The gallbladder has one main function – it’s the place where your bile is stored in the body. While bile can be incredibly dangerous to your body when it’s outside of the gallbladder, when it’s inside of it, its job is to help aid in digestion. Sometimes the bile can also contain crystallized fragments which form gallstones. Now when these fragments turn into gallstones, they can cause some serious issues inside of your body. The can be as small as a grain of sand or they can bigger – up to the size of a golf ball. These fragments can block up the ducts inside the gallbladder or even worse, if you can imagine it, they can pass out of the gallbladder and into the duct for the bile which can lead to a major infection which can cause inflammation to your pancreas. When it comes to gallbladder problems like this there are all sorts of ways to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Some options may be better than others, but it’s also a good idea to speak to a GI specialist in Queens to come up with a good game plan on what to do. This is not something you want to ignore if you are in a lot of pain because it can get way worse. Here are a few options for you when it comes to pain and discomfort from gallstones.
In some minor cases, you can treat gallstones with oral medicine. This medicine can ultimately dissolve some gallstones depending on their size and how bad they really are. These oral bile acid pills thin the bile and then allow the gallstones to be dissolved properly. One thing you have to remember is that when it comes to this oral bile acid, you have to have small stones and they have to be made up of mostly cholesterol. If you have bigger stones, a doctor probably won’t prescribe this option. Also, if you have smaller gallstones, before giving you this medication, your doctor may ask you to wait and see. It sounds crazy, but sometimes they pass on their own and you don’t need to take any risks in surgery or medicine because the body just does what it’s supposed to do naturally. On the other hand if you wait and see and are still not seeing anything changing or you feel worse, the GI specialist will most likely suggest this course of action.
This one sounds a little scary, maybe scarier than the one above, but just give it a chance first and read about it a little more. This IS a non-surgical option. But, like with the option above, your gallstones must meet a certain type of criteria. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy or ESWL is one of the most effective options for gallstones. But, they have to be less than 2 centimeters in diameter. So while this proves as an effective option, only about 15% of people with gallstones are actually eligible for this type of treatment. The Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy is a way of using “shocks” to help break up the stones and hopefully getting them into smaller pieces so that they can either be broken down naturally, or even used by the above mentioned method to dissolve the gallstones. Note, these are shock waves, which means they are essentially something you won’t feel, but instead the shock waves will break up the gallstones. It’s not a painful treatment – the gallstones themselves can be painful though.
Another non-surgical treatment. This one involves creating a solvent known as MTBE and essentially injecting it into your gallbladder. The solvent then dissolves the gallstones increasingly fast. In fact, studies have shown that this specific solvent can rapidly dissolve the stones quicker than anything else can. However, you need to make sure you find a GI doctor that really has a lot of experience with this specific treatment. One wrong move and you could have some serious side effects, also if the doctor does not take a complete medical history, it can lead to side effects such as severe burning pain. Make sure you really check out the doctor you use, look at reviews, testimonials, talk to gallstone groups about this specific doctor and see if they say good or bad things, ask for their experience; how many people have they done this treatment on? How many people were positive results, now many people were negative or no results? How many people had bad side effects, etc.? These are the things you want to ask your doctor.
This is essentially the end of the road treatment. If nothing else works, like the options above and nothing natural works to remove the gallstones, this is probably the very last thing your doctor will suggest. Essentially this is very effective, but usually only effective when its lead by a gallbladder removal. Another non-surgical treatment, the Percutaneous Cholecystectomy is also used for patients who are really sick and need to get better before surgery – gallbladder removal. The Percutaneous Cholecystectomy involves taking a needle which is used to withdraw fluid from the gallbladder and then draining the fluid out. Then, a catheter will be placed in the area for a few weeks, up to 1 month. Afterward the catheter is removed and the gallbladder is taken out. This is to make sure you won’t have this problem again. The Percutaneous Cholecystectomy is non-surgical, yes. But the gallbladder removal Is a surgery.