Gallstones Diagnosis London

What symptoms can gallstones cause?

Commonly, Gallstones cause no problems

Most people with gallstones do not know they have them. Many stones in the gallbladder cause no symptoms and as gallstones are common, they are often found when the abdomen is scanned. If gallstones are found when looking for the cause of abdominal symptoms this does not always mean that they are the cause of those symptoms.

Possible problems with Gallstones

A significant number of people with gallstones will develop symptoms or problems. These include:

  • Biliary colic. This is a severe pain in the upper abdomen. The pain often occurs in the middle of the upper abdomen just below the breast bone (sternum) and may (but not always) move around to the right hand side or through to the back. It is caused by the gallbladder contracting down onto a stone. The gallbladder squeezes hard to dislodge the stone, and this causes pain.
  • Inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis). This is infection in the gallbladder. Symptoms include abdominal pain localised to the upper right side of the abdomen and fever. In many cases this condition requires admission to hospital for intravenous antibiotics and early removal of the gallbladder.
  • Jaundice. This can occur if a stone passes from the gallbladder into the main bile duct and blocks the flow of bile from the liver to the duodenum. If this happens the blocked bile causes the skin and eyes to go yellow (jaundice) and the urine becomes dark and the stools become pale. If this happens the stone may pass into the duodenum by itself but in a number of cases the stones will need to be removed from the bile duct either endoscopically prior to the gallbladder being removed or surgically at the time of gallbladder removal.
  • Pancreatitis. This is inflammation of the pancreas. This may be caused by a stone transiently blocking the point at which the pancreatic duct joins the bile duct and thereby irritating the pancreas. Pancreatitis may be a very severe condition.

Diagnosis of Gallstones, London

  • Ultrasound Scan. This is the commonest way that gallstones are confirmed to be in the gallbladder. They occasionally show up on an X-ray of the abdomen and may also be seen on CT scans and MRI scans.

How do I get treatment?

To get further information or treatment, please contact one of our consultants at The London Bridge Digestion centre, on:

tel: +44 (0) 20 7403 3814