How Obesity as well as Weight Reduction is Risk to Developing Gallbladder Stone


What are Gallbladder Stones?

The gallbladder is an organ shaped like a pear, located under the liver. This organ helps in digesting food by storing bile liquid and delivering it to the small intestine.

Sometimes the substances present in bile could combine and form crystals, and these crystals can grow into stones over time, which are lodged in the gallbladder’s inner lining. Size of gallbladder stones can be as small as pebbles, to as big as golf balls.

Causes of Gallbladder Stones

Common causes for formation of gall bladder stones include –

  • Liver releasing extra amounts of cholesterol into the bile
  • Bile does not contain enough salts to dissolve cholesterol
  • Bile contains other substances that assist cholesterol in forming crystals
  • Concentration of bile in the gallbladder because it is not able to empty often or fully
    Obesity can Increase the Risk of Developing Gall Bladder Stones

Obesity and being overweight can increase the risk of forming gall bladder stones, especially amongst women.

Obese people usually have high levels of cholesterol in their bodies and could be consuming foods with higher cholesterol. This will result in high concentration of cholesterol in their bile, which it cannot dissolve. As mentioned previously, cholesterol can develop crystals that form yellow gall bladder stones.

Secondly, obese people generally have larger gallbladders that do not function well, which increases the risk of stones. Another problem with obesity is developing different health problems such as diabetes and heart diseases, which in turn are known to increase the risks of gall stone formations.

Rapid Weight Loss could Also Increase Risks of Forming Gall Stones

Losing weight rapidly is known to cause gall bladder stones. Studies show that people, who were losing over three pounds in a week, were much more at risk of developing gall bladder stones, compared to people losing weight at a much lesser rate. Rapid weight loss could be due to undergoing weight-loss surgery or following special weight reduction programs such as VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet).

Weight-loss surgery is an operation performed on the intestine and stomach, which will limit the person’s intake of food or the way the food, is digested. VLCD on the other hand is highly restrictive diet providing around 800 calories a day, which could be delivered through specially prepared formula. Chances of forming gall bladder stones increase when –

  • The person is very overweight before undergoing VLCD or surgery
  • The weight loss is quite rapid after VLCD or surgery
  • The stones have already started forming before VLCD or surgery

Lessening the Risks

Risks of forming gallstones could vary between weight reduction treatments. People need to be always cautious of programs and surgeries that cause rapid weight loss. Nevertheless, such extreme measures of weight loss should be done under medical supervision, and the person should consult a doctor about his or her chances of developing stones. The best option would be reducing weight at about half to two pounds in a week.

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