Symptom-free thanks to professional treatmentA great many people have gallstones, many of whom do not notice anything. Gallstones only become a problem if symptoms and complications occur. Those affected complain of cramps, pain, stabbing pains or digestive problems. Sometimes, cholestasis and inflammation of the gallbladder occur. If such complications occur, treatment is urgently needed.
At Schoen Clinic, we specialise in treating gallstones. Internal medicine specialists and surgeons often work together. In doing so, they do all they can to alleviate your symptoms.
Causes & symptoms
What is gall?The word ‘gall’ can be used to refer to different things:
It is permanently formed by the liver and contains, among other things, bile acids with typical greenish-yellow bile pigments and cholesterol. It is required to digest fat.
This blind sac-like organ leads into the common bile duct and stores bile for periods of increased need. Cream, fatty fried foods and egg yolk, for example, can irritate the gallbladder.
Causes: How gallstones developWomen, in particular, have an increased risk of suffering from gallstones. It is assumed that the female sex hormone oestrogen promotes the development of gallstones. Further risk factors include being overweight, age (40+) and family predisposition. Diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, underactive thyroid glands, overactive parathyroid glands and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases also promote the development of gallstones.
Gallstones: Symptoms that may occurMost gallstones remain clinically unnoticed. These are referred to as asymptomatic gallstones, which are usually found by chance during a routine ultrasound examination.
In the case of biliary colic, however, patients complain of cramping, wave-like pain in the upper abdomen that extends to the back or under the right shoulder blade, possibly in connection with vomiting. These symptoms can last from a few minutes to many hours.
There are also inflammatory diseases of the gallbladder. These include:
- Acute inflammation of the gallbladder
Occurrence of mostly dull continuous pain, radiating from the right upper abdomen in different directions. Fever may also occur. The situation is usually caused by a gallstone that is stuck at the exit of the gallbladder and prevents emptying. Overstretching makes the blood supply to the gallbladder wall worse, bacteria can now attack the gallbladder wall.
- Chronic inflammation of the gallbladder
In general, gallstones also cause inflammation relapses here, too, with recurring unspecific symptoms.
- Inflammation of the bile ducts
Here, fever occurs in conjunction with signs of a disturbance to the flow of bile. The accumulation of bile in the liver can be a sign of jaundice with yellowing of the skin, the dermis of the eye and darkening of the urine. In contrast, a lack of bile in the stool manifests itself in discoloration (cement grey). Possible causes of bile retention: Gallstones in the bile duct, scarring of the sphincter muscle, formation of tumours.