Gallstones: should I have my gall bladder removed?
Tuesday 21 November 2006
I have gallstones which are causing me chronic pain, but I am finding it difficult to get sensible advice. I have two sets of symptoms. Occasionally I get severe pain on the right side under the rib cage. This has happened only rarely, although it once culminated in an attack of jaundice in which my eyes and skin turned yellow. The other symptoms are more subtle, but still unpleasant: bloating, constipation and colicky pains. The doctors I have seen all recommend surgery to remove the gall bladder. It seems to me that this can only make things worse, as without a gall bladder, the flow of bile won't be regulated. What other treatments, apart from surgery, are possible?
Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:
The gall bladder is a small sac that stores bile from the liver. The bile is then squirted into the small intestine, where it helps with digestion. It is quite possible to live happily without a gall bladder. Ask anyone who has had their gall bladder removed, and they are likely to tell you that their health is no worse than it was before. When the gall bladder gets full of stones, or even small bits of "gravel", it doesn't contract normally, and this is when pain starts. If the stone blocks the bile duct, jaundice sets in. Modern methods of keyhole surgery are quick and safe, and solve the problem once and for all.
Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to firstname.lastname@example.org. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.
Life & Style blogs
Dozens of empty homes in two of Liverpool’s most deprived areas will be brought back into use thanks...
A roundup of the latest property news
Plus, do energy saving measures boost house prices?
Use of 'anonymous' search engine rockets following PRISM scandal
The 10 Best sports sunglasses
Apps: A poke in the eye for social-network friends
Bollywood star, Shahrukh Khan, accused of choosing sex of baby
Name and shame! Truth must come out vows Jeremy Hunt after report reveals baby deaths NHS cover-up
- 1 Serena Williams apologises after comment that rape victim 'shouldn't have put herself in that position'
- 2 Disability campaigners celebrate 'victory' after government rethink over plans to make it more difficult to claim disability benefits
- 3 Bankers could face jail after report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 4 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 5 We never knew Nigella Lawson - and we still don’t
£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: FX Options Front Office Java / C# Developer - Ba...
£600 - £700 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager - Front Office - Regulatory IT C...
£33000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: NQTs required now fo...