WHAT IS Gallstone?
Gallstones are small solid material that develops in the gallbladder or bile ducts, a tiny organ under your liver. Gallbladder stones or gallstones can vary in size, from tiny stones to the size of a golf ball. Small stones can leave the gallbladder or may stick. Larger stones may remain in the same position in the gallbladder.
In most cases, a person may not even know about the existence of the gallstone as they do not experience any signs. Likely, they may need to take some preventive measures only.
The gallbladder is an organ that stores and releases bile, a fluid that helps with digestion. Further, bile helps the body eliminate cholesterol and bilirubin, which your body makes when it breaks down red blood cells. Too much cholesterol and bilirubin may result in the formation of gallstones.
There are two types of gallstones:
Cholesterol stones. Cholesterol gallstones make more than 80% of the total gallstones. As they are made of cholesterol, they appear to be yellow-green.
Pigment stones. They are smaller and darker as they are made of bilirubin.
According to a report, 80% of gallstones are made of cholesterol, while the remaining are the result of calcium salts and bilirubin.
The cause of gallstone is not fully understood, though there are some causes linked to it, including:
Too much cholesterol in your bile
Having too much cholesterol in the bile can result in yellow cholesterol stones. The liver produces too much cholesterol; at this time, your bile can dissolve. This results in the crystals of cholesterol, resulting in stones.
Too much bilirubin in your bile
Bilirubin is a chemical substance. Some conditions such as blood disorders, impaired liver function may also result in the production of more bilirubin than usual. As a result of this, the gallbladder may not get rid of this excess bilirubin that forms as brown or black colour stone.
Concentrated bile due to a full gallbladder
When the gallbladder becomes fully and does not empty itself, the content of the bile may become concentrated, which creates favourable conditions for the stones to grow.
Many people do not experience any signs linked to gallstone. However, if they do appear, the cause is impaired liver function, which results in complications.
Symptomatic gallstones may cause signs such as:
- Pain in the upper belly, on the right, just under your ribs
- Pain in your right shoulder or back
- An upset stomach
- Other digestive problems, including indigestion, heartburn, and gas
See your doctor right away if you have signs of a serious infection or inflammation as triggered by liver dysfunction. These may include:
- Belly pain that lasts several hours
- Fever and chills
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Dark urine and light-coloured stool
Asymptomatic gallstones do not come with any alarming signs. In fact, the signs only appear when the stone obstructs the movement of bile from the gallbladder. Such stones are termed silent gallstones, which mean no signs or symptoms.
In this case, your doctor may run a diagnostic test, either through X-rays or during abdomen surgery, to analyze your health.
Complications and long-term risk
Any blockage in the duct where the bile moves from the gallbladder may cause inflammation and infection in the gallbladder. This is known as acute cholecystitis. It is a medical emergency.
Symptoms associated with acute cholecystitis may include:
- intense pain in the upper stomach or mid-right back
- appetite loss
- nausea and vomiting
If the pain persists for more than 2 hours, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
Less common complications linked to gallstone may include
- jaundice, a yellowish tint to your skin or eyes
- cholecystitis, a gallbladder infection
- cholangitis, infection of the bile duct
- sepsis, a blood infection
- pancreas inflammation
- gallbladder cancer
You are more likely to get infected with gallstone if you:
- Consume a diet high in fat and cholesterol but low in fibre
- Don’t get much exercise
- Use birth control pills or have gone through hormone replacement therapy
- Are pregnant
- Have diabetes
- Have an intestinal disorder like Crohn’s
- Have hemolytic anaemia or cirrhosis of the liver
- Take medicine to lower your cholesterol
- Lost abnormal weight in a short time
- Fast more often
- Have a family history of gallstones
- Are a woman
- Are over age 40
- Are obese
Ayurvedic treatment for gallstone
In Ayurveda, the problem of gallstones is referred to as ‘Pittashmari’, which is a result of aggravated doshas of the body (all three- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). Spicy, hot, alcoholic, and junk foods result in the aggravation of Pitta in the body. Excessive Kapha food like heavy or fatty may result in the production of the sticky mixture when combined with aggravated Pitta. Eventually, this dries up and takes the shape of stones.
So, the focus of ayurvedic treatment is to cleanse the body of all the toxins and pacify aggravated Vata and Kapha. When this happens, the stone starts to dissolve on its own and gets eliminated naturally without any surgical intervention.
Ayurvedic therapies like Panchakarma are very helpful in the elimination of varied types of stones, including gallstones. Herbal medicines are always helpful in keeping up with the overall health.
- Consume small meals several times a day.
- Drink an adequate amount of water.
- Add fibre to your diet to make bowel movements easier.
- Bring down your intake of fats and pick low-fat nourishment.
- Avoid foods or drinks that can be linked to diarrhoea, including caffeinated drinks, high-fat dairy products, etc.
At AyuKarma, we are always working towards your health. With this aim, we strive to make ayurvedic treatments a thing of ease and convenience for you. Our ayurvedic procedures and therapies ensure that you are able to get rid of gallstones without any surgery.