Health and MedicineDiseasesMajor gallbladder diseases

Major gallbladder diseases

What are the diseases that most affect the gallbladder? Discover the main pathologies and conditions that affect this organ.

The gallbladder is an organ that we find located in our digestive system, specifically and to be more precise, it is located below the liver. Specifically, the gallbladder is a small viscera (between 5 and 7 centimeters in diameter), and it has a characteristic shape, which is very reminiscent of the shape of a pear.

It connects to the duodenum (the small intestine) through the common bile duct or common bile duct, and its main function is to store bile. In fact, it is estimated that the gallbladder is capable of storing around 50 ml. of bile, which is then released into the small intestine when required for the digestion process.

That is, its main function is to store and concentrate bile, which has previously been produced by the liver. Therefore, the bile secretion is stored in the gallbladder until its secretion is stimulated by the ingestion of food, causing its release precisely by the contraction of its muscular wall.

Despite being an organ of some importance in the correct and adequate digestion of food (although we must not forget that you can live without a gallbladder), it is not usually known for the functions it carries out, but for the different diseases and pathologies that tend to affect you.

Gallstones (cholelithiasis)

Gallbladder stones are probably one of the most well-known, common and habitual pathologies that tend to affect this organ. They basically consist of stones that form in the gallbladder as a result of the sedimentation of the different components found in bile (cholesterol, calcium and bile salts).

The size and consistency of these stones or stones tend to be highly variable, so that we can find stones of a certain size and stones so small that they are medically known as “bile sludge”.

These stones are formed as a result of excess cholesterol present in the bile. This cholesterol thickens and hardens to the point of forming small crystals, until later they end up in stones.

And what are its symptoms? Colic-type pain, which can be intense and long-lasting, fever and chills, nausea and vomiting… On the other hand, we must bear in mind that the symptoms are variable, so everything will depend on the group in which the condition is found, since For example, there may be an infection and acute inflammation of the gallbladder due to the presence of stones, or it may be chronic.

Although stones can occur at practically any age, there are certain factors that can influence their appearance: people with a family history of gallstones, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity and overweight, use of contraceptives (in women), as well as the existence of some chronic intestinal inflammation.

Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis)

With the medical name of cholecystitis we find ourselves before the inflammation of the gallbladder. The gallbladder wall is usually inflamed, and it usually occurs when bile is stored and trapped inside the gallbladder.

In most cases, the inflammation consists of the presence of gallstones, which block the duct through which bile travels both in and out of the gallbladder. Therefore, when a stone or stone blocks this duct, bile accumulates, causing irritation and pressure.

Cholecystitis can be acute or chronic. Thus, when cholecystitis is acute, it is common for  intense abdominal pain to appear, colic and dull, which may be continuous and radiate to the back. Clay-colored stools, nausea and vomiting, and fever may also occur.

Sclerosing cholangitis

Sclerosing cholangitis consists of inflammation of the gallbladder accompanied by the formation of scar tissue and damage to the different bile ducts, causing the destruction of the bile ducts both inside and outside the liver.

Its cause is unknown, although this disease commonly occurs in people with chronic pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, sarcoidosis, and various autoimmune disorders.


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