Is Fish Oil the Answer for Heart Disease, Diabetes? What Are the Treatments for Gallstones? How Do I Know if I Have Gallstones? Because other digestive problems, such as an infection of the duct, can produce symptoms similar to those of a gallstone attack, the doctor may also run other tests to determine if gallstones are in fact the culprit. The most common technique is an ultrasound exam. This quick, painless procedure uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the gallbladder, bile duct, and their contents. A more complicated test may be used if the doctor suspects that a gallstone is lodged in a bile duct. Commonly known by the acronym ERCP, this test allows the doctor to look at the bile duct through a small flexible tube called an endoscope. In most cases, treatment of gallstones is considered necessary only if you are having symptoms.
Of the various conventional treatments that are available, surgical removal of the gallbladder is the most widely used. Some alternative treatments have also been found to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of troublesome gallstones. Conventional Medicine for Gallstones When deciding what course of action to take for symptomatic gallstones, doctors usually choose from among three main treatment options: Watchful waiting, nonsurgical therapy, and surgical removal of the gallbladder. Gallstones and Watchful Waiting Though a gallstone episode can be extremely painful or frightening, almost a third to half of all people who experience an attack never have a recurrence. In some cases, the stone dissolves or becomes dislodged and thereby resumes its “silence. Because the problem may solve itself without intervention, many doctors take a wait-and-see approach following the initial episode. Even when the patient has had repeated gallstone episodes, the doctor may postpone treatment or surgery because of other health concerns.
If your surgery has been delayed, you should remain under a doctor’s care and report any recurrences of gallstone symptoms immediately. Note that though these methods may destroy symptom-causing gallstones, they can do nothing to prevent others from forming, and recurrence is common. Some gallstones can be dissolved through the use of a bile salt, although the procedure can be used only with stones formed from cholesterol and not from bile pigments. Another nonsurgical technique, shock wave therapy, uses high-frequency sound waves to fragment the stones. Bile salt is administered afterward to dissolve small pieces. Doctors can also attempt to remove gallstones during an ERCP. During the procedure an instrument is inserted through the endoscope to attempt removal of the stone. Surgery to Remove the Gallbladder While the gallbladder serves an important function, it is not essential for a normal, healthy life. When gallstones are persistently troublesome, doctors often recommend removing the organ entirely.
This operation is considered among the safest of all surgical procedures. Each year approximately 750,000 Americans have their gallbladder removed. When the gallbladder has been removed, bile flows directly from the liver into the small intestine, and this sometimes leads to diarrhea. In the past, removal of the gallbladder was done through traditional “open” surgery, which requires surgeons to make a large incision in the abdomen. Patients faced a two- or three-day hospital stay plus several weeks of recovery at home. The doctor makes several small incisions in the abdomen, then uses special pencil-thin instruments to remove the gallbladder. Laparoscopic surgery is highly effective and very safe. It has reduced the hospital stay to a day or two.
Patients report less pain and are generally able to resume a normal lifestyle in a short period of time. However, people who are obese or who have a severe infection or inflammation in the gallbladder may still be considered candidates for traditional open surgery. Diverticulitis Diet Best and worst foods. How to Live Gluten-Free Learn what foods to avoid. Dietary Fiber Will it help constipation? WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Learn how to protect your family from harmful chemicals.
Other Skin Conditions With Banana Peels! Adult acne is a nasty thing. I’ve tried everything, from pills, to creams, to Proactiv-type products. Nothing worked, at least not for long. Fortunately for me, the problem fixed itself on its own and I now only battle the random breakout here and there. My younger cousin is now going through the same thing, so for the past few months, I’ve made it my mission to find something that would help her. I didn’t want her to go down the same path as I did with pills, creams, etc.
- What to use to get rid of hemorrhoids
- Internal hemorrhoids vs colon cancer
- Photos of thrombosed external hemorrhoids
- Thrombosed external hemorrhoid burst bleeding
- Do hemorrhoids make your stomach hurt
- When do u need surgery for hemorrhoids
- Is it ok to use hemorrhoid cream while pregnant