Pharmacy Clinical Pearl of the Day: Gallstones
Gallstones range in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball.
Clinical Pearl of the Day: Gallstones
Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in the gallbladder.
- The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ on the right side of the human abdomen, just beneath the liver.
- Gallstones range in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball.
- People who experience symptoms from their gallstones usually require gallbladder removal surgery.
- Gallstones that don't cause any signs and symptoms typically don't need treatment.
- Symptoms include sudden and rapid pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, back pain near shoulder blades, pain in the shoulders, nausea, and vomiting.
- Causes may include too much cholesterol in the bile, too much bilirubin, or the gallbladder not emptying correctly.
- Risk factors: Being female, older than 40 years of age, native American, Hispanic, being sedentary, being pregnant, eating a high-fat diet, eating a high-cholesterol diet, eating a low-fiber diet, having diabetes or liver disease.
- Diagnosis includes abdominal ultrasound, endoscopic ultrasound, imaging tests, and blood tests.
- Treatment includes surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) and medications to dissolve gallstones.