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Gallstones – Treatment

May 31, 2021
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Most patients with gallstones are asymptomatic. Unless they are causing you pain, you generally don't need to do anything to treat the gallstones. Sometimes, you may even end up unknowingly passing a gallstone. When the gallstone starts to cause you pain, it is typically due to them causing a blockage in your gallbladder. If this is the case, the gallstones treatment your doctor will recommend is surgery due to the chance of recurrence. The most common surgery for gallstones is laparoscopic gallbladder removal, or also known as cholecystectomy. This is often used when the gallbladder becomes infected or blocked in such a way that the only option is to remove it. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, and is generally considered a minor surgery. Most patients will be able to go home even the same day if there are no complications. Without your gallbladder, the bile that enters your small intestine will now be more concentrated. This will have a laxative effect, which can sometimes cause diarrhea. Your doctor will recommend you to switch to a lower fat diet after laparoscopic gallbladder removal or also prescribe a medication known as cholestyramine to help absorb the bile acids. Suppose for some reason you cannot have surgery. In that case, your doctor may prescribe a medication known as ursodiol, which is a drug that can help dissolve gallstones caused by excess cholesterol. This is generally more effective for small stones and sludge. Otherwise, the effectiveness of any medication for gallstones is limited, and typically it takes several years to eliminate the gallstones. The gallstones may also return after you have completed the treatment cycle.

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