The gallbladder is a sac like organ related to the digestive system in the body and stores the bile juice produced by the liver. It is about 8 cm in length and 4 cm in diameter, located below the liver and connected to the pancreas through the common bile duct. Divided into 3 sections viz; fundus, body and the neck, the gallbladder is a crucial organ that helps in the digestion of foods, but its loss can be tolerated by the body.
The main function of this organ in the body is to store the bile produced in the liver, and it can store about 50 milliliters of it. Like all the other organs, the gallbladder is also prone to certain diseases, which are known to be prominent in women even though men too, suffer from them. Here's some information on gallbladder problems in women.
Cholecystitis is recognized as "inflammation of the gallbladder". Also called the gallbladder attack, there are many causes to this inflammation. Inflammation may occur due to gallstones or cholelithiasis. When these gallstones are formed, they block the cystic duct, which is a duct that connects the gallbladder to the common bile duct. Due to this there is thickening of the bile and infections caused by the gut organisms (E.coli), and this in turn leads to inflammation of the gallbladder. Cholecystitis is characterized by extreme pain in the abdomen area.
The condition of Cholelithiasis is when there are crystalline concentrations called gallstones found in the gallbladder. Gallstones differ in size and structure depending on the area where they are found. They are formed because of the retention of the bile liquid in the gallbladder and further lead to secondary infections in the organ because of microbes of the tract.
When gallstones are found in the biliary tract, it is called the choledocholithiasis, and these can lead to inflammation or Cholecystitis. The compositions of gallstones also depend on the age and diet of the patient, thus there are 3 main categories of these stones. They are cholesterol stones, pigment stones and mixed stones where each of them have varying compositions.
Sclerosing cholangitis is a condition where the bile ducts inside as well as outside the liver are damaged severely. There is either swelling, destruction or scarring of these ducts that are observed. These abnormalities are usually seen in women who are patients of Sarcoidosis, Chronic pancreatitis and bowel diseases. This condition is however more often observed in men than women but there are risks to women who are over 50 years of age.
Other problems related to the gallbladder include;
- Abnormal growths of tissue in the gallbladder, also called the polyps.
- Chronic acalculous gallbladder disease, where there is cholecystitis without gallstones.
- Tumors or cancers of the gallbladder as well as bile ducts.
- Gangrene/abscesses and infections in the bile ducts are also very common diseases.
These were some of the medical conditions associated with the gallbladder. If you are suffering from any of these diseases, please do not ignore them. Seek medical help as soon as possible.