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Jan 31, 2019

Healthy Living: Gall Stones, a Common Condition among Women

There is a common condition, mostly among women, that can go undetected.  It is treatable with minor surgery, but when it is undiagnosed, it can lead to serious complications. Stones in the gall bladder can be caused by the use of contraceptives by women, but there are healthy practices to minimize the risks of developing stones.  Find out more in tonight’s Healthy Living.


Marleni Cuellar reporting
Did you know that you can have gall stones sitting in your gallbladder right now and not feel any symptoms? In fact this very common health problem can go undetected for years.


Dr. Daniel Godinez

Dr. Daniel Godinez, Internal Medicine Specialist, BHPL

“Some patients can live for years with stones for years in the gall bladder and since they don’t have obstruction due to the gall stones patients can live without any problems or complications.”


Doctor Daniel Godinez is an internal medicine specialist and sees a number patients each year who’ve been diagnosed with gall bladder stones.


Dr. Daniel Godinez

“When it starts giving problems. It can lead to infection of the bile which can be dangerous, blockage of the passage of the bile completely then when that happen the patient can become jaundiced. Occasionally, we have gall bladder that have burst completely because of the pressure that the stone is producing and this can be very serious complications. It can even kill you.”


The gall bladder is a small organ near the liver. When the liver creates bile it stores in the gall bladder which dispenses it as needed to aid our digestion.


Dr. Daniel Godinez

“When you eat and you eat especially fatty food what the gall bladder do is squeeze the bile out of it and send it into the bowel to melt the fats that you are and eating.  There are certain factors that can affect the quality the bile and when that happens that you stones will form.  Typically we know that through years of experience that it is stones is more common in female. And also they are more common in pregnant ladies and more common in ladies who have had children. The reason for that is that the hormonal composition of a woman can alter the quality of the bile and lead to an abnormal bile to form stones and another thing that is very common that causes stones is the use of contraceptives.”


In fact, it is estimated that women are 3 times more likely to develop gallstones than men.


Dr. Daniel Godinez

“We talk about the five F’s of the gall stones. That includes being fertile, being female, being fat that is obese, being forties and some have family history and others talk about being fair skinned. In Belize we have found a different reality. For example we see many young ladies in there 20/30’s who already develop gall stones and we know a lot of thin ladies who are not necessarily obese who develop gall stones and that I probably because of the wide spread use of contraceptives.”


Doctor Godinez explains that the change in hormones women experience when using contraceptives or through pregnancy is what is believe to trigger the development of the stones. Since it’s mostly asymptomatic the only way you can know you have stones is when one of the stones causes a blockage in the body.


Dr. Daniel Godinez

“Symptoms like abdominal pain especially in the upper part of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, bloating and that is mainly cause the stones tend to get stuck in the tubes that normally release the bile and that basically causes an obstruction and it causes a lot of pain.  Basically when a gall bladder starts forming stones then that gallbladder is not healthy anymore and even though many treatments have been attempted and some successful to some extent. At the end of the day in medicine the best treatment is surgical which means you have to removed the gall stones and you have to remove the gall bladder along with it.”


Luckily, even without a gall bladder the body compensates for the missing organ and still maintains its proper function. While still very common there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing stones.


Dr. Daniel Godinez

“You have to eat healthy, reduce your consumption of fatty food. We eat just way too much fat in this country and to keep fit physically and that will help and if you start to developing severe pains in the upper abdomen nausea vomiting etc. you should make sure you are not having gall stones.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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