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Pain, nausea, vomiting! How to treat gallstones

Gallstones (bile stones) are a common illness among patients, risk factors for its appearance are obesity, over 40 years of age, hyper caloric or low calorie diet, a positive family history of this illness, and so on.
Hence the need for cholecystectomy (gall bladder surgery) or surgical extraction of the bile vesicle, which is the only treatment for biliary cholelithiasis, responsible for the pain and inflammation.

The gallbladder is a reservoir for the bile that is produced in the liver and is useful in food digestion. The formation of cholelithiasis may block the exit of the bile from the gallbladder and thus an abdominal pain occurs in the right subcostal region, nausea, vomiting, bitter taste in the morning, making it necessary to consult a specialist surgeon.

Symptoms include pain in the upper abdomen, especially on the right side, nausea, bile vomiting (gall, which is a yellow-green and bitter fluid). Sometimes, the presence of the gallstones does not provide any symptoms, the diagnosis being exclusively made through ultrasound.

However, even in this situation, you should ask your doctor, because the presence of stones in the gallbladder can lead to the appearance of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications, “said Dr. Mihai Hriţcu, surgeon.

The specialist noted that the main complication is infection (acute cholecystitis), which can go as far as complete necrosis of the colecist’s wall, leading to biliary peritonitis.

Then you can talk about mechanical jaundice, caused by the prevention of eliminating the bile from the liver and the overflow of some compounds from it (bilirubin) into the blood and as a consequence, the person turning yellow in colour. At this stage, the joint channel (bile duct) is blocked by a stone or more.

Acute pancreatitis, also caused by the blocking or just the passing of the stones at the level of the pancreatic duct, can worsen the patients’ health.

This is why the treatment of gallstones is exclusively surgical, consisting in removing the entire colecist, along with the biliary calculi from it. The laparoscopic technique is the standard indication for this intervention, the visibility being optimal, and abdominal wall trauma being minimal. According to Dr. Hriţcu, surgery is necessary in the case of ultrasound diagnosis of cholestatic lithiasis (stones or calculi); acute lithiasis cholecystitis and alithiasis cholecystitis (cholecystitis inflammation other than lithiasis – cholesterolotic achenes, polyps), spontaneous traumas; gallbladder cancer.

In most cases, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a surgical intervention that is performed under schedule, but there are also cases (acute cholecystitis) in which surgery is an emergency.

Recommended Investigations

Among the investigations the patient has to do for a proper diagnosis, the most important are the abdominal ultrasound (which visualizes the presence of stones and the signs of inflammation – the cholecist wall is thickened) and blood tests (blood count, bilirubin, hepatic enzymes, coagulation tests, etc.) “, he added.

He also said most of the patients are being released 24 hours after surgery, and can return to daily activities in less than a week.

However, patients need to avoid foods containing fat, improve their fibre intake in the first few weeks after surgery, in order to prevent discomfort and diarrheal after eating.

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