Symptoms, causes and treatment of the gallbladder

This article was endorsed by Rao Adeel - Doctor of Medicine from Hebei Medical University

Gallbladder pain or cholecystitis

What is the gallbladder?

Gallbladder stones
Gallbladder stones are the main reason for gallbladder inflammation

The gallbladder is an organ, in the form of a cavity or sachet, located in the lower backside (posterior) of the liver. Its main function is to store and expel bile into the intestine (duodenum), through the bile duct or choledochum .

The bile is secreted by the liver, and is used to digest fats . This is because it contains lipases, enzymes that break down fats in food, so that they can be absorbed. Another component of bile is cholesterol .

The gallbladder is pear-shaped and located below the liver. Storing bile and releasing it into the intestine during digestion.

How do stones form in the gallbladder?

One of the most common conditions is the formation of stones in the gallbladder or cholesterol stones . Cholesterol is an insoluble substance, found in the composition of bile juice or bile.

Cholesterol may become fluid with bile juices, due to the presence of micelles or phospholipids in the bile. The phospholipids  are a type of fat with the property of being emulsifiers, ie blending insoluble parts (cholesterol) with solubles (bile juices and enzymes), forming the bile . This bile is stored in the gallbladder and is expelled to the intestines during digestion .

Causes of gallbladder stones

When bile contains few phospholipids and / or high cholesterol, there is an increased risk of gallstone formation:

  • A diet rich in cholesterol favors the formation of stones in the gallbladder. Foods rich in cholesterol are mainly: Butter, cream, cheese, lard, sausages, patés, hamburgers or products made with the above ingredients (pastries, cakes, puddings, cream, milk cream, etc.) .
  • A diet poor in phospholipids also favors the formation of stones in the gallbladder. Phospholipids can be obtained from the diet from the intake of legumes , nuts and foods with lecithins.
  •  patient suffering a gallbladder inflammation
    The patient suffering a gallbladder inflammation feels an acute pain int the gallbladder area

    A diet lacking good fats : It is advisable to eat good fats because, every time the body has to digest fats, it requires emptying the gallbladder (where the bile juices and cholesterol are found, responsible for digesting fats). There is a hypothesis that a low fat diet does not allow emptying of the gallbladder and the renewal of bile, and therefore contributes to producing stones. Eating foods with healthy fats is recommended .

Gallbladder disease

The most common diseases that can affect the gallbladder are:
Illustrative image of the anatomy of the liver, pancreas, and ducts that end in the duodenum or intestine. Stones in the gallbladder can block the bile duct and cause colic

  • Gallstones: Formation of gallstones or gallbladder stones which in some cases may require removal thereof. It affects more over 40 years of age, women who have been pregnant , people with obesity or diabetes . It can be distinguished: Cholelithiasis (stones in the gallbladder) and choledocholithiasis (stones in the bile duct or choledochus ).
  • Biliary Colic: When a stone or gallstone is expelled, it can obstruct the bile duct causing an attack of colic or gallstone, which is characterized by sharp, persistent stomach pain, fever, vomiting, and clay-colored stool. Medical assistance is necessary since in some cases serious consequences such as cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) or obstruction of the ducts ( choledocholithiasis ) can occur .
  • Cholecystitis or inflammation of the gallbladder: Most of the time it occurs after a colic attack, because a gallstone blocks the outflow of bile (bile duct), causing the accumulation of bile in the gallbladder, which becomes inflamed and occurs damage to the gallbladder cavity.
  • Cholecystectomy: A surgical operation consisting of the removal of the gallbladder.

Symptoms of diseases in the gallbladder

  • Abdominal pain
  • Slow or heavy digestions
  • Vomiting
  • Gases , etc.

Gallbladder disease causes

  • Diet too rich in protein and cholesterol : 80% of gallstones are made of cholesterol. Red meats , sausages, cheeses, eggs , milk and fish.
  • Pregnancy : It has been observed that during and after pregnancies gallbladder problems such as gallstones are more likely to occur. This is due to a failure of the gallbladder to expel bile, producing the accumulation and concentration of cholesterol in the gallbladder.

punto rojo More information on gallbladder inflammation.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

2 July, 2020

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