A small, hard, abnormal mass composed chiefly of cholesterol, calcium salts, and bile pigments, formed in the gallbladder or in the bile duct. Gallstones can form when there is an imbalance in the substances that make up bile. Gallstones are more common among women and older people.
Types of gallbladder stones:
- Cholesterol stones may develop as a result of too much cholesterol in the bile. Another cause may be the inability of the gallbladder to empty properly. Usually yellow-green in color, approximately 80% of gallstones are cholesterol stones.
- Pigment stones are more common in people with certain medical conditions, such as cirrhosis (a liver disease in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver tissue) or blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia. These stones are smaller and darker and are made up of bilirubin.
Causative factors for gallbladder stones
Several factors may come together to create gallstones, including:
- Genetics factors- Family history of gallstones are increased risk of developing gallstones.
- Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors. Obesity can cause a rise in cholesterol and can also keep the gallbladder from emptying completely.
- Some cholesterol-lowering drugs increase the amount of cholesterol in bile, which may increase the chances of developing cholesterol stones.
- Estrogen can increase cholesterol and decreased motility of the gallbladder. Women who are pregnant or who take birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy have higher levels of estrogen and may be more likely to develop gallstones.
- Diabetes tend to have higher levels of triglycerides, which is a risk factor for gallstones.
- Rapid weight loss causes liver secretes extra cholesterol, it may lead to gallstones. Also, fasting may cause the gallbladder to contract less.
Gallstone attacks often occur after eating a meal and especially fatty person. Symptoms are
- Pain in the upper abdomen and upper back. The pain may last for several hours. In most cases, this causes abdominal pain, although some people also experience other symptoms if the blockage is more severe or a blockage develops in another part of the digestive system.
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Bloating of abdomen
- Other gastrointestinal problems, including bloating, indigestion and heartburn, and gas
- 70-80% of people with gallstones never know they have them and no symptoms. These are called "silent gallstones".
- Gallstone attacks often occur after eating a meal and especially fatty person.
Small number of people, gallstones can cause more serious problems if they obstruct the flow of bile for longer periods or move into other organs (such as the pancreas or small bowel).
- High temperature
- More persistent abdominal pain
- A rapid heartbeat
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Itching of the skin
- Chills or rigors
- Confusion of mind
- Loss of appetite
How to diagnose gallbladder stones?
The diagnosis of gallstones is to verify that abdominal pain is caused by stones and not by some other condition. Ultrasound or other imaging techniques can usually detect gallstones. Gallstone attacks often occur after eating a meal and especially fatty person. Symptoms can include pain for up to several hours in the upper, back, or under the right shoulder together with nausea, vomiting, abdominal bloating or indigestion. These symptoms can mimic those of other problems, including heart attack so accurate diagnosis is important. ‘Silent’ gallstones that do not cause any symptoms, are sometimes detected incidentally during other procedures such as ultrasounds, X-rays, or CT scans. If symptoms develop that suggest gallstones and doctor will take a physical examination to check your skin and eyes for jaundice and your abdomen for tenderness. If gallstones blocking the bile ducts may result in a combination of abdominal pain, jaundice and fever. This suggests a diagnosis of cholangitis means inflammation of a bile duct, a condition requiring urgent medical attention. As a number of other conditions, such as pancreatitis, hepatitis, irritable bowel syndrome and gastric ulcers, may produce symptoms similar to those of gallstones, it need to additional tests to make a definitive diagnosis. Some tests may include
- An abdominal ultrasound and a computerized tomography (CT) scan to create pictures of your gallbladder. These images can be analyzed to look for signs of gallstones.
- Tests to check your bile ducts for gallstones. A test that uses a special dye to highlight your bile ducts on images may help to doctor determine whether a gallstone is causing a blockage. Tests may include a hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Gallstones discovered using ERCP can be removed during the procedure.
- Blood tests may reveal an infection, jaundice, pancreatitis or other complications caused by gallstones.
How Homoeopathy helps to cure gallbladder stones?
When the stones are of a smaller size, homeopathic medicines will help in possibly reduce the size of the stones. Homeopathy medicines are effective in alleviating pain as well as chronic inflammation of gallbladder associated with the condition. Homeopathy also helps to control further stone production activity. The most important mechanism in the formation of stones is increased biliary secretion of cholesterol. This may occur due to many reasons that cannot be pinpointed. Homeopathic medication, the secretion of cholesterol is regulated and the density of bile is made normal then the stones melt. In some cases even if the disease is cured, i.e. the bile is made normal, the stones do not melt. By homeopathic medicines, the stones can be made to become silent and fixed in one place. The patients become symptom-free, for the rest of their lives. All cases of gallstones are not required to be operated upon. Homeopathy has specific medicines for the treatment of pathological gall bladder. They should first be treated with homeopathic medicines. Homeopathy successfully dissolves small and medium-sized gallstones and help you avoid the gallbladder removal. Homeopathy also provides fast pain relief in gallbladder attacks and can be used for prevention and treatment of biliary colic. The medicines are natural, effective and have no side effects. In patients with gallbladder removal homeopathy can alleviate the digestive disorders after surgery.
Commonly indicated Homoeopathic remedies:
Cardus marinus: One of the great medicines for gallbladder stones. There is increased acidity in the stomach. Empty eructations, heartburn and nausea; vomiting of bile, followed by burning, stitching, sore pains in the stomach. Much distension and sharp wandering colic pains and stitching in the abdomen. Terrible attacks of gall-stone colic. Pain on the right, bellow the last ribs in the region of the liver, the taste in mouth is bad and the skin is yellow-coloured. The gall-bladder is enlarged and tender, the region of the liver is uncomfortable and there is sensation of fullness and constipation alternates with diarrhea with clay color stools. The complaints are aggravated by lying on the right side, and on stooping causes stitches on the right bellow ribs, worse from motion and pressure on the affected part. Better from sitting up in bed and from lying on the unaffected side.
Berberis vulgaris: This remedy may be indicated when stitching pains extend from the gallbladder region to the stomach and sometimes to the shoulder. Sharp twinges radiating outward can be felt in the groin and pelvic bones and may seem to come from the lower back. Pain can be worse when the person is standing up, and from changing position. The person may be constipated and have a tendency toward gout or joint pains
Calcarea carbonica: The abdomen may feel swollen on the right and be very sensitive to pressure, with cutting pains that extend to the chest and are worse from stooping, the person feels worse from standing, exertion, and better from lying on the painful side. Calcarea carbonica is often indicated for people who tired easily, feel cold and sluggish with clammy hands and feet, crave sweets, and tend to feel anxious and overwhelmed when ill.
Chelidonium majus: This remedy is indicated when pain upper abdomen extends to the back, right shoulder, and shoulder-blade. The abdomen is distended, with a constricting feeling as if a string were pulled across it. Pain is worse from motion, and lying on the left with the legs drawn up may help. The person may feel nauseous, especially after eating fat or drinking something cold. The person may feel tired, worse from being cold, and worse in the early morning.
Dioscorea: This remedy is indicated when abdominal pain from gallstones is relieved by bending backward, and is worse when the person is bending forward or lying flat. Standing up and moving around in open air can also bring improvement. Pains can spread to the back, chest, and arms, or may shift around. The person tends to feel worse in the evening and at night, and also when lying down. Other indicated remedies: Phosphorus, Lycopodium clavatum, Nux vomica, China sulphuricum, Thuja occidentalis.