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Gallstones during pregnancy

Gallstones during pregnancy

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What are Gallstones? Gallstones are solid pebble-like deposits found in the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a sac-like structure that stores and releases bile, a fluid which is required to digest the fat that is present in our diet. Gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball. These gallstones can block the bile flow and lead to indigestion and in some cases, severe abdominal pain.

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Types of Gallstones

There are two types of gallstones: Cholesterol stones and pigment stones. Cholesterol stones are made from solidified cholesterol and your dietary cholesterol level has no connection with it. Pigment stones are generally small in size and are made from a pigment called bilirubin.

Tests including abdominal ultrasound/CT scan and bilirubin and liver function blood tests can help diagnose gallstones.

What Causes Gallstones during Pregnancy?

Increased hormone levels during pregnancy cause the gallbladder to work slowly. This results in the failure of the gallbladder to empty bile properly and thus increases the risk of having gallstones.

Symptoms of Gallstones

Avoid a high-fat meal if you have gall stones as it can trigger gallbladder attacks.

  • Pain in the right upper or middle upper abdomen, which can
    • Be constant
    • Be sharp, cramping or dull
    • Spread to the back or below the right shoulder blade
  • Fever
  • Yellowing of skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

What can You Do to Prevent/Treat Gallstones?

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Eat low-fat and high-fibre foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can lower your risk of developing gallstones during pregnancy

In case you develop gallstones during pregnancy, your doctor may advise you to follow a strict diet plan and may put you on pain relief medication. If you need a surgery to remove the gallbladder, it can be done after your baby is born.

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