract. This is done to check for the gallstone obstructing the bile duct.
Prevention of Gallstones
As we all know that prevention is better than cure, we should carefully observe what we eat and get rid of the inactive or sedentary lifestyle. Eat high fiber and low-fat diet to keep the chances of formation of gallstones from the excess of cholesterol at bay. Do not completely cut off the fats from your diet, just reduce the intake and consume more healthy fruits and juices. Use olive oil for cooking as its consumption lowers the level of cholesterol and prevents gallstones from forming.
Complications caused by Gallstones
- Gallstones stuck in the bile duct can cause inflammation of the duct
- Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis)
- Chances of gallbladder cancer in severe and rare cases
Treatment of Gallstones
Home Remedies of Gallstones
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the key to maintaining a healthy body. Healthy habits can definitely get you rid of many diseases. Some of the best remedial practices that bring a great improvement in the condition of gallstones are :
- Yoga- Some special yoga practices can help you pass gallstones naturally. Performing yoga regularly improves the management of lipids in the body of the people troubled by diabetes, which is also the main cause of cholesterol gallstones. Thus, yoga keeps the cholesterol level controlled in the body. Making yoga an integral part of your daily routine can do wonders for your health.
- High Fluid Intake- Drinking lots of water and fresh fruit juices such as apple juice can help in softening and easy passing of gallstones out of your body. Be careful while consuming juices if you are suffering from conditions like diabetes, stomach ulcers, hypoglycemia.
- Nuts are necessary- Rather than having high cholesterol snacks, switch to healthy munching on nuts such as peanuts, walnuts and almonds. Grab a handful of these nuts and ditch unhealthy eating habits.
- Artichoke- Artichoke is to be consumed in steamed, pickled or grilled form. Artichoke is also easily available in the market in the form of supplement pills. It is believed to assist in the proper functioning of the gallbladder and liver.
- Milk Thistle- Milk thistle is consumed as an oral supplement that helps in preventing and curing liver and gallbladder disorders. Milk thistle reduces blood sugar levels in patients of diabetes. It is highly advised to consult a doctor before you consume this oral supplement.
- What must be avoided?- Avoid eating deep-fried and fatty foods in gallstones as it may aggravate the condition. The aforementioned foods include pork, bacon, fried chicken, fried potatoes, butter, cheese, etc. Also, avoid consuming alcohol as it may lead to dehydration and induce acute pain of gallstones.
Homeopathy for Gallstones
In the initial stage of small size gallstones, homeopathic medicine can play a crucial role. In the cases of surgical removal of gallstones, there is no harm in taking homeopathic medicines after the surgery just for a preventive measure.
- Lycopodium: This is one of the most recommended homeopathic remedies that is most effective in gallstones. In the case of patients having gallstones with other problems like high cholesterol, constipation or bloating, this homeopathic remedy is the best.
- Calcarea carbonica: Genetic factors also contribute to the formation of gallstones. A person with a family history of gallstones is more prone to developing them. Calcarean carbonica is the medicine that helps a lot in such cases of gallstones. It also proves to be effective if the person exhibits signs of anxiety or is obese.
- Nuxvomica: This homeopathic remedy is prescribed in cases where the person consumes a lot of processed and fried foods and experiences problems like heartburn, gastric issues or bloating.
Laparoscopic Treatment for Gallstones
If all the remedies fail to serve the purpose of removing gallstones from the body, then the best-suited treatment is the laparoscopic cholecystectomy. In this treatment, a small incision is made through which a tiny video camera and surgical tools are inserted. Laparoscopic treatment is the best-recommended option. It offers faster recovery; only one incision is done and the surgery is minimally invasive. If you want to get rid of gallstones, then reach out to your nearest specialist doctor this advanced treatment. The laparoscopic treatment is minimally invasive, causes no bleeding and there are no big cuts or incisions involved in the treatment. There are no chances of risks after the surgery if the patient follows the instructions given by the doctor for fast and complete healing.
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