Healthy Living

What Are Gallstones: Get the Facts

What are Gallstones: Get the Facts

Formed in the gallbladder, gallstones are compact, “stone”-like substances. In size, gallstones can be compared to either a golf ball or a grain of sand. They can be produced by the gallbladder as a single large stone, many small sized stones, or both.

Just beneath the liver’s lobe, on the right side, lies your hollow gallbladder. The pear-shaped gallbladder can stretch between 8 cm to 10 cm with a width of 4 cm when it’s filled with bile waiting to assist in some food digestion. 

The Formation of Gallstones

The development of gallstones occurs when the liquid kept in the gallbladder for later use, forms small stone-like substances. The liquid — known as bile — is vital to the body, as it helps in the digestion of fats. Produced in the liver, the bile is kept in the gallbladder for future use. To assist during digestion, the bile is pushed by the gallbladder into a tube (commonly referred to as the bile duct) through contractions, which thereafter conveys it to the small intestine.

The contents of bile include bile salts, cholesterol, water, fats, proteins, and a waste product called bilirubin. While bile salts purposely break up fat, the bilirubin colors the stool and bile to a yellowish-brown. Gallstones can be formed in the case whereby there are too much bile salts, cholesterol, or even bilirubin contained in the liquid bile, which causes hardening.

Types Of Gallstones

Gallstones are categorized into two pigment stones and cholesterol stones. Made of bilirubin, pigment stones are compact and dark in color. Normally yellow-green in color, cholesterol stones are basically composed of hardened cholesterol. They constitute a higher percentage of gallstones.

Essential Facts About Gallstones

  • To keep your gallbladder healthy, consume foods that are low in cholesterol and fat. In most cases, gallstones are produced from cholesterol.
  • Foods that help keep your heart healthy are also healthy for your gallbladder. This implies that foods like seeds, avocados, nuts, peanut butter, and olives, which contain monounsaturated fats, are good for the gallbladder.
  • Apart from adhering to a healthy diet, you need to also maintain a healthy weight. Obesity increases the risk of gallstones and so does losing weight rapidly. It’s OK to shed off some weight if it is necessary, but it’s threatening to lose it all at once.
  • Only a few of the 12 percent popularity experiencing gallstones notice problems.
  • Intense pain is the most known sign of gallstones. A huge number of people will never experience gallstones symptoms and that shouldn’t be of any worry. You will definitely know if any problem arises. Generally, most of the victims describe the pain as stabbing, very excruciating and sharp.
  • Ultrasound is the fastest and safest way to test for gallstone and has been considered as the best method. Ultrasound provides all the info regarding the gallbladder and is quite accurate. 
  • Serious complications can occur if the stones find their way outside the gallbladder as they will move towards the duct hence it’s vital to have them checked if problems appear.
  • A cholecystectomy or simply a surgery to remove a gallbladder is normally an outpatient process and it usually needs a few days off from work.

More About Gallstones

Just a small presence of gallstones does not mean that they won’t multiply. Generic factors are vital as far as the determination of who is prone to develop gallstones is concerned. Scientists are working tirelessly towards the discovery of the specific genes that are accountable for gallstones.

Other factors that cause the occurrence of gallstones, especially cholesterol stones include Sex, family history, fatty diets, age, ethnicity, diabetes, pregnancy and cholesterol-lowering drugs.