Pregnant women and women who are obese are at higher risk for getting gallstones. These stones can be very painful and even lead to necessary surgery. If you're concerned about the possibility of getting gallstones, this article can give you some basic information on why they happen and how you can prevent them.
What Are Gallstones?
Your gallbladder is a small organ that sits in the right upper part of your stomach, right under your ribs. It's part of your digestive system. Your gallbladder stores up bile, also known as gall, that is produced by your liver. When food is being digested by your small intestine, a little bit of bile is released out into the system. The bile helps your body digest the fats in your food. The gallbaldder is connected to your intestines by a small tube called the bile duct.
Gallstones are hardened lumps of bile which can get caught in the gallbladder or bile duct. While they are a problem while they are in the gallbladder, they are even worse when they are in the bile duct. That's because the duct is narrow, and the gallstones can block it off. Not only does that cause problems and pain in the gallbladder, it can also cause problems with your intestines since the bile isn't getting where it needs.
What Causes Gallstones?
There are actually several theories as to what causes gallstones. Most of them relate to your body producing too much of some substance. One is that your body may be producing too much cholesterol. Cholesterol is produced by your liver. In itself, it isn't a bad thing, it is necessary for your body. But when your body produces too much, then some crystals may be formed, which can become stones.
Bilirubin is produced when your body starts to break down red blood cells. It is a natural byproduct of that process, but problems with your liver can cause your body to produce too much of it. Those problems can include various liver diseases like cirrhosis. Too much bilirubin may also be the cause behind gallstones.
How Can Gallstones Be Prevented?
If you are at high risk, you may want to take steps to prevent getting gallstones. Not only are age and weight part of the risk factors, but if there are other women in your family who have had gallstones, you may be at higher risk as well. There are things that you can do to help prevent them. One of them is to modify your diet. Modification is more than just making sure that you are eating the right food. That also includes making sure that you are eating regularly. If you have the habit of catching meals whenever you can, then you should make sure that you are eating at regular times. You should also start cutting down on fried foods. You don't want to add more fat into an already stressed system.
Gallstones are very painful. They can cause several other problems as well. If you think that you have gallbladder problems, then you should find a gastroenterologist in your area and have them check it out.
My name is Shawna Banks and this is a blog that focuses on health issues that affect women. I became interested in women's health when my sister began having medical problems. After her condition worsened, she went to see a doctor. After her diagnosis and successful treatment, I helped her research the different kinds of health conditions that are common in women. By becoming knowledgeable about these types of problems, we can keep ourselves healthier. I hope that when you read this blog, it will help you to identify symptoms that shouldn't be ignored. If necessary, you can schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.