While doctors don’t know what exactly causes Gallbladder stones to form, they think there are some factors which effect it. We have tried to discuss Gallbladder Stone Causes, such factors and Symptoms in this article.
What causes Gallbladder Stones?
When chemicals in gallbladder like Cholesterol, Calcium carbonate and Calcium Bilirubinate are out of balance, it may lead to formation of Gallstones. Doctors are not completely sure why some people develop such chemical imbalances while other don’t.
However, they do know that Gallstones are more common among people who are obese and that females have a higher risk of Gallstones compared to men. Some of the other things that causes Gallbladder Stones are:
- High Cholesterol levels in Bile: If liver excretes more cholesterol than bile can dissolve, then it will increase the level of cholesterol in bile. As a result there is a chance that this cholesterol may form crystals which eventually turns into stones. It is found out that 80% of the Gallstones are made of cholesterol (according to Harvard Health Publications).
- High Bilirubin levels in Bile: When your body breaks down red blood cells, a chemical called Bilirubin is produced. Liver may make too much bilirubin in some certain conditions like biliary tract infections, Cirrhosis and particular blood disorders. The higher concentration of bilirubin contributes to Gallstone formation. It is found out that 20% of the Gallstones are made of bilirubin (according to Harvard Health Publications).
- Presence of other substances in the bile may promote the formation of Gallbladder Stones
- If your muscles have poor muscle tone then the Gallbladder might fail to empty completely. As a result there is some residual bile which might promote formation of Gallstones.
- Other factors like Genes, Weight and Diet might influence the formation of stones
Gallbladder Stone Symptoms
In majority of cases, Gallbladder Stones doesn’t cause any symptoms. As a result they do not get diagnosed. But when doctors do diagnose Gallstones they take appropriate steps to treat the stones.
Asymptomatic Gallbladder Stones
When the stones stay in the Galllbladder and cause no pain, people don’t experience any symptoms. This is sometimes referred to as “Silent Gallstones” and it happens most of the cases. According to American College of Gastroenterology, 80% of the people with Gallstones have “Silent Gallstones”.
“Silent Gallstones” usually don’t require any treatment. And people will usually discover Gallstones when symptoms occur. Doctors might also discover stones during a scan or an X-ray or during abdominal surgery. Gallstones might start showing symptoms when they block the movement of bile from gallbladder.
You might start notice symptoms when the complications arise due to Gallbladder Stones. One of the most common symptom that you may see is pain in upper right part of abdomen. Other symptoms that you may notice are:
- Fever, nausea and vomiting.
- Indigestion, belching, bloating
- In some cases jaundice
- Digestive problems like bloating, indigestion and belching
- Back pain between your shoulder blades
- Pain in the right shoulder
- Gallbladder Stones might cause Gas, Indigestion
Biliary Colic or Gallstone Attack
One of the most common symptoms of Gallstones is pain in the upper right abdomen. When you eat foods that have high levels of fat, then you may start to have pain. This pain may last from 2 minutes to several hours. Since this pain occurs in periods it is called “Attack”. The medical term for this “Attack” is “Biliary Colic”.
- Gallstone Attack or Biliary Colic may occur every few days, months, weeks or even, in rare cases years.
- During Biliary Colic or Gallstone Attack,
- You might start feeling pain within 30 minutes of consumption of high fat content food.
- This pain might last anywhere from 2 minutes to several hours
- You may start to feel the pain in your back or in your right shoulder
- Biliary Colic occurs frequently at night and as a result the person might wake up. This might result in disturbance in sleep.