How long does Gallstones Last

By  , Expert Content
Jan 15, 2013

Gallstones are pebble-like deposits that develop inside the gallbladder. The size of the gallstones can vary from as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. It is often diagnosed in adults over the age of 40.

In many cases the gallstones (about 90 per cent of gallstones) do not cause any symptoms and are diagnosed accidentally while doing an ultrasound of the abdomen for some other problem or routine health check-up. The risk of developing pain and other symptoms because of gallstones is very small (2 per cent) during the first 10 years after gallstones form. After 10 years, the risk of symptoms decreases even further. According to research symptoms usually take about 8 years to develop. The exact cause for decrease in chances of pain with gallstones after 10 years is not known.

Acute pain in abdomen is the most common presentation of gallstones. This is known as biliary colic. The pain may last from 30 minutes to several hours. Biliary colic pain usually lasts for a few hours. If the pain last for more than 5 hours then it may be due to acute cholecystitis or some other complication. Some people have one episode of biliary colic and may not experience any further pain and problems due to gallstones. However in some cases gallstones may cause repeated episodes of biliary colic.

Acute abdominal pain and other symptoms because of gallbladder Inflammation (acute calculous and acalculous cholecystitis) may last for hours to days in cholecystitis. The pain is more severe and persistent than in cases with biliary colic.

Cholecystectomy i.e. surgical removal of the gallbladder is curative treatment for gallstones. If your symptoms were caused by gallstones then after removal of gallbladder you will not experience any further pain and other symptoms.



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