Gall stones or cholelithiasis is a small, hard, abnormal mass composed chiefly of cholesterol, calcium salts, and bile pigments, formed in the gallbladder or in the bile duct. Gallstones can form when there is an imbalance in the substances that make up bile. Gallstones are more common among women and older people.
Types of Gall Stones
Types of gallstones that can form in the gallbladder include:
- Cholesterol gallstones: The most common type of gallstone, called a cholesterol gallstone, often appears yellow in color. These gallstones are composed mainly of undissolved cholesterol, but may contain other components.
- Pigment gallstones: These dark brown or black stones form when your bile contains too much bilirubin.
It’s not clear what causes gallstones to form. It may result when:
- Bile contains too much cholesterol: Normally, the bile contains enough chemicals to dissolve the cholesterol excreted by the liver. But if the liver excretes more cholesterol than the bile can dissolve, the excess cholesterol may form into crystals and eventually into stones.
- Bile contains too much bilirubin: Bilirubin is a chemical that’s produced when the body breaks down red blood cells. Certain conditions cause the liver to make too much bilirubin, including liver cirrhosis, biliary tract infections and certain blood disorders. The excess bilirubin contributes to gallstone formation.
- Gallbladder doesn’t empty correctly: If the gallbladder doesn’t empty completely or often enough, bile may become very concentrated, contributing to the formation of gallstones.
Gallstones may cause no signs or symptoms. If a gallstone lodges in a duct and causes a blockage, signs and symptoms may result, such as:
- Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen
- Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the center of the abdomen, just below the breastbone
- Back pain between the shoulder blades
- Pain in the right shoulder
Gallstone pain may last several minutes to a few hours.
- Being female
- Being age 40 or older
- Being overweight or obese
- Being sedentary
- Being pregnant
- Eating a high-fat diet
- Eating a high-cholesterol diet
- Eating a low-fiber diet
- Having a family history of gallstones
- Having diabetes
- Having certain blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia or leukemia
- Losing weight very quickly
- Taking medications that contain estrogen, such as oral contraceptives or hormone therapy drugs
- Having liver disease
Complications of gallstones may include:
- Inflammation of the gallbladder: A gallstone that becomes lodged in the neck of the gallbladder can cause inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis). Cholecystitis can cause severe pain and fever.
- Blockage of the common bile duct: Gallstones can block the tubes (ducts) through which bile flows from your gallbladder or liver to your small intestine. Severe pain, jaundice and bile duct infection can result.
- Blockage of the pancreatic duct: The pancreatic duct is a tube that runs from the pancreas and connects to the common bile duct just before entering the duodenum. Pancreatic juices, which aid in digestion, flow through the pancreatic duct. A gallstone can cause a blockage in the pancreatic duct, which can lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Pancreatitis causes intense, constant abdominal pain and usually requires hospitalization.
- Gallbladder cancer: People with a history of gallstones have an increased risk of gallbladder cancer. But gallbladder cancer is very rare, so even though the risk of cancer is elevated, the likelihood of gallbladder cancer is still very small.
Tests and procedures used to diagnose gallstones and complications of gallstones include:
Abdominal ultrasound: This test is the one most commonly used to look for signs of gallstones. Abdominal ultrasound involves moving a device (transducer) back and forth across your stomach area. The transducer sends signals to a computer, which creates images that show the structures in your abdomen.
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): This procedure can help identify smaller stones that may be missed on an abdominal ultrasound. During EUS your doctor passes a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) through your mouth and through your digestive tract. A small ultrasound device (transducer) in the tube produces sound waves that create a precise image of surrounding tissue.
Other imaging tests: Additional tests may include oral cholecystography, a hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Gallstones discovered using ERCP can be removed during the procedure.
Blood tests: Blood tests may reveal infection, jaundice, pancreatitis or other complications caused by gallstones.
Homeopathy offers treatment which is safe , gentle and without any side-effects , Homeopathy is a beneficial option for Gall stones , Homeopathy can help in removing the gall stones but depends on the number of the stones and the size , it will help reducing the pain and discomfort and improve the function of the life, it will prevent the patient from undergoing surgical procedure and prevent further recurrences of gall stones.
Natural medicine Chelidonium is the top natural medicine for gallbladder stones pain. This medicine offers the best treatment for pain due to gall stones and jaundice when there is obstruction of the bile ducts. The most important symptom for using Chelidonium is pain under the right shoulder blade. In jaundice, this medicine can be used when the skin is yellow, urine is dark in colour and stool is clay-coloured. During jaundice, the tongue becomes yellow and flabby. Nausea and vomiting also occur. The patient requiring Chelidonium may show a desire for very hot drinks along with the above symptoms. It is also a very beneficial remedy for gall bladder complaints that occur during pregnancy.
Lycopodium is a natural treatment for gallstones pain when they are accompanied by gastric symptoms like acidity, gas in abdomenor bloated abdomen. The patient complains of distension of abdomen from eating even a very small quantity of food. The gas rolls in abdomen and passes out with difficulty. The patient mainly complains of acidity that gets worse from taking starchy and flatulent food. The patient may also complain of a reduced appetite and fullness feeling in abdomen on eating even a little. There’s also an unusual craving for sweets and hot drinks along with the gastric symptoms.
Calcarea Carb is another top natural medicine for gall stones that is always selected constitutionally. This remedy is very beneficial for obese patients with a fatty and flabby constitution. The abdomen contains excess of fat with its hardness and distension. The other constitutional symptoms include profuse sweating on head and sensitivity to cold air. There’s also an unusual craving for boiled eggs or strange things like chalk, pencils and lime. The patient dislikes hot food and likes cold drinks. Calcarea Carb can also be used to relieve sour belching and sour vomiting due to gall stones.
Carduus Marianus is the best natural remedy when the gall bladder is inflamed. There is pain in the right upper abdomen in gall bladder region, which is accompanied by nausea and vomiting of burning fluid. Carduus Marianus can also be used to treat jaundice in gall stones.
Phosphorus is a natural treatment for gall stones in patients who complain of sour belching and vomiting after eating. The patient likes cold drinks, ice creams, chicken and fish in diet. This medicine is used for the treatment of jaundice when the stool is very offensive with great weakness
This remedy may be indicated when stitching pains extend from the gallbladder region to the stomach and sometimes to the shoulder. Sharp twinges radiating outward can be felt in the groin and pelvic bones and may seem to come from the lower back. Pain can be worse when the person is standing up, and from changing position. The person may be constipated and have a tendency toward gout or joint pains.
This remedy is indicated when abdominal pain from gallstones is relieved by bending backward, and is worse when the person is bending forward or lying flat. Standing up and moving around in open air can also bring improvement. Pains can spread to the back, chest, and arms, or may shift around. The person tends to feel worse in the evening and at night, and also when lying down.
It is the top herbal remedy for gallstones when eating of excessive fried or fatty food like butter or cream leads to acidity.
Nux Vomica is prescribed for patients complaining of acidity after eating. Such patients complain of sour burps, nausea and weight in stomach after eating. When the intake of coffee, spicy food or alcoholic drinks raises the dyspeptic symptoms. It is treats acidity due to gall stones.
China is the ideal natural remedy for acute pain in gall bladder when the whole abdomen is bloated with an excess of gas. Vomiting of undigested food may also occur.