Gall Bladder Stone Treatment

Gall Bladder Stone Treatment

What is choledocholithiasis?

Choledocholithiasis (also called bile duct stones or gallstones in the bile duct) is the presence of a gallstone in the common bile duct. Gallstones usually form in your gallbladder. The bile duct is the small tube that carries bile from the gallbladder to the intestine. The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ below your liver in the upper right side of your abdomen. These stones usually remain in the gallbladder or pass through the common bile duct unobstructed.

However, about 15 percent of all people with gallstones will have gallstones in the bile duct, or choledocholithiasis, according to research published in The Medical Clinics of North America.

What are the symptoms?

Gallstones in the bile duct may not cause symptoms for months or even years. But if a stone becomes lodged in the duct and obstructs it, you may experience the following:

  • abdominal pain in the right upper or middle upper abdomen
  • fever
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • clay-colored stools

The pain caused by gallstones in the bile duct can be sporadic, or it can linger. The pain may be mild at times and then suddenly severe. Severe pain may require emergency medical treatment. The most severe symptoms may be confused with a cardiac event like a heart attack.

When a gallstone is stuck in the bile duct, the bile can become infected. The bacteria from the infection can spread rapidly, and may move into the liver. If this happens, it can become a life-threatening infection. Other possible complications include biliary cirrhosis and pancreatitis.

What causes choledocholithiasis?

There are two types of gallstones: cholesterol gallstones and pigment gallstones.

Cholesterol gallstones often appear yellow and are the most common type of gallstone. Scientists believe that cholesterol stones are caused by bile that contains:

  • too much cholesterol
  • too much bilirubin
  • not enough bile salts

They may also occur if the gallbladder does not empty completely or often enough.

The cause of pigment stones is not known. They seem to occur in people who have:

  • cirrhosis of the liver
  • biliary tract infections
  • hereditary blood disorders in which the liver makes too much bilirubin

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