Why Is Jaundice a Symptom of Gallstones?

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The gallbladder is a nonessential digestive organ that serves as a storage pouch for excess bile. When bile hardens and crystallizes, gallstones may form. These stones may cause painful gallbladder attacks and liver complications that lead to jaundice. Jaundice is a condition characterized by a dangerous accumulation of bile in the bloodstream.

Symptoms

Gallstones cause symptoms such as upper right abdominal pain, back pain and shoulder pain. When gallstones get stuck in the common bile duct they may cause jaundice.

Complications

Gallstones may lead to serious complications such as jaundice. Symptoms of jaundice include yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Causes

Jaundice may occur when a gallstone blocks the common bile duct. The common bile duct serves as passageway from the gallbladder and liver to the small intestine. When this occurs, the bile is unable to travel from the liver to the small intestine and this causes bile to build up in the blood stream, resulting in jaundice.

Identification

Jaundice may initially be identified by a noticeable yellowing of the skin and eyes. This discoloration occurs as bile accumulates in the blood. One substance contained in the bile is bilirubin, which causes the yellowing. Jaundice may be diagnosed with blood tests, liver function tests, liver biopsy and abdominal ultrasounds.

Treatement for Jaundice

There is no treatment for jaundice in adults except to remove the gallstone causing the blockage.

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