What Are Gallstones
So your doctor has diagnosed you with gallstones. The sharp pain that has
been shooting throughout your body along with the tenderness finally has a name.
The doctor may have given you a brief explanation. But, what are gallstones?
Gallstones form in the gallbladder. They can be defined as hard, pebble like
deposits. They come in various sizes. They may be as tiny as a grain of sand and
seem not that scary. However, some are as large as golf balls.
These stones can be made up of one or a combination of substances. The common
components are a blend of calcium bilirubinate, cholesterol, and calcium
carbonate. They typically fall under one of three classifications. Mixed stones
are made up of a cholesterol content of 20-80% of the weight of the stone.
Pigment stones are less than 20% cholesterol. They are made up of calcium salts
and bilirubin. They are generally small and dark in nature. Finally, Cholesterol
stones have a body weight made up of a minimum of 80 percent cholesterol. They
typically have a dark central spot and are brown, dark green or yellow.
Located under the liver the gallbladder is a small sac. The liver produces
bile, also known as gall. This bile is used to help digest food and is stored
within the gallbladder. When it’s time for the body to use it the gallbladder
contracts and pushes the bile through a small tube known as the bile duct.
So when and how do things go wrong. For up to 20 million Americans and 10% of
the world’s population the chemical balance within the gallbladder is thrown off
balance. If the bile contains too much cholesterol, bilirubin, or bile salts it
can harden and form stones.
For most individuals there are no symptoms related to having gallstones
within the gallbladder. For some though they may experience pain on the right
side, vomiting, nausea, sweating, and restlessness among other things. If they
move into and block one of several ducts then problems become more severe. When
this occurs one of four conditions may take place.
First is jaundice. The bile duct becomes blocked and bile leaks into the
blood stream. The skin and the whites of the eyes become yellow.
Second is an infection. A gallbladder infection results in a fever and
Third is pancreatitis. In this instance the stone blocks the duct to the
pancreas. This causes an inflammation and slow deterioration of the pancreas.
Finally is biliary colic. The stone moves into the first section of the small
intestine known as the duodenum. Periods of non-stop pain lasting up to 24 hours
In many of these cases the doctors will recommend surgical removal of the
stone. However, there are other options which are worth exploring. To find out
more about how natural methods can help with your gallstone problem then be sure
to visit, Gallstones
By Sean Cavanaugh