The two major types of gall bladder stones found are the cholesterol stones and the pigment stones. The cholesterol stones form when bile contains too much amount of cholesterol, bilirubin, or do not contain enough bile salts. The cholesterol stones may also form when the gallbladder does not empty completely. However, the main reason behind such imbalances is not known. The cause behind formation of pigment stones is also not known completely. The pigment stones usually tend to develop in people having liver cirrhosis, biliary tract infections, or hereditary blood disorders like sickle cell anemia, where the liver makes too much bilirubin.
Sometimes, having gallstones may become a cause behind formations of gall bladder stones. The other factors that are considered as possible causes of gall bladder stones include gender, age, weight, diet, rapid weight loss, family history, cholesterol-lowering dugs, diabetes, etc. Gender is a major factor behind the formation of gallstones, as it has been found that women are twice as likely to develop gallstones, compared to men. Excess estrogen from pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, and birth control pills are some of the main causes of gall bladder stones in women. Estrogen may increase cholesterol levels in bile and decrease gallbladder movement, and both these can lead to formation of gallstones.
Family history is another cause of gall bladder stones. It is found that gallstones often run in families, and hence, genetic link can be considered as a cause of gall bladder stones. The weight of a person is considered one of the causes of gall bladder stones, as well. Being even moderately overweight may increase the risk of developing gallstones. The main reason behind this is that the amount of bile salts in bile gets reduced with increased weight and gradually results in more cholesterol. Increased cholesterol can reduce gallbladder emptying and in this way, obesity becomes a major cause behind formation of gall bladder stones, especially in women.
Diet is counted among the major causes of gall bladder stones. Consuming diets that are high in fat and cholesterol and low in fiber, may increase the risk of gallstones. The main reason behind this is that, such diets can increase cholesterol in the bile and reduce gallbladder emptying and thus cause formation of gallstones. Rapid weight loss is another cause behind formation of gall bladder stones. The body usually metabolises fat during prolonged fasting and rapid weight loss like "crash diets" and the liver secretes extra cholesterol into bile. This can gradually cause gallstones. Age can become a cause of gall bladder stones. Generally, the people aged above 60 years are more prone to developing gall bladder stones than the younger people. This is because; the body tends to secrete more cholesterol into bile, with increasing age.
Another cause of gall bladder stones is the cholesterol-lowering drugs. These drugs actually increase the amount of cholesterol secreted into bile. By doing so, they become one of the causes of gall bladder stones. Apart from the drugs, diabetes is also considered as a cause of gallstones. Usually, diabetic people have high levels of fatty acids called triglycerides and these fatty acids are possible to increase the risk of gallstones. Another possible cause behind formation of gall bladder stones is fasting. Fasting can decrease the gallbladder movement and cause the bile to become over concentrated with cholesterol. In this way, fasting becomes one of the causes of gall bladder stones.
Apart from the above mentioned causes of gal bladder stones, there are also a few other factors that can lead to formation of gallstones. Disturbances in the composition of the bile are one such cause. An irritation of the lining of the gall bladder, caused by inflammation is also considered as a cause of gall bladder stones.
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