Ox Gallstones Barbados
A precious Chinese herbal medicine, ox gallstones are harvested from cattle after the bile is filtered without special processing. They are sold at the retail level in their natural form or as a proprietary Chinese medicine mixed with other ingredients.
They are a high-value commodity due to their medicinal value and short supply. Their price can range between HK$19,000 and US$65 per tael (i.e. a small pellet weighing three grams).
What are Gallstones?
Gallstones are lumps of solid material that form in the gallbladder when there is too much cholesterol or bilirubin (a pigment) in bile. When this happens, the bile doesn’t empty all the way into the intestine. If one of these stones gets stuck in the ducts that carry bile to the intestine, it can cause symptoms such as pain or fever. This condition is called cholecystitis, and can be a serious problem that requires hospital treatment.
The most common type of gallstone is a cholesterol stone, which forms when there is too much cholesterol in the bile. People with diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, and blood disorders have a higher chance of developing this kind of stone. Pigment stones are smaller and darker, and they usually form when bilirubin in the bile is too concentrated. This can happen if the liver makes too much bilirubin or the ducts that carry bile become infected.
Having a healthy diet that is low in fat and high in fibre may lower your risk of developing gallstones. Also, exercising regularly and losing weight if you are overweight can help prevent the condition from occurring.
If you have a family history of gallstones, you should talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk. Your doctor might suggest a cholesterol-lowering medication, which is a drug that works by reducing your body’s cholesterol level. He or she may also recommend that you have a blood test to check for signs of blockages.
Some people who have gallstones don’t have any symptoms. But others have trouble passing the stools that carry bile to the intestine. In these cases, the doctor might use a thin wire to open the bile duct and remove the stones.
Another option is a procedure that uses ultrasound waves to break up the gallstones. This is rarely used, but it is sometimes helpful when there are only a few stones present.
It is best to ask your doctor about the procedure before you have it. He or she will be able to explain exactly what it is and what you can expect from it.
Symptoms of Gallstones
Gallstones are hard deposits that form in the gallbladder, a small organ underneath your liver. It stores and concentrates bile, which is produced by the liver to help digest fats. The bile is then passed from the gallbladder through a series of channels, called bile ducts, into the small intestine.
If you have a gallstone in your gallbladder, it can cause severe abdominal pain and other symptoms. Sometimes, the pain lasts for a few hours and is accompanied by vomiting and nausea. If the pain gets worse, you may feel fever and a rash.
Occasionally, your doctor may recommend that you undergo a procedure known as cholecystectomy to remove the gallbladder. This is an effective treatment for most patients with gallstones and has a low risk of complications.
Cholecystectomy involves making an incision on your abdomen and then removing the gallbladder. The surgeon will also remove any stones that are in the bile ducts.
Nonsurgical treatments include taking a medicine that dissolves cholesterol stones. This usually works about 75% of the time, but it can take years to totally dissolve your gallstones.
Surgery is often recommended if the gallstones are large, cause chronic pain, or block one of your bile ducts. These conditions can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Some gallstones are only mildly symptomatic and don’t need any treatment. About 2% of people with gallstones that don’t cause symptoms develop them each year.
These “silent” stones are typically diagnosed by an imaging test called RUQ ultrasound, which shows acoustic shadowing foci that are gravity dependent. This helps detect and diagnose gallstones in the bile ducts and gall bladder.
If the bile ducts are blocked, you may develop a condition called biliary colic, which is an intense, sharp pain that lasts for about 1 to 5 hours. The pain may be accompanied by vomiting and bloating.
The pain may get worse when you breathe deeply or cough, and it may spread to your upper right side or shoulder blade. If you have a recurring episode of biliary colic, your doctor may suggest that you have keyhole surgery to remove the gallbladder, which is called laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Treatments for Gallstones
If you have gallstones, there are several treatment options. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may suggest medications to treat them or surgery to remove the gallbladder.
Medications: If your symptoms are not severe, you may be prescribed ursodeoxycholic acid, which can help dissolve some of the stones. It may also prevent gallstones from forming in people who are at risk of developing them. You’ll need to use a barrier method of contraception (such as a condom) while taking this medication, as it can affect the other types of oral contraceptives.
Your doctor will also check for infections, jaundice or pancreatitis and other complications of gallstones. If any of these symptoms are present, you’ll need to have blood tests and other imaging tests to find out what is causing them.
The most common way to diagnose cholelithiasis is through an ultrasound test of the abdomen. This test is very easy and non-invasive and can find gallstones that are hiding in the bile duct.
Other diagnostic tests for cholelithiasis include magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). This procedure uses a thin tube to look into the bile duct to find the stone that’s causing your symptoms. If the stone is stuck in the duct, your provider may need to use an ERCP to remove it.
Cholecystectomy: If your symptoms are severe or you have other medical problems, your doctor may recommend a surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy). This surgery can reduce pain and improve your digestion.
A type of surgery known as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy involves several small cuts or incisions in your abdomen to remove the gallbladder and gallstones. This surgery usually takes only an hour, but you’ll be admitted for a few days following the procedure to recover.
Surgical removal of the gallbladder is generally only recommended for people with symptomatic gallstones or other serious health conditions. Some people with gallstones may not have symptoms, so doctors often wait to perform a cholecystectomy until a patient’s condition improves.
Your provider will tell you about the risks and benefits of each treatment option. The goal of each treatment is to ease your pain and discomfort while improving your digestive health.
Prevention of Gallstones
The best way to prevent gallstones is by avoiding certain risk factors and following a healthy diet. Eating a diet rich in fiber from fruits, vegetables, and nuts and avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugars may help reduce your risk of developing gallstones.
The gallbladder is an organ that stores and secretes bile, which helps break down fat in the body. This bile contains cholesterol and other substances that can form stones. These stones can range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball, and they can cause pain.
People who are prone to gallstones should avoid eating foods with a high content of saturated fat, such as butter and fatty cuts of meat. These foods have a higher concentration of cholesterol in the bile, which makes them more likely to form stones.
Regular physical activity can also reduce your risk of developing gallstones. It can stimulate the contraction of the gallbladder and the flow of bile. It also helps lower your risk of obesity, which increases your risk of gallstones.
Women are twice as likely as men to develop gallstones, and it’s especially common in women who are obese or have diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Those at a higher risk of gallstones should focus on reducing their weight by maintaining a stable, healthy weight through diet and exercise.
Those who take medications for bile duct problems, such as gemfibrozil or fenofibrate, should be careful not to exceed the recommended dosage. These drugs can increase your chances of developing gallstones because they can inhibit a liver enzyme that helps regulate the level of cholesterol in the bile, says Joshi.
A healthy diet that is low in calories and moderate in fat is the best way to reduce your risk of developing gallstones. This diet should be based on whole, natural foods and should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains.
It should also contain lean sources of protein, such as chicken, turkey, beef, and fish. Nuts and legumes, such as peanuts and lentils, are also good choices for a heart-healthy diet.
Ox Gallstones Barbados