Bile duct stones the deposits of digestive fluid that get hardened and are accumulated in the gallbladder. If you don’t know, the gallbladder is a small and pear-shaped organ situated on the right side of the abdomen, near the liver. Importantly, the gallbladder is responsible for holding digestive fluid, which is called bile. The bile is mainly released into the small intestine.
The size of the bile duct stones can be as small as a single grain of sand and can be as huge as a golf ball. Some individuals develop only one bile duct stone, while some have to deal with multiple bile duct stones at the same time.
Symptoms of Bile Duct Stones
Typically, a person may experience the following bile duct stones symptoms:
- Sudden and intense pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, around the ribs.
- Sudden and severe pain in the center of the abdomen, right below the breastbone.
- Back pain between the shoulder blades.
- Pain in the right shoulder.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Yellow eyes and skin because of Jaundice.
- Having dark urine.
- Clay or white-colored bowel movements.
- Fever and chills.
Following are some of the factors that can increase your risk of developing stones in the bile duct:
- Being female
- Being of the Native American ethnicity
- Being 40 years old or older
- Being a Hispanic and of Mexican origin
- Being obese or overweight
- Being pregnant
- Being sedentary
- Having a high-fat diet
- Having a high-cholesterol diet
- Having a low-fiber diet
- Having a family history of bile duct stones
- Having diabetes
- Having any blood disorders, like leukemia or sickle cell anemia
- Losing weight drastically
- Being on medications that contain estrogen
- Having liver disease
- Irregular gallbladder movement
- Fasting for a prolonged period
- Being on a hormone therapy
When to Consult a Doctor?
One must seek immediate medical help if they have developed some severe signs or symptoms of liver bile duct stones. Some symptoms of serious bile duct stone complications are:
- Experiencing abdominal pain so extreme that you are not able to sit still or feel comfortable in any position.
- Your skin and the whites of the eyes get yellow. It can also be a sign of jaundice.
- High fever with severe chills.
What Problems Can Possibly Occur?
A common problem caused by bile duct stone is the blockage of the cystic duct. In some cases, the bile duct stones make their way out of your gallbladder and move into the cystic duct. It is the channel by which bile usually travels to the small intestine from the gallbladder. If the cystic duct gets severely blocked or impeded by gallstones, inflammation can occur in the gallbladder. This condition is known as cholecystitis.
Furthermore, the condition can get more serious if the bile duct stones get stuck in the bile ducts between small intestine and liver. This condition is known as cholangitis. It can cause the bile flow from liver and gallbladder to get blocked, further resulting in pain, fever, and jaundice.