Table of Contents
- Gallstones facts
- What are gallstones, and how do they form?
- What are gallstones and how do they form?
- What do gallstones look like?
- What causes gallstones, and who gets them?
- What are the types of gallstones?
- Pigment and other types of gallstones
- Who is at risk for gallstones?
- What are the symptoms of gallstones?
- What are the complications of gallstones?
- What are the complications of gallstones? (Continued)
- What is the relationship of sludge to gallstones?
- What kind of doctor treats gallstones?
- How are gallstones diagnosed?
- How are gallstones diagnosed? (Part 2)
- How are gallstones diagnosed? (Part 3)
- How are gallstones diagnosed? (Part 4)
- How are gallstones diagnosed? (Part 5)
- What are the potential pitfalls of diagnosing gallstones?
- How are gallstones treated?
- Can gallstones be prevented?
- Can symptoms continue after gallstones are removed?
- What's new with gallstones?
Gallbladder Attack Symptoms
Symptoms of a gallbladder attack include:
- pain in the upper right side or middle of the abdomen;
- the pain may be dull, sharp, or cramping;
- the pain typically starts suddenly;
- the pain is steady and may spread to the back or the area below the right shoulder blade.
- Gallstones are "stones" that form in the gallbladder or bile ducts.
- The common types of gallstones are cholesterol, black pigment, and brown pigment.
- Cholesterol gallstones occur more frequently in several ethnic groups and are associated with female gender, obesity, pregnancy, oral hormonal therapy, rapid loss of weight, elevated blood triglyceride levels, and Crohn's disease.
- Black pigment gallstones occur when there is increased destruction of red blood cells, while brown pigment gallstones occur when there is reduced flow and infection of bile.
- The majority of gallstones do not cause symptoms.
- The most common symptoms of gallstones are biliary colic and cholecystitis. Gallstones do not cause intolerance to fatty foods, belching, abdominal distention, or gas.
- Complications of gallstones include cholangitis, gangrene of the gallbladder, jaundice, pancreatitis, sepsis, fistula, and ileus.
- Gallbladder sludge is associated with symptoms and complications of gallstones; however, like gallstones, sludge usually does not cause problems.
- The best single test for diagnosing gallstones is transabdominal ultrasonography. Other tests include endoscopic ultrasonography, magnetic resonance cholangio-pancreatography (MRCP), cholescintigraphy (HIDA scan), endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP), liver and pancreatic blood tests, duodenal drainage, oral cholecystogram (OCG), and intravenous cholangiogram (IVC).
- Gallstones are managed primarily with observation (no treatment) or removal of the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). Less commonly used treatments include sphincterotomy and extraction of gallstones, dissolution with oral medications, and extra-corporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL). Prevention of cholesterol gallstones also is possible with oral medications.
- Symptoms of gallstones should stop following cholecystectomy. If they do not, it is likely that gallstones were left in the ducts, there is a second problem within the bile ducts, or there is sphincter of Oddi dysfunction.
- Many dietary recommendations have been made for the prevention or treatment of gallstones and to prevent their symptoms, but none of them have been shown to be effective.
- Many home remedies have been suggested for eliminating gallstones, but none have been shown to be effective
- Continuing research is directed at uncovering the genes that are responsible for the formation of gallstones. Continue Reading
UpToDate. Gallstones (Beyond the Basics).
Thistle, J. et al. Factors That Predict Relief From Upper Abdominal Pain After Cholecystectomy. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Vol. 9, Issue 10, p891–896. Published online: May 23, 2011.
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