How Do Doctors Test For Gallbladder Problems?
The gallbladder, located just beneath the liver is responsible for storing and concentrating the bile, which is produced in the liver and used to aid in the digestion of dietary fats. Diminished bile flow, inefficient gallbladder emptying or imbalance in bile elements such as cholesterol, may all lead to the formation of hard, pebble-like deposits building up inside the gallbladder. These stones range in size from grains of sand to golf balls and can cause irritation, inflammation and bile duct blockages which result in gallbladder problems.
Because gallstones often cause no noticeable symptoms, many people will receive a gallstone diagnosis while having abdominal imaging tests done for other reasons. A large number of people will also visit their doctor for gallbladder assessment for the first time after experiencing what is known as a gallbladder attack. This can be an extremely painful episode of abdominal pain related to a gallstone temporarily blocking a bile duct. Gallbladder problems are diagnosed through various tests.
A Murphy’s test is a simple maneuver your doctor can perform in which you are asked to inhale while the doctor’s fingers are hooked under the liver border at the bottom of the rib cage. Breathing in causes the gallbladder to then lower and fingers pressing here will cause severe pain if the gallbladder is inflamed.
Liver Function Tests
Liver function tests (LTs), which are blood tests that will evaluate various levels of liver enzymes and byproducts which tend to be high in the presence of damage or stress. Specific levels show evidence of gallbladder disease.
Pancreatic inflammation is related to gallbladder disease and is indicated by elevated blood amylase and lipase, (digestive chemicals) levels.
CBC Blood Test
A CBC blood test or complete blood count analyses different levels of blood cells such as the white blood cells which will be high in the presence of infection and prolonged gallbladder inflammation or blockage may lead to infection.
Ultrasound imaging is a non-invasive test, which uses sound waves to capture a live image of the intra-abdominal organs, including the gallbladder. Gallstones and other structural changes can be seen with this method. Ultrasound will only detect calcified or pigmented gallstones but not cholesterol ones.
An abdominal X-ray, and a computed tomography (CT) are also non-invasive ways to create detailed X-ray images of the abdominal organs and structures such as bile ducts.
A HIDA scan is an excellent way to follow the natural flow of bile and locate problem areas. A radioactive material called hydroxy iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) is injected into an arm vein. This acts as a tracer in the bloodstream which the liver removes from the blood and then adds to the bile in the gallbladder. The gallbladder releases the tracer into the small intestine where a special camera can take pictures of it on its journey. This test can also be referred to as cholescintigraphy. A HIDA scan will not only detect calcified or pigmented gallstones but cholesterol ones.
Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography
Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to provide detailed, three-dimensional pictures of the structures of the gallbladder and surrounding organs.
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), is a procedure which utilizes a flexible tube placed through the patient’s mouth, into the throat then down into the stomach and through to small intestine. Dye is injected which is taken up by the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas and can then be seen with an X-ray.
What to do if you are experiencing gallbladder Attacks
There are natural alternatives that not only will prevent and eliminate gallbladder attacks, but will help tackle the problem at the source, the gallstones. A program called the Pulverexx Protocol can eliminate gallbladder pain within hours, but will gradually help dissolve all liver and gallbladder congestion, whether it is cholesterol or calcified.