Signs You Need Your Gallbladder Removed

Digestive system plays critical role in health and well-being of a person. Yet the small pear shaped gallbladder which hangs out along with pancreas and liver doesn’t attract much of attention. Gallbladder is responsible for the storage of bile and releasing it into the intestine on regular intervals for the purpose of fat digestion.

Gallbladder Removal

As long as the digestive system is working smoothly, there might be no reason why one should think about the bile and the bladder. But once there’s a problem in the functioning of gallbladder, it can upset the whole routine. Here are some alarms that the body rings to show you have a problem with your gall bladder, usually in the form of ‘gallstones’.

The key trigger to indicate that there is a problem with your gallbladder is severe pain in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen, just below the rib cage. This pain may be temporary and may subside off quickly. Yet if there is frequent recurrence of such pain or few of the following symptoms, it’s time to consult a gastroenterologist and get examined for whether the surgery is required.

Abdominal Pain: The most prominent symptom, which indicates that you might be troubled because of gallstones accumulation, is the abdominal pain. This pain and discomfort is such that it does not continue to trouble you continuously. The pain so caused usually comes and disappears and this happens more so when the meal is of fatty foods. This pain appears as intense discomfort in the upper right quadrant of the belly where the gallbladder is located.

Abdominal Pain

The size of the gallstone may vary from a small seed to the size of a golf ball. The pain arises during the contraction of the gallbladder which occurs as a response to eating or any other normal stimuli. During this contraction, the gallbladder tries to push the gallstone out which causes this peeving pain in the stomach. The pain may stay there from five minutes to few hours. In some cases the pain might also radiate to the back and right shoulder.

Pancreatitis:

Pancreatitis

The inflammation in gallbladder due to gallstones deposition may even spread the inflammation into the pancreas. This can result in blocking of the duct from the pancreas as well as from the gallbladder.

Light colored stools and darker urine: The excess bilirubin content affects the urine and stool too. With the bile duct blockage, the stools are often of an unusual yellow color quite similar to clay and the urine becomes darker in color similar to tea.

Darker Urine and Fever

Fever and Chills: The person with gallbladder disorder might feel shaky with chills, but this symptom alone may not be an indication of infection in gallbladder. But when the fever or chills are combined with abdominal pain which persists, the chances are that the gallbladder is completely blocked causing severe inflammation in the organ.

Increased Heartbeat: The gallbladder infection also has the potential to alter the heartbeat. The pain usually seems to increase while the person is breathing deeply.

Increased Heartbeat

Heartburn: Since it is closely related to indigestion of fats, the gallstone symptoms are quite identical to those of indigestion like heartburn, acidity, cramps in stomach etc. When these symptoms repeatedly trigger after meals, the cause of these indigestion symptoms could be the gallbladder inflammation or a gallstone blocking the exit of your gallbladder.

Jaundice: The gallbladder sends the bile to the small intestine for breaking the fat present in the ingested food. But when gallstone comes in the way and blocks the bile duct, the bile juices cannot flow into the small intestine. This results in rise in the bilirubin level present in the gallbladder. It is this bilirubin which is utilized in creating the bile juice. The rising concentration of bilirubin in the bloodstream results in its deposition on skin thereby turning it yellow. This condition is termed jaundice in which the whites of the eye also turn yellowish.

Jaundice and Vomiting

Nausea and Vomiting: The bile duct is responsible partially for the digestive process. In case the gallstone gets stuck in one of the ducts from where the digestive enzymes are flowing, there are increased chances of inflammation, swelling and excessive pain. These symptoms may also lead to nauseating feeling and vomiting, especially after having meals.

Other Symptoms: Symptoms other than gallstones like gallbladder inflammation, biliary colic, some chronic gallbladder disease or dysfunction may also be the reason for initiating a gallbladder removal process.

Whenever you feel that there are any of the symptoms visible along with sharp and crappy abdominal pain, it could be because of the gallstones causing trouble in the gallbladder or around it. Since these so-called infections and pain can be life-threatening, it’s best to seek immediate expert advice. It might require a minimally invasive surgery, including cholecystectomies to get over this pain.

Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS) For Gallbladder Stones

Single incision laparoscopic surgery is a surgical operation to remove the gallbladder stones through a single wound about the size of 2cm made in the navel. This method involves placing many instruments through a single incision and provides the surgeon an opportunity to view the surgical site from various angles improving visualization. Rather than using the traditional methods, where four to five incisions were made, this procedure uses a single entry point, providing shorter recovery periods, fewer scars and less pain. Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery is amongst the latest laparoscopic techniques. Along with all other advantages, SILS is also covered under health care insurance. The patient’s recovery time is much faster and the period of stay in hospital is short.

Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery

Procedure

The surgeon would assess an individual patient to decide whether or not he / she are a suitable candidate for SILS as it may not be applicable to the patients who are very obese, those who have had multiple previous abdominal operations and patients who are likely to have grossly enlarged or thickened diseased organ.

During the procedure, the surgeon takes several precautions. A SILS port is inserted into the belly button incision. The port is a soft and flexible instrument equipped with features to carry out the surgical procedure. The incision techniques allow the surgeon to carry out laparoscopy from various angles. This improves visualization and makes the procedure very efficient.

Major benefits of Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS) are:

  • Less pain from the single, short incision after surgery
  • Faster return to normal diet
  • Faster return to work or normal activity
  • Better cosmetic healing (an almost invisible scar)
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Further large scars carry the risk of incisional hernia, which can be avoided with SILS
  • Open surgery takes a longer time to heal. The SILS procedure ensures rapid recovery time
  • Fewer incisions mean lower possibility of developing infections and future adhesions, which may necessitate other surgeries

Post Surgery
Post Surgery

Some amount of pain for about 12 to 24 hours after SILS depending on individual tolerance. Also, some nausea and vomiting is not uncommon in the first 12 hours. Patients are always given medications to relieve the pain and take care of the nausea. Usually, the patient is allowed to drink fluids within 6 to 8 hours of surgery and is able to have meals from the day after surgery. In our society patients often prefer to take things easy for weeks after any operation because of a fear that they may harm themselves by being active. But after SILS all patients are encouraged to get up and walk as soon as they are comfortable. Many patients are able to go home the day after surgery and around 20% go home 48 hours later. In general, patients recover completely within 7 to 10 days. Soon after returning home the patients are allowed all activities they feel comfortable with. Depending on the nature of their job, most patients are able to return to work within ten to fifteen days and those involved in heavy lifting may require a little more time.

Get Rid of Gall Bladder Stones

Gallstones

Gallbladder Surgery

Ever came across the unbearable pain which takes a toll on your health? Gall bladder stones can give something similar. Gallstones are tiny “stones or hard deposit of digestive fluid” found in the gallbladder, which is a small pear-shaped organ that lies just beneath the liver, and has the primary role of storing bile made by the liver. Gallstones are formed when cholesterol, calcium and other particles bind to each other and lodged in gallbladder.

The disease caused by gallstones is known as acute cholecystitis. Most people with gallstones (about 80%) never have symptoms. That with gallstones, a crampy pain in the right portion or in center of the abdomen, known biliary colic, occurs along with back pain or pain in right shoulder, nausea, vomiting or sometimes digestive problems. Complications of gallstones include inflammation of the gallbladder, pancreas and liver. Symptoms of these complications may include pain of more than five hours, fever, yellowish skin or tea color urine.

Risk factors for gallstones include obesity, diabetes, liver disease or rapid weight loss. Gallstones may be suspected based on symptoms. Diagnosis is then typically confirmed by ultrasound. Complications may be detected on blood tests.

Gallbladder Surgery

In those who are having gallbladder attacks, surgery to remove the gallbladder is typically recommended. Surgery is typically done under general anesthesia. In those who are unable to have surgery, medication to try to dissolve the stones or shock wave lithotripsy may be tried. 10-15% of adults have gallstones. Women more commonly have stones than men and they occur more commonly after the age of 40.

Before considering any type of surgery, it is always worth looking for a natural healing approach to get rid of gallstones by “maintaining a healthy body weight” as being overweight might increase the chance of gallstones as such people produce high levels of cholesterol in their livers. It is always the healthiest thing to maintain your weight and stay within a healthy range. People who have gone through weight loss surgery or following a very low calorie diet can trigger deficiencies, hormonal imbalance and other issues that increase gallstone formation. “Avoiding rapid weight loss and fad diets” may help in maintaining the digestive fluid and cholesterol in the body and dramatically impact liver and gallbladder health. It is always recommended to “follow an anti-inflammatory food” that regulates our body’s use of cholesterol. High – fiber foods, easily digestible healthy fats and sprouted seeds are beneficial as they are easy to digest and can reduce inflammation. People who are “more active” have better protection against gallstones. Regular physical exercise, improves your health, maintain weight and can boost digestive functions.

Diet for Gallbladder Patient

In addition to changing your life style and diet, several supplements and natural herbs can also improve liver health and inflammation. Milk thistle and Turmeric has antioxidant activity that support liver metabolism, increase/ improve bile flow, enhance protein synthesis and capable of producing anti-inflammatory effects. Barberry plants fight infections and cleanse liver and gallbladder. Other commonly used remedies for gallstones includes; Apple Juice, Lemon Juice, Coconut Oil, Peppermint, Beetroot, Radish and Herbal tea.

Gallbladder Removal- Treatment and Recovery

gallbladder surgery

Gallbladder is a small organ situated near the liver, with primary function of bile storage. This bile juice is useful for the breakdown of fats in the body. Any extra bile produced by the liver gets stored in the gall bladder and is released by the bladder when your meals have those fats which need to be broken down for digestion. Thus, gall bladder is a storage organ and hence the only difference without a gallbladder would be that the bile will not be stored in the gallbladder.

When the accumulation of hard fragments in the gallbladder starts hurting or causes other symptoms of indigestion, the doctor usually suggests a surgery for its removal. There is no other way to dissolve or remove these gallstones. The gall bladder surgery is called ‘cholecystectomy’ and is one of the most common surgeries.

gallbladder surgery

Types of Gallbladder surgery

The gall bladder surgery is performed in two ways:

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy:  Also called the ‘keyhole surgery, it doesn’t require a big incision on your belly but the doctor makes four small cuts. A tiny video camera fitted with light is inserted from the cut through a thin, flexible tube. Further, the doctor inserts special tools with which they remove the diseased organ.

Open cholecystectomy  is done by making a 5- to 7- inch long incision (cut) on the belly. It is usually done in cases with bleeding disorder, being overweight, or in last trimester of pregnancy or have severe gallbladder disease.

The Recovery:

The cholecystectomy surgery is done with general anesthesia and hence you do not feel the pain or the procedure at that time. Once the surgery is completed, you are being shifted to the recovery room till the effect of anesthesia goes off. Then you are shifted to hospital room.

In case of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, usually people go home the same day with some cases requiring a one night stay in the hospital. It takes about one week to recover fully.

In open gallbladder removal cases, one is expected to spend two to three days in hospital for recovery and four to six weeks for complete recovery.

Living without the Gallbladder:

Usually one can lead the life without any major change in one’s life yet there might be slight discomfort in certain aspects. A very small percentage of people might face complications with their digestion. The best way to overcome digestion related problems is to be on a low fat diet for the initial few weeks which will help the body adapt to living without a gallbladder. A big ninety percent of the surgery cases are able to resume their normal diet. One might notice frequent bowel movements which can be adjusted gradually.

Easy tips to manage the change:

  • Shift to a low-fat diet.
  • Avoid fatty foods like fried foods etc.
  • Have small but frequent meals.
  • Avoid eating heavy dinner, especially after fasting for the whole day.

Little care post the surgery will set you free to void created by removal of this pear-shaped organ.