These are pieces of solid materials that form in the gallbladder; a small organ located under the liver. holds a digestive fluid called bile that’s released into your small intestine. Often, people who have gall stones are unaware of its presence until a bile duct is blocked leading to excruciating pain. People with a history of gallstones are at risk of developing gallbladder cancer. But this is a very rare cancer.
TYPES OF GALLSTONES
There are two types of gallstones that are formed in the gallbladder. They include:
- Cholesterol gallstones: They are usually the most common types of gallstones and are often yellowish in colour. Cholesterol gallstones are composed of undissolved cholesterol but in fewer cases, other substances may be implicated.
- Pigment gallstones:These dark brown or black stones form when your bile contains too much bilirubin.
CAUSES OF GALL STONES
The causes of gallstones are not very clear; however, some researchers think that gall stones can be caused by;
- When the gallbladder doesn’t empty completely or often enough, bile may become very concentrated, contributing to the formation of gallstones.
- Too much cholesterol in the bile causing formation of crystals and eventually into stones.
- Excess secretion of bilirubin
SYMPTOMS OF GALLSTONES
Gallstones can lead to pain in the upper right abdomen. You may start to have gallbladder pain from time to time when you eat foods that are high in fat, such as fried foods. The pain doesn’t usually last more than a few hours.
- Clay-coloured stools
- Dark urine
- Intense abdominal pain
- High fever with chills
RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH GALLSTONES
The following factors have been implicated in formation of gallstones. Being female
- Family History
- Increased intake of cholesterol rich foods
- Increased intake of low-fibre diet
- Diabetes mellitus
- Quick weight loss
- Some oral contraceptives
- Liver diseases
PREVENTION OF GALLSTONES
- Avoid skipping meals
- Avoid rapid weight loss, you can plan carefully and loose at least 1kg weekly.
- Maintain a healthy weight
REFERENCES: Mayo clinic, Healthline, and WebMD.
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