Gallstones that are causing no symptoms may not require treatment. Treatment for gallstones that are causing recurrent symptoms includes medications to dissolve the gallstones, lithotripsy, and endoscopic procedures to remove them from the bile duct.
In some cases, it may be recommended to remove the gallbladder. Those with gallstones and a history for cirrhosis, portal hypertension, sickle cell anemia, or diabetes, may benefit from the removal of the gallbladder.
Treatment for gallstones that are causing symptoms includes:
- Oral bile salt therapy:
- Endoscopic retrograde sphincterotomy:
- A flexible, lighted scope reaches the intestine via the esophagus and stomach.
- Gallstones are removed from the gallbladder through the bile duct.
- Lithotripsy for gallstones:
- Gallstones are broken into smaller pieces by subjecting them to high frequency sound waves.
- Laparoscopic cholecystectomy:
- Usually the treatment of choice for those with gallstones who are experiencing symptoms
- The gallbladder is removed through a small incision in the abdomen, using a flexible, lighted scope.
- General cholecystectomy:
- The gallbladder is removed through an incision in the abdomen, without the use of endoscopy.
- Less commonly used due to the advent of laparoscopic gallbladder removal.
Gallstones Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of gallstones.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Is surgery an option for me?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Do I need to lose weight?
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- Do I need a special exercise program?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat gallstones:
Continue to Gallstones Home Care
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