If you tend to have pain in the mid or right upper abdomen along with excessive burping and gas production that occurs particularly after a fatty meal, it could be a sign that you have a problem with your gallbladder.
Gallstones are hardened deposits that are found in the gallbladder. They are formed due to excessive amounts of cholesterol, salts, or bilirubin in the bile that is stored in the gallbladder. Gallstones can also be formed when the gallbladder is not emptied often enough resulting in concentration of bile.
Gallstones are a significant health problem in the US affecting about 15% of the population or 25 million Americans. There are many risk factors for the formation of gallstones that cannot be modified such as ethnicity, age, gender, genetics, and family history. The risk factors that you can do something about include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and rapid weight loss. If you are obese, you must lose weight, but do not follow an extreme weight loss program. Rapid weight loss causes excess cholesterol from the liver to seep into the bile causing the formation of gallstones. Experts recommend not losing more than 3.3 pounds per week to prevent the risk of gallstone formation.
If the gallstones do not block the flow of bile, you may not experience any symptoms. However, if there is a blockage you may experience biliary colic, which is severe abdominal pain that can last a few hours. The pain may increase when you breathe deeply. You may also experience fever, chills, jaundiced skin and eyes, and light-colored stools.
The standard of care for treatment of gallstones causing symptoms is surgical removal of the gallbladder. This can be performed through a minimally invasive procedure known as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The procedure is one of the most common general surgical procedures done in the country. Additionally, if gallstones are in the bile ducts, an additional procedure known as ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography) may be used to locate and remove the stones.
Dr. Marc Zare specializes in advanced laparoscopic surgery and is considered one of the experts in his field in Northern California. If you have any symptoms of gallbladder disease, contact us for prompt diagnosis and treatment of your condition.
Dr. Marc Zaré specializes in minimally invasive surgery and believes that modern surgery should be innovative, non-invasive, and patient-centered. His mission is to provide every patient compassionate surgical care based on sound scientific evidence. With more than 12 years of experience in clinical practice, Dr. Zaré is considered to be a leader and one of the foremost experts of his field in Northern California. He is recognized for his surgical skills, clinical expertise, and superior outcomes.