Gallstones can be pretty painful, but a lot of times, they can’t even be felt by those who have them. Once the gallstones have formed and have caused complications, however, it would be best to have them removed. But how do you know if you really have gallstones? To determine if you have gallstones, you would have to go through some diagnostic procedures such as an abdominal ultrasound, an endoscopic ultrasound, and other tests such as computerised tomography and MRCP or magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography. When the tests have determined that you do indeed have gallstones, you have two main treatment options to fix the condition. Here’s a look at your treatment options for gallstones: what you can do.
- Medication for gallstone removal
The treatment for gallstones may first be through the use of medication. The medication is designed to dissolve the gallstones and you can take them orally. But the problem with medication is that it can take a long time – months, even years – to effectively dissolve the gallstones, and another problem is that the gallstones are more than likely to develop again once you have stopped treatment.
In some cases, medications cannot work. What you should know is that medications to treat gallstones are not often recommended by specialists and are usually given to individuals who cannot go through surgery.
- Surgery for gallbladder removal
Surgery for the removal of the gallbladder is the most effective way to get rid of gallstones, and this type of surgery is referred to as a cholecystectomy. Your specialist may prefer surgery because gallstones usually recur. When the gallbladder has been removed by the surgeon, such as an expert gallbladder surgeon in London from The London Surgical Group, bile will then flow directly from the liver down to the small intestine instead of being kept in the gallbladder.
The good news about gallbladder removal is that you don’t need this organ to live and function. The removal of the gallbladder will not affect your digestive system or your ability in terms of digesting food, although it may cause temporary diarrhoea.
What you can do to prepare for your doctor’s appointment
If your doctor has recommended the removal of your gallbladder, you will meet with a specialist in gallbladder removal such as the above-mentioned gallstone surgery London experts from The London Surgical Group. You should be prepared for your appointment so you can get all the information you need and will know what to expect.
Before your appointment, ask if you need to restrict your food intake or diet, and write down whatever symptoms you may be having, especially those that do not seem related to your condition. It is important to make a list of your details, including recent changes in your lifestyle or stressful events. You should also make a list of your medications, including supplements and vitamins.
If you wish to be more comfortable during your appointment, you can always take a friend or family member along. They can also be a good sounding board and may be able to remember key information that you may forget or miss. You may want to make a list of questions for your doctor, including the risks of a surgical procedure, the recovery period, and how your other medical conditions may affect your treatment.