Symptoms

Gall stones

Symptoms of Gallstones:

  • Intense abdominal pain, typically in the upper right or middle abdomen, enduring from minutes to hours.
  • Back pain located between the shoulder blades.
  • Pain radiating to the right shoulder.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Indigestion or bloating post-meals, especially after consuming fatty or greasy foods.
  • Discolored stools (clay-colored) or darkened urine.
  • Jaundice, indicated by yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Treatment Options:

  • Watchful Waiting: For asymptomatic gallstones, observation without intervention may be appropriate.
  • Medication: Oral drugs to dissolve gallstones might be prescribed, though effectiveness is typically limited to small cholesterol stones.
  • Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy: Surgical removal of the gallbladder, minimally invasive via small incisions, is the most common treatment for symptomatic gallstones.
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP):  Utilized for stone removal from the common bile duct if migrated from the gallbladder.
  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL):  High-energy shock waves break up gallstones, yet this approach is less common due to efficacy constraints.
  • Dietary Changes:  Avoiding high-fat foods may alleviate symptoms, particularly if surgery is deferred.
  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter or prescription analgesics assist in managing discomfort during gallstone episodes.

Prevention:

  • Maintain a healthy weight through balanced diet and exercise.
  • Consume a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol.
  • Avoid rapid weight loss or fasting to diminish gallstone risk.
  • Ensure adequate hydration by drinking plenty of water.
  • Regular physical activity promotes gallbladder health.

Gallbladder Surgery:

Gallbladder surgery, also known as cholecystectomy, is a medical procedure to remove the gallbladder. It is typically performed to treat conditions such as gallstones, inflammation, or other complications affecting the gallbladder. 

The surgery can be conducted through traditional open surgery or minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques. During the procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions in the abdomen, inserts a tiny camera and specialised surgical tools to remove the gallbladder. Laparoscopic surgery often results in shorter recovery times and less scarring compared to open surgery.

After the surgery, patients may experience temporary discomfort, which can be managed with pain medication. It’s essential to follow post-operative instructions carefully, including dietary guidelines, to support healing and prevent complications. Most patients can resume normal activities within a few days to a week after surgery, although full recovery may take several weeks.

Gallbladder surgery is generally safe and effective in relieving symptoms associated with gallbladder issues, allowing patients to lead healthier lives without the risk of recurrent problems.

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