How Well Do You Know Your Gallbladder? WebMD

Your gallbladder: Helps your digestive system

This small pear-shaped organ is connected to your liver and intestines. It stores digestive fluid called bile. When you eat, your gallbladder releases it through tubes, or ducts, to help break down your food.

You can live without your gallbladder: True

If the small organ isn’t there, bile flows from your liver through the ducts directly to your small intestine. Most people do very well after their gallbladder is taken out. You might have some changes in your bowel habits, but those usually clear up quickly. And you may need to be a little more careful about what you eat.

What are gallstones? Hardened fluid

They’re usually made of cholesterol and can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball. They may go away on their own, but they can cause serious medical problems if they block a bile duct. This is what causes a gallbladder attack.

Who are more likely to get a gallstone?: Women

Too much of a hormone called estrogen can lead to too much cholesterol in your bile. Pregnancy and birth control pills may play roles. Others with a higher risk for gallstones: people over 40 or with a family history of them.

A gallbladder attack often happens: At night after a heavy meal

It usually passes when the gallstone moves away from your bile duct. But attacks that last more than a few hours can cause pain and problems like swelling and infection.

These are possible symptoms of a gallbladder attack: Stomach pain and vomiting,
Yellowish eyes/skin, Tea-colored urine and light-colored stools. 

The most common symptom is stomach pain. Call your doctor if it lasts more than 5 hours or is severe. Also call immediately if you have any of the other symptoms.

The usual treatment for a gallbladder attack is: surgery

If the gallstones won’t move from your bile ducts, your doctor probably will tell you that your gallbladder should be taken out. If you’re not healthy enough to have surgery, your doctor may try medication (to dissolve them) or shock waves (to break them up). But these don’t always work well. Half of people treated with medication have gallstones again within 5 years.

After gallbladder surgery, you should try to avoid: Fried foods

A fatty diet isn’t good for you, especially if you don’t have your gallbladder. So stay away from greasy food and high-fat sauces or gravies. Some people also have trouble with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas) and dairy. Fruit, veget
ables.

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