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Cholecystitis, what is it?

Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gall bladder. This is caused by the formation of gallstones. It is more common in women, the elderly or people with overweight.

Definition of Cholecystitis

Cholecystitis is a condition of the gallbladder (organ located below the liver and containing bile). It is an inflammation caused by obstruction of the gallbladder, by stones.

Every individual can be affected by cholecystitis. Nevertheless, some people are more “at risk”. These include: women, the elderly, as well as overweight people.

This inflammation causes, most commonly , intense abdominal pain , accompanied by a feverish state. Ultrasound is often used to confirm the initial clinical diagnosis. Treatment exists in the management of this disease. In the absence of rapid management, cholecystitis can evolve rapidly and have serious consequences.

Causes of cholecystitis

The liver makes bile (organic liquid for the digestion of fats). The latter is, during digestion, excreted in the gall bladder. The path of bile continues, then, towards the intestines.

The presence of stones (aggregation of crystals) within the gallbladder can then cause the blockage of the expulsion of this bile. The abdominal pain is then the consequence of this blockage.

An obstruction that continues over time leads, little by little, inflammation of the gall bladder. This is then acute cholecystitis.

Evolution and possible complications of cholecystitis

The healing of cholecystitis is usually possible after two weeks, as part of a suitable treatment.

If the treatment is not taken at the earliest, complications may develop, such as:

  • cholangitis and pancreatitis : infection of the bile duct (choleocle) or pancreas. In addition to febrile condition and abdominal pain, these diseases cause jaundice (jaundice). Emergency hospitalization is often necessary for such complications.
  • Biliary peritonitis: perforation of the wall of the gallbladder, causing inflammation of the peritoneum (membrane covering the abdominal cavity).
  • chronic cholecystitis: characterized by recurrent nausea, vomiting and requiring removal of the gall bladder.

These complications remain rare, from the point of view or the care is generally fast and adapted.

Symptoms of cholecystitis

The general symptoms of cholecystitis result in:

  • hepatic colitis: pain, more or less intense and more or less long, in the hollow of the stomach or under the ribs.
  • a feverish state
  • nausea.

Risk factors for cholecystitis

The main risk factor for cholecystitis is the presence of gallstones.

Other factors may also be associated with an increased risk of the disease: age, female sex, overweight, or taking certain medications (estrogens, cholesterol medications, etc.).

How to diagnose Cholecystitis?

The first phase of the diagnosis of cholecystitis is based on the identification of characteristic symptoms.

In order to confirm or not the disease, further examinations are necessary:

  • abdominal ultrasound ultrasound
  • endoscopy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( MRI )

How to treat cholecystitis?

The management of cholecystitis requires, first of all, a drug treatment: analgesics, antispasmodics, or antibiotics (in the context of an additional bacterial infection).

In order to obtain a complete cure, removal of the gallbladder is often necessary: ​​cholecystectomy. The latter can be performed by laparoscopy or by laparotomy (opening through the abdominal wall).

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