There are many things a woman may become concerned about when pregnant. Unfortunately, gallstones could be one of them. A woman has 2 to 3 times higher chances of developing a gallstone than a man. But with pregnancy, gallstones can become an even higher risk.
Your gallbladder stores bile which is a liquid that is produced by your liver. Bile is made up of bilirubin, bile salts, and cholesterol. mainThe purpose of the gallbladder is to store the bile until it's needed by your body. Then it's released into your small intestine, and it helps with dietary fat- and fat-soluble vitamin digestion. If there's an imbalance in the bile, then you can form gallstones.
Because of increased estrogen levels when you’re pregnant, your risk of gallstones increases as well. Plus, rapid weight gain, and then the loss, can also increase the risk. When estrogen levels rise, it can cause the levels of cholesterol in your bile to spike. This can lead to gallstones developing.
You may not have any symptoms from your gallstones or problems during your pregnancy. But if you’re having any of the following symptoms, notify your doctor immediately:
To confirm a diagnosis if you have gallstones, you may need an abdominal ultrasound. Make sure the doctor knows you’re pregnant because some regular testing may not be safe for your baby.
There are some things you can do to prevent gallstones while you’re pregnant. Try to gain a healthy amount of weight and work with your doctor to help avoid gaining too much weight. Plus, eat a high-fiber diet because not enough fiber can increase the risk of getting gallstones.
Also, choose the right fats, such as monounsaturated fats and omega-3, to avoid developing gallstones. Food that is high in saturated fats can cause gallstones to form. Cut back on refined carbs and sugar and products made from refined or white flour.
If you are a diabetic, you need to manage it because high triglyceride levels linked with diabetes have been linked to gallstone increased formation.
If you do have gallstones, but you don't have any extreme symptoms or any discomfort, your doctor may just want to wait and see. Or it can cause an infection in your body, which may require you to need surgery.
You can have your gallbladder removed during pregnancy, but it’s not the preferred treatment. However, the removal of the gallbladder is the second most common nonobstetrical surgery performed during surgery.