Are you worried that you have gall bladder problems? Here are the top 4 you may experience and how/why they are caused:
One of the most common gallbladder problems is gallstones. This is often caused by gallstones in the bile duct and it can cause pain in the abdominal area. Gallstones are small pebble-like structures in the gallbladder. The size of these stones can range from tiny grains of sand to the size of golf balls. They can get stuck in the bile duct when large, and can either slow or block the flow of the bile in the duct that connects the liver and small intestine, resulting in either a dull ache or sharp pain in the area. This may also lead to jaundice, a condition where the flow of bile is blocked, backed up into the liver, and is released into the bloodstream. It can cause the skin and whites of the eyes to turn yellow. If you notice that you have this condition, you should see your doctor immediately.
Bile helps your body digest dietary fats when it is released into the small intestine. Bile can attach to other particles found in the gallbladder, such as salts and minerals. Gallbladder sludge forms when bile particles, cholesterol crystals, and calcium salts combine. Biliary sludge may progress to form cholesterol gallstones. The good news is that in most cases, biliary sludge don’t develop into gallstones. Instead they dissolve and pass out harmlessly through the gallbladder.
Gallbladder polyps range from 1 to 10 mm long and are usually benign (non-cancerous). They are small projections that emerge from the walls of the gallbladder. They usually don’t require treatment. Often, doctors will request follow up examinations to see if the polyps change in size. A change in the size of the polyp may be a malignant (cancerous) polyp. These follow-ups often require an ultrasound examination.
When polyps are larger than one centimetre, there is a greater chance that it may be cancerous. The greater the size of the polyps, the higher the chance that the polyps are malignant. If this is the case, doctors often will suggest cholecystectomy, a term used to describe the surgical removal of the gallbladder. When polyps are in combination with gallstones, there is an even greater risk of cancer, and it is more likely that your doctor will recommend cholecystectomy.
Rupture is another one of the common gallbladder problems. Some gallbladder symptoms can lead to rupture. Cholecystitis the term for the inflammation of the gallbladder. This condition is often caused by gallstones or choleliths in the gallbladder, known as cholelithiasis. Choleliths or gallstones can block the cystic duct, which causes the bile to thicken as well as increases the chances of a secondary infection. This leads the gallbladder to become inflamed. An extreme gallbladder symptom is rupture, a serious injury.
If the gallbladder ruptures, one may get an infection called peritonitis, an infection of the abdominal membranes. Some symptoms of this infection include nausea, bloating, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, appetite loss, abnormal bowel movement, and flatulence. A ruptured gallbladder can be fatal if you do not seek medical treatment immediately. It will need to be removed, and antibiotic treatment will likely be prescribed.