Gall Bladder Stones

What is a Gall Bladder Stone?

Bladder stones nearly always occur in males, and usually as a complication of some other disease, commonly a persisting infection. There may be residual urine, which means the bladder does not empty completely on voiding, and this gives germs the opportunity to set up a long-standing infection.

The gall bladder is a small pear-shaped container that nestles into the liver. Each day the liver produces about one liter of bile. This is piped into the gall bladder where it is stored until needed. It is highly concentrated, being 10 times more powerful than ordinary bile, for water and certain chemicals are absorbed during the storage. Under the influence of stimulation, usually the presence of fat in the intestine, the gall bladder contracts, and bile is expelled into the intestine to assist digestion.

Those who have undergone a gallbladder X-ray will remember having first to take some tablets. These are absorbed from the intestine, processed by the liver and then go to the gall bladder where they enable an X-ray picture to show the outline clearly. Then a fatty meal is usually eaten, producing the rapid contraction of the gall bladder. Stones and the presence of disease or obstruction (commonly by gallstones) can often be detected in this manner. In general, ultrasound is used for diagnosis.

Gall Bladder Stones Symptoms

Usually the symptoms of infection are present. There may be the desire to pass urine often. Blood and pus may be present, and the urine may be unpleasant in odor. Sometimes there may be a sudden interruption of the urinary flow when micturating (passing urine). There may be sudden pain when voiding, as the stones roll down the neck of the bladder. Occasionally the stones may become very large, and there may be several present.

Gall Bladder Stones Treatment

Often the stones will show up on X-ray examination. A cystoscopic examination may take place. An instrument is passed up the urethra (the canal leading from the exterior to the bladder interior), and this enables the internal contents of the bladder to be seen under direct viewing. Small stones may be removed in this manner. Larger stones will require surgery. If there are any predisposing causes apparent, these may also be remedied.