Gallbladder Treatment: The Different Stages of Gallbladder Disease
In order to decide on the best gallbladder treatment, we must first understand the role of the gallbladder and progression of gallstone formation.
The gallbladder’s role in the digestive process is to store and concentrate bile which is produced by the liver, and then secrete it into the small intestines when we eat. The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped pouch located just under the liver. A complex information system in the digestive tract regulates bile components and volume based on the food that we eat. Large fat globules must be broken into very small, usable elements in order for us to digest and extract their nutrients. Bile also makes fat soluble vitamins absorbable in our intestines. When the bile components of cholesterol and salts are out of balance or when the gallbladder does not empty regularly, gallstones may form which can range in size from a grain of sand to large marbles.
Gallbladder disease is common in adults but patients do not experience symptoms such as pain in the early stages of the disease. Gallstones often go unnoticed and it isn’t until they travel into one of the ducts that they begin to cause pain and inflammation. When a stone blocks a duct, a gallbladder attack becomes quite serious and can lead to rupture or other medical problems such as cancer.
The symptoms experienced will usually indicate what stage of gallbladder disease a person may be experiencing.
Stage 1: Gallstone Formation
In the first stage, gallstones will form in the gallbladder but they do not cause any pain and the patient is unaware. Gallstones may be formed of hardened cholesterol, bilirubin, salts and other components. Most people never get to stage 2 as they will go through life having stones present with no complications and relatively normal digestion.
Stage 2: Gallbladder Disease
In this secondary stage, occasional gallbladder symptoms will involve abdominal pain, belching, burping, indigestion, diarrhea and nausea. It is common to experience these symptoms after a fatty or fried meal and often the attacks come in the middle of the night. The discomfort is caused when a gallstone blocks the bile duct and can last for several hours, but the pain subsides. Patients will often contact their doctor and may have an ultrasound or other tests done.
Stage 3: Gallbladder attack
When a gallstone blocks the bile duct, it causes inflammation of the gallbladder or, Cholecystitis. If a blockage is not treated immediately, the symptoms will escalate and indicate stage 3 gallbladder disease. This stage may lead to serious complications and requires urgent medical care. Stage three gallbladder symptoms can include nausea, intense pain in the upper abdomen, back or shoulders, elevated temperature, chills and loss of appetite. If left untreated, a blocked bile duct and chronic inflammation can lead to rupture of the gallbladder which may be life threatening. Bile is not safe when it comes into contact with the abdominal cavity and in cases of rupture, septicemia, a serious blood infection, is a concern.
In stage 2, when a person suspects that they have a gallbladder or digestive issue, it is advised that they speak with their primary care physician so that appropriate, early intervention can be made.
Natural Gallbladder Treatment
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