Gallbladder stones, one of the most common problems that impact the digestive system and are seen in 10 out of every 100 people, is a disorder that is often only detected in stomach ultrasounds during check-ups or while investigating another health problem because they often do not cause symptoms. When they do cause symptoms they can become evident with “severe abdominal pain”.
Stomach aches generally develop after consuming greasy food, eggs, chocolate and coffee. The reason for this is that this type of food causes a strain on the gallbladder. Acibadem Kadıköy Hospital General Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr. Nihat Yavuz explained that when gallbladder stones are not treated early on, they can have ‘deadly’ consequences, therefore ‘stomach aches’ should not be ignored!
Twice as common in women!
Age and gender are important factors in the development of gallbladder stones. They are doubly more common in women after 30 years of age than in men. This is thought to be because of pregnancy, nutrition and hormones. Also being overweight, a variety of medications, hormone treatment, nutrition, infectious diseases in the intestines, stomach surgery and some blood disorders can increase the risk.
“Gallbladder stones” could be the cause for severe stomach aches!
70-80 percent of gallbladder stones do not have symptoms therefore they are usually detected coincidentally during examinations for other health problems. Although the symptoms caused by gallbladder stones vary, the most typical one is a very severe stomach ache that starts suddenly and seriously deteriorates the patient’s quality of life. The pain is felt in the upper right or middle section of the abdomen and can spread to the right shoulder or back, disappearing in 2-3 hours. Sometimes the pain can be accompanied by nausea. If this situation continues and an infection starts, a fever might follow. Some patients only experience indigestion, bloating, nausea and vomiting.
When treatment is late it can have deadly consequences
The only way to cure a gallbladder stone is surgery! General Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr. Nihat Yavuz warned that gallbladder stone operations should definitely not be neglected and listed the complications that may develop as a result: “Stones can block the outlet of the gallbladder causing ‘gallbladder infections’ and as a result can cause life threatening penetration of the gallbladder and abscesses around the gallbladder. Also stones could pass on from the gallbladder to the intestines and cause blockages. In addition to these problems the small stones in a gallbladder can fall into the bile duct causing bile to accumulate in the body resulting in deadly conditions like jaundice, infection of the pancreas gland or infection of the bile duct.”
A “scar-free” operation through the umbilicus
Presently gallbladder stones can be treated using the “single port” method without leaving a scar. General Surgery Specialist Prof. Dr. Nihat Yavuz explained that in the “single port” method, which is based on laparoscopic surgery, the gallbladder stone can be removed through a single incision in the abdomen and added: “The most important advantage of the single port method is that better cosmetic results are achieved by using a small incision. Also there are many other advantages like less pain, the ability to leave the hospital within 12-24 hours and return to normal life within 4-5 days. If the patient has a hernia in the abdomen accompanying the gallbladder problems, it is also easier to repair this”.
What is a gallbladder?
- The gallbladder is a pear shaped sack under the liver which is 7-10 cm long and has a capacity of 50 ml.
- The gallbladder collects the bile that is produced in the liver, thickens it and when necessary sends it to the duodenum. Fat is digested in the intestine with the help of the gallbladder. The gallbladder also helps the body absorb vitamins like A, D, E and K that dissolve in fat.