Formation & Signs of Gallstones

Gallstones can often be silent until leading up to a point where you could be in excruciating pain and on the operating table. There are just a few options to treat this condition so it’s important to know preventive steps to take to avoid it. One characteristics formation of gallstones is a result of obesity.

Obesity is a growing problem and there has been a rise in bariatric surgery, or “stomach surgery” as it is commonly referred to.  Bariatric surgery has been proven effective and most people lose weight for up to 12 months after surgery.

Rapid Weight Loss

The amount of weight loss varies among individuals but most lose approximately 30%-70% of excess weight within the first year of surgery. Bariatric surgery can reverse the effects of obesity and increase the life expectancy of an individual.

cause of gallstones

However, there are consequences of the surgery that must not be overlooked and should be consulted with the patient prior to surgery. They can always be avoided with proper precaution but a few of them include: 1. Infection at the incision   2. A blood clot  3. Malnutrition because lack of vitamins  4. Gallstone formation.

Gallstone Formation

One known cause of gallstones is rapid weight loss seen in patients undergoing bariatric surgery.   Gallstone formation results from when liquid stored in the gallbladder (bile) hardens into pieces of stone-like material. Bile salts are responsible for breaking down digested material and can neutralize the acidic environment. When the liquid contains too much cholesterol or not enough bile salts it can harden into gallstones. As the body metabolizes fat during prolonged fasting and rapid weight loss, the liver secretes extra cholesterol into the bile increasing the risk for gallstones.

Additionally prior to surgery most of these patients ate bigger meals so their digestive tracts released more bile in order to digest the meals. After surgery the patient’s stomach is about the size of two thumbs. This forces the patient to ingest a very low calorie diet which causes the bile from the gallbladder to be released in much smaller quantities.

Signs Of Gallstones

The signs of gallstones may be silent and cause no significant pain/abnormality. On the other hand, the signs of gallstones are as follows:

  1. Nausea
  2. Problems eating and keeping down food/liquids
  3. Sudden pain in your stomach area
  4. Sharp, intense pains in other parts of your body