What are gallstones: Can These Be Harmful To The Body?

Experiencing sudden pain in your stomach area that may be because of gallstones. What are gallstones? Gallstones are lumps or stones that form in the bile duct or gallbladder. Furthermore, it develops when there are certain substances that suddenly becomes hard. They might cause extreme pain when they block the bile duct.

Some chemicals in the gallbladder, like calcium, cholesterol, calcium carbonate, and bilirubinate, can develop into gallstones. These gallstones can be a small stone or sometimes it may become a large stone in the gallbladder.

Before anything else, let us first know what really gallbladder is. This is for us to know what it does to our body.

Gallbladder: What is it?

The gallbladder is a small organ in the right-hand side of the body and is located underside the liver. The gallbladder stores bile that comes from the liver. This gall or bile is greenish-brown in color and is actually in a liquid form. It enters the small intestines by means of bile ducts or narrow tubes. This is to facilitate the digestion of fats.

The bile in the gallbladder helps in digesting more fats, however, the gallbladder is not essential at all. Usually, for healthy individuals, removing it in their system has no observable problems. This is in terms of digestion, or in health.

What are Gallstones?

Gallstones usually look like crystals that appear in the gallbladder. These can be as small as sand grain and even as large as a golf ball. Furthermore, these gallstones may be hard or soft. And you may have just one gallstone or you might have several.

Gallstones are usually unnoticeable not unless they show up in a result of ultrasound examination that is conducted for a certain reason. However, if you let the stone stay in your body any longer, the more that it becomes worse.

When the symptoms of gallbladder occur, this is because the gallstones have already moved and become blocked in the duct which carries bile, like the cystic duct, in a small channel which connects the common bile duct to the gallbladder.

The usual symptom of gallstones is abdominal pain that is accompanied by nausea, fever, and indigestion. It usually occurs in an hour or so after you eat a large meal or even in the middle of the night. Gallstones may also block the common bile duct that carries gall towards the intestine.

Types of Gallstones

Maybe might not just ask what are gallstones, you might also ask if there are types of it. And actually yes, there are two types of gallstones, the pigment gallstones, and the cholesterol gallstones.

Pigment Gallstones:  These type of gallstones usually forms when the bile has excessive bilirubin. These are common among patients with liver diseases, blood disorders, and infected bile tubes.

Cholesterol Gallstones: Too much cholesterol in the bile results to the formation of this type of gallstone.

What are Gallstones’ Causes and Risks?

Professionals are actually not sure about people developing a chemical imbalance in their gallbladder that eventually causes gallstones. However, these gallstones as we know are very common among obese or overweight people, most especially women. Studies show that a protruding stomach may nearly double the chance of a woman in developing gallstones. Furthermore, the chances of removing these gallstones through surgery also become higher.

Moreover, overweight children also have a significantly high risk of developing gallstones in their gallbladder at a young age.

Here are some other that may be at risk for gallstones:

-Purposely losing weight quickly and then recovering it helps increase men’s risk for gallstones later in life

-Gene variant significantly increases the risk of developing gallstones as a study suggests

-Twice the number of women get gallstones than men

-People whose consumption of dietary fat is very high

-Women who undergo high-dose estrogen therapy

-People who have recently lost a lot of weight

-Women taking some oral contraceptives

-Women who are pregnant

-People over 60 years old

-Individuals who take statins

-People with diabetes

-Being inactive

-Family history

What are Gallstones’ Treatments?

Gallstones are usually treated when they are causing serious inflammation in the gallbladder. Furthermore, treatment is also done when the patient experiences bile duct blockage, or when the bile ducts move into the intestines. The patient usually is being put on a low-fat diet.

Cholecystectomy. This means, surgical removal of the gallbladder. It is usually performed with keyhole surgery.

Ursodeoxycholic Acid. If the type of gallstone is cholesterol, you can use this type of acid. This may take up to 24 months for it to be effective.

Lithotripsy. In this method of treatment, the gallstones are shot with ultrasonic shock waves to break them up.


That’s it, now you know what are gallstones. Furthermore, if you prefer are experiencing sudden pain in your stomach that is caused by these gallstones, might as well consider treating them. If your doctor tells you that your gallbladder should be removed, it’s okay, because you can live without it. So whether you want your gallbladder to stay in your body or not, it is your choice. Just make sure that whatever method you choose your pain and agony goes away.


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