GALLSTONES :understanding, symptom, Cause, diagnosis, Treatment, complication and Prevention

Understanding Gallstones

Gallstones are small rocks are derived from cholesterol, and are formed in the human bile duct. In most of the cases, gallstones this will not cause any symptoms. However, sometimes this stone will clog the tip of bile and thus will trigger a sudden pain severe enough. This pain is called colicky pain and can last for a matter of hours.
The size of gallstones varies. Some are as small as a grain of sand and as big as a ping-pong ball. The number of stones that form in the gallbladder also vary, for example, there are people who only have one stone and nothing more.
GALLSTONES : understanding, symptom, Cause, diagnosis, Treatment and complication

Causes of Formation of Gallstones

Gallstones are formed due to the hardening allegedly accumulated cholesterol in bile. This occurs because of an imbalance between the amount of cholesterol and chemical compounds in the liquid.
Here are the factors that can increase your risk of gallstones:
  • The age factor. The risk of kidney stone disease will increase with age. The disease is commonly experienced by people aged over 40 years.
  • Gender. A woman's risk of developing gallstone disease is higher than men.
  • Impact childbirth. Women who have given birth have a higher risk. The cause may be due to increased levels of cholesterol due to changes in estrogen during pregnancy.
  • Influence of body weight. Your risk increases if overweight, obese, up to drastic weight loss.

Step Treatment To Overcome Gallstones

The existence of gallstones often does not cause symptoms, so it does not require special handling. But if it causes symptoms that interfere with or in the case of complications, the disease should be treated.
Gallstones can be treated with medicines to surgical removal of the gallbladder. Although the function of this important organ, our bodies can survive without owning it. Without a gallbladder, the liver will still issue a bile helps in the digestion of fats.
Type of surgery is generally recommended is the operation of 'keyhole' or the medical term laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This type of surgery is recommended as a simple method with low complication risk level.

Complications Due Gallstones

Although very rare, gallstones can cause complications in the body. One is inflammation of the gallbladder (cholelithiasis) with symptoms such as:
  • Abdominal pain that is continuous.
  • Fever high.
  • Jaundice.
  • Rapid heart beat rate.
Acute pancreatitis is also a risk of harmful if gallstones entry and inhibit the pancreatic duct. Inflammation of the pancreas will cause abdominal pain will continue to get worse.

Symptoms Of Gallstones

Gallstones generally do not cause disease. Symptoms may appear if this stone clogging the gallbladder or another digestive tract. The primary symptom is usually experienced abdominal pain that comes suddenly or it is called biliary colic.
This pain can occur in some parts of the abdomen. Among them is the middle, top, or right abdomen. The pain may also spread to the side of the body, or scapula. Signs of abdominal pain also varies, for example:
  • Can appear anytime
  • May take a few minutes to many hours.
  • Will not be reduced despite to the toilet, flatulence, or vomiting.
  • The frequency of occurrence is rare but can be triggered by foods with a high-fat content.
If the gallstones cause a blockage in one of the digestive tracts, the following symptoms may appear:
  • Abdominal pain that persists or always comes back.
  • High fever.
  • Jaundice
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Itching of the skin.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Daze.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Pain in the shoulder.
It is important for you to be aware of biliary colic symptoms despite feels trivial and inconsistent. Immediately consult your doctor if you experience severe abdominal pain that lasts more than eight hours, jaundice or fever.

Causes Of Gallstones

The emergence of gallstones may be due to an imbalance between cholesterol and chemicals in bile. Flaky crystals formed will develop into stones and usually within years.
Stockpiling of chemical compounds commonly found in the gallbladder when the rock formed is cholesterol and bilirubin (waste from the destruction of red blood cells). Nearly 80 percent of gallstones made of cholesterol and about 20 percent based bilirubin. Bilirubin is a pigment found in bile.
The size of gallstones is formed also vary. Some are as small as grains of sand, and there is a ping-pong ball-sized. So also with the amount. There are people who only have one stone and nothing more.
The possibility of the emergence of gallstones varies in each person. Specifically, women are twice higher than men. Especially women who have been pregnant, taking birth control pills, or a high-dose hormone therapy.
In addition, the incidence of gallstones increases in those who suffer from anemia crescent ( sickle cell anemia ). In patients with sickle-cell anemia, the red blood cells to be broken continuously by the body, and finally converted to bilirubin. A buildup of bilirubin is what can lead to gallstones. A British research data shows that more than half of patients with anemia crescent will have complications such as the formation of gallstones.
The following are other factors that increase the risk of developing gallstones:
  • Aged over 40 years.
  • Is pregnant.
  • Having a family member with the same disease.
  • Often eating fatty foods or had high cholesterol.
  • Lack of fiber in the diet.
  • Diabetics.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Patients with cirrhosis.
  • Patients with gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • People using ceftriaxone, which is an antibiotic that could be used to treat pneumonia, meningitis, and gonorrhea.
  • People who lost weight drastically.

