The Symptoms And Treatment Of Gallstones
In the last blog, we discussed what gallstones are and what causes them. Now we’re going to take a look at their symptoms, how they’re diagnosed, and what you can do to treat them. Gallstones can be very painful, but unfortunately, it’s not always clear when the pain you’re feeling comes from a gallstone and when it comes from something else. Let’s take a look at the symptoms of gallstones first.
In addition to mimicking symptoms of other issues, sometimes there are no symptoms of a gallstone. These silent stones, as they are referred to, often only appear when you’re being checked for other issues.
However, more often, gallstones have several painful and unpleasant symptoms. The first of these is pain. You may develop a sharp pain in your upper back or abdomen that lasts for hours. You may also feel bloated, have heartburn and indigestion, or find that you’re very nauseous. Some people even vomit a lot. These symptoms will continue until you’ve dealt with the issue.
Gallstones can be diagnosed in a number of different ways. Most often, a doctor will physically check to determine where your pain is and if there’s another cause for it. They may also do a blood test to see if you have an infection or any other type of issue that could be causing your pain. A CAT scan and an ultrasound can both also be used to test for gallstones, as can an MRCP test, a HIDA scan, or an endoscopic ultrasound. All of these tests can be used to diagnose another issues, too, so the doctor will often order the one they believe could discover the cause of your pain in the event that it’s not a gallstone.
Treating your gallstones is most often done via surgery. However, while traditionally people had what’s known as an open cholecystectomy operation, today many doctors are recommending laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This is a less invasive procedure, and there aren’t as many complications that can come from it.
During a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, several small cuts are made through the abdomen. A light, camera, and other instruments are then inserted. The surgeon is able to use the camera to locate the gallbladder and remove it. This does require the patient to stay overnight in the hospital to make certain there are no further issues, but it’s fairly quick and easy. The open cholecystectomy also removes the entire gallbladder, but the incisions are a little larger. This operation requires staying in the hospital for several days.
It’s possible that some gallstones may move into the bile ducts prior to surgery. If this occurs, the surgeon will need to do what’s called an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to find the stones and remove them all.
There are some non-surgical options that can be used. Chenodiol and Ursodiol are two medications that can dissolve cholesterol stones. Normally, the only side effect from these medications is diarrhea. However, they can take years to fully work, and the stones can come back.
You may also want to start taking a supplement that contains graviola. Research has shown that a graviola supplement may be able to provide you with a number of benefits.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any diseases.