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What is Cholelithiasis? (gallstones)

Cholelithiasis is another name for gallstones.

What are the symptoms of Cholelithiasis?

  • Abdominal pain (mainly in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen where the gallbladder is located)
  • Abdominal swelling or bloating
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Fever and chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Pain that radiates from the abdomen to the right shoulder or back
  • Sweating
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (also known as jaundice)

What causes Cholelithiasis?

The most common cause of Cholelithiasis is high levels of cholesterol in the bile which is stored in the gallbladder. As the cholesterol hardens, it turns into stones.

High levels of bilirubin, produced by the liver, may also increase the potential for gallstones.

Among the more common causes are:

  • Obesity
  • Age over 40
  • Losing weight rapidly
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Certain medications

How is Cholelithiasis treated?

First, your physician may order some blood work.

If you have severe symptoms, hospitalization may be required. Once in the hospital the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to avoid infection. Usually, any type of solid food is discontinued and IV’s may be given to let the digestive system rest.

If the symptoms continue or reoccur, then surgery may be needed to remove the gallbladder.

You can decrease your chances of Cholelithiasis or gallstones by following healthy habits at home such as:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting plenty of exercise
  • Losing weight slowly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

The branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment of Cholelithiasis or gallstones is Gastroenterology.

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