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   Conditions:

      Alternative Medicine
      Barrett's Esophagus
      Biliary Tract Diseases
      Bowel Dysfunction
      Celiac Disease
      Colon Cancer
      Constipation
      Crohn's Disease
      Diarrhea
      Diet and Nutrition
      Gallstones
      Gas
      GERD
      Gluten Intolerance
      Heartburn
      Hepatitis
      Hiatus Hernia
      Irritable Bowel (IBS)
      Indigestion
      Liver Disease
      Pancreatic Diseases
      Stress Reduction
      Ulcerative Colitis  
      Ulcers
   
    Procedures:

      Colonoscopy
      Endoscopy
      Liver Biopsy
 

Gallstones

Liver makes bile, which helps digest fats and other food components. Extra bile produced by Liver is stored in a small sac called Gallbladder, which squirts out the bile as needed into the small intestine.

For multiple reasons, including overproduction of Bilirubin and Cholesterol by Liver, or blockage of the ducts that carry bile into intestines, small stones can form in the gallbladder or the ducts. These gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Most of the stones are formed from hardened or crystallized cholesterol.

Symptoms of gallstones are similar to several other G.I. ailments - so careful diagnosis is important.

Gallstones can be diagnosed with

    Ultrasound
   
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
    
CT Scan
    
MRI Cholangiogram
    
Cholescintigraphy (HIDA scan)
    Blood tests

In some cases, gallstones present in the bile ducts can be removed during endoscopy. But, in most cases where multiple stones or large ones are present in the gallbladder, the gallbladder is removed surgically:

    Cholecystectomy (removal of gallbladder)
    Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
    Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

In some cases, it may be appropriate to use non surgical methods, including oral drugs, or drugs directly injected into the gallbladder. These drugs can dissolve smaller gallstones over time.

After the initial treatment, I can help you modify your diet and exercise levels to reduce chances of new stones forming in the gallbladder.

If you suspect you might have gallstones, or have a history of gallstones, I can help you. Please call [415-674-5200] or email me to make an appointment.

Links

  NDDIC: Gallstones
  NIH: Dieting and Gallstones
  AGA Patient Center: Gallstones
  Wikipedia: Gallstone
  Mayo Clinic: Gallstones
   
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Abbreviations


  AGA: American Gastroenterological Association
  NDDIC: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

  NIH: National Institutes of Health

 

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