What are gallstones?
Gallstones (often misspelled gall stones, or gall stone) are stones that form in the gall (bile).
- Bile is a watery liquid made by the cells of the liver that is important for digesting food in the intestine, particularly fat.
- Liver cells secrete the bile they make into small canals within the liver.
- The bile flows through the canals and into larger collecting ducts within the liver (the intrahepatic bile ducts).
- The bile then flows within the intrahepatic bile ducts out of the liver and into the extrahepatic bile ducts-first into the hepatic bile ducts, then into the common hepatic duct, and finally into the common bile duct.
What is the gall bladder ?
The gall bladder is a small pear-shaped organ situated directly under the liver in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen.
Q. What is the function of the gall bladder ?
Its main function is to collect and concentrate the bile that the body uses to digest fats.
Problems with the gall bladder and biliary system are very common and consist of :-
- Inflammation of the gall bladder and bile ducts
- Muscular spasms and/or poor contraction of the gall bladder wall
- Stones forming in the gall bladder and/or bile ducts
- Obstruction to the free flow of bile
Surgeons are often very keen to remove the gall bladder as it is believed that it 'serves no purpose'. This is very untrue. The process of bile production is an 'expensive' biochemical process. The body has developed the gall bladder to store bile that has been recovered from the bowel to be recycled - thus saving the liver from having to produce new batches. Therefore, the gall bladder is vitally important as it takes a lot of workload off the liver.
If the gall bladder is diseased and dysfunctional - it is often due to the fact that the liver is under stress and is also dysfunctional. A dysfunctional liver will tend to produce toxic unhealthy bile.
What is bile ?
Bile is a substance made in the liver cells (hepatocytes) consisting of water, electrolytes, bile acids, cholesterol, phospholipids and bilirubin. It is a fat emulsifying agent helping to keep cholesterol levels in check. It also assists with absorption of certain nutrients, namely the fat soluble vitamins A, D E and K.
- steady, severe pain in the upper abdomen that increases rapidly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours
- pain in the back between the shoulder blades
- pain under the right shoulder
- nausea or vomiting
- abdominal bloating
- recurring intolerance of fatty foods
- Production of toxic bile by the liver
- Inadequate production of bile by the liver
- Sluggish flow of bile
- Excess amounts of cholesterol in the bile, resulting in stone formation
- Infection of the gall bladder
- Poor dietary choices with excess consumption of fatty foods, dairy products and fried foods.
- The hormonal changes of pregnancy
- The oral contraceptive pill and some types of hormone replacement therapy
- Some types of blood disorders
Generally speaking the gall bladder becomes diseased or dysfunctional because the liver is producing unhealthy bile. The bile is either toxic or contains excess amounts of fat and bacteria. To improve gall bladder problems, we must improve the quality of the bile, by improving the liver function. Even after the gall bladder is removed there may still be problems in the bile ducts inside & outside the liver. This is because the underlying problem of toxic bile has not been corrected.
Indeed after gall bladder removal the following things may still happen : -
- Stones & gravel may form in the bile ducts inside & outside the liver
- The liver may develop fatty changes
Thus it is important to take extra care of your liver if you have gall bladder problems, or if you have had your gall bladder removed.
Gall Bladder treatment Include : -
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