Gallstones - The 21 Most Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Diaries (Part 2): Gallstones – The 21 Most Frequently Asked Questions

gallstones
Contributed by: Rachana Arya

 

Introduction

Once considered as a disease of the Western world and the affluent, gallstones have become increasingly common in India. Its prevalence has been found to be at least 6 to 7% in the adult population. Its occurrence also varies widely in different communities in India. As per a study, the North Indians have a 2 to 4 fold higher prevalence of gallstones as compared with those among South Indians.

 

Read on to find answers to some of the questions about gallstones, its symptoms, and treatment options. 

 

FAQ #1: What are gallstones?

Gallstones are hardened digestive fluid deposits in the gall bladder, a tiny organ beneath the liver. Their size can vary. They can be as tiny as a minuscule grain of sand or as large as a golf ball, depending on their size.

 

FAQ #2: Are gallstones common?

Yes, gallstones are very common. India is a high incidence area with more than 10 million cases per year in the country.

 

FAQ #3: Is there any other name for gallstones?

Cholelithiasis (ko-leh-lih-THY-uh-sis) is the medical term for inflammation of the gallbladder if the flow of bile in the cystic duct is blocked by gallstones.

 

FAQ #4: What are the risk factors of gallbladder diseases?

The 5-F rule refers to the risk factors for the development of gallstones:

 

FAQ #5: What are the main causes of gallstones?

It is believed that Gallstones are formed as a result of:

 

    • Presence of too much cholesterol in the bile
    • Presence of too much bilirubin in the bile pigment
    • Your gallbladder doesn’t empty

 

FAQ #6: What are the signs of an inflamed gallbladder?

 

    • Tenderness in the abdomen, particularly the right upper quadrant
    • Pain in the abdomen that lingers for several hours
    • Pain that may radiate to the right shoulder blade or to the back
    • Pain that worsens after eating heavy or fatty foods

 

FAQ #7: What does gallstone pain feel like?

A gallbladder attack is characterized by a sharp gnawing pain that worsens with time. It could be in the upper right or center of your abdomen, between your shoulder blades in your back, or in your right shoulder. You may also vomit or feel nauseous.

 

FAQ #8: How long does a gallstone attack last?

A gallbladder attack usually follows a fatty meal and also occurs in the evening or during the night. An episode of gallbladder pain might last anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours.

 

FAQ #9: Does gallbladder pain get worse when lying down?

The pain is usually the worst when lying down, but it may be less strong when sitting up or leaning over.

 

FAQ #10: Do gallstones hurt constantly?

Gallbladder pain usually occurs in the mid-to the upper-right area of the abdomen, and it comes and goes. Gallbladder discomfort, on the other hand, can range from mild and irregular to severe and frequent.

 

FAQ #11: Does the gallbladder cause gas?

Bloating, fullness, abdominal pain and excessive gas may be a warning signs of gallbladder problems. This is especially concerning if it’s accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, chronic diarrhea, and stomach pain.

 

FAQ #12: Can drinking water help with removing gallstones?

Yes, it certainly does. Water and other liquids aid in the emptying of the organ and prevent bile build-up. This helps to prevent gallstones and other issues. Sipping water can also assist in helping you lose weight. According to studies, those who drink more water consume fewer calories and sugar.

 

FAQ #13: Can gallstones disappear on their own?

Some gallstones may dissolve and disappear with treatment, while others may require more intensive care. Gallstones, if left untreated, can lead to more significant complications, such as:

 

 

FAQ #14: Which fruits are good for the gallbladder?

The greatest method to improve and protect the health of your gallbladder is to eat fresh, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients and fiber, both of which are necessary for gallbladder health. Some great ones — such as apples, strawberries, avocados, cranberries, berries, grapes, cucumbers and beets, and citrus  can help.

 

FAQ #15: Does alcohol consumption contribute to the formation of gallstones?

Currently, research shows that alcohol does not contribute to the formation of gallstones, although researchers aren’t sure how this occurs. In fact, a small amount of alcohol may actually help protect against gallstone and gallbladder disease. But it doesn’t mean you should start drinking to keep your gallbladder healthy because heavy drinking can cause other gallbladder problems, including cancer.

 

FAQ #16: Which ayurvedic treatment cures gallstones naturally?

Ayurveda involves the use of very effective stone dissolving (Lithotrophic) herbal formulations, as well as herbs for liver cleansing and restoration. The procedure does not require surgery because the stones are spontaneously expelled.

 

FAQ #17: How can Ayurveda dissolve gallstones naturally?

Mixing kalonji seeds (Nigella seeds) with honey and drinking this tonic on an empty stomach has been proven to have many health benefits closely linked to dissolving gallstones.

 

FAQ #18: How do you detect gallstones?

Gallstones can usually be confirmed with an ultrasound scan using high-frequency sound waves to generate an image of the inside of the body. Gallstones can also be detected using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or a CT scan.

 

FAQ #19:  Can a blood test detect gallstones?

If your doctor suspects you have gallstones, he or she should recommend a blood test, usually a liver function test to assess your liver’s function as well as an ultrasound scan of your belly. More tests may be ordered based on the results of these tests.

 

FAQ #20: Do I need surgery for gallstones?

There’s usually no need for gallstones surgery if your condition isn’t producing any symptoms. You’ll need surgery only if a stone gets stuck in one of your bile ducts and blocks it. This results in a ‘gallbladder attack’, which is a severe, knife-like pain in your abdomen that can linger for many hours.

 

FAQ #21: What is the surgery for gallstones called?

If the gallstones start to hurt or cause other symptoms, your doctor may decide to remove your gallbladder, which is called a cholecystectomy. It’s one of the most common surgeries performed by doctors. About 80% of people who have gallstones may need to undergo surgery.

 

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