Gallstones are an extremely common problem experienced especially by people aged 40 and above. The problem is more common in Indians as food high in cholesterol contributes significantly to developing gallstones.
What are gallstones?
The gallbladder plays a major role in your digestion. It stores bile, a greenish liquid that is essential for breaking down your food. If you’ve been diagnosed with gallstones, you have tiny deposits of solid particles in the gallbladder which could turn dangerous if ignored.
Dangerous does not mean untreatable. Gallstones are so common that the treatment for them has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last 10 years. The surgery for gallstones takes a maximum of 30 minutes. Now that’s pretty fast, right?
Unless you experience severe pain in your abdomen caused by gallstones, you can ignore them. The symptoms may recur frequently, though. If you experience symptoms that cause you discomfort and hamper your day-to-day activities, it’s time to seek the right treatment for it.
What happens if I leave gallstones untreated?
As long as you don’t have any discomfort or pain, you can ignore your gallstones. However, if the doctor has advised you to undergo surgery, it’s best you get it done at the earliest.
Delaying surgery can bring in unnecessary complications. Some of the complications that may arise are:
Stones in Bile Duct:
Gallstones if left untreated can move into the bile duct causing severe pain, nausea and vomiting. This can lead to blockage of both the gallbladder and pancreas.
This can cause a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis.
Inflammation of the bile duct:
Due to gallstones, the bile duct sometimes gets swollen up. This can lead to high fever, chills and even jaundice.
This inflammation can potentially spread to neighbouring organs causing severe problems.
Inflammation of gallbladder:
Gallstones can cause swelling in the gallbladder also. This can cause infection, formation of pus and may even lead to the death of the organ. All this causes unbearable pain in the abdomen.
If the pus from the gallbladder passes on into the blood, it can lead to a disease called septicaemia which can cause organ failure and consequently, death.
Large gallstones when ignored, can also lead to the cancer of gallbladder or pancreas. 4 out of 5 people who are diagnosed with gallbladder cancer are diagnosed with gallstones early on. Alarming, right?
Hence, it’s always advisable to seek treatment as soon as you are diagnosed with gallstones.
What are the available treatments?
Depending on the size of the stones and severity of your symptoms, the doctor will suggest the right treatment for you. Some of the treatments available are:
If your symptoms are not really bothering you, the doctor might suggest some medication to break the gall stones. This treatment however, takes a long time, sometimes years to completely treat the gall stones.
In this procedure, sound waves are sent to break large stones into smaller pieces which can pass out of the system naturally. However, this is rarely done as it has certain risks involved.
The most common treatment across the world for gallstones is gallbladder removal surgery. This is the shortest and the best way known to relieve discomfort caused by gallstones.
Is it okay to have an entire organ removed?
Yes, absolutely. Removing the gallbladder does not really affect your life too much. The bile will directly flow from the liver into the small intestine. This can sometimes cause indigestion and loose stools.
To avoid this, the only change you need to make after the surgery is changing your diet by decreasing the amount of oily, fatty and spicy food.
In the first place, gallbladder stones can be avoided by maintaining a balanced diet right from the beginning. So, the next time think before you reach out for that extra jalebi! ?
Thousands of people undergo gallbladder surgery every day in India. The doctors at Ayu Health themselves have years of experience in quick removal of gallbladder surgeries. Right from diagnosis to treatment to after surgery care, we will take care of all your needs and help you feel better right away!
Why Choose Ayu Health?
Ayu Health is India’s most trusted network of hospitals. Our in-house Gallstones experts are among the best in their field and will suggest the most optimal stone treatment (surgical or non-surgical) for the patients depending upon their case. We not only have a skilful doctor’s team but also carry mandatory certifications from the government authorities. NABH, India’s premier hospital accreditation authority, recognises all the Ayu Health hospitals.
In case the doctor thinks you do need surgery, Ayu Health hospitals offer Zero Pain Laparoscopic Procedure. The procedure involves the use of a laparoscope, a long, thin probe that allows for the surgery to be done with a very small incision. The procedure lasts for <30 minutes and patients are typically able to resume normal routine from the very next day!
You can call +91 – 6366 100 800 or visit our website to book a consultation today!
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About the Author
Dr. Udaybhaskar M
Dr. Uday Bhaskar is a renowned urologist currently practicing at Ayu Health Hospital, Bangalore.
He is proficient in Endourology, RIRS, (open and laparoscopy), andrology (penile lengthening & penile prosthesis for erectile problems), and other urological procedures. Over the course of his career, he has performed many laser TURPs for prostate enlargement. He also has vast experience in treating renal stones and performing PNCLs.