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Gallstones

Gallstones are small deposits that form in the gallbladder. They can cause abdominal pain, nausea, and other symptoms. Causes include high cholesterol and obesity. Treatment options vary based on symptoms and complications, including medication and surgery. Lifestyle changes can help prevent gallstones. Consult a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.

Best medications for Gallstones

Drug NameClassRouteStandard DosagePrice
ActigallBile AcidsOral300 MGfrom$19.00
ChenodalBile AcidsOral250 MGfrom$16073.10

Overview

Gallstones are small, solid deposits that form in the gallbladder, a small organ located below the liver. These stones are made up of cholesterol, bile pigment, and calcium salts, and can range in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. Gallstones can cause a variety of symptoms and complications, and may require medical intervention.

Causes

Gallstones develop when there is an imbalance in the substances that make up bile, a fluid produced by the liver to aid in digestion. Although the exact cause of gallstones is not fully understood, certain factors can increase the risk of developing them. These include:

  • Excess cholesterol in the bile

  • High levels of bilirubin in the bile

  • Decreased gallbladder emptying

  • Inflammation of the gallbladder

  • A family history of gallstones

  • Obesity

  • Rapid weight loss

  • Pregnancy

Symptoms

In many cases, gallstones do not cause any noticeable symptoms and are discovered incidentally during unrelated medical tests. However, when a gallstone obstructs the bile duct or causes inflammation of the gallbladder, symptoms may occur. Common symptoms of gallstones include:

  • Severe, colicky abdominal pain that may radiate to the back or shoulder

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Indigestion and bloating

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)

  • Fever and chills

Treatment

The treatment of gallstones depends on the severity of symptoms and any associated complications. In cases where gallstones are not causing any problems, a "wait-and-see" approach may be taken, as they may resolve on their own without treatment. However, if symptoms are severe or complications arise, treatment options may include:

  • Medications to dissolve the gallstones

  • Laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery

  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to remove stones from the bile duct

  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) to break up gallstones using sound waves

Prevention

While it may not be possible to completely prevent gallstones, certain lifestyle modifications can help reduce the risk. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight

  • Eating a balanced diet that is low in cholesterol and rich in fiber

  • Gradual and steady weight loss instead of rapid weight loss

  • Exercising regularly

  • Avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption

  • Avoiding crash diets or fasting

It is important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options if you suspect you have gallstones.