Complications of Gallstones and Their Management

Complications of Gallstones and Their Management


By Dr. Kunal Das, Gastroenterology

Gall bladder is a small organ which is located just below the liver, helping in the storage of the bile created by the liver, which is subsequently passed to the small intestine. The gall bladder disorders mainly occur when this passage to the small intestine is interrupted by gall bladder stones, causing an inflammation, which results in an abnormal storage of bile. The most common gall bladder disorders are as follows:

  1. Gall Bladder Stones: These are little solid accumulations of cholesterol, calcium and bile salts which block the bile duct. These stones are also caused if the gallbladder region does not get cleared up wholly.
  2. Cholecystitis: Cholecystitis occurs due to the inflammation of the region caused mainly by gall stones. In the acute stage, the symptoms include severe pain in the abdominal regions after having a proper meal which spreads to shoulders, high fever, nauseating tendencies and jaundice. In the chronic stage, the ability to store the bile juices diminishes completely coupled with symptoms of uncontrollable pain, nausea, and vomiting.
  3. Gall Bladder Polyps: These are abnormal structures which are formed in the gall bladder region. They tend to be of benign nature.
  4. Gall Bladder Gangrene: When the gall bladder region does not function properly due to insufficient blood flow for a long time, gangrene might occur. Gall bladder gangrene is mainly caused due to sustained infections, injuries, recent surgeries and diabetes. The symptoms might include fever, immense pain in the gall bladder area, nausea and digestive disorders.
  5. Gall Bladder Cancer: Gall bladder cancers are very rare occurrences, but without proper diagnosis, it might spread to other regions of the body. The symptoms include but are not limited to severe pain in the abdominal regions after a meal which spreads to shoulders, high fever, nauseating tendencies and jaundice.

The symptoms include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, digestive disorders and long lasting pain in the belly and back regions. These stones mostly affect people who suffer from obesity, follow an unhealthy dietary regime for a long time, or are suffering from diabetes.


The gall bladder disorders, if in the initial stage, can be diagnosed by prescribed medicines. But if the inflammations occur at regular intervals, it is better to undergo laparoscopic surgery for complete elimination.

Further Complications-

If not treated timely, the disorders can cause intestinal inflammation, bacterial infections and malignant change in the appearance of the gall bladder.

A. CBD stones: Sometimes the GB stones can also slip into the common bile duct causing fever and jaundice in addition to severe pain. This can lead to causing cholangitis which is a life-threatening condition.

B. Acute Pancreatitis: In few occasions, the stone slipped in to CBD can also cause Acute pancreatitis. In this condition, there is a severe pain which may radiate to back.


The disorders can be completely avoided if you can maintain a healthy diet.