The gallbladder is a small organ located on the right side of an individual's abdomen and is positioned just underneath their liver. A gallstone is a lump or stone that forms in the gallbladder or bile duct when specific substances calcify or harden. Gallstones are caused by an imbalance of chemicals, including calcium carbonate, cholesterol, and calcium bilirubinate. Symptoms of gallstones include pain in the right ribs, pain between the shoulder blades, pain in the right shoulder, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, and sweating.
Thankfully, there are ways to treat gallstones. Some patients may take medication that dissolves gallstones or have surgery for gallstones. There are also natural remedies for gallstones. Of course, effective gallstone treatment starts with an accurate diagnosis. Learn about both now.
An individual who may have gallstones will often have an endoscopic ultrasound. This is a minimally invasive procedure performed on an outpatient basis that shows a doctor the shape and size of structures within an individual's body. This procedure is typically well tolerated by most patients. During an endoscopic ultrasound, a patient's doctor passes a flexible tube into the digestive tract. A small device or transducer on the end of the tube is used to create an ultrasound of the surrounding tissues. Ultrasound technology is the use of sound waves that bounce off interior structures and are recaptured to form an image of the tissues.
Endoscopic ultrasound can only be performed when the stomach is empty. Most patients are lightly sedated with medication for an endoscopic ultrasound. Because the transducer in this procedure comes closest in proximity to the gallbladder, it can provide the most detailed and accurate representation of the gallstones, their position, and their size.
Keep reading to learn more about how to diagnose and treat gallstones now.