Gallstones Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Insurance | Royal Sundaram
What is Gallstones?
Gallstones are stones or lumps usually made of cholesterol or bilirubin, that develop in your gallbladder. They are the pieces of solid material that can range in size from tiny to large. The gallbladder is a small organ located below the liver. And it can form one large stone, multiple small stones, or both large and small stones.
You might not even know that you have gallstones until they block bile ducts of your biliary tract, causing pain that needs immediate treatment. Gallstones can cause pain in the upper right abdomen, which if left untreated may cause severe complications in the future.
However, not all gallstones can cause health complications. Some don’t cause any blockages and are painless, also known as “silent gallstones.”
Types of Gallstones
Cholesterol stones: Usually yellow or green in colour, these are made of solidified cholesterol.
Pigment stones: Pigment stones are dark in colour, and are made of bilirubin. Some people may have a mix of both stones.
Most of the individuals with gallstones experience no symptoms at all. This is because stones stay in the gallbladder and do not cause blockage of the biliary tract and cause no trouble.
However, in some events, gallstones may lead to inflamed gallbladder or cholecystitis. The main symptom is the sudden occurrence of the pain that quickly gets worse. This pain is experienced on the right side of the body, right below the ribs, or in the right shoulder, or between the shoulder blades.
Other symptoms include
- Pain in abdomen lasting several hours
- Fever or chills
- Yellow coloured skin or eyes
The above symptoms can be a sign of an infection or inflammation of the gallbladder. In both cases, it is important that you get treated right away.
In most cases, gallstones are diagnosed with accidentally while being checked for other diseases. Traditionally, doctors use medical history, a physical exam, and lab and imaging test to diagnose gallstones.
Medical professional may ask if you have a family history of gallstones or what is your typical diet. Doctors may also conduct a physical examination and check for pain in your abdominal area.
Blood tests may be used to check signs of infection, inflammation of the gallbladder, bile ducts, etc.
Imaging tests such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), or MRI may be used to check for the signs of gallstones in the gallbladder or other complications such as infection or blockage of gallbladder or bile ducts.
Gallstones Treatment and cost in India
If gallstones are not causing painful symptoms, then probably there is no need for treatment. However, if there are symptoms like a gallbladder attack, you will have to undergo a proper treatment procedure. You will be referred to a gastroenterologist or a surgeon.
Cholesterol stones can sometimes be treated with non-surgical methods. But for pigment stones, doctors usually perform a surgery to remove the gallbladder.
Surgery to remove the gallbladder is known as cholecystectomy and is the most commonly used methods for this medical condition. A person can normally live without a gallbladder.
Most surgeons perform laparoscopic cholecystectomy on an outpatient basis, which means you will be discharged on the same day.
This type of surgery is performed if your gallbladder is severely infected or inflamed. It will require you to stay in the hospital for up to a week.
Doctors perform non-surgical treatment only if there is a complication that prevents surgery.
The cost of gallstone treatment may vary according to the type of surgery and the city you reside in. However, it ranges from 25, 000 to 1,00,00 or even more in some cases.
Health Insurance in India
Considering the rising cost of healthcare in India, it is imperative to have a health insurance policy. Here is how a health plan will benefit you:
- In times when you or your family member is required to undergo a surgery. A good health insurance plan will cover the payable surgery expenses for you.
- A health insurance plan is beneficial in providing financial protection against other expenses such as hospitalisation cost, cost of medicines, etc.
- A health insurance policy will ensure that you get quality treatment without causing a dent in your savings
What to look for in a health plan:
- Carefully read and understand all the conditions stated in a health plan. The coverage will vary from provider to provider. Get a plan that best suits your needs.
- Compare different plans and check for claim settlement history of the provider.
Coverage of diseases by a health insurance provider will vary from policy to policy. There are a number of conditions covered under a good insurance policy. Here is the list of some of the most common diseases covered:
- Heart attack
- Brain tumour
- Organ transplant
Other than this, the following is also covered under a health insurance plan
- Pre-existing diseases after a defined waiting period
- Hospitalisation expenses
- Pre and post hospitalisation expenses
- Cost of medicines, diagnosis, etc.