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Gallstones

Dr. John Hsiang, Senior Consultant Gastroenterologist

What Is Gallstones?

Gallstones are small, hardened deposits that form in the gallbladder or bile ducts.

The gallbladder is a small organ located in the upper right side of the abdomen, just below the liver. Its main function is to store and concentrate bile, which is produced by the liver and helps with the digestion of fats.

Gallstones can range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. They are comprised of cholesterol, bile salts, and calcium deposits.

While many people have gallstones without experiencing any symptoms or complications, they can cause problems if they block the flow of bile from the gallbladder.

What are the Symptoms of Gallstones?

Many people with gallstones do not experience any symptoms and may not even know they have them. However, when a gallstone blocks the bile duct, it can cause severe pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, known as biliary colic.

Other symptoms of gallstones may include:

What is a Gastroscopy?

A Gastroscopy, also known as an Upper GI Endoscopy, is a procedure to examine the oesophagus (gullet), stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine).

It is done by having a gastroscope safely inserted through the mouth and maneuvered by your Doctor.

A gastroscope is a flexible tube with a camera attached to it. This gives your Doctor an internal view of your upper digestive system to detect abnormalities such as polyps, ulcers, inflammation, or cancerous growths along the mucosal lining.

If your Doctor discovers these issues during an examination, they can remove any polyps or tissues to be sampled for further investigation.

What Are The Causes of Gallstones?

There are various factors that can contribute to the formation of gallstones. These include:

When Is It Time To Visit a Doctor?

If you experience severe abdominal pain, especially in the upper right side of your abdomen, accompanied by fever and chills, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms may indicate a blockage in the bile ducts or an infection in the gallbladder.

Additionally, if you have a family history of gallstones or are experiencing recurring symptoms such as nausea and bloating, it is essential to consult with a doctor. They may perform tests such as an ultrasound or blood work to diagnose the presence of gallstones.

Why See a Gastro Doctor?

Consulting a Gastroenterologist for your symptoms helps in obtaining an accurate diagnosis, giving you peace of mind. It also aids in detecting and ruling out more serious diseases like ulcers and cancer.

At Richmond Gastro, our team ensures a smooth and comfortable consultation and diagnosis, making the process less daunting than you may think.

What happens during your procedure

Usually, a Gastroscopy is done while you are asleep due to the sedatives that will be administered to you. An anesthetic will also be sprayed into your throat to numb your swallowing sensation.

You will be placed on your side and given to wear a mouth guard to prevent yourself from biting on the scope. With the necessary preparations in place, your Doctor will proceed with the gastroscopy examination.

The whole procedure should take about 10 to 15 minutes and you should be discharged within the same day. You will be advised not to drive or operate machinery for the day due to the drowsiness you may feel from the sedatives.

How Can Gallstones Be Treated?

If you have been diagnosed with gallstones, the treatment options will depend on the severity of your symptoms and any underlying conditions. In most cases, surgical removal of the gallbladder is recommended to prevent future complications.

Other treatment options may include medications to dissolve or break down stones or shock wave therapy to break them up into smaller pieces that can pass through the bile ducts.

How To Relieve Gallstones?

While there is no surefire way to prevent gallstones, there are some lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk or alleviate symptoms if you already have them.

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About Dr. John Hsiang

MBChB (NZ), FRACP (Australasia), MD (Doctorate), FRCP (Edinburgh), FAMS (Gastro)

Dr. John Hsiang is a Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist with more than 20 years of clinical experience in public and private practice.

Dr. John’s special clinical interests are in gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach conditions, fatty liver, and gastrointestinal cancer screening

Dr. John has spent more than five years in the Singhealth cluster serving in the Gastroenterology Department at Changi General Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital.

Clinical interests:

Indigestion, gastroesophageal reflux disease, helicobacter pylori infection, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhoea, hepatitis B, fatty liver disease, management of abnormal liver tests.

Dedicated Insurance Support

We understand that navigating the financial aspect of healthcare can be overwhelming. We welcome all patients with or without insurance and can assist with claims regardless of your personal or corporate insurance plan.

Here at Richmond Gastroenterology Centre, we strive to ensure the most efficient claims process for our patients. To that end, our team works diligently with their insurers to obtain Letters of Guarantee and pre-authorization certificates prior to any procedures.

Make an appointment to consult our Doctor.

We understand your anxieties and we are here to support you throughout your health journey. If you have questions or would like to seek a 2nd opinion, send us your message via the form below.

To get an immediate response, you may also call us at: 6517 9958

Dr. John Hsiang is an Accredited Specialist Across All Private Hospitals in Singapore.