Gallstone Treatment and Removal in Philadelphia
Gallstones are hardened chemical deposits that form within the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that secretes a substance called bile into the small intestine.
What Are the Symptoms of Gallstones?
Many individuals can have a gallstone, or multiple gallstones without exhibiting symptoms. In this case, the gallstones are not harmful and do not require any sort of additional treatment unless the function of the gallbladder becomes compromised.
Those that do experience symptoms of gallstones will typically begin to notice:
- A sudden and intense pain in the upper right abdomen or center abdomen
- Pain near the right shoulder or between the shoulder blades
- Dark colored urine
What Causes Gallstones to Form?
There is really no one-size-fits all reasoning as to why gallstones develop in the gallbladder, though many medical professionals believe that these stones are related to:
- An abundance of cholesterol in the gallbladder
- Having highly concentrated bile in the gallbladder
- An overproduction of the chemical bilirubin in the bile
If the gallbladder contains more cholesterol or bilirubin than it can break down, it is theorized that these extra substances begin to harden into small stones. This may also happen if the gallbladder is unable to empty enough bile into the small intestine, leading to a robust concentration of bile in the gallbladder.
Treatment Options for Gallstones
If a patient’s gallstones do not cause them any sort of discomfort then treatment is typically not necessary. Patients who have been previously diagnosed with gallstones are advised to familiarize themselves with the aforementioned symptoms in order to respond as quickly as possible should their condition start to worsen.
Your gastroenterologist is likely to recommend either medications or surgical removal of a patient’s gallbladder. While medications can be effective and less invasive, they often require months or even years to fully dissolve the gallstones. Because the gallbladder is not essential to any digestive functions within the body, removing it is often the best way to ensure long-term relief from gallstones.
Call our gastroenterologists today at (215) 742-9900 for a consultation to discuss your symptoms and potential treatment options!