Gallstones In Children – Everything You Need To Know


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Stones in the gallbladder can cause excruciating pain for your little one. Moreover, these stones can lead to many other unbearable conditions. If your little one has gallstones, or you simply want to learn more about gallstones, consider reading our post. Here we talk about the causes, symptoms and treatment of gallstones in children.

What Are Gallstones?

Gallstones are hard masses of digestive fluids that develop in the gallbladder. Children who suffer from gallstones are typically obese and lead unhealthy lifestyles. (1)

Gallstones in Children:

Gallstones develop as a result of an imbalance constituency of the bile pigments in the body. Children suffering from obesity, Diabetes, hemolytic anemia, genetic factors, and poor contraction of the gallbladder are at a risk of developing gallstones, at their early age. (2)

Types Of Gallstones:

Mainly Gallstones are classified into two types:

1. Cholesterol Stones:

Cholesterol stones occur as the body cholesterol hardens into

stone. Cholesterol stones are common among obese people, pregnant women, and old people.

2. Bilirubin Stones:

The Bilirubin juice in your child’s stomach can sometimes harden to form a stone. Children with acute liver diseases or leukemia typically suffer from bilirubin stones.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Kidney Stones In Children ]

Symptoms Of Gallstones In Children:

So, how do you tell whether your little one suffers from gallstones? Well, he might exhibit some characteristic gallstone symptoms in child, which include:

  • Pain in his right shoulder
  • Sudden pain in the upper abdomen
  • Back pain between the shoulder blades
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Protracted pain
  • Fever
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (3)

[ Read: Nausea In Kids ]

Causes Of Gallstones In Children:

Several factors can lead to gallstone formation. Some of the main causes include:

1. Obesity:

Children suffering from the problems of obesity are more prone to suffer from gallstones problems than their slimmer counterparts. Obesity raises your cholesterol levels, which initiate the formation of solid stones in the gall bladder.

2. Genetics:

The problem of gallstones is hereditary and often passes through generations. If your family members suffer from gallstones, the risk of your child suffering from the same problem is higher.

3. Cholesterol Drugs:

Certain cholesterol-lowering drugs help elevate cholesterol levels in the bile, which can lead to the formation of gallstones.

4. Diabetes:

Children who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes are more prone to suffer from gallstones problems, at their early ages.

Diagnosing Gallstones In Children:

There are numerous medical tests that doctors prescribe to diagnose child gallstones. Some include:

  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • CAT Scan
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Cholescintigraphy (4)

Treating Gallstones In Children:

Gallstones cause acute abdominal pain in children, and surgical removal of the gallbladder can help remove gallstones. The most effective treatment procedures typically include:

1. Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy:

In the surgical process, the surgeon removes the gallbladder from the stomach, and thus inhibits the formation of gallstones.

2. Open Cholecystectomy:

The complex process involves an incision into the abdomen, which helps remove the gall bladder swiftly.

3. Electrohydraulic Shock Wave Lithotripsy:

Electrohydraulic Shock Wave Lithotripsy is a non-invasive technique for removing gallstones. People who cannot undergo surgical procedures undergo the therapy.

[ Read: Peptic Ulcer In Children ]

Preventing Gallstones In Kids?

Follow these simple tips to reduce the chances your children contract gallstones:

1. Healthy Diet:

Pay attention to what your little one’s diet. Avoid feeding him too many cholesterol-rich foods like fast food. Prepare exercise plans for your little one if he is obese. A proper healthy diet not only keeps your children free from gallstones but inhibits other diseases as well.

2. Don’t Skip Meals:

Don’t let your little one skip any meals, as fasting or skipping meals can often induce gallstone formation.

Did your child suffer from gallstones? What treatments did your doctor suggest? Share your experiences with other moms here!