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Gallbladder Stone

The gallbladder is a hollow organ located just below the liver, shaped like a healthy pear, about 8 cm long and 4 cm wide in healthy adults.

What is the Gallbladder? What Does the Gallbladder Do?

The main job of the gallbladder is to store bile produced by the liver. Bile has an important role in helping to digest fatty foods. After meals, the gallbladder is stimulated by “cholecystokinin”, a hormone produced by the digestive system, to empty bile into the duodenum through the cystic duct and the choledochal duct.

Over time, cholesterol, pigments and infectious products in the bile can precipitate in the gallbladder, forming a sludge-like dark liquid. This precipitation can lead to the formation of gallstones. Stones and sludge in the gallbladder can be discovered during radiologic examinations or periodic examinations, often without symptoms.

If left untreated, gallstones can fall into the biliary tract and block bile flow and pancreatic secretions, causing various complications. However, most patients develop symptoms before these complications develop.

Gallbladder Complaints

Gallstones that do not cause gallbladder complaints usually do not require surgical intervention. However, gallstones that cause complaints may require surgical treatment. In addition, in some cases, treatment options such as endoscopic dilatation of the bile ducts may be considered.

In some patients with other diseases of the liver-biliary system, relief may be provided by drains placed in the gallbladder.

What is a Gallbladder Polyp?

A gallbladder polyp is an abnormal growth of tissue on the inside of the gallbladder, connected by a stalk. These polyps are usually benign and are unlikely to become cancerous. While small polyps usually do not require treatment, large polyps may need to be treated because they carry a risk of malignancy.

Symptoms can include abdominal pain, shoulder pain, nausea, vomiting and digestive problems. Polyps are usually diagnosed by medical imaging and the treatment option is determined by the doctor.

Gallbladder Stone Symptoms

Gallstones are usually asymptomatic in the early stages. Studies have shown that about half of all gallstones cause no symptoms. Symptoms of gallstones may include

Pain that starts in the upper middle and right side of the abdomen and radiates to the right shoulder blade.
Sudden pain, usually after meals.
The pain increases for 15-20 minutes and then lasts for a long time.
Inability to respond to pain such as vomiting, inability to prevent heartburn, inability to pass gas.
Excessive sweating and nausea.
Intense pain that usually does not go away on its own.

Gallbladder pain is the most obvious symptom of gallstones and may indicate problems with the gallbladder.

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Symptoms of Gallbladder Inflammation

When the gallbladder becomes inflamed, symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting and fever may occur. Inflammation of the gallbladder can also cause symptoms such as a stinging sensation in the back, especially when breathing deeply. Children can also have similar symptoms, which can include high fever, loss of appetite, weakness and changes in skin color.

Gallbladder Stone Diagnosis

The physician takes a medical history and performs a physical examination to assess the patient’s complaints. Based on the results of the examination and history, he or she may perform various investigations to confirm and support the diagnosis using blood tests and radiological imaging methods.

Gallbladder Stone Treatment

The treatment of gallstones is usually by surgical removal of the gallbladder, i.e. cholecystectomy. However, the treatment method may vary depending on the patient’s general condition and symptoms. Surgical intervention is used to treat gallstones, bile duct stones, gallbladder inflammation and large gallbladder polyps. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a common surgical method and patients are usually discharged the same day.

After gallbladder surgery, it is recommended to avoid high-fat and processed foods and to consume high-fiber foods. It is also important to avoid caffeinated drinks and follow the diet recommended by the doctor.