Most of us know at least one individual who has had problems with their gallbladder (usually in the form of gallstones) and who had to have their gallbladder removed. But if it’s you who are having gallstone problems, the situation takes on a different tinge – after all, it’s your health and comfort at stake. So what should you know about gallbladder problems, and what can you do to treat them?
The gallbladder is an organ (compared to the shape of a pear) located underneath the liver’s right side. The main function of the gallbladder is to gather a liquid used for digestion, called bile, which is created by the liver. This bile is released by the gallbladder once a person eats, as it aids in digestion. The bile then traverses channels known as bile ducts to enter the small intestine. If a gallbladder is removed, however, an individual’s digestion is not usually affected in any way.
What are the common causes of problems in the gallbladder?
The most common cause of problems in the gallbladder is the formation of gallstones. These are usually hard, small, and comprised mostly of the buildup of bile salt and cholesterol. Until now, it is not clear why some individuals have gallstones, but the typical risk factor is higher for females than for males. Generally, females who have been pregnant, are more than 40 years old, and are overweight are more susceptible. Gallstones may also have a greater risk of forming in older people and in people who have a history of it in their family.
Gallstones can obstruct the bile flowing out of an individual’s gallbladder, which can result in swelling and a sharp pain in the abdomen. It can also result in fever, vomiting, as well as indigestion. In worse cases, a gallstone can block the bile duct, which results in jaundice (where the skin attains a yellow hue).
The diagnosis and treatment of gallbladder problems
Gallstones can be easily diagnosed by an ultrasound procedure, but in some cases where there is the suspicion of disease in the gallbladder, a nuclear medicine scan or a CT scan is required.
Gallstones don’t usually dissolve or go away. They can be managed with adjustments in one’s diet (such as consuming less fat), but this type of treatment does not really take care of the gallstone itself. The symptoms often appear again after some time. The best type of treatment is simply the removal of the gallbladder itself. Although there may be some treatments which try to dissolve or break up the gallstones, this is not quite as successful – the gallstones may simply come back. Laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder (especially gallstone surgery in Hampshire offered by the Londonsurgicalgroup.co.uk) is a great option for those who want to be cured of their gallstone problems once and for all.
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