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What are gallstones?

Gallstones in the gallbladder (cholelithiasis), also known as biliary lithiasis, refer to the formation of stones in the biliary tract.

Gallstones vary in size and can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball. Some people only develop one stone, while others may develop many at the same time.



What does the gallbladder do?

The gallbladder is where bile is gathered and stored to then be carried to the small intestine in response to food intake, and thereby participate in the digestion of food.


Symptoms of gallstones (cholelithiasis)

The gallbladder is where bile is gathered and stored to then be carried to the small intestine in response to food intake, and thereby participate in the digestion of food.

If a gallstone provokes a block in the biliary ducts, there could be a yellow coloring (jaundice) of the eyes and skin, or even pancreatitis.

If you have any of these symptoms of cholelithiasis, it is important that you seek immediate medical attention.


RISK FACTORS FOR GALLSTONES

Women tend to be more susceptible to gallstones, but they can also be found in men.

Diet is an important factor, since overweight or obese individuals tend to have a greater risk of developing gallstones.


COMPLICATIONS OF GALLSTONES

Some of the complications of gallstones can include inflammation of the gallbladder (cholelithiasis) and the obstruction of the common bile duct or the pancreatic duct, (choledocholithiasis) or (?) pancreatitis. (En la version original, falta “o” antes de pancreatic. ¿Es lo que que quiere decir?)

Algunas complicaciones de los cálculos biliares pueden ser la inflamación de la vesícula biliar (COLECISTITIS) y la obstrucción del conducto biliar común o pancreático (COLEDOCOLITIASIS) pancreatitis.


Diagnosing gallstones (cholelithiasis)

To make an accurate diagnosis of cholelithiasis, in addition to a consultation and physical, there should also be an ultrasound of the liver and biliary ducts.


Treating GALLSTONES (CHOLELITHIASIS)

The proper treatment when someone has cholelithiasis is a cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gallbladder) via laparoscopy, which is to say by minimum incisions.

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Common Questions

It is a condition that is mainly found in women but can also affect men. Obesity and high fat foods are significant causes.

The main symptom is pain in the upper part of the abdomen that can spread toward the back due to the intake of foods high in fat, dairy, eggs and avocados. Nausea and vomiting can also be symptoms. In severe cases, the pain can become more intense and can provoke peritonitis and yellowing of the eyes and skin due to biliary obstruction and pancreatitis.

The ultrasound of the liver and the biliary duct is the preferred exam for diagnosis as well as blood tests including pancreas and liver function tests.

Gallbladder surgery involves removing the gallbladder along with the stones via laparoscopy, known as minimum invasive surgery.

It is a relatively fast surgery with an average time of one hour and in most cases, only one night in the hospital since being that the incisions are very small, there is little pain with a very fast recovery.

They can return to normal life after a couple days in most cases, following dietary recommendations during the first month following the operation.