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Gall Bladder Stones

Gall bladder stones or gallstones are formed as a result of the deposition of cholesterol & other products in the bile. They are formed in the gall bladder. Formation of gall bladder can also take place if the gall bladder is filled with unwanted substances. It is a small sac that is situated under the liver. It is considered as a storage area for bile. The bill secreted by the liver first goes to the gall bladder and then into the small intestine through the common bile duct & cystic duct.

Based on the amount of deposition, the size of the gallbladder can be small, moderate or large. Normally these masses do not cause any problems. They can however create problems if they interfere or block the passage of a duct.

There are not many symptoms for gallbladder. If present, they may be present as a pain in the upper part of the stomach or a more general stomach ache. The intensity of the ache may vary with time. In cases where the gallstones obstruct the bile duct, chills or fever may be present. The presence of gallstones can increase the risk of pancreas swelling. The symptoms seen for gallstones can also be a precursor to gallbladder infection.

Diagnosing the gallstone presence is initially done through a physical examination. The physician may identify the site of pain, its intensity, period from when it started etc. To get a solid picture about the problem, the physician may also go for various imaging tests. Ultrasound scanning of the stomach is the commonly performed procedure for the detecting the presence of gallstones. In an ultrasound scan, a suitable dye is injected into the blood stream. X-rays are taken as the dye sequentially passes through liver, bile duct, gallbladder, intestine etc. By doing this procedure, the areas that have gallstone presence can easily be identified.

If the symptoms are not present, its treatment may not be necessary. Many medicines are available that can dissolve these chunks of material. However, if it still remains unresolved, gallbladder removal may be needed. Although 'removal of gallbladder' may appear to a big thing, it is not. The surgery is quite simple and the body can perform normally without this organ. Laparoscopic procedures are commonly adopted for this. In the absence of gallbladder, the bile flows directly from liver into the intestine. The rate of digestion may be slightly altered, but this is not of much concern.