By Dr. Amitava Chakraborty, General Surgery
Gallstones are actually hard deposits or lumps that are formed in the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped, a sac-like structure that is located in the upper-right part of the abdomen that stores bile. Many people have gallstones present in their bladder but they never know it. This can be an alarming situation for people who have it.
What Causes Gallstones?
There may be several reasons, including:
- Your genes
- Your weight
- Problems with your gallbladder
- Bile can be part of the problem. Your body needs bile, but if it has too much cholesterol in it, that makes gallstones more likely.
- It can also happen if your gallbladder can’t empty properly.
Who Is at Risk for Gallstones?
While your body produces cholesterol naturally, you can also take in excess cholesterol through your diet. Many risk factors for gallstones are related to diet. These include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Eating a diet that’s high in fat or cholesterol
- Rapid weight loss within a short period of time
- Eating diet that’s low in fiber
- Having diabetes mellitus
What are the treatments available for this?
- Surgery: One of the famous treatments include surgeries. The famous surgery is Cholecystectomy (Removal of the gallbladder) that further includes Laparoscopic surgery and Open cholecystectomy.
- Medications: The patients who cannot undergo surgeries can also use drugs like ursodiol and chenodiol. But this can take months or years to remove stones from the bladder.
You can reduce your risk of gallstones if you:
- Don’t skip meals. Try to stick to your usual meal times each day. Skipping meals or fasting can increase the risk of gallstones.
- Lose weight slowly. If you need to lose weight, go slow. Rapid weight loss can increase the risk of gallstones. Aim to lose 1 or 2 pounds (about 0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity and being overweight increase the risk of gallstones. Work to achieve a healthy weight by reducing the number of calories you eat and increasing the amount of physical activity you get. Once you achieve a healthy weight, work to maintain that weight by continuing your healthy diet and continuing to exercise.