Urinary tract-related problems might be various and involve the organs washing off the urine from the body. These problems might be mild and curable, but may also be in a lot more severe that it is very difficult to treat. Stones in the gallbladder is one of the most common problems related to the urinary tract. Gallbladder itself is a small sac located on the right side of the body, underside of the liver. This sac stores galls—the greenish-brown liquid produced by the liver. Gall is necessary and required by the body for digestion of fats. It then goes to the small intestines and is released every time we eat.
What are gallstones?
Gallstones are small stones that are formed as a result of imbalanced chemicals inside the gallbladder. There are some chemicals kept inside the gallbladder, which includes cholesterol, salt, calcium bilirubin, and calcium carbonate. Gallstones are the crystallization of these chemicals in the gallbladder. Although these stones may lurk inside the gallbladder, there are many people who have them without knowing and undergoing visible symptoms. These gallstones may range in sizes, from the tiny ones like grains to the larger ones, resembling the apricots. These gallstones may come down to your urinary tract, causing inhibition to your normal urination process. If left untreated, the crystallization may turn worse and affect the quality of your entire health.
Types of gallstones
There are two main types of gallstones that can possibly form inside your gallbladder. Those are:
- Cholesterol gallstones, which are formed when there is too much cholesterol in the bile secreted by the liver. This type of gallstones develops when your bile ability to digest cholesterol in the blood is lower than the amount of cholesterol secreted by the liver. Since the bile dissolves less cholesterol than the amount being produced by the liver, excessed cholesterol fails to be dissolved and as a result becomes hard stones. These hard stones then are kept inside the gallbladder.
- Pigmented gallstones, which has the name referring to the color of the main substances forming the stones. Quite different from cholesterol gallstones, pigmented gallstones are formed from discarded old red blood cells. These red blood cells the body does not require for digestion anymore are discarded by the liver. While destroying these blood cells, the liver secretes bilirubin—a chemical that is used for getting rid of old red blood cells. Some conditions related to the liver, such as cirrhosis of the liver and certain liver disorders trigger the liver to produce more bilirubin than the required amount. Your gallbladder, on the other hand, might not able to destroy all these red blood cells, causing them to form hard stones, which are referred as pigmented gallstones.
In addition to these two types of gallstones, these stones might also form from concentrated bile. Your gallbladder needs to empty bile in order to be healthy and perform proper functions. When this gallbladder fails to empty bile, the excesses bile becomes overly concentrated, which triggers stones to form. The stones formed out of this bile is called concentrated-bile gallstones.
Risk factors of gallstones
Cholesterol is produced naturally by the body since it is required for the digestion process. However, you might also increase the level of cholesterol inside the blood from consuming your diet. Many risk factors for gallstones are related to your diet and other things, such as:
- Women are more susceptible to gallstone formation since their body produces more cholesterol than men.
- Being overweight or obese. This is also a risk factor that increases the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream so that it increases the risk of having gallstones formed simultaneously.
- Eating a diet with high cholesterol and low fiber. This will significantly raise the level of your blood cholesterol and thus, put you at higher risk of developing gallstones.
- Having diabetes mellitus. Some diseases influence the way your liver works and this includes diabetes. If you are suffering from diabetes, your liver may produce more bilirubin, putting you at risk of having pigmented gallstones.
- Rapid weight loss. This may increase the level of your cholesterol, leading to the formation of pigmented gallstones.
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