It seems that there is a strong connection between gallbladder disease and holiday meals. Check out the latest reports about the matter below.
Gallbladder disease and holiday meals
During holiday meals, most people tend to indulge in delicious food. However, for some individuals, the enjoyment is short-lived as they start experiencing discomfort within 20 minutes of starting the meal. This often leads them to visit a gastroenterologist within a few days.
Dr. Daniel Davila, a gastrointestinal surgeon at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, observes this trend every year after Thanksgiving.
“Usually this is related to gallstone disease which is not uncommon, particularly in the American population. Gallstone disease is often precipitated by fatty meal exposure,” he said.
“Especially after Thanksgiving, it’s not uncommon for us to see patients coming in to see us because the Thanksgiving meal, which often is fatty, has precipitated either new or worsening symptoms related to gallstones.”
Gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball and are mostly formed of cholesterol or bilirubin.
The gallbladder produces them in different sizes and types, and they are more prevalent in developed countries.
Women with extra estrogen, older adults, and those with a family history are at higher risk of developing gallstones.
The symptoms of gallstones are similar to those of ulcers, appendicitis, pancreatitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
The gallbladder is a small sac-like organ located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen that stores bile. Bile is necessary for breaking down fats into fatty acids during the digestion process. Bile is primarily composed of cholesterol, bile salts, and bilirubin, and it is produced by the liver. The gallbladder holds the bile until the body signals it to empty into bile ducts that lead to the duodenum, the entry to the small intestine.
“Certain cells in the small bowel detect a fatty meal, send a hormone to the gallbladder to secrete more bile,” Dr. Davila explained.
“Sometimes the stones are there, and it causes them to become symptomatic and painful for patients.”