Diagnosis Of Gallstones

If you experience symptoms that indicate the occurrence of complications, you should immediately see a doctor. As a first step, you will undergo a physical examination. The gallbladder is located in the upper right abdomen. Patients will be asked to inhale, then the doctor will press the upper right abdomen. If it hurts, there may be an inflammation of the gallbladder.
If it proves so, further tests would be recommended the doctor to confirm the severity of the inflammation.

blood tests

Blood tests can be performed to check whether the infection or to check the patient's liver function. Liver function will be affected if there are gallstones that migrate to the bile duct. The doctor also may examine lipase and amylase if there are signs of pancreatitis. Levels of these enzymes will generally be increased threefold in patients with acute pancreatitis.


Type of ultrasound that you will live together with ultrasound tests to check for pregnancy. However, ultrasound will be directed to the upper abdomen.

MRI scan

The detailed scanning process is done to check for the presence of gallstones in the digestive tract.

CT scan

If a patient experiences severe abdominal pain, type of scan can be used as an emergency examination in the diagnosis process. CT scans are also used to check whether there complications from gallstones, such as acute pancreatitis. However, this scanning method does not give the best results with MRI scans.


Cholangiography carried out to check the presence of stones in the digestive tract including the bile duct. Examination by cholangiography using a type of ink that are injected into the patient's bloodstream. With this ink, the digestive tract can be studied after the image of X-ray is taken. If the bile ducts to function properly, the ink is absorbed will succeed to flow into the liver, biliary tract, colon, and gallbladder.

Treatment Of Gallstones

The impact and the development of gallstones are different in each person. Therefore, there is a sense of symptoms and some do not. Step treatment will be tailored to how much it affects you.

Gallstones Ta hap Early

Increased vigilance and regular monitoring are often the main recommendations in dealing with this condition. If gallstones do not cause any symptoms, doctors usually do not recommend medical intervention.
But if you have other illnesses that may increase the likelihood of complications, you will be advised to undergo treatment. Types of diseases that increase the risk of complications of gallstones are cirrhosis, diabetes, or portal hypertension (high blood pressure that occurs in the liver).
If you have gallstones, as well as a high level of calcium in the gallbladder, a step of treatment will be recommended. This is due to a combination of gallstones and high calcium can cause gallbladder cancer if left unchecked.

Gallstones Advanced Stages

The main symptoms of this disease development are the emergence of abdominal pain or biliary colic. Type of treatment also depends on the severity of the symptoms:
  • If you experience mild abdominal pain and rarely occurs, your doctor may recommend the consumption of painkillers (analgesics) and a healthy diet to control symptoms.
  • If you experience severe abdominal pain and frequent, the doctor usually will recommend the procedure removal of the gallbladder.

Ursodeoxycholic acid medicine

Gallstones are small that do not contain calcium can be treated with ursodeoxycholic acid. This drug is able to dissolve gallstones. But these drugs are rarely recommended to deal with gallstones because:
  • Low levels of effectiveness.
  • Patients should drink it for a long time (sometimes more than one year).
  • Gallstones can re-emerge if the consumption is stopped.
Ursodeoxycholic acid is also not recommended for pregnant or lactating women. These drugs also may affect the effectiveness of birth control pills. Therefore, women on birth control pills are recommended to replace it with a safety device such as a condom when taking these drugs.
Aside from being a medication, ursodeoxycholic acid is also recommended to prevent the formation of gallstones for those at high risk.

Operating Steps to Handle Gallstones

If your symptoms are very severe, the gallbladder may have to be removed through surgery. But you need not fear because the gallbladder does not include an important organ that you must have to survive.

laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Surgical removal of the gallbladder is the most commonly recommended is the operation of 'keyhole' or laparoscopic cholecystectomy. In this surgery, the doctor will make a 2-3 cm incision around the navel, and two to three incisions with a smaller size on the right side of the abdomen. This operation is performed by the application of general anesthesia so you will be asleep during the procedure so it will not feel pain. Patient recovery time is usually around 1-2 weeks.

With an open incision cholecystectomy

This operation will be selected if gallstones can not be removed by surgery 'keyhole' or the patient's condition does not allow it to undergo laparoscopic cholecystectomy. For example, because:
  • The layout of the gallbladder patients is difficult to reach.
  • Patients who weighed high.
  • Patients are in the last months of pregnancy.
After undergoing cholecystectomy with an open incision, the patient needs to stay in the hospital for 5-6 days. The time needed for a full recovery is also longer than the operation of 'keyhole', which is about 1.5 months. But the effectiveness of this operation is the same as laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgery.

Endoscopic Retrograde cholangiopancreatography (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography / ERCP)

Blockage due to stones in the bile duct can be treated with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography procedures (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography / ERCP). This procedure aims to remove gallstones without lifting the gallbladder. This procedure is often done in those conditions are not strong enough to undergo the surgical procedure.
In addition to therapeutic procedures, ERCP can also serve as enforcers diagnosis, in which a thin flexible tube with a camera on the end to be inserted from the mouth up to the gallbladder. The condition of the liver, bile ducts, and pancreas will be seen clearly with this procedure.
ERCP is usually carried out by administering intravenous anesthesia, where the patient will be awake during the procedure is performed. ERCP process takes about 30-60 minutes, or faster. After the procedure, patients generally have to stay one night in the hospital for condition monitoring.

The Effect of Diet

Changing your diet by simply eating a low-fat diet can not cure gallstones, but maintaining a healthy diet and balanced can help us to maintain health and reduce the pain caused by gallstones.

Complications Of Gallstones

Gallstones can cause a blockage in the bile duct or moved into the digestive system. This is what usually causes serious complications.

Inflammation Bags Bile Acute

Cholecystitis or acute inflammation of the gallbladder occurs when the bile fluid accumulates in the gallbladder because of gallstones clogging the discharge channel.
Symptoms of acute cholecystitis of which is a pain in the upper abdomen radiating to the shoulder blades, high fever, and a rapid heartbeat.
Antibiotics are commonly used as a first treatment to overcome the infection prior to surgical removal of the gallbladder is done. The procedure used is usually surgery 'keyhole'.

Abscesses gallbladder

Plus may sometimes appear in the gallbladder due to a severe infection. If this occurs, treatment with antibiotics alone is not enough and will need to be aspirated pus.


Peritonitis is an inflammation of the stomach lining inside, known as the peritoneum. This complication occurs due to rupture of the gallbladder that is experiencing severe inflammation. Handling includes intravenous antibiotics, up surgery to remove part of the peritoneum which suffered severe damage.

Bile Channel Blockage

Blockage of the bile duct by a stone make this channel becomes susceptible to the bacteria that cause infection, or medically called acute cholangitis. These complications can generally be treated with antibiotics and procedures for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Symptoms of this infection are pain in the upper abdomen radiating to the shoulder blade, jaundice, high fever, chills, itching of the skin and dazed.

pancreatitis acute

Acute pancreatitis is also one of the complications that can occur if the gallstones out and clog the pancreatic duct. Inflammation of the pancreas will cause severe pain in the middle of the abdomen. This pain will worsen and spread to the back, especially after eating.
In addition to abdominal pain, acute pancreatitis can also cause other symptoms. Among these are diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, high fever, and jaundice.
Hunchback or curled position may help relieve abdominal pain due to acute pancreatitis. These complications can not be cured with specific treatment. The purpose of handling just to sustain body functions until the inflammation subsides by itself. Hospitalization usually lasts about one week before the patient is discharged, such as intravenous fluids, oxygen therapy, painkillers, to the diet.

Pockets Cancer Bile

People with gallstones have a higher risk of developing cancer of the gallbladder. However, the possibility of the occurrence is rare, even for people who are at high risk because of heredity once. Surgical removal of the gallbladder will be recommended to prevent cancer, especially if you have high calcium levels in the gallbladder. Symptoms of this cancer are almost the same as that of gallstone disease include abdominal pain, high fever, and jaundice.
Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also be done if someone has cancer of the gallbladder.

Prevention Of Gallstones

Changing your diet and lose weight for those who are obese may help prevent the formation of gallstones.
Gallstones are formed due to the hardening allegedly accumulated cholesterol in bile. Therefore, we should implement a healthy diet and balanced and avoid the consumption of foods containing fat and high cholesterol. Example:
  • Bersantan food like rendang, compote, and rice cake soup.
  • Greasy food like fried food.
  • Food made from legumes such as satay peanut sauce or marinade.
  • Cake and snack chips.
Too much-consuming alcohol can also increase the risk for you, so do not overdo it. In general, the suggested recommendation is no more than 2 units of alcohol per day. Two units of alcohol are simply equal to approximately 1.5 cans of beer or 1.5 glasses of wine ( wine ). Keep in mind that each liquor alcohol content is different, so the number must be adjusted so as not to exceed the maximum limit per day.
Being overweight or obese is one of the risk factors that can lead to complications of gallstones. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight is important.
You are advised to avoid the strict diet that demand for foods low in calories and fat only. Drastic weight loss in a short time can also increase the risk of gallstone formation.


Popular posts from this blog

Depression - Symptoms, causes and treats

TYPE 2 DIABETES - Symptoms, causes and treats