Gallstone treatment

Suffering from gallstones can be very painful and frustrating. People suffering from gall stones can have a broad range of symptoms. Some may not feel any pain or discomfort at all when others can get so sick from the pain that they go to the hospital for help. If you suffer from gall stones you may be looking for some possible treatments.

First let’s discuss what a gallstone really is. A gallstone is a hardened rock like substance that forms inside the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores bile until it is needed to help aid in the digestion of food. Bile consists of cholesterol, bile salts, proteins and water, along with some waste product known as bilirubin. The salts in the bile are used to break up the fats, but when the bile contains too much salts, cholesterol or bilirubin, the excess forms into small pebble like gallstones. These can resemble a tiny speck of sand or they can grow as large as golf ball sized. At the same time, you can have one or even hundreds of these gall stones in your gall bladder at a time.

Once you have been diagnosed with gallstones your doctor will advise you on the best course of action for your particular situation. If you have smaller gallstones it is possible to be treated with an oral dissolution therapy. These are drugs that are used to dissolve gallstones. These drugs, ursodiol and chenodiol, are actually made from bile acid. Sometimes these drugs can be slow acting and they made take weeks to years to dissolve all the gallstones in the gallbladder. Side effects of these drugs are higher levels of blood cholesterol levels, diarrhea, and liver enzyme transaminase. Another non-surgical treatment is contact dissolution therapy. This procedure is still a little more experimental and it involves injections of a dissolving drug right into the gallbladder. The drug used in this procedure is called methyl tert-buryl ether and it can actually work a bit quicker, dissolving some gallstones in as little as one or two days. So far this procedure has been tested on patients with small stones and tests have shown that it can cause a little irritation and possible complications.

Sometimes for people that are suffering from just a few or smaller sized gallstones it is worth trying the non-surgical treatments. However, for other patients that suffer from reoccurring gallstones, multiple gallstones or those that are very large in size, the best way to get rid of them once and for all is to have the gallbladder removed. It is not uncommon for people who have started to get gallstones to continue to have them for years to come. Usually for those that have the non-surgical treatment it is typical for gallstones to come back within 5 years of treatment. If your doctor feels that gallbladder removal is the best option then he or she will be able to inform you of what type of procedure would be best for you. Most people today are having the laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This has proven to be the best procedure leaving small scars and a very short recovery time.

If you are curious about some ways to prevent the gallstones from forming then there may be some preventative measures that you can take to lessen your chances. One of the major key factors that can play an important role in preventing gallstones is dietary fiber intake. By increasing the amount of dietary fiber you can really lessen your risk for gallstones. Also it has been shown that those that drink a considerable amount of coffee daily have a lower risk of developing gallstones as well. We also know that exercise is good for our overall health but it can also help keep your gallbladder functioning properly as well.

Last updated on Jul 10th, 2009 and filed under Digestive Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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