Gallbladder disease is one of the leading causes of problems with digestion that result in hospital admissions. Did you know that around 10% of the population (on average) in most Western countries has gallstones? Most of these are “”silent”” but about 4% of patients with stones develop symptoms each year. For about half of them, the symptoms reoccur within 12 months. More men than women suffer from acute gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis), whereas more women than men experience gallstones (men have more kidney stones), and married women with children have more gallstones than unmarried women. The term “”gallbladder disease”” is in one sense a misnomer, for it is the liver, bile ducts and gallbladder that form the system that enables your body to digest fats and all are likely to participate in gallbladder problems.
I have always said that doctors generally see health problems as conditions with symptoms requiring drugs, whereas surgeons see health problems as conditions requiring the knife, and when a patient is admitted with abdominal discomfort surgeons are often keen to remove the gall bladder as it is believed that it ‘serves very little purpose’ and that the patient can “”live comfortably without it””. This is a ridiculous and very untrue notion however, and I want you to think twice about having your gallbladder removed, because over half of people I have seen who had their gallbladder removed still had the same digestive problem they started with in the first place unresolved, yet now without their gallbladder. Once it is out that is it, it does serve a purpose like every organ you were born with and having your gallbladder removed will affect your health to some degree. For some patients, the removal of their gallbladder had a major consequence on their health down the track. For others, it was a minor consequence.
A surgeon I once spoke to many years ago mentioned that the gallbladder operation was one frequently performed in larger hospitals by the younger surgeon to “”bring them up to speed”” in the operating room. He said that it was a relatively easy operation lasting from thirty to forty minutes enabling them to gain surgical experience before they move onto “”bigger and better things”” as far as abdominal surgery is concerned. I can’t help wondering if all the gallbladder operations performed are really that necessary, because they are so quick to take it out these days. The apprentice mechanic will first be introduced to the engine by learning to replace the spark plugs before he is allowed to work deeper into the engine. If the plugs were removed, carefully cleaned and then replaced they generally last a long time. But then again, today more than half the stuff we buy is made in China and it is “”chucked”” as soon as it is even slightly defective!
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