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.
- 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.
Risk 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