Why do Gallstones form?

Why do Gallstones form?

The Gallbladder acts like a storage house for liquid bile which is produced in the liver. The main function of the bile is to help your body digest fats. The liquid bile consists of solid materials such as sugar or salt dissolved in water.

Gallstones are formed because of a chemical imbalance in your liver like too much cholesterol or bilirubin in the bile, not enough bile salts or when the gallbladder is not emptying completely. When the cholesterol or bilirubin becomes less soluble, it hardens and crystallizes into a large stone or into tiny stones which blocks the common bile duct. A person who has gallstones may develop symptoms such as nausea and vomiting often called as the ‘gallbladder attack,.

There are a lot of reasons why gallstones form. I divided them into 3 categories namely: medical conditions, natural conditions and physical condition.

Medical conditions may include taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, biliary tract infection and sickle cell anemia. These drugs can increase the amount of cholesterol that is secreted into the bile. Diabetic people have high levels of triglycerides or fatty acids which increases the risk of gallstones while conditions like the ones mentioned above, can cause too much bilirubin in the bile which also increases the risk of developing gallstones.

Natural conditions may include heredity or genes wherein a person may develop gallstones hereditarily, ethnicity may also affect because there are some specific races like the American Indians in the United States which have a natural tendency to have high levels of cholesterol in their bile. Gender can also be another factor. It is proven that women are more likely to develop gallstones than men. This is because of the excess estrogen levels during pregnancy, taking birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.

Physical conditions may include unhealthy eating habits resulting in obesity or overweight, high fat and cholesterol and low fiber diet, and rapid weight loss or crash diets because during this stage, the liver secretes more cholesterol in the bile which as I have explained earlier can cause gallstones.

In conclusion, unless you have a history of gallstones in your family, the main reason why you developed gallstones is because of a chemical imbalance in your liver.

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