Choledocholithiasis or Gallstones in the bile duct are the presence of a gallstone in the bile duct. Gallstones are hard deposits in the gallbladder, a small organ that stores bile, which is a digestive fluid made in the liver.
Gallstones in the bile duct may not cause symptoms for several months or even years. The following are the symptoms of bile duct stones:
- Severe abdominal pain in the right upper or middle upper abdomen.
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Clay-colored stools
There are two main types of gallstones: cholesterol gallstones and pigment gallstones. Cholesterol Gallstones appear yellow in color and are the most common type of gallstone. The cholesterol stones are caused by bile which contains:
- Too much cholesterol
- Too much bilirubin
- Not enough bile salts
- If the gallbladder does not empty completely or often enough.
The cause of Pigment Stones is not properly known. They seem to occur in mostly when:
- Cirrhosis of the liver.
- Infections in the bile duct.
- Hereditary blood disorders due to which the liver makes too much bilirubin.
Treating gallstones in the bile duct mainly focuses on relieving the blockage. These treatments may include complete stone extraction, fragmentation of stones, surgery for the removal of the gallbladder and stones, surgery that makes a cut into the common bile duct to remove the stones, biliary stenting etc.
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