Q: Hi Dr Ketch, please my mum have just been diagnosed with gall bladder disease. I need you to shed more light on the disease and is there any cause for alarm? I’m really disturbed. She is being given a two weeks appointment to come back to see a Doc. She is in pain, not able to eat and has lost a lot of weight. I hope to hear from you. Thanks for being there.
A: The gall bladder is a small pear-shaped organ located under the liver on the upper right hand side of the abdomen. This organ usually stores bile which is released through the bile duct to aid digestion. Bile is a greenish-brown liquid which helps digestion and usually contains bile salts, bilirubin, cholesterol, water etc. When the bile duct is blocked by a gall bladder stone due to the ‘hardening’ of digestive fluid then a gall bladder disease develops. In rare instances, one can also have cancer of the gall bladder.
What can cause gall bladder stones? If the gall bladder contains too much bilirubin or too much cholesterol or the gallbladder doesn’t empty properly making the bile to become concentrated and thus form stones.
One with gall bladder stones (called cholelithiasis) may experience no symptoms, in which case it is left well alone. However, in some instances like in your mum’s case, it may give rise to pain in the upper right hand side of the abdomen or pain in the center of the abdomen and this pain may radiate to the right shoulder. Some may also complain of yellowness of skin and eyes and there may be fever.
Diets low in fiber, high in fats and cholesterol, rapid weight loss perhaps through some of those crazy fad diets 😀 have been found to be contributory to gall bladder stones. Women, diabetic people and pregnant women are also prone to this disease.
Treatment may be surgery (in which the gall bladder is removed) or medications to dissolve the stones for those who cannot undergo surgery. If the gall bladder is removed, the liver will still produce bile but instead of being stored in the gall bladder, it will drip continuously into the small intestine…this is not a problem.
Prevention of this includes eating a healthy diet (more fruits and veggies, complex carbs and other foods rich in fiber, lean meat etc), exercise at least 150 minutes per week and avoid the fad diets which make you lose weight is days! Avoid very fatty foods like fried foods, fatty meats, processed foods (cakes, pies etc).
So at the end of the day, there’s really no running away from the recurring lifestyle dictum of eating healthy and exercising. Let’s start this now, people before we have complications to deal with. I hope your mum feels better soon. Please give her a big hug from me 😀
Have a good night, y’all 😀