Treatment for Gallstones
]]>Gallstones]]> that do not cause any symptoms may be simply ignored until they begin to cause symptoms. However, treatment may be needed for gallstones that cause significant and recurrent pain. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
Treatment options include the following:
Removal of the gallbladder, or ]]>cholecystectomy]]>, is usually needed to treat symptoms associated with gallstones. It is a relatively safe procedure that does not cause any nutritional problems. It is also not usually necessary to follow a special diet after the gallbladder is removed.
Sound waves can be used to break up gallstones. Once broken up into smaller pieces, gallstones can pass into the small intestine. Also, smaller stones are easier to treat with oral bile salt therapy. Because the gallbladder is still present, however, gallstones are likely to recur after this therapy.
Oral Bile Salts
If surgery is not desirable, bile salts to dissolve gallstones can be taken by mouth. However, it may take a long time to dissolve the gallstones, and because the gallbladder is still present, gallstones may recur.
Contact Dissolution Therapy
A chemical that dissolves gallstones is injected directly into the gallbladder. This is a newer form of therapy, and still under investigation.
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Last reviewed June 2009 by ]]>Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD ]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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