What is the Gall Bladder and where is it?
The Gallbladder is a pear-shaped, hollow, small structure located on the right side of the abdomen under the liver. The gallbladder stores a digestive fluid called “bile” which is a yellowish-brown fluid. Bile is to used to break down and digest fatty foods in the small intestine. (Bangkok Hospital, 2022). The following images shows the anatomical positioning of the Gall Bladder beneath the liver, along with comparable images of it with and without gallstones.
The largest single makeup of gallstones are cholesterol stones, which are generally green, but have been found to be white/yellow in color. Cholesterol stones account for approximately 80 percent of all gallstones, and are composed primarily of cholesterol.
The remaining twenty percent is composed of pigment stones. Pigment stones are small, dark stones that are composed of calcium salts that can be found in bile. Both cholesterol stones and pigment stones make up gallstones. There is a lot of risks that are apparent with pigment stones such as cirrhosis, biliary tract infections, and hereditary blood cell disorders, such as sickle cell anemia.
According to an article on the Bangkok Hospital website,
"If gallstones lodge in a bile duct and cause a blockage, it eventually results in severe life-threatening complications such as bile duct inflammation and infection, pancreatitis or cholecystitis (an inflammation of gallbladder). In addition, if left untreated, it might increase risk of “gallbladder cancer”. Statistical data reviews that gallstones have been commonly found in women rather than men, age between 30-50. Since signs and symptoms are quite similar, patients with gallstones often misunderstand that they might have “peptic ulcer”.
Although there is the two distinct stones above, it isn't unusual for stones to exist that are mixed in origin. Gallstones aren't limited to one particular section - they can occur anywhere within the biliary tree. The biliary tree includes the gallbladder and the common bile duct. Gallstones vary greatly in size and numbers. It is possible for the gallbladder to develop one single stone that is as big as golf ball, or for it to create several thousand which can be as small as a grain of sand.