(Last Updated on : 01/08/2011)
Gall Bladder stones are also known as Gallstones. These are basically small, pebble-like
substances that build up in the gallbladder of a person. The Gallbladder is a pear-shaped
organ of the human body, situated below the liver and is attached to the under-surface of
the liver on its right side. It stores the bile which is a waste product secreted by the liver.
The gall bladder stones usually form when the bile stored solidifies into pieces of stone-
like material. Bile hardens mainly when it contains excessive cholesterol and bile salts.
The gallstones are actually an inflammatory condition and are also known as
cholecystitis. Most of the gall bladder stones build up because of accretion of cholesterol.
Women are more affected by Gall Bladder stones compared to men.
Types of Gall Bladder stones
Gall bladder stones are of two types- cholesterol stones and pigment stones. The
cholesterol stones are yellow-greenish in colour and are chiefly made of toughened
cholesterol. This type of gall bladder stones account for near about 80 percent of all the
On the other hand, pigment stones are in fact small, dark stones that are made of
bilirubin. The size of gallstones may vary in size from that of a grain of sand or to that of
a golf ball.
Causes of Gall Bladder stones
There are numerous causes behind the formation of gall bladder stones. The major cause
is disorders in the composition of the bile. Further, a variation in the proportion of
cholesterol and bile salts may result in the formation of deposits. The deposits are
generally in the form of fine gravel in the initial period. They comprise the nucleus for
additional deposits and ultimately lead to the formation of larger stones. An irritation of
the lining of the gall bladder, caused by inflammation is also considered as a cause of gall
bladder stones. Having excessive cholesterol or calcium in the diet can cause gallstones,
and the way body processes these substances also plays an important role in the
formation of gallstones. Some people may also inherit narrow bile ducts that later
increases their chances of developing gallstones. Fatness is considered one of the major
causes of gall bladder stones, as well.
Symptoms of Gall bladder stones
There are numerous symptoms of gall bladder stones that can help one in recognising
them at an early stage. The most common symptoms include heart attacks, ulcers,
appendicitis, pancreatitis, hiatal hernia and hepatitis. The signs of blocked bile ducts are
sometimes termed as gallbladder `attack`, as they happen suddenly. A gall bladder attack
may cause various difficulties like steady pain in the right upper abdomen as it increases
quickly and it lasts for around 30 minutes to some hours; ache in the back between the
shoulder blades; pain under the right shoulder.
The other common signs of gall bladder stones include nausea and vomiting; fever of
low-grade or chills; yellowish colour of the skin or whites of the eyes; clay-coloured
stools; etc. Symptoms like indigestion, gas, constipation, disturbed vision, intolerance to
fats, jaundice, anaemia, dizziness, acne, etc. are also considered as common symptoms of
gall bladder stones. However, some people with gall bladder stones may not show any of
the symptoms and these gallstones are termed as "silent stones". These stones do not
interfere with gallbladder, liver, or pancreas function and do not need treatment, as well.
The diagnosis of gall bladder stones is done in different ways. Most of the times,
diagnosis is done based on a person?s symptoms. A simple physical examination like
gently pressing just below the ribs on the right side of the chest with fingers may help in
diagnosing gall bladder stones. Sometimes, blood tests or a simple x-ray can show signs
of obstructed ducts. Apart from these, there are two tests that are used most commonly
for diagnosis of gall bladder stones. These tests are named as abdominal ultrasound and
the oral cholecystogram (OCG) or cholescintigraphy and both the tests can detect
gallstones with great accuracy.
Treatment of Gall Bladder stones
Apart from the usual treatment procedures, many alternative medications are often used
for the treatment of gall bladder stones. The alternative healing methods like Ayurveda
Homoeopathy, Indian Naturopathy
or nature care, water treatments, Yogic Asanas,
dietary restrictions, Magnetic Therapy are used quite extensively for treatment of gall
bladder stones. Further, oral bile acid suspension treatment; contact solvent dissolution;
fragmentation through shock-wave lithotripsy combined with bile acid dissolution are
also considered as effective medications for the treatment of gall bladder stones.
Several people get affected by the disease of Gall bladder stones every year. Though, the
diagnosis and treatment of the gall bladder stones is quite easy to be done, delay in
detection of the disease may cause greater harms to the affected person.