Exercise is Medicine by ACSM


May 21, 2024 / Uncategorized

Found just under the liver, sits the gallbladder. This pouch is a storage unit for the liver’s bile. This pear sized balloon is inflated before meals when it is filled with bile. After eating, the balloon then looks flat and deflated. This bile is used to help digests fats. When food is detected, the gallbladder releases bile into the small intestine.  But wait…. don’t some people have their gallbladders removed?? Yes, because even though the gallbladder plays a role in digestion, it is not an essential organ. Once removed, the body seems to still perform its tasks. There are a number of a reasons someone might have this body part removed.

Certain health conditions and risks can complicate the gallbladder’s existence. Gallstones, like kidney stones, can crystalize the bile. When gallstones form, they can be painful, and the person becomes nauseated. Cancer can occur in the gallstones, but this is very rare. An infection called cholecystitis can occur. Gallstone pancreatitis can strike as well, by blocking the emptying ducts of the pancreas. When a person feels pain near their low back or has trouble keeping food down, it is important to find out the cause of their suffering. There are a few different tests a doctor can perform to diagnose gallbladder conditions. The most noninvasive and primary approach is to have an abdominal ultrasound or x ray can be performed. The ultrasound will check for gallstones. An MRI called a magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography can take high resolution images for the doctor to see. An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) can be used which requires a tube being inserted into the mouth down to the small intestine. The doctor can see through this flexible tube and inject dye into the bile. A HIDA scan can be used which is when a doctor injects the dye intravenously.

For an organ that doesn’t need to be there, it sure can cause pain and there are a few methods to treat a dysfunctional gallbladder. Antibiotics can be used to attempt to reduce the infection and prevent spreading. Gallbladder surgery, which is called cholecystectomy, can be done to remove the organ. If cancer to the area has occurred, chemotherapy can be used. There is an oral medication called ursodeoxycholic acid which can help dissolve the gallstones. This can also be done by injection of a solvent solution. Gallstones can be broken up using shock wave therapy which is called lithotripsy. Whichever method used, anytime the body communicates pain, there is a reason. When eating becomes difficult and digestion is pain -filled, the gallbladder just might be the culprit behind your suffering.