Gall Bladder Stone: An Overview

The gallbladder is a small organ  about the size of a pear and is located just below the liver. Liver is responsible for producing about 1 litre of bile everyday, of which about 50-75 ml gets stored in the gall bladder and the rest passes directly into the food pipe through the hepatic ducts. Gall bladder stone is  stone that forms within the gallbladder.

  • Bile is a watery liquid made by the cells of the liver that is important for digesting food in the intestine, particularly fat.
  • Liver cells secrete the bile into small canals within the liver.
  • These small canals finally unite outside the liver and form into the common bile duct.

From the common bile duct, there are two different directions that bile can flow.

  • The first direction is from the common bile duct  into the intestine where the bile mixes with food and promotes digestion of food.
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  • The second direction is into the gallbladder .It acts as storage organ and when a heavy fatty meal is taken, it is secreted or expelled by the gall bladder into the food pipe where it mixes with food and aids in digestion.
  • When the metabolism of cholesterol gets disturbed, cholesterol  starts depositing in gall bladder resulting in formation of gall bladder stone.

pancreas_gallbladderRisk Factors for Formation of Gall Stone

Although there is no definitive reason as to why the gall bladder stone occurs, certain conditions which predispose to gallstone formation are:

  • Advancing age especially more than 60 years
  • Females are at increased risk
  • Obesity is a major risk factor for gall stones formation
  • Rapid weight gain or weight loss
  • Certain medications like OCPs (oral contraceptive pills), hormone replacement therapy, fibrates etc promote gall stone formation
  • Family history of gall stones
  • Multiparity or multiple pregnancies
  • Bowel diseases resulting in ileal resection or bypass
  • People with certain other illnesses like Sickle cell anemia, Hemolytic anemia or Inflammatory bowel disease

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