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Table of Contents


When we hear about stones in the body, the first and perhaps the only thing that comes to our mind is kidney stones. But do you know there are other organs in the body that are equally vulnerable to stone formation?

Know more about Cholelithiasis

The gall bladder or the cholecyst is a hollow, pear-shaped organ that stores bile before it is emptied into the small intestine. It collects bile from the liver through the common hepatic duct and conveys it to the duodenum, the first portion of the small intestine. From there, the bile helps to digest the fats. The calculus or stone formed inside the gall bladder as a result of crystal deposition is termed cholelithiasis (gallstones). Sometimes, a few stones can voyage from the gall bladder and block the bile duct- the condition is called choledocholithiasis.

Cholelithiasis is a common problem around the world, especially in developed and developing countries. In India, about 4% of the population is said to be affected by gallstones. Women are more likely to be affected than men. The incidence is found to be more around the age of 40.

The dimensions of the gallstone may vary and range from the size of a sand grain to that of a golf ball. Another factor that determines the formation of gallstones is the rate of contraction of the gall bladder- insufficient contractions may lead to the concentration of bile inside the same and lead to stone formation. Also, the composition of the stone is affected by various factors such as diet and age. A high-carbohydrate, low-fluid diet can cause stone formation.

Based on the composition, gallstones can be roughly divided into three-

  1. Cholesterol stones – occur when the body has more cholesterol than the bile salts that take to digest them. Shades of yellow and green will be prominent.
  2. Pigment stones – the deep maroon or black stones that are mainly formed of a bile pigment named bilirubin. Usually, multiple stones are present.
  3. Mixed stones – The brown-colored stones that are formed of both cholesterol and bile pigments and other components like calcium carbonate and phosphates.

Signs and Symptoms of Cholelithiasis

In about 80% of patients, the gallstones tend to be asymptomatic.

Some common signs and symptoms are-

  • Biliary colic or gallstone attack- sudden and excruciating, mainly in the upper right part of the abdomen. This may last from a few minutes to hours.
  • Referred pain- Sometimes the pain is experienced in the right shoulder or near the shoulder blades.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Jaundice
  • Skin irritation

Rarely, gallstones can penetrate the gall bladder and reach the small intestine through fistulous connections and obstruct the pathway. This condition is named gallstone ileus.

The inflammation can trigger pus formation and affect the bile ducts and liver. Pancreatitis and gallbladder cancer are some of the other rare complications.

Gallbladder stones are often diagnosed by an abdominal ultrasound scanning.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Cholelithiasis

According to classic Ayurveda treatises, cholelithiasis can be correlated to Pittashmari. Ashmari (means stone or calculus) of pittashaya (corresponds to the gall bladder) is called pittashmari. The habitual intake of katu (very pungent), amla (highly acidic), lavana (extremely salty), guru (heavy) foods, fatty foods like mamsa (meat), ghrita (ghee), upavasa (starvation), avyayama (no exercise), divaswapna (day sleep), etc are some of the causative factors for pittashmari. Depending on the color and consistency, the ashmari are of three types, vata, pitta, and kapha. Kaphaja ashmari could be correlated to cholesterol stones, based on its yellowish-white, smooth appearance. Pittaja ashmari could be the pigmented type, as it is yellowish-red/brown and round. Vataja ashmari can be corresponded to the mixed type, considering its black color and irregular shape. Successful management can be achieved by correcting the agni and thereby cholesterol metabolism and liver functions.

AyurVAID Approach

When appropriately managed, cholelithiasis is never a nightmare. Here at AyurVAID, we approach such conditions with proper Ayurvedic means and help you recover completely. AyurVAID is a pristine institution that bears the virtue of Ayurveda. Our doctors, skilled and proficient in their field, are here to help you by providing comfort and reassurance. In-depth assessment of the condition, precise diagnosis, thorough samprapti vighatana (breaking the disease pathway), properly planned prakriti-oriented treatment, quality procedures, safe and hygienic environment, etc are our peculiarities. We offer you complete care for the conditions that ail you.

We are:-

  • First NABH-accredited hospital in India
  • The winner of the esteemed National Award for Best Ayurvedic Centre of the year 2017 from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry
  • Industry’s best customer satisfaction score of 92%, rated by our clients

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a gallstone attack ?
Biliary colic, also known as gallstone attack, is the colicky pain in the upper right abdomen that may last from several minutes to a few hours as a result of bile duct obstruction. The pain is reported to be more in the evening hours and at night, or after an ample meal. The pain could be sharp or dull and sometimes occur as cramps. Referred pain in the shoulder region is also noticed. This can recur and be triggered by a fatty diet. Gallstones are not always the reason for biliary colic as other biliary tract ailments can also unleash the same.
Is cholelithiasis hereditary ?
Several reasons are cited for gallstone formation, and family history is one such factor. Diet and lifestyle play an important role in cholelithiasis, and your inherited body type can accentuate or milden the situation.
How can I modify my diet to prevent cholelithiasis ?
A high carbohydrate, high sugar, low fluid diet is said to be a major causative factor in gallstone formation. Therefore, try to maintain a diet with moderate fat and sugar. Include fiber-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet chart. Whole-grain bread and wine tend to decrease gallstones. Healthy fats such as food cooked in olive oil can be used. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, aerated drinks, artificial sugars, and refined carbohydrates. Gradually achieve a healthy BMI according to your body type. Fasting can only increase the chances of cholelithiasis.

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