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Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Pregnancy Over 40 and Bile Processing

I never had a problem with gallstones, but I was surprised to hear that many women do during and after pregnancy.

Pregnancy may have an affect on the body's ability to process bile which may make the body more likely to form gallstones. This article explains more:

Pregnancy, as well as estrogen and birth control use, put us at a higher risk for developing gall bladder problems. In fact, Dibble says two to four percent of pregnant patients are found to have gallstones during their pregnancy ultrasounds.
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Your gall bladder and gallstones
So just what does a gall bladder do? This small organ sits below the liver and houses bile, a fluid breakdown of old red blood cells and digestive enzymes. Dr David Bowen, who heads the surgery department at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans, explains that bile is needed for digestion. Normally, bile remains in your intestines until you eat, and the gall bladder then squeezes bile into intestines to mix with the food as it makes its way down.

Gallstones form for a number of reasons. Typically, the materials that make up bile -- cholesterol, bile salts and lecithin -- get out of balance and begin to form crystals, says Bowen. Those crystals then stick together and grow larger and harder.

"The hormonal milieu, circulating estrogen and progesterone levels, affect the gallbladder's ability to contract and excrete bile," says Dibble. "Higher levels of these hormones result in a slowdown of the gallbladder wall and promote gallstone formation. When these gallstones leave the gallbladder and become lodged in the ducts of the gallbladder or pancreas, they can be [extremely] painful." 


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