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Hepatic colic, what is it?

Definition of hepatic colic

Hepatic colic is characterized by obstruction of the bile ducts, a consequence of the formation of gallstones . These can be compared to small “pebbles” of cholesterol and form in the gall bladder.

In most cases, the formation of gallstones does not cause any symptoms. In other cases, they can get stuck in the duct inside the gallbladder, and cause intense pain lasting between 1 and 5 hours. These pains are then at the origin of hepatic colic.

Causes and risk factors of hepatic colic

The formation of gallstones is the consequence of an imbalance in the chemical composition of the ball, circulating inside the gallbladder. In most cases, the level of bad cholesterol in the bile becomes too high. This excess of cholesterol then causes the formation of such “pebbles”.

Biliary calculi are relatively common. But only a minority of patients develops symptoms.

Some factors cause an increased risk of hepatic colic:

  • overweight or obesity
  • women are also more inclined to develop such a condition
  • People over 40 years old.

Who is affected by hepatic colic?

Anyone may be concerned with the development of hepatic colic.

Some people are more at risk than others:

  • women, having a child
  • individuals over the age of 40 (the risk is increased with age)
  • People who are overweight or obese.

Symptoms of hepatic colic

In the majority of cases of hepatic colic, no symptoms are felt. Nevertheless, the obstruction of the bile ducts (by the formation of stones) can lead to characteristic clinical signs and mainly a sudden, intense and radiating pain in the abdomen.

Other symptoms may be added:

  • a feverish state
  • persistent pain
  • an increase in heart rate (arrhythmia)
  • a jaundice
  • itches
  • of diarrhea
  • a state of confusion
  • loss of appetite

Evolution and possible complications of hepatic colic

Some patients may develop complications, such as inflammation of the gall bladder (cholecystitis). Persistent pain, jaundice and fever. The evolution of the symptoms of hepatic colic is related to vesicular disorders or to cholelithiasis.

How to treat hepatic colic?

The treatment associated with hepatic colic depends on the symptoms developed by the patient.

Management is carried out when the patient feels the associated symptoms and consults his doctor. Drug treatment will be prescribed for the development of cirrhosis (liver damage), high blood pressure or the presence of diabetes. But also when the patient has too high calcium levels in the gallbladder, which can lead to cancer.

The frequency of pain will determine the treatment that will be prescribed. In most cases, pain relievers are helpful in relieving pain. A healthy and balanced diet also helps to limit symptoms.

In the context of more severe symptoms, surgery is also possible.

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