Many patients present to us (Gastroplus Clinic, Ahmedabad) with ultrasound reports showing gallstones for opinion. Obviously, most of them used to google their symptoms related to gall stones and their various management options which not only confuses patients but also leads to unnecessary stress. I am highlighting myths around gallstones and will try to give facts as per medical literature.
Myth 1:Getting abdominal pain due to gallstones
- Many people have acidity or reflux symptoms which are common and many times confuses with symptoms related to gall stones. Your doctor can differentiate whether your pain is related to gallstones or not.
- Most Gallstones are asymptomatic
- Only 2-3% per year develop symptoms (Biliary colic – characteristic pain of gallstone) or complications (cholecystitis, pancreatitis, choledocholithiasis, Gall bladder cancer) related to gall stones. But once symptoms appears there are more than 30% chances of getting repeated symptoms related to gallstones.
Myth 2:Stone will pass in urine
- Do not get confused with urinary stones (Urinary stones develop in kidneys, Gall stones develop in gall bladder which is below Liver)
- I have seen people taking so many medications with a belief their stones will pass in urine. So avoid unnecessary medications which can harm your body
- Drinking plenty of water won’t help but reducing your fat intake and regular exercise are helpful.
Myth 3:Medicine will dissolve my gallstones
- Various preparations are available claiming to dissolve gallstones but most are not required and can be harmful.
- Medical literature don’t recommend any such therapy of dissolving stones. There are few medicines which can be helpful but will only helpful in some cases of small stone with normal gallbladder physiology. Don’t take any medicines without proper consultation.
Myth 4:Doctor is not good as he has not given any medicine
- Asymptomatic gallstones only need observation and surveillance
- We usually don’t recommend any treatment
Myth 5:Endoscopy will remove stones from gallbladder
- Endoscopy (ERCP) is helpful only to remove stone which has entered in bile duct from gallbladder.
- Gallstones has tendency to recur. Hence most attempts of removing gallstones by endoscopy means have not gained popularity or became routine practice.
Myth 6:Gall bladder removal surgery (Cholecystectomy) affects normal well being
- Gall bladder is an organ which stores bile produced in liver and contracts to drain bile via bile-duct when food enters small intestine.
- In absence of Gall bladder (After surgery e.g. cholecystectomy), Bile can enter directly in bileduct and reach duodenum (small intestine)
- Most people can lead to normal life after surgery. Few can get certain consequences like diarrhea, indigestion which can easily be managed by medications on proper consulatation with doctor.
For more information: Gastroplus clinic, Ahmedabad (www.gastroplusindia.com)
Our Team: Dr. Sandip P Shah, Dr. Ravindra Gaadhe, Dr. Ram Parihar, Dr. Kunal Bhardwaj