What are Gallstones?
The Gallbladder is a small organ located under the liver. Gallstones form in the gallbladder. These are not real stones but are pieces of solid material that form in the gallbladder.
They are two main kinds of Gallbladder stones.
Cholesterol Stones: These are the most common ones and account for 80% of the gallstones.
Colour: These are usually green –yellow in colour.
Pigment Stones: They are made up of bilirubin which is made of bile, a fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Colour: These stones are dark in colour.
Size: Small in size.
Understanding 5 F’s of Gallbladder Stones
The 5 F’s of gallbladder stones are the best way to understand your risk factor of getting gallstones. The 5 F’s are:
Female: Gallbladder stones are more common in females as compared to men because of the high levels of oestrogens.
Fat: Being overweight or obese or losing fat too quickly can lead to gallbladder stones. The reason behind this is over-weight people have more cholesterol in their bile, which leads to the formation of gallstones.
Fertile: Pregnant females have higher levels of hormones or oestrogens, which increase the risk of gallstones.
Flatulence: People who regularly pass flatulence are at a higher risk.
Forty: Forty’s are menopausal time for a woman which brings in spikes of estragon levels, leading to increased chances of gallstones. For men, a drop in physical activity and improper diet adds to their risk factor.
Common Causes of Gallstones
The other common causes of gallstones are:
A diet that is rich in fat or cholesterol
Rapid weight loss within a short period of time
Low fibre diet
Suffering from Diabetes mellitus
Family history of Gallstones
Suffering from Liver cirrhosis
Having medications for lowering cholesterol
Having medications that have a high estragon content
Symptoms of Gallstones
Gallstones are called “silent stones” because they mostly show no symptoms. Many people have gallstones and they are completely unaware because of this. Only when the stones block a bile duct, causing an intense pain, do people come to know of gallstones. On the other hand, few people do experience gallstone symptoms. The most common symptom which patients experience is a pain in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. The pain can radiate to the back or right shoulder or shoulder blade. The other common symptoms are:
Digestive problems like bloating, indigestion and heartburn and gas
Clay coloured stools
Yellowish tint on the skin or eyes, indicating jaundice