Gallbladder anatomy.....The gallbladder concentrates bile produced by the liver and stores this concentrate until it is needed for digestion. It’s attached to the inferior surface of the liver and is a saclike organ. The cystic duct connects this organ to the common bile duct. This organ can hold approximately 40 to 60 milliliters (which is up to 4 tablespoonsful) of concentrated bile. At the neck of this organ, a sphincter valve controls the flow of bile into and out of the organ. It has three tunics (a covering membrane): an inner mucosa, a middle muscularis, and an external serosa. Folds in the mucosa permit distention of the wall as the organ fills with bile.
High concentrations of certain materials in the bile can lead to the eventual formation of gallstones. Gallstones occur twice as frequently in women as in men, and are more prevalent in developed countries. Risk factors for developing gallstones include: obesity, increasing age, female sex hormones, Caucasian ethnicity, and lack of physical activity.
The presence of gallstones in either the gallbladder or the biliary apparatus is referred to as cholelithiasis. Gallstones are typically formed from condensations of either cholesterol or calcium and bile salts. These stones can be the tiniest grains or almost the size of golf balls. Most of the gallstones are asymptomatic (without symptoms) until a gallstone becomes lodged in the neck of the cystic duct. This causes the organ to become inflamed and dilated. This inflammation is known as cholecystitis.
X-Ray Normal Gallbladder
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Gallbladder anatomy.....The most common symptom is severe pain (known as biliary colic) perceived in the right hypochondriac region (the right region on the side of the abdomen covered by the costal cartilage) or sometimes in the area of the right shoulder. Nausea and vomiting may occur, along with bloating and indigestion. After eating a fatty meal, symptoms normally get worse. Western society’s drastic treatment constitutes surgical removal of the gallbladder, called cholecystecotomy. Following surgery, the liver continues to produce bile, even in the absence of the organ, but there is no means of concentrating the bile, so further gallstones are unlikely.
.....When the gallbladder is removed by surgery, fat digestion is considerably hindered. Without this organ, the bile, which is continually being secreted by the liver, slowly drains into the small intestine. The tiny amount of bile that drains directly from the liver into the intestine isn’t enough to function sufficiently in fat digestion when even moderate amounts of fat are consumed.
Medium-chain fatty acids don’t require bile or pancreatic enzymes for their metabolism. Therefore, someone who has had their gallbladder removed or is having problems digesting fats can greatly benefit from using coconut oil in their diet.
The Gallbladder and Coconut Oil
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