On the right side of your abdomen sits your gallbladder underneath your liver. Your gallbladder is a small pear-shaped organ and holds a digestive fluid called bile. The digestive bile is released into your small intestines. Gallstones are made of digestive fluid, which has hardened and formed in your gallbladder.
A gallstone can be as little as a grain of sand to the size of a golf ball. You may just develop one gallstone, or you could create a lot of gallstones at one time. If you experience symptoms from your gallstones, you may need gallbladder surgery to remove your gallbladder. If you don't have any symptoms from your gallstones, then you won't need treatment.
Your gallstones may not have any symptoms or signs they are present. But if one becomes stuck in your duct and causes a blockage, you may have the following symptoms and signs:
The pain from gallstones can last from a couple of minutes to a few hours.
If you have any signs that concern you, call your doctor and make an appointment. But if you have symptoms of a severe gallbladder issue, then seek care immediately. You need to call if you have pain in your abdominal pain so bad that you can't find a comfortable position or can't sit still. Or if your skin or whites of your eyes are turning yellow. Or if find that you have a high fever and chills.
There are several types of gallstones. Cholesterol gallstones are the most common and are yellow in color. These gallstones are made of undissolved cholesterol but sometimes other components as well. Pigment gallstones are dark brown color or black stones. These form when you have too much bilirubin.
To find out if you have gallstones, your doctor will perform an examination. The doctor will be looking for a yellowish tinge in your eyes and your skin. He may schedule an ultrasound, an abdominal scan, a gallbladder radionuclide scan, or blood tests. Or any of the combinations listed.
Sometimes you can pass gallstones without surgery. But if surgery is needed, it’s usually performed by laparoscopic gallbladder removal. It requires general anesthesia. The surgeon will make 3 to 4 incisions in your abdomen.
A small lighted device will be inserted into one of the incisions, and then your gallbladder will be carefully removed. Usually, you will go home on the day of your procedure.
If you can’t have surgery, then the drugs Actigall is used to dissolve gallstones may be given to you. You will need to continue taking it for several years, and or treatment is stopped, gallstones can reform.