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Understanding Gallstones: Types, Diagnosis & Food Choices

If you’re constantly suffering with abdominal pain caused by gallbladder stones, you’re not alone. These stones often form due to an imbalance in the chemical composition of bile stored in the gallbladder. In most cases, an overabundance of cholesterol in the bile leads to the formation of these stones. Read on to know the types of gallbladder stones, how to diagnose it and foods to avoid when you are diagnosed with this condition.

Understanding the Types of Gallstones

Gallstones can be classified into two main types…

Cholesterol Stones: These are the most prevalent, accounting for around 80 to 85% of cases. Cholesterol stones are primarily composed of cholesterol, a fatty substance found in bile. They can vary in size and colour, spanning from yellow to green, and form when the components of bile are imbalanced.

Pigment Stones: Comprising bilirubin (a waste product from red blood cell breakdown) and calcium salts, pigment stones tend to be smaller and darker in colour. They form when there’s an excess of bilirubin or a scarcity of bile salts to keep it soluble.

Diagnosing Gallstones

Diagnosing gallbladder stones requires a thorough evaluation by healthcare professionals. During a physical examination, doctors assess symptoms like abdominal pain followed by some common diagnostic tests like…

  • Abdominal Ultrasound: This imaging test employs a transducer to create images of the abdomen’s structures, serving as the primary method for detecting gallstones.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS): EUS is used to pinpoint smaller gallstones that might be overlooked on an abdominal ultrasound, involving an endoscope with an ultrasound device.
  • CT Scan (Computed Tomography): CT scans offer detailed images of the gallbladder and surrounding organs, especially when complications are suspected.
  • Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): ERCP examines the bile and pancreatic ducts using an endoscope and dye injection for X-ray imaging.
  • MRCP (Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography): MRCP is a non-invasive MRI that provides clear images of the biliary system.
  • Cholescintigraphy (HIDA Scan): This nuclear medicine test assesses gallbladder and biliary system function using a radioactive tracer.
  • Cholescintigraphy: Also utilizing radioactive material, this procedure captures images of the biliary tract, helping diagnose abnormal gallbladder contractions or bile duct blockages.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests can reveal signs of infection, jaundice, pancreatitis, or other complications linked to gallbladder stones.

Dietary Choices Matter

When dealing with gallstones, your dietary choices can significantly impact the symptoms. It’s important to avoid certain foods that can trigger discomfort…

  • Fried and Greasy Foods
  • High-Fat Dairy
  • Processed Meats
  • Spicy Foods
  • Red Meat
  • High-Sugar Foods
  • Excessive Alcohol
  • Refined Carbohydrates
  • High-Cholesterol Foods
  • Carbonated Beverages

Everyone’s tolerance for these foods can vary. It’s good to understand what kind of food triggers pain and avoid it. A balanced diet featuring plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains can aid in gallstone management.

Seek Expert Guidance

Dealing with gallstones can be complex but our qualified gallbladder doctors are here to guide you about the best healing process and quick recovery solutions. Don’t let gallstones hold you back. Click below to consult with our expert for personalized treatment now.