As discussed in our recent blog on gallstones, women especially pregnant women are at a greater risk of gallstones. This is majorly due to the elevated hormone levels during pregnancy.
It is known that 8% of pregnant women develop gallstones by the third trimester. Also, the point to note here is that only 1% of these women develop symptoms, all others have silent or asymptomatic gallstones.
These increased levels of hormones lead to higher cholesterol levels delays in the gallbladder emptying itself completely. This in turn leads to the formation of gallstones.
Symptoms and Complications
Pregnant women have the same symptoms of gallstones as other people who are not pregnant. The most common symptom is severe pain in the upper abdomen that can even last for up to a few hours.
In some cases, the complications can cause extreme symptoms such as fever, on-going vomiting, light-colored stools, and dark urine. Some pregnant women may even have yellow eyes and undereye skin which may indicate an infection of the gallbladder or complete blockage of bile ducts.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Ultrasound is the main step in the diagnosis of gallstones. It is a completely safe method of diagnosis to use during pregnancy. Although doctors may advise some medicines to prevent gallstones, these are not as useful to dissolve the gallstones that are already formed.
If the pain medications don’t help ease the symptoms, the only definitive treatment for gallstones is the removal of the gallbladder as the liver continues to produce bile even in the absence of the gallbladder.
With advancements in technology, laparoscopic treatment i.e. minimally invasive procedures for removal of gallstones is not only feasible but also highly successful.
Usually, this procedure is suggested either in the second or early third trimester, but in case of emergencies, it may be carried out at the earliest possibility regardless of the trimester.
If the gallstones are causing an obstruction to the flow of bile juice or causing inflammation of the pancreases, ERCP i.e. endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is recommended.
This helps retrieve gallstones and remove duct obstruction which is favourable to delay the need for immediate surgery or laparoscopic procedure for removal of the gallbladder.
If you’re pregnant and have symptoms of gallstones, its best to schedule an appointment with Dr. Srikanth Gadiyaram, a pioneer in the treatment of gallstones through the laparoscopic treatment procedure.
The laparoscopic treatment is not open surgery. It is a painless minimally invasive treatment procedure where the doctor makes small incisions to remove the gallbladder with utmost care and precaution for pregnant women.
It is a safe procedure when performed by experienced and renowned surgical gastroenterologists such as Dr. Srikanth. At Sahashra Hospitals, we take all the necessary precautions and prepare you well before the laparoscopic procedure for gallstone removal. You won’t have to stay admitted for long and heal faster than a normal surgical treatment of gallstones.
He will not only get your complete medical history but also thoroughly examine your reports along with the scans of the ultrasound procedure to suggest the best treatment option for you at the particular stage of your pregnancy.
If you want to get rid of the gallstone symptoms and desire the best health for yourself and your baby during pregnancy, don’t think twice before reaching out to Dr. Srikanth Gadiyaram at Sahasra Hospitals. You will surely get the best medical care and treatment as per all medical standards. Book your consultation today!