gallbladder

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped, pouch-like organ that sits just under the liver. Its job is to produce and store bile, a substance that aids in digestion. Bile is made up of water, acid, cholesterol, bilirubin, and lecithin. The gallbladder sends bile through a series of ducts to the intestines, where it helps break up fat.

When bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin, these substances can form clumps, called gallstones. If gallstones get caught inside a duct and block the flow of bile, you can develop a condition called cholecystitis. You?re more likely to get gallstones if you?re overweight, you?ve gained or lost weight rapidly, you have diabetes, or you have a family history of gallstones.

Gallstones can produce symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, gas belching, or feeling unusually full after a meal. If a gallstone is blocking a bile duct, bile can back up and cause yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, which is called jaundice.

To determine whether you have gallstones, the doctor may do blood tests to detect high levels of bilirubin or other substances that are elevated in this condition. You may have an ultrasound of the gallbladder to look for gallstones, or an endoscopic ultrasound, in which a thin scope is threaded down the esophagus and stomach into the intestine to view the stones. A test called cholescintigraphy traces the flow of an injected radioactive dye into and out of the gallbladder to look for a blockage or infection.

Gallstones that don?t cause symptoms are often watched without treatment. Avoiding fatty foods may be enough to prevent symptoms from occurring. If gallstones do cause symptoms, a technique called lithotripsy can break them up. Or, you may need surgery to remove the gallbladder. Gallbladder surgery is a common procedure, and is often done laparoscopically through small incisions.

What Does a Gallbladder Attack Feel Like?

What does a gallbladder attack feel like? And, exactly what is a gallbladder attack? If you experience sudden pain in the middle or upper right section of your abdomen, you may be having one. The gallbladder pain may last a few minutes to a few hours, and it may lessen … Read More

Gastritis Relief: The Key Is to Treat the Root Cause

Coping with gastritis and its many symptoms is about as much fun as getting punched in the stomach. Your first instinct may be to reach for an antacid medication because that usually provides quick gastritis relief. But if you want to keep painful gastritis symptoms away for good, the key … Read More

Pancreas Pain: What’s Behind It?

If you’ve been experiencing a nagging abdominal pain that seems to worsen after eating, it might not be a stomach upset—it might actually be pancreas pain. If pancreatitis is at the root of your pain, it can manifest acutely, or as a chronic illness. Acute pancreatitis is most likely due … Read More

Liver Detox Tea as Part of Your DIY New Year’s Detox Cleanse

A New Year’s detox cleanse is the perfect way to improve your health, jump-start a weight loss program, or taper off chemicals such as: nicotine, caffeine, alcohol or over-the-counter medications. In part 1, you learned about the importance of the gastrointestinal tract in the body’s detoxification process and how to … Read More

Bristol Stool Chart: What It Can Tell You About Your Health

Do you use the Bristol Stool Chart? It’s a human-poop evaluation guide developed at the British Royal Infirmary in 1997. It can help you determine if your feces are normal. The Bristol Stool Chart—also called the Bristol Stool Scale—s widely used in clinical settings, especially with patients battling irritable bowel … Read More

What Causes Gallstones?

Gallstones are solid deposits in the gallbladder, a small pear-shaped organ that sits beneath the liver. The gallbladder has a simple function: to store and concentrate bile, a digestive enzyme made by the liver. In the United States, between 1 and 3 percent of adults develop gallstones each year and … Read More

The Best Cholesterol-Lowering Food: Cruciferous Vegetables

When it comes to cholesterol-lowering food, you can’t go wrong with cruciferous vegetables of the Brassica family. Broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussel’s sprouts contain many valuable nutrients for the human body, and even fight cancer and heart disease.[1] What Makes Cruciferous Vegetables so Powerful? Cruciferous vegetables are high in … Read More

Enter Your Login Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

